Keith Orlean’s 40-Year Roller Coaster Ride: The Highs, Lows, and Lessons of an Entrepreneur

Keith Orlean's 40-Year Roller Coaster Ride: The Highs, Lows, and Lessons of an Entrepreneur

By: Keith Orlean

Entrepreneurship is not for the risk averse. I know this firsthand, having been an entrepreneur for over 40 years, having experienced the highs and lows of being an entrepreneur. From opening my first optical store at the age of 25 to expanding to 17 locations and eventually having to sell my business due to over leveraging, I have learned many valuable lessons along the way.

My journey started when I became a licensed optician at the age of 19. After working as an apprentice and becoming a store manager, I decided to open my first store at the age of 25. Although it wasn’t an immediate success, I saw glimpses of what it would take to grow. Through aggressive marketing and advertising, my first location became extremely successful, and I proceeded to open another five locations over the next four years.  I soon realized that I had a knack for business and entrepreneurship. I was passionate about helping people with their eye care needs, and my dedication to customer service quickly earned me a loyal following.

Flush with success from my first six stores, I decided to expand my business and started a franchise company. I expanded to 17 locations, but unfortunately, I made the mistake of over leveraging, which led to a challenging financial situation. I had to learn some tough lessons about the importance of patience, risk management, and sound financial planning. Despite the challenges, I persevered and eventually sold my optical business. I went on to start multiple businesses including publishing a restaurant magazine, selling electronic payment services, and developing technology that assisted nonprofits in raising needed funds. Each new venture presented its own set of challenges, but I remained committed to my entrepreneurial spirit.

Throughout my career, I have learned many important lessons about entrepreneurship. Perhaps most importantly, I understand the value of sales and marketing in building a successful business. I believe that a solid sales and marketing plan is essential for any business to succeed, and I emphasize the importance of developing a strong brand identity that resonates with customers.

I also understand the importance of building a strong team. Hiring and training staff is critical to the success of any business, and I have become an expert in this area. I understand that a business is only as good as the people who work for it, and I have developed a keen eye for identifying talented individuals who can help take a business to the next level.

Today, I am a successful business consultant, using the tools I have learned throughout my long career to help other businesses succeed. I understand the challenges and the rewards of entrepreneurship and am passionate about helping others achieve their goals. My expertise in sales and marketing, business and brand building, and hiring and training staff has helped countless businesses thrive.

In conclusion, my roller coaster ride of entrepreneurship is a testament to the importance of determination, patience, and a willingness to take risks. My journey has had its share of highs and lows, but I wouldn’t trade being an entrepreneur for any job regardless of the pay. My experience has taught me invaluable lessons that I am now using to help others succeed. Entrepreneurs looking to build successful businesses should take note of my lessons in sales and marketing, business and brand building, and hiring and training staff.

Published by: Martin De Juan


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