All my life, I've truly enjoyed the process of creating things that were unique and beneficial. I also found great pleasure in being a very layered person. One that you'd never know that had an understanding of a particular subject, let alone a level of proficiency or even a mastery of the subject in question. I am HUGE fan of technology, design, engineering, music - anything that is a result of the minds potential to create. In addition, I am a fan of education. Not in the academic sense, but of the experience driven education.
I can appreciate one's ability to have an interest in an unknown subject, and be driven to seek out an understanding or education on it. This can require a combination of educational sources and experiences. This is in stark contrast to my past experiences in academics. Admittedly - I was a horrible student in school. I barely graduated high school, and attended approximately 1 week of junior college. The concept just didn't resonate with me. So rather than engage in an uninspiring traditional pursuit of education, I chose my own path. And I'm so glad I did.
Below is a timeline of all of the creative pursuits which lead me to the point of where I stand today. I have never been more inspired for what is possible in the coming future for myself, and anyone else who wanted to make a bet on themselves, instead of plugging into a course that just doesn't fit them. Again - I hope you find commonality in my experience and become encouraged to follow your own unique path to what drives you!
This was my very first business. I cut lawns in the neighborhood to save enough money to buy the things my family could not afford. From bikes to skateboards, sneakers and video games. I worked hard for what I wanted until I realized originating the lawns to be cut, then letting friends do the work and I take my modest cut from that was a much smarter way to go.
Inspired by my cousin's paper route, I decided to get one of my own. This job ended in disaster and only lasted a week. After my Mother explained that people depended on me to do my job and get them their papers at 4:30am, I knew this task was one I could not effectively do. But I was determined to find a business that would fit. So I focused even more on my lawn cutting business.
As my lawn cutting business performed well, I still didn't have the resources to afford the things I wanted, help my family and still experience things with my buddies. A local place called the mineshaft here in Rancho Cordova was a great place for a kid my age to hang out. Part mini-golf/batting cage/go cart racing, part dance-floor and arcade. However, this required more money than I had available. I had to pick up a new job.
I always admired the barbers at the barber college my Uncle used to take me to. The idea of creating a new or improved look for someone was one I appreciated, and one that I tried to mimic. So I got myself some terrible clippers and started giving horrible haircuts to the kids in my neighborhood.
While my focus was on all the things a kid could want, my Mother was working two jobs just to keep a roof over 5 kids. Which meant plenty of time on my own, most of which spending it getting into neighborhood trouble. My grades were horrible, and I was on the path of gang violence and prison. An all too familiar story. That's when I met Deputy Northcross of the OK Program who would change my direction and course of what I thought was important in life.
Dwayne Ozene, Canned Foods Grocery Outlet. I got my first legitimate job at age 13, working at family owned grocery store. Observing how Mr. Ozene conducted business, making it a family affair while providing the community with affordable groceries and young guys like me an opportunity at a real job. Mr. Ozene, and the job he gave me would shape my thinking forever.
My family has always been involved in athletic disciplines. From football, track boxing and martial arts. My love was the martial arts. I would earn my wage from my grocery job, and use a great deal of it to pay for martial art training for myself, mother and little brother. I worked hard, earned my black belt and in 4 years, I had won a Grand Championship tournament and found that offering folks my services in "competition preparation" was a great business concept.
A few years went by when and I realized how much I loved martial arts and would love to be able to teach others. So I approached my local park and recreations center, and negotiated a contract that would allow me to teach the martial arts and earn a little bit of money in the process. I poured everything I had into this business and still remember vividly the joy of it all.
As my training progressed and became more challenging, I needed to find more ways to supplement my training and improve my body for the rigors of high level martial arts. I began bodybuilding and had excellent results. So much so that I started the process of becoming a certified personal trainer. I created a business model called "The Science" that I felt could help others the way I had reached my goals of fitness.
Tragedy struck my family. I thought the best course of action would be to simplify everything I possibly could. I stopped martial art training. I focused only on what needed immediate attention and tried to comfort myself with food, familiarity and routine. Anything creative all seemed but extinguished during these times. But as a return to simpler times, I started barbering once again.
I would eventually settle into a safe, familiar routine mind state. I settled down, started a family grew my appreciation for barbering into a passion. Not realizing that the kind of person I was would not allow an ordinary life when all of my life I've worked towards the extraordinary. I wanted more to offer my newly formed family. They deserved it. So I set out to begin the process of creating PlusOne.
A year later I created www.dominicksonlineshop.com. From there, I could feel the creative me trying to emerge from this overweight, safe routine shell. As time went on, I learned many new programming and design skills, created new technologies and formed PlusOne into a complete replication of my vision.
As my little family grew, I thought about what my legacy would be if I died tomorrow. This was the catalyst to break free from comfort, challenged myself to completely reinvent who I was, as start living an authentic life that my family and I could truly be proud of. I completely immersed myself into creating and sharing my ideas and gifts.
I know there is much positively that can come from this process. And if my legacy is summarized by a guy who had to take a knee, but got back up and continued to live for more than just himself, then I believe this was a legacy I could be at peace with. As I continue the journey of health, creativity and authenticity, I am noticing how it is giving others encouragement to do the same. I am optimistically exited to see what type of future waits, and what impact I can have on those around me during the formation of it.