Realising he did not fit into the conventional employee mode led Ross Lakin to becoming an entrepreneur and he has never looked back.
What’s your story?
For most of my life I have been self employed. The few years I worked full time eventually ended up with me quitting or usually getting fired. At age 34, I sold my first business planning on taking 6 months around the globe. I started in Thailand and fell in love with my wife of 17 years and the country. After less than 2 weeks here, I knew this is where I wanted to live. I just had no idea how. That was in 2002.
What excites you most about your industry?
My industry is secure no matter the economy. Good times or bad, people will always need my services. It requires little to know work and pays incredibly well.
What drives you in business to push beyond what other people consider normal?
I have always strived to be better. My clients know I am never ok with just OK, or putting band aids on problems. I like the feeling of being superman in my industry. I can pick my clients, and I am considered an expert by my peers.
What have been the most useful skills you have learnt and applied in your journey?
The most useful skill is being there when they need me. No one wants to be on hold. Many love the ability to know when they call me, they can soon breath a sigh of relief knowing I am on the job to solve the issues
What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
If you want more customers, raise your rates. I remember talking to my mentor on how to grow my business early on. His advice of raising rates seemed counter productive. But I learned very quickly, price is what you pay, Value is what is perceived. People who spend more expect a higher value. They want to know you cost more because you are worth more.
Who inspires you?
Other Entrepreneurs. People who take risks and bet on themselves. If you risk nothing, you get nothing. When you put everything on the line, you will do everything to be successful. Entrepreneurs get that. Only an entrepreneur would rather work 80 to 100 hours for themselves than work 40 for someone else.
What have you learnt recently that blew you away?
I have 2 industries, POS support and Merchant services, People will never believe the amount of money I earn with the little effort I put into it. Commission money is the best form of income. Its an easy industry to get into. If you put in the effort early, the payoff long term is unlimited.
If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
I’m not sure if I would have done things differently. Everything fell into the places it did because of the actions I took when I did them.
How do you unwind?
My favourite thing to do to unwind or just relax is putting a podcast in my ears and riding my lawn mower as I cut the 3 rai of land I have. I also enjoy playing with my 19 dogs. Just sitting with them, petting them, even washing them is an enjoyable thing. Anything that keeps me from staring at a computer screen in my off time will help me unwind.
What is a major mindset change, belief shift or ‘ah ha’ moment that you’ve experienced in relation to your business?
Mindset or shift hit me when I was 25, I had just gotten fired again from being a restaurant manager. I was not good at it. But I was good at the computer POS side. I realized then if I was to remain in the industry I loved I needed to find a different position. It was then I transitioned into POS support. Later I got into merchant services, once I fully understood it and was better at taking rejection.
Everyone in business should read this book:
I cannot pin point a single book that changed my life. I would say one of my college professors had more of a single impact on my life. I started college later in life. We were talking about the kind of money one could expect in the industry I was studying at the time. I looked at my current paycheck and was already earning much more. After class I talked to my professor about a change of majors.
Shameless plug for your business:
I have 2 business. If you are a restaurant and use Aloha POS and need support, check out my company Need Aloha Help LLC. And if you take credit cards, then you should contact me to see if I can save you money on your processing.
How can people connect with you?
This interview is part of the CallumConnects series.