Hi. My name is Dave Charbonneau. I’ve been money rich and money poor. I’ve been rich in spirit and poor in spirit, too. It’s these extremes and all the experiences in between that ultimately brought me to create the site you’re now perusing (Thanks for being here!).
My story really starts when I was seven years old. But for purposes of a briefer introduction I’ll jump ahead to age 33: In a short period of time I amassed over $2 million in assets, had a bit over $100K in the bank, and spent my time running around the southwestern United States with people I thought were my friends. All this while I simultaneously ignored the most important persons in my life.
A short time later I lost my business. Lost the money. Lost the houses, the new cars, the travel. Somehow, gratefully, I still had my family with me.
It was ugly. I was depressed. I lost my health. I felt compelled toward sleep for more than half of each day — we’re talking 14 to 16 hours each day! And I wasn’t able to focus on much of anything for most of the time I was awake.
When I was awake, I’d spend most of my time trying to come up with or tinkering within different business ideas. Nothing seemed like a worthwhile project. I was a mess.
I began obsessing over finding the right business idea that would take care of my family. More specifically, I just had to find something that I could do on a part-time basis without a definite, structured schedule (remember, I was often asleep or my mind was cloudy). I found some work here and there servicing online businesses but because of my health I was often unaccountable. I hated being unaccountable. I hated not being the ‘me’ that I remembered. The me that was happy, ambitious, enjoying life.
I discovered that an obsessive focus on happiness can, paradoxically, drive one away from feeling happiness. In a like manner my obsession for finding the right business seemed to be pushing what I was looking for farther away from me.
Somewhere in my stupor of self-pity I still had a desire to rise again. Tho it seemed hidden deep inside, didn’t appear to me very often, and it was perhaps covered up with really bad-smelling garbage, it was there.
I wondered if I could create utility for others that was of real value. You know, something meaningful. And if this were possible, could a person be happy creating that value. Happiness was something I definitely wanted. For me, for my family, for others.
“There is no path to happiness, happiness is the path.”
–Fake Buddha Quote
However, little by little I began to gain some ambition. It began with prayers, continued with quiet commitments, and moved along with a mix of tears and that small inner desire.
Haltingly, the imaginary graph of my ups & downs (imagine a line graph, here) began to show improvements in my overall health and wellness. My well-being rose slowly (ever… so… slowly…) from the line labeled, Zero, at the lower left-hand corner of the graph and creeped a little bit closer to the much more desirable, if only proverbial, upper right-hand corner. A bit more energy was had, here; a slight increase in ambition, there.
I thought that with all my so-called experience in business and life that I would find a fast rebound into “success.” But it was tedious and rather painful. But as the months and years passed, I found myself to be a better man. Humbled and more humble. Certainly my empathy toward others is now healthier than it was when I started my journey. My concepts of success have changed — and, I think, for the better.
Through the ups and downs of my adventures and misadventures, I’ve become fascinated with small- and super-small businesses. And I’m even more enamored with the persons who take an idea, a hobby, or a mad skill and turn it into a source of income.
I believe that great freedoms come to light when individuals work to create value from their own drive and creativity. I believe that building a business teaches us things about ourselves and about our lives that would be difficult to learn by any other method. I believe that when a person better owns their business they better own themselves; which consequently and delightfully also improves a family, a community, a country, the world.
It was in my taking action and exploring these beliefs further that I began to find my ambition, discover worthwhile ways of producing value, and, yes, I’m happy to say, begin to experience more happiness.
I welcome you to the site and to our community of self-enterprisers. Join us as we nose out some tricks of the trade, as we seek to hold one another accountable, and as we discover ways to get paid to do the things we love to do; as together we explore the lessons both business and life have to teach us.
–Dave Charbonneau, Founder & Chief Community Coordinator
HOW TO GET INVOLVED:
Connect and comment with other self-enterprisers in our Online Community.
Share your story with me: Go to the Contact Page and tell me your tale.
SE Conversations: Jump onto a live Blab session (coming soon?).
SelfieEnterpriser: Share a selfie of you and your business and I’ll repost it on Twitter or Instagram (keep it very clean, please).
Connect on Twitter.
Most importantly, move forward on your own project and let me know how it’s going — the ups and the downs. Don’t have any problems? Great! Then let’s high-five each other along the way!
P.S. You big liar-head: Of course we all have problems! But we can still high-five our way through them.