The past 5 years have been a little ridiculous.
Going through section 8 housing, dealing with family drama, getting kicked out of my house, trying to graduate… all while attempting to start my own company. Most people would have folded.
Growing up, my dad gave me this mentality of being mindful of only trying to do things if they were actually worth doing. He hasn’t bought a shirt in over 20 years because he just didn’t feel the need to. He would do things like constantly remind us to not waste gas. I didn’t quite understand what that meant at first, but then realized that once I finished up with the car, my mom would need to use it, and then my brother, and so on. Because of that, I would never go anywhere I didn’t need to go, and would instead indulge myself in things that I needed to do.
My goal has always been to start my own company and be able to provide for my family for the rest of their lives. I want to be able to buy my parents a house, maybe some new cars, and just have them be able to not work again. I’ve always felt like this is something I needed to do.
As I was finishing up school, the section 8 housing program was ending and they gave us a week to move out. Fortunately, we found a new spot in a really nice area, but I was skeptical because of how nice it was. I knew it as over our budget, but something was definitely up… I just didn’t want to believe it. I was just happy we finally had a new place to stay.
So a month later I graduated from school and was looking for jobs. Everything was going fine until we got a notice.
“You guys need to get out of here. The bank is selling the house.”
Are you kidding me?
At that point, I pretty much hit panic mode. My brother had just bought a new car and immediately I was like, “we need to get rid of this thing.” We met up with someone interested in looking at the car, who actually ended up offering me a job because he thought I had a way with words. This is exactly what I needed at the time because I was still set on trying to support my family. I barely even asked him about what the company was before I said yes to this random sales job offer since I really needed this opportunity.
My dad basically started to depend on me to keep this steady job and continue to support the family and pay the bills. I was simultaneously working on a business idea I had called Rydite. I eventually launched Rydite, and it was off to a pretty good start and built some traction.
Throughout my life, my mentality has always been around the concept of, “can I make money off this?” I was really able to utilize my strengths or any talents I had, in order to benefit financially. My painting, can I make money off of it? Yes. Hair cuts, I can do that. Can I make some extra cash off of it? Yes. It all revolved around that idea of benefitting myself, which ended up benefitting my need to support my family.
I’ve always wanted to do something that I actually want to do, instead of just any job I’d need to do. I’ve worked a bunch of random jobs, but what I’ve learned is you either can spend your money in the present time on useless things, or think about the next 5 years and make a plan for yourself. Some people simply think about their next three steps, but what you really have to do is start thinking about your 5-year plan. That’s how you really succeed. You can’t wait until you get hit to react. You have to be able to anticipate.
Unfortunately, I ran into many mishaps, such as job transitions, paying high rent, supporting my family, all while trying to maintain my new business, Rydite. It was nothing close to easy. In the process of creating my company, I learned to realize who was really there for me, and I got smarter with who and what I surrounded myself with.
When there’s something I want to do, I have to pursue it. That’s just how I am. Working on my business is something I truly have a passion for. I forget to eat, I forget about time, I forget about everything because I’m so focused on working toward a certain goal for myself. And that’s who it should be. Passion is where it all starts then it’s just hard work from there. I think that it’s funny that some people go to entrepreneur school because they’re basically just teaching you how to be passionate about something. 80k to get a Master’s that teaches you how to believe in something and sell something you’re passionate about? No thanks.
To me, business is all about taking risks. Are you willing to take these risks and sacrifice certain things? Friends, social events, time? There isn’t half in, half out. You have to be all in and have a goal in mind. You always have to think about “what if it works?” instead of the negative.
My idea of Rydite came to me in a funny way. Me and my buddy, Kareem, were stuck in traffic one day and one simple question he asked me, got me screaming.
“Call me crazy, but what if we can disrupt the carpooling industry?”
I went home so damn fast, dropped everything, and started organizing thoughts and brainstorming things out. We decided to make an app that basically eases the process of carpooling for college students who have to go through commuting struggles. In order to make a business happen, all you really need is passion and to believe that what you are doing is worth it. If you got that, all you need then is great execution.
In a short amount of time, me and my partner self-taught ourselves different softwares, design techniques, and all the business essentials. But we absorbed the information a lot quicker because it was something we knew we were happy to work toward. When you have that kind of positive drive, it seriously makes things so much easier. We literally went from a sketch to having something on the App Store. And it was just such an amazing feeling.
Honestly, if you ever come across roadblocks and obstacles, you have to realize things will get better. If you’re truly determined, there is no doubt that you’ll get through it. I can say this from experience. I’ve been knocked down, with getting kicked out of my house twice, working random jobs to make things work, and I could’ve easily just given up and settled. If you really want something, you need to push forward and just accomplish it. No matter how hard the work is and how many people try to bring you down, if you have a passion, you have to follow through and go all in. That’s how you make it, and that’s how you succeed.