This book, Start Here, is business coach, Clay Clark’s conversation—the written word of his life and his beliefs. While reading the manuscript, I could see and hear him talking aloud and flashing that smile—that I am sure he’ll one day find a way to market. He doesn’t believe in the underutilization of talents and gifts—a flashing smile notwithstanding. He has been recognized nationally by the White House as Oklahoma’s Small Business Entrepreneur of the Year. And he still hasn’t reached that seasoned age of forty. He has learned to leverage his business acumen and finds himself in multiple successful business partnerships. So I was not surprised at all when he set out to launch THRIVE UNIVERSITY—the place to get what you need to know to get you where you want to go. Those are his words. This book, though, extends his winning talks beyond sold-out conferences to thousands more nationwide and around the world. And through Thrive15.com, he will open up passageways for others to live beyond the “just surviving” mentality. He celebrates success wherever it is found. He understands the hard work and dedication required. He really does admire Napoleon Hill and fills his life with his actionable quotes. They are all through this book. As I look at Clay’s success and his larger than life vision for his future, he is well on his way to emulating the man he so admires and quite frankly, placing himself in a similar position of being admired and quoted as his life and businesses continue to THRIVE.
Oftentimes, people offering advice simply trust that the message is understood and then move on; not Clay Clark. He is committed to being in your face and being a business coach who can help you attain success. Not afraid of repetitious conversation and in-your-face humor, he is committed to each reader getting the message and more importantly, implementing the business coach actions steps set forth in this book. To embrace and implement the action steps in this book or from THRIVE15.com is the much-needed precursor to implementing the action steps around your “big idea.” This man gets emotional over your business success—maximizing your talents and potential. He remembers his dorm-room start and fully celebrates yours. Quoting Clay, “My friend, as you can tell by now, running a successful business is about so much more than just having a ‘big idea.’ Your ‘big idea’ is important, but the overwhelming majority of what will make your business succeed or fail has little to do with the ‘big idea’ itself and everything to do with the execution of the ‘big idea.’” Clay leaves us no doubt that action on our part matters. His life as well as his insightful consulting encounters are a clear window through which we can look and see what is possible in many of our lives if one is willing to put in the time and effort necessary to turn ideas into reality. Clay clearly points out that our “want to” becomes the driver of our actions or lack of actions.
Yes, I could have failed had I not embraced the notion that execution of a plan mattered. Clay is right. His life challenges us to not settle, but to THRIVE. In so doing, we place ourselves in a position to light the darkness for others. It is in our reach to others that we truly maximize our existence on this planet. If I were still home in the Delta doing the same thing, I doubt seriously if I would be able to light the pathway for myself or others. Today I am lighting the darkness as a businessman and writer, telling others what is possible for their lives. Clay’s passionate plea for others to move beyond merely surviving comes from an honest place of caring. Why fail when you can THRIVE? Thank you, Clay, for not being afraid to step out beyond the ordinary and for inviting us along on your remarkable journey.
Clifton L. Taulbert
President of The Building Community Institute
Bestselling author of Once Upon A Time…When We Were Colored (which was later turned into a major motion picture of the same name)
Dedication from business coach, Clay Clark:
This book is dedicated to my Dad, Thom Clark (who may or may not be alive at the time this book is published) who delivered pizzas, worked odd jobs, and who moved away from our family for a short period of time to Minnesota to help take care of our family when he couldn’t find a decent paying job that matched the skills sets he paid to learn while graduating from a four-year college. Dad, my goal with this book is to mentor millions of people just like you about what they need to do to provide for their families in a way that produces financial abundance. I love you. Thank you for delivering those pizzas. I don’t understand why God allowed you to lose the ability to use your hands, to take care of yourself, to chew food or to breathe on your own, but I’ll interrogate Him when I get there.
To all of the people who made fun of my father for delivering those pizzas and who made fun of me for stuttering severely as a kid, I hope this book kills you with kindness.
2.1 – Introduction
Today I’m known as a successful business coach, the founder of Thrive15.com, the former U.S. Small Business Administration’s Entrepreneur of the Year, a writer for Entrepreneur.com, and a guy who’s had his businesses featured in Fast Company, Forbes, and Bloomberg. However, I am actually a man-bear-pig who grew up in and out of poverty and who had to take both Algebra and his ACT three times just to get into college. My friend, if I can do this, you can too and I’m excited to show you how.
Definition Magician:Poverty – “pov-er-ty” – The state of being extremely poor
The word “poverty” means different things to different people. Having traveled around the world, I have unfortunately met people who don’t have access to clean drinking water and who live outside in the elements permanently. However growing up, my family was what I would call “American poor.”