I am Michael Draper and I am currently a Regional Sales Manager for J.Racenstein. I work for in my biased opinion for the best window cleaning supply company in the United States.
You might say or have the mind set “Never trust anybody with something to sell you”. So why are you different?
I would say that is an awesome question and here is my reply-
I started window cleaning when I was about 16 years old part time for a high school friends Dad. We would get assign routes and he and I would go out and clean glass. I was the mop boy that is I cleaned he squeegeed. I worked off and on for them through high school and some into college, then the son decided it was time to leave his Dad and go on his own. So he went a started a company in the Quad Cities, IE: Moline, IL. Shortly, thereafter he asked me to join him and taught me to sell and start a route business. But honestly window cleaning wasn’t for me, at least at this venture in my life.
I owned and started several businesses through the years but nothing really stuck. I had success and I had failures. My banker told me “I think you will be very successful some day, but I think you will be Bankrupt first. Not to encouraging to hear. However, those words came true about 3 years later. My life was a mess. My wife had left me, I was drinking an alarming amount and living a presumptuous lifestyle burning through money like it was growing on a tree in my backyard. It all came to a screeching halt in 1999. I was down the tubes and bankrupt.
Shortly, thereafter my wife and I reconciled we are still married today by the way with three wonderful children. However, we were broke! We were living in the basement of her Grandparents I was down in the dumps and very embarrassed of my situation. I took a slew of low paying jobs to make ends meet but was absolutely miserable as I was once a business owner.
One job though was in hotel management. I climbed the ladder very fast in this career and the one thing it taught me was the financial side of business. I could literally run a hotel by the P&L. I could see where money was coming in and how it was going out. Something I didn’t have before, I thought if you make it you spend it! This career took me to Bloomington, IL and very service rich area ,many white collar jobs, you could almost smell opportunity. I was in a BNI group and had the occasion to do a “dance card” with a financial planner. I was telling him of my demise and how unhappy I was, but I tell you I was scared, no way was I going through the embarrassment of failing ever again. He told me a story of Donald Trump. I will never forget these words. He asked me “what do you think is the difference between Donald Trump and you” I said about “several million dollars” . Of course he meant mind set. He said “you know Donald has bankrupted before”? He then explained to me that the difference was that “Donald may fail but he never looks at himself as a failure, he may look at what he did as failing but never himself”
Those words haunted me for the next three weeks but I decided he was right. On my days off I would start to build a route. I had success and soon filled my one day off Thursday. Then out of no where really I guess BNI residential started to call. I was getting busy, so much so, that I was short changing either my job or my business. I called my wife from a stop light and told her I thought I could make this thing work if I could spend all my time at it. She said “Quit you are miserable there anyway”!
That is all I needed to hear. That was in 2001. I grew the business in six months to where it sustained my family and me and then took it to the level of several employees. I had done it, partly anyway. I was flying somewhere and read a book called “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” In the book the author said something that once again rang true to me. It was “a true business owner can walk away for six months and when he comes back, it will be the same or better than when he left it” That’s what I wanted!!!!!!! So I tried several things that didn’t work and then in late 2007 with the help of a sharp attorney I figured it out and started to transform the business into a franchise model (we are not a franchise but operate very closely to its model). I now own three areas of operation two in IL and one in Florida.
I recently accepted the position with J.Racenstein for several reasons but one very dear to me is I love this business we call window cleaning and I hope that through my travels I don’t have just something to sell you but with my experience I have something to give you as well.
………….That is Michael Draper