The Owner: Karl Menace
I’m sitting in front of my laptop, bare two by fours exposed in the walls, spray foam insulation filling the voids between. I look up at my mattress sitting on the floor, barn wood panels half way assembled on the walls. I think to myself, “this is the start of something great”. I stepped outside into the dirt, a 121 acre ranch surrounds me, cell phone service was best outside. I watch as my right hand man dashes for the trees. He probably saw one of the ranch cats we got to control the field mice. I take in a deep breath of the sweet country air, hold it in as long as I can and slowly let it out. “My first contract awaits me”, I nervously think to myself. I pick up my phone and call… Success! I hung up and excitedly sent the Docusign over to have my first contract ever signed. My girlfriend gets back from her morning walk as I’m sending everything over. She interrupts me, “Karl, the door won’t open. Did you lock us out!?” she exclaimed. I turn and try to open the door myself. Much to my surprise, it won’t open. At this exact moment, I look up and see dark green smoke billowing out from under the roof. “The house is on fire, get as far away as you can.” I say to her as calmly as possible.
Growing up, I have always had my head in the clouds. I never focussed on what I was supposed to do and pretty much did whatever I wanted… all the time. Hell, my mom even had to duct tape my diapers on me before I was potty trained. On top of that, I wanted to be outside without my diaper on. She used to get so mad at me when I would walk past the bathroom to go outside and pee. Fast forward a few years to when I’m seven years old. I find myself obsessed with the ThrustSSR. I would always carry my graph paper around, determined on designing a rival car for the land speed record of just over the speed of sound, mach 1.016. I wanted to build my own jet powered hyper car. I took it all the way to having complete design schematics, fuel tank locations, jet engine specifications, wheels that could handle the speed, aerodynamics and everything, at seven years old.
A few years later, my allowance got me enough money to buy a brand new game boy. The cool clear one where you could see all the insides. $100 dollars… “what a concept”, I thought. My mother hands them 100 of these things called dollars. She slides to me the Game Boy I have been wanting for what seemed like an eternity in a child’s eyes. I learned what money was on this day. My infatuation with the ThrustSSR became a thing of the past. I realized there was no way to make money with a jet powered car, I had graduated.
From this day I had dropped all designs for a new and improved jet powered car and started designing high speed rail systems. I would map out routes between various cities, set up ticket fees, create maintenance schedules and set up seating arrangements. From start to finish, I would plan out everything. At the time I didn’t know I was creating an entire business plan, I was just enjoying myself by creating things that didn’t exist.
Fast forward to high school. Not much has changed, except, now I have a truck. I start gathering scrap metal. I would market myself by cleaning up peoples properties in exchange for the scrap metal off their property. It was quite ridiculous but sometimes I would have stacks of scrap metal 12 feet tall in the bed of my truck. I would have people throwing metal objects they wanted to throw away over fences at me and everything. It was a giant ‘banner’ saying I sell scrap metal. Naturally, being a high school student with my head still in the clouds, I would get myself into trouble. I had found a duck on a spring that you would see in a kids playground. I made a bracket for this and mounted it in the bed of my truck… and we did exactly what you think, we rode it around. I specifically remember the campus security following me in the parking lot on her golf cart, yelling at me to get down. But I was proud of my creation, by all means, I was going to ride it around.
After highschool graduation, I thought I would continue my passion for creation by becoming an automotive mechanic. I went to Universal Technical Institute and graduated from their two year program in 13 months. I maintained a 4.0 GPA, made the director’s honor list and achieved student of the class status on several occasions. I’ll keep this part brief, because I quickly learned that almost nobody else shared this passion of mine.
When I got into the working sector, I discovered that nobody cared about what I do. They simply wanted their car to go zoom without having to pay for it. Me tinkering with their toy was a problem in their eyes. Having learned this, I decided to level up again. I went to school in Utah to become a mechanical engineer. This was the greatest idea I have ever had, I thought. Surely engineers are the ones who create things? Wrong. I had talked to a few engineers and they told me how almost all engineers are hired to create things that already exist but differently. Tweak things and make them better, cheaper etc etc. So I thought to myself… where can I go to create things? Then I remembered my childhood when I would sit down and design entire business plans for fun and I thought to myself…
The Learning Process
I pondered all my strengths and weaknesses, analyzed data and created extensive spreadsheets. I came to the conclusion that a trucking company would be what I create. With my experience being a mechanic I could cut costs down if need be. I could properly maintain my equipment and everything would be peachy. I thought this is gonna be it, a business is going to be my creation! Little did I know, all the research and planning was indeed a business plan. Well I learned the hard way that running a business requires loads of discipline, discipline that I didn’t have.
Fast forward again, a few years later, I still have the bug. My brain is dead set on creation, creating a business is my future. So now, armed with my new knowledge of the discipline required to create a business, I set out to try again. This time, being surrounded by a booming housing industry in Texas, the data pointed towards a construction business. So I set out to create that very thing. After the very same planning, it came time for execution. I launched my sales plan, knowing full well that I was going to have to start small. I was going to have to take the jobs that nobody else wanted so I could show the world what I was capable of. I start talking to people, making my pitch and I land on an interested client. Little did I know, the greatest learning experience of my life was about to unfold. I stepped outside into the dirt, a 121 acre ranch surrounds me, cell phone service was best outside. I pick up my phone and call…
The Not So Great, Greatest Learning Experience of My Life
So here I am, my first contract ever, signed, watching my house burn down. The 911 operator tells me the fire brigade is stuck at the gate and needs assistance getting in. I hop in my truck and drive down the ranch road faster than I have ever driven before. I met them half way through the three gates to get into the property, they had taken the gates in their path down. Holding the last gate open, I shout to them “Take your first right, then left and follow the path”. I get a nod and off they go.
My girlfriend, dog and brother’s dog are all sitting about 100 yards away, watching the fire brigade work. My brother, on his way after hearing the news. The fire chief asks me a few questions as his crew sifts through the rubble, putting out any remaining fires. An unknown man walks up out of nowhere and has the audacity to complain to the fire chief about the gates. I was too stunned to respond but thankfully the fire chief swiftly and sternly told the man to leave. I later found out he filed a complaint with the HOA, thinking our house, now rubble, was a mobile home and that was against the HOA rules. This infuriated me but it’s also aside from the story… some people.
After the dust settles and everything is said and done, I think, “now what?”. I’m now homeless and have a brand new business with my first contract, signed. “It’s time to get to work”, I tell myself. My girlfriend’s mother was a hospitable woman, she took her daughter and I in. Let my dog and I sleep on her living room floor, her daughter on the couch, and I get to work.
Armed with a cell phone, I set out to fulfill this contract. I was remodeling a bathroom for a woman in the hill country. Turns out she was a con artist, like a wrecking ball going through contractors. I hadn’t known but I was the 4th contractor to work on this house and they hadn’t even moved in yet. The first one was in jail because of her. Naturally, I find myself in a lawsuit with this woman.
Now homeless and completely ruined, I set out with determination to build my creation. After all, I had quit my job for this endeavor. I gain quite a bit of traction building decks and fences. Things seem to be on the up and up but not enough to maintain any sort of stability. I’m still homeless and projects are too small to justify hiring anyone. Carrying my dog around with me, job to job. I’m unable to get any sort of apartment because of his breed. I take a good look at my dog and ask “What’s best for you, buddy?”. Focusing on my dog, I decide to drop everything and go back into trucking. I thought taking my pup with me to see the world would be best for him. I give up on my dream of creating a business and move into an 18 wheeler. Driving cross country with a home on wheels, set on gaining stability from this tragedy that unfolded.
About a year after the fire, I finally found myself back on my feet. Things are going well for me. Then my dog, my right hand man, gets sick and dies within the course of a few hours. Devastated and defeated, both emotionally and physically. I buried him in his favorite spot, the field where he would chase deer after never being able to catch the field cats.
Now broken and defeated, determination hasn’t lost me. Driving around the country, I find myself listening to endless audio books and falling asleep to ebooks about business. Fast forward about three years and you find me here today. Armed with all the knowledge I now need to pursue my dream of creation… creation of a business. With first hand experience on the needs for discipline, perseverance and protection, I find myself with a fundamental understanding of what a business is. It’s a living and breathing entity that requires constant care and attention. Anything and everything will happen so it must be protected from foes foreign and domestic.
Now it may not seem like much, but I learned that protecting the business should come above all else. And my mistake, although hard pressed, was that of preparedness. Things don’t always go as planned and without the ability to adapt, you will fall. Well I fell and simultaneously unlocked my ability to adapt. I woke up from this fog an entirely different man, one that is dead set on creating a business and CycleWyze is that business.