Monday, September 26, 2016

Investing in Success Stories as Providers

Most of us dentists have similar traits. We care about people, we are perfectionists to a fault and we want people to like us ... among other things. If you have been reading my blog posts and are paying attention, you know that I tend to obsess over money (to a fault).

I know, I know, this is probably a bad thing. (Or is it?) I look at the bills for the month, and I look at the monthly production schedule. I don’t think that this is unusual. If you are a small business owner and you are providing for your family, money has to be something that you think about. Usually after I think about money at work, on my ride home, I then find myself listening to financial expert Dave Ramsey on the radio — and then stress about debt and saving for retirement.

This is what a provider must do. We have to think about money. Most all of us are providers, so I feel like I am not alone here.

My buddy and I went the Orlando City Lions soccer game recently. Sometimes before the game, we will sneak out of the house an hour early and go downtown. Most of the time, we just like to go there and people watch and have a conversation.

The conversation we had that day started when we started seeing fancy cars drive by. The first was a BMW M6, then a Maserati, then the new Alfa Romeo and then several Mercedes, all decked out. We started talking about money and investing. (I try so hard to not talk about money, but it just happens.) For example, this opportunity had come up. One of our friends was asking for investors for a start-up. I don’t know a lot about start-ups, but I know they can be risky. (But think about the payoff if you hit it big!)

It tends to be big news when people sell their new app for $2 billion. You hear about success stories like these and find yourself saying, “Man, I wish I could get in on something like that.” (The problem is that your rarely hear about the other 99.9 percent of the people who went bankrupt trying to launch the next best thing.)

But some people do find success, so maybe investing into start-ups is worth considering. I told my friend that there were these guys (good guys, hard workers) I knew who were starting a company and asking folks to be investors. I told my friend, here is my chance!

My friend and I continued talking about how we have known so many people who have come so close to investment greatness. For instance, my father once was asked to give money to this group of guys that needed investors to make a movie. My father didn’t invest, and the movie ended up being a film you may have heard of: “The Blair Witch Project.” It cost $30,000 to make and made $248 million.

My friend was asked to invest in two start-up restaurants. We all know that restaurants come and go all the time. He declined. The two restaurants are probably ones you may have heard of: Papa John’s Pizza and Outback Steakhouse. (I mean, who would have thought that a cut-up fried onion would be a big deal?)

It’s fun to think about the success you could find in start-ups. In reality, the most exciting thing I probably will do with my money in the near future is buy the building I am renting. Can you say boring?! It feels so boring sometimes. It is not cool in the least. Or is it? Just buying cool stuff isn’t all that cool, either.

When I listen to Ramsey on the radio, he reassures me that I am doing the right things with my money, even though it’s tempting to invest in a potentially successful start-up and to buy Porsches and 80-inch TVs. He reminds me that if I live under my means, educate my kids, pay off all of my debt and save in mutual funds, “I will be able to live and give like no one else.”


I don’t know any other way. I guess I am just boring.

I don't know how much money in the bank I will need to ever go out and buy a sports car. I don't know if I will ever feel that I have enough. I don't know if I will ever invest in a start-up. I am just wired that way. I might miss out on the next “Blair Witch Project,” but Dave Ramsey will be happy.

(Have you ever invested in a start-up? How about a restaurant? An indie film? Tell me a story. I would love to hear it.)

John Gammichia, DMD, FAGD

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