The winning ticket

Let me tell you about my dear friend, and the only winning ticket in the lottery.

Bob. Dirt floors no air conditioning. Huge dream mighty desire.

I go back to our teenage years when we met. He is probably my closest friend and confidant. If you read my ‘about me’ page, you will know I started work as an apprentice tradesperson and so did my friend. Different trade but a tradie. The big difference was he stayed in the trade for all his working life. He loved what he was doing. I didn’t.

Fast forward decades. The state lottery had hit an all-time record win amount of $120,000,000. What are the odds of one person winning it? I thought. Not good. I normally don’t buy lottery tickets, but this time I bought a few tickets for the fun of it. You can still get a wonderful prize even if you have to share the winnings with other people. I won zero.

The winning ticket in the lottery

Now, back to my friend. Let’s call him Bob, not his real name. I like to protect this privacy. He is a private person.

Over the years, Bob built his trade knowledge into a business. As a self-employed businessman, he worked his guts out.

He worked from his garage in the early days. Dirt floor, as I recall. Dim lighting. It was so cold in the winter and so hot in the summer. There was no air-conditioning.

An opportunity presented to buy a rundown business. Bob went to all the banks but could not get the finance he needed. His parents lent him most of the money and we all kicked in where we could, on the promise he would pay us back as soon as he could. He paid us back in the first year.

Bob did everything. He knocked on doors to sell his services. Bob did everything to move the business forward. He never saw it as hard work. Bob loved what he was doing. He operated the machinery, cleaned the workshop, did the accounts, organized sales, made the coffee, and was the creative director. The owner-operator. Collected overdue payments. There was nothing he wouldn’t do. He worked day and night and weekends if need be. He just loved what he was doing. To him, it was not work. It was his passion. You name any part of his business and he was doing it. A one-man band. He was the winning ticket.

He eventually got married and his wife helped in the business as well.

As the business grew, he never splurged on anything apart from the business. Never bought a European car. He never went on extravagant holidays or bought expensive name-brand clothes. God knows he could afford it easily. 

Bob ploughed all the profits back into the business continually buying machinery and slowly recruiting staff. Expanding. Growing the business.

He bought a commercial block of land, and over the years built a workshop. Then a warehouse, then an admin block. Continually adding value to the business assets.

The smile on a man with the only ticket in an $11,000,000 lottery.

After nearly 40 years, he reluctantly sold the business. 

Understand this - he only sold the business. 

He kept the real estate and the improvements and rented it to the new owners.

What a stroke of genius. He could have easily capitalize on the property and walked away and lived in retirement in style. Instead, he re-valued the property with his bank and bought a small commercial building in the city. Then, after a year or two, he did it again. He built a new house. Then a weekender. All the time building on his capital from the sale of the business. As time went by, his commercial interests grew.

I make you an offer you can't refuse!!!

About 7 years later he was made an offer he couldn’t refuse. He sold the original real estate and the improvements he bought so long ago. Reluctantly, he accepted an offer he could not refuse. He sold for $11,000,000.

What has this got to do with winning the lottery

Well, Bob never bought a lottery ticket in his life. His opinion was the odds were always too high for a chance to win big. No, Bob bought his own lottery and had the only ticket in the draw. Bob had the winning ticket. He got $11,000,000.  It wasn’t necessary for him to share it with other winners. He had the only ticket in the lottery. A lottery he built some 40 years ago. A lottery he grew, nurtured and raised to a value of $11 million.

When you start your own business, and you love being in it, growing it, and nurturing it, over time it grows into a huge windfall when your ticket gets drawn.

You could buy lottery tickets every week for 40 years and you would win nothing substantial. I’m sure you agree. 

This is the story of my friend Bob. A true story. My buddy won $11,000,000 with the winning ticket in the lottery. The only ticket in the lottery.

The moral of this story is plain. When you decide to start your business, be clear. It is not a get-rich-quick scheme. Rather, it’s a get-rich-slow process. 

Yes, like Bob, you need patience and grit to not fall victim or succumb to the trappings that go with being a successful businessman. Using your cash flow and profits to buy status symbols like the European car, designer clothes, overseas holidays, etc.

The other point is clear, and I see it time, and time again is this. If you are doing the thing you love to do, it is never work. Bob never had a day off because of ill health. When you are happy doing what you are put on this earth to do, it enhances your immune system and you rarely get a virus or a bug. Interesting fact.

Yes, there is a considerable level of self-discipline in building your own business and your own destiny. If you keep your eye on the processes and take your eye off the scoreboard, amazing things happen. 

When you love what you are doing, discipline is never an issue.

By the way, it would be remiss of me not to point out Bob had a mentor the whole way through. 

It was a renowned football coach who took a shine to Bob and they would have a sit down with a coffee on demand. How good was that?

There you have it. The true story of my dear friend who had the only ticket in the $11,000,000 lottery.


Do the thing you love to do.

Build your business slowly and carefully.

Plough the profits back into the growth of the business.

Don’t succumb to the trappings of success.

Keep your eye off the scoreboard and focus on the business processes.

Maintain your course by having a vision and a clear blueprint.

Experience is the answer

Experience isn't the best's the only teacher.