Hard to be a Hustler

After selling DOYLES in June of 2012, I had a choice. Stay on with the company that acquired us, have a big title, a nice salary, stock that vested over three years, or…I could quit, or resign as some would call it. Of course, I did what anyone entrepreneur would do in my situation, I quit after only four months. Quitting meant that two thirds of my income would be interrupted for what was an unknown amount of time, and it also meant forfeiting the stock the company had worked so hard to keep during our negotiations. But, I felt as if I had no choice. For 16 years at that time, I’d never worked for anyone, and although I liked the people that I would be working with, I needed to be in control of my own destiny. Donedees.

So, there I was, no job, no business to speak of, no team, and no real income. I was in EO (Entrepreneurs Organization) at the time, and I remember making a presentation to my forum taking them through the 11 opportunities I was pursuing. I was throwing everything up on the wall to see if it would stick, and it was as if the wall was made of teflon. One of my forum mates challenged me to figure out what I was going to focus on, because no one can pursue anything and everything that they are interested in, and be good at all of them. So, I did; got focused that is.

As I reflected over the success and failures I had experienced over my career, I realized that the O&G space had been good to me, and that it was best that I leverage the skills and experience I had to impact the industry in a positive way. Although being in business for many years at the time had rounded out my skills, my passion was and remains sales, marketing, branding, business development, etc. All customer facing aspects of running a business. I can read a balance sheet, income statement, and cash flow statement better than most, but prefer to discuss strategy, vision, and market domination through unparalleled service, honesty, and transparency.

So, I launched DrillingExchange.com at OTC in May of 2013, as it allowed me to marry the skills I had developed by running a large web development company in the late nineties with the previous 10 years I’d spend in the oilfield equipment space. It was a very successful launch, and although there’s been some rough patches, the company has developed into a viable on-line marketplace for drilling rigs and equipment. Plug: If you have rigs and equipment for sale, and you don’t have them listed on DX, shame on you. Then, in November of the same year, part of my non-compete expired, so I started trading equipment again. Boy, was I disappointed.

For the past ten years, I had invested a significant part of my time and energy into building a company that stood for something, and I was under the impression that once I was “back in business” I’d have a huge following of fans and supporters. Nope. I was discouraged, depressed, and at times angry. And then it struck me…I was a nobody. It’s funny now, but at the time, I realized that although we had built a good reputation as a company, I had been successful in making sure that the company didn’t need me to operate as a business, and as a result, no one knew that the values that built DOYLES, were ones I had instilled in the company, and it’s people. It was time for me to go back to work, and build relationships one customer and relationship at a time.

I hit the road, made mistakes, and more phone calls per month than I had in previous years combined. If I were going to be successful in the buying and selling of rigs and equipment, I was going to have become a hustler, no differently than I was when I started my first business more than 15 years prior. Smile and dial, greet and meet, conventions, luncheons…the whole nine yards. Oh, and once I got up off my ass, and got a goal, good things started happening, and mama got a brand new bag.

Whether you run your own business, or work for someone, you can still be a hustler, and control your own destiny. That doesn’t always mean you’ll be rich, or wealthy, but if you want to be successful on your terms, you got to find the hustle, but be warned; it’s hard to be a hustler. Leaving you with one of the greatest movie scenes ever from Pain & Gain.

About Dan Henderson
Henderson is the founder of Henderson Rigs & Equipment, a leader in the sales and brokerage of drilling rigs and capital equipment; as well as the founder of DrillingExchange.com, the fastest growing, commission-free, on-line marketplace that connects buyers and sellers with no middle man.

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