He's still getting paid over 20 years later from technology contracts he negotiated. He also shares behind the scenes of the reality TV world, print modeling and lessons you can use.
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On getting off track
"Many small firms and even large businesses can get wrapped up in what the business does instead of managing the health of the business and cash flows. Real-time positive cash flow is the target for any business and allows you to grow. You can then acquire other businesses or move into emerging markets."
"Biggest mistake -- I started my own business in 2000. About five years into it I made some serious financial mistakes. I was focusing more on the business than the management. My mentors advised me to shut it down. I didn't listen. I came very close to bankruptcy. The lesson is my hard work showed me not to just bail out. About two months after that, after some hustle and borrowing some money, I closed a $2 Million deal."
On finding good opportunities
"Finding good opportunities -- too often we forget what we've done or what skills people really need. When I'm looking at a new business, I ask my connections on LinkedIn, my mentors, and other business owners. I'm not selling them, I'm genuinely asking their opinion. If they show interest, I’m gonna jump on it."
Conventional wisdom myths
"Conventional wisdom myths -- many smaller firms or individual consultants feel they have to play the game safe. They fall into the trap of believing because something's always been done this way that they must continue to do it that way. Times change. If you do it the same old way your competition's gonna be able to nail you quicker. Usually, if it's disruptive and successful, the payback's gonna be so much more."
"You won't become wealthy working for somebody else. When you're controlling your own destiny, yes it's a risk, there's a better chance you'll exceed where you would have been in a corporate environment."
Why Listen to Mike:
In this episode Mike reveals and shares…
- How his business mentors almost cost him a $2 million deal.
- Why persevering is so critical to success.
- How he evaluates whether a new business is one he's going to invest in.
- How he negotiated contracts that continue to pay him passive income for over 20 years.
- And he goes behind the scenes on the reality TV world and print modeling and lessons he’s learned that you can use.
I've lived all over the United States from Pittsburgh, Phoenix, Colorado Springs, Omaha, Dallas, Denver and Atlanta. I worked with AT&T about 22 years. I was very lucky to work with companies and programs that developed networking and IP technology.
Besides owning my own business, after AT&T I've worked for about 10 other companies. These were in education, healthcare, government, retail and more.
At this stage in my life I like to engage and motivate people. I love to make people smile, happy, and give them hope. It's the only way they can thrive and be successful.
Mike Abraham, principle at Michael D. Abraham & Associates
Mike is a motivated and aggressive professional business leader, he strives to exceed personal and professional expectations by directing & managing challenges and organizations to maximize performance and profitability.
Known for being a candid person with natural interpersonal skills he fosters relationships and has been called a "bridge builder" between people and organizations. When building relationships his objective is to enable organizations to deliver on-target solutions producing excellent customer satisfaction and loyalty, and maximized profitability.
Publicly he is known for his involvement with reality TV and the entertainment business.
His professional career in technology spans over 34 years and his business services company - Michael D. Abraham & Associates has been providing Business and Technology Consulting & Services since 2000.
Even prior to having his current company he owned and managed various business ventures.
Some Shareables from Mike in this episode…
Time machine -- #1 path to profits if I had to start over
"If I had to start over but kept all my knowledge and experience I'd probably have pushed myself more in the corporate world. I like change and I like to take risks. I wish earlier on I'd have taken on more challenges at AT&T. Maybe I'd have been there 30 years instead of 22. But I'm glad I got out of that environment to start my own business."
Why to take a job
"Many times I'd position myself and my company by taking a job to get more specific skills."
Favorite part of entrepreneur's journey
"Favorite part of the entrepreneur's journey -- the change. Back in the 70s I had a college professor who had worked at Ford. It was stuck in traditional business values. He told me, 'Mike, if you're going to do anything you're going to have to accept change.’ That's been one of my mantras so I work on disruptive projects."
Weirdest thing and lesson
"Weirdest thing in business -- reality TV. If you had told me 10 years ago, 'Mike you're gonna be on TV with half the world watching your life,’ I'd have told you you were crazy. But me, my daughter Farrah Abraham, and my family were part of the Teen Mom TV show on MTV."
At 50 moving into retail
"I was closing in on 50 and had always wanted to work retail. A great consulting opportunity came up. They thought I wanted to be the general manager but I took an entry-level position. I did this because I wanted to learn about the customer experience and the guts of that company's operational challenges. It was weird because I’d never worked retail but thankfully I exceeded their expectations."
"I had a technology background and most of my peers didn't want to break out of that. I took an entry-level position with a retail company which was a little scary. But we raised their profitability and they’ve since asked me back for two separate engagements."
On consulting gigs
"Many firms try to get net 60. I negotiate for net 30. Many businesses today borrow a lot of money to finance operations. Even consulting remotely you have living expenses. My consulting gigs these days are self financed upfront. I learned that lesson the hard way."
On passive income
"Passive income -- I'm still making money from something I did in the 1990s. There were a few telecommunications resellers. I saw the opportunity to consult with some of these companies with the blessing of AT&T. I'm still being paid on 35 contracts I put together between these smaller players and the industry titans."
"When I'm working and consulting with startups I like to negotiate part of my fee as an equity stake in that company. Many startups want to negotiate down your fee so letting them pay you part in equity helps them. I've had five of these deals get bought out by venture capitalists for a big payday to me."
Business moving forward
"Moving forward the trend is to more directly connect the consumer with the actual business provider minimizing middleman hassles. Hopefully, at South by Southwest in Austin TX next year you'll see the opportunity I'm working on in the hospitality industry that does this."
Personal information protection opportunities
"Personal information protection opportunities are likely to be a big trend. There's an app called Wickr that allows you to send a text and set a time limit for when it will be wiped clean. The social media giants like Google plus, Facebook, LinkedIn are making big money selling personal information. People want a piece of the action or to protect themselves which is the business opportunity."
On reality TV show
"I do have a private life despite the reality TV show. I’ve been hacked terribly because of our appearances on international TV. So I'm very interested in the business around personal information protection and passing some of those profits down to the end users."
Learn more about Mike by searching Mike Abraham or his daughter Farrah Abraham.
Mike’s LinkedIn profile is:
News Media Mike has been featured in:
- Radar Online
- Star Casm
- MStars News
- Perez Hilton
- In Touch Weekly
- USA Today