1928 - Alderson High School - 1968



Our Leader Is Wrong

Rick Hughes - July 26, 2012

It is with great respect that I must 100 percent disagree with our chief executive of the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA! It is possible for this writer to speak directly about small business because he has spent his adult life in this field.

Building business a begins with a vision, a dream, a burning desire for what could be achieved. I can tell anyone who is interested with 100 percent accuracy that we built ourselves. When we came to our current community 44 years ago, no one, not one person knew us. We started a scratch insurance agency. We got up at 5 every morning ,got to work at 8 o'clock and usually did not quit until 9 or 10 at night. I knocked on doors, called strangers on the phone, handed out cheap cards to people whenever and wherever I had the chance in a desperate effort to get business. Many times I have knocked on doors as late as 8 o'clock to try to get a new customer.

At first I ran the business out of my home, a $21,000 dollar deal or mansion, which probably was not zoned for this but who knew? After a couple of years an agent about my age, who had received a lot of customers some years before when another agent had retired invited me to help him share the rent. We jumped at the chance. The other guy had a huge nice office mine was extremely small. After two years in this position a big building called the do drop inn, next door, came up for sale for $74,000 thousand, it was a former grocery store and coffee shop.

Everyone said buying was risky, dangerous and we would regret it, but after a week I went ahead and bought it. We had to remodel this whole place and our 3 young boys helped enormously. I was inexperienced and had a lot to learn, to say the least!

After a few months we completed the task. The second story had all kinds of space and we decided to try to get more income, so we converted the upstairs into 2 large apartments. The place also came with a junk house behind it. We said why not remodel it into a nice little 2 bedroom home, which we did and then rented it.

I continued to call people and knock on doors in a foreign city where very few knew me, asking for the opportunity to serve them. My devotion was intense, it had to be, and I was attacked by competitors and real enemies from all sides and all angles.

When my little sister who I loved dearly died, I told Barb to watch and protect the business and I would return in 2 days, which I did.

My income was barely at the survival level  for the first 4 years. My first month in the business I made $800 bucks! As we made more money we realized you needed tax breaks if we were to have a chance to get ahead. As I TOLD YOU OUR FIRST HOME WAS $21,000 and not exactly upscale . Soon we started to buy homes to shelter our growing income plus give us streams of income. We continued to fight true enemies who wanted me out of the business , but during the early years we battled to survive and win. We struggled valiantly to win these economic wars for a long long time.

Also, I found most of the advise you get on hiring people is bunk. I hired a lot of people as we grew and many times had to fire people because they wanted the paycheck without the effort. Want an idea on how to succeed? Out work your enemies. That is what we did and our business grew and grew and grew. Day after day, year after year I worked like a Trojan.

After about 20 years in the business, the company we sold for decided to restrict new business because they were suffering heavy losses. Here is a little clue, when you are in your own business where no government bailouts will be coming, you better learn to think on your feet and implement winning strategies.

I brought in my son Greg who has a great personality and plenty of spine to do what we thought would help all of us. We made a separate office for him where he began selling for another company. Just as I had visualized he was excellent and the business zoomed and our customer base exploded. My business and his business were both huge. One day in the late 1990s 179 people walked into our office and paid us. That is huge and we thanked God for blessing us !

The year was 1996 my wife came up with the idea of loaning people money.  We set up another office and started to do it and that business grew so fast it was hard to keep up with it. One day there was an unknown voice on the phone. Later I found out who it was, anyway he lacked the guts to say who he was at the time, he was local. He told my wife that the state would declare our loan business illegal because she would have to have $100,000 alone in her name to be legal. We had always lived way below our income and this reprobate thought he had a hold on us where all he had to do was squeeze and we would collapse. We got our license within 2 weeks, and another enemy had been beaten!

Soon we expanded, and in surrounding communities we had16 stores in all with 65 people working in that business. Each store paid the state of Ohio $2,150 as an operating fee. We were robbed 11 times and we finally put in protective glass except back where we ran the insurance office.

In 2000 we went to Vegas for7 days. When we got back Greg said 3 guys from my company had come to the office and they were not joyful. That Tuesday they called my office and my wife just happened to answer the phone. God bless her she hit them between the eyes and told them I was retiring from insurance so they did not need to waste their time. See why I love her. Anyway my son Doctor David Michael Hughes retired from medicine and joined us in our marathon. The loan business was huge, however due to people who don't believe adults should make their own decisions, the state of Ohio shut down 3000 stores around the state on may16 , 2008. 5000 people converged on Columbus Ohio to see economic dictatorship in action and I ALMOST GOT ARRESTED because I believe in economic freedom.

The only group which should close a business is the customer, a Politician should never have that privilege. Anyway the next week I paid off one and one half million dollar line of credit. We transformed ourselves into a small loan company. Greg ran the insurance and developed a very profitable tax business. Being a full time landlord is okay.,.but one thing I want you to know, no Politician, or anyone else built those enterprises, and the people around me are much better off than if I had, so to speak dropped out.


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