It was the early months of 2020, and here I was, a divorced-single dad with three kids and average Canadian traveling to the United States as an employee on business. That wasn’t the first time in my career to travel internationally for business. However, this time was very different in so many ways.
Then about half way through that business-travel week, the world as we all knew it by then changed very drastically overnight for millions of people across North America and globally. Sadly, by the end of that week, our trade show we attended was shutdown a couple days shorter than expected.
At that point, I knew the Canadian and U.S. border would eventually be shut down in the coming days after U.S. President Trump declared a State of Emergency for the United States. I’ll never forget my thoughts and emotions while sitting in a lounge at our hotel with a couple of colleagues after the show that evening.
We didn’t really know what was actually going on, because we were in a foreign country and over 2000km away from home. It felt like something you see in science-fiction movies and you could just feel the tension and anxiety around us, not knowing what’s going to happen next.
Fortunately, I finally made it back to Canada a few days later, just in time before the inevitable happened with travel restrictions and borders closing. When I left the week before, things were still somewhat normal back in my home city, but by the time I came home, it was unrecognizable and very chaotic?
When I came home from the airport, like many travelers, I was informed to go straight home to be in total isolation for 14-Days doing my first quarantine all alone. It was an interesting experience being totally isolated from my own kids, let alone total physical human contact, plus working from home for the first time in my career.
Despite the lack of in person contact with customers and other people, I actually enjoyed working from home. In fact, I was happier, more productive, and had less unnecessary distractions to deal with compared to sitting at a desk in a traditional work office environment. In my opinion, that was now an obsolete business mindset for millions of companies moving forward.
It was during that quarantine, and being totally alone, I really pondered life and reflected on many things, including what my career would look like moving forward long term. Many companies during that time around the world, had to make very tough choices, that included laying off employees, cutting back hours, rolling back fixed salaries significantly, or closing their doors forever. Unfortunately, like millions of people around the world, I was not immune to the unexpected economic down turn that came swiftly to many people in 2020.
That was pretty tough to handle, emotionally and financially, especially being a single dad with three kids and truly having no one one else to support me in anyway during that time in my life. It was not long after that, I decided to form and incorporate my own company. I had no business plan, no customers, no products or even services to sell. I just had my integrity, work ethic, a big dream, networks and personal drive to succeed. At that stage, for all I knew, I’d be selling some kind of little widget out of my car on the side of the road, just in order to provide for my family, because that was my main concern either way.
After working for several companies and people over the past 18 years, respectfully, I was done being just another employee and or small cog in a giant wheel. With that being said, I was grateful to work with some of the best companies, colleagues and a few geniuses over the years within their respected industries. At the end of the day in 2020, I really wanted to go off on my own in order to do something much greater in life for so many personal and professional reasons.
That’s when I had a vision and decided to take the hardest but most important leap, and be my own boss to create something from nothing on my own with the freedoms to build a successful company along the way. Fast forward to the present day, I’m not ready to retire by any means. However, like many start-up companies and entrepreneurs, it takes courage, calculated risks, hard work, long unpaid days at times and true business patience.
However, we’re on our way finally. Sometimes, we don’t even realize it until after the fact, but things truly happen for a reason and helps you grow, or in extreme, forces you to get closer to your true final destination.
It’s true what they say, necessity is the mother of all inventions. In 2020, when the world changed drastically overnight, including how businesses would operate moving forward in the 21st century, that’s when it was time to turn a dream into a reality. Never be afraid to take risks or chase your dreams, even when it doesn’t seem like the best timing or others say you’re crazy and or will fail. Just know, you are the only one in control of your future and destiny. I’ve never looked back since starting my company in 2020 and neither should you when you’re finally ready….
About the author: Pete Howell is a Canadian military veteran, business professional, including founder, President & CEO of MAV Industrial Solutions. MAV Industrial Solutions are an Independent Manufacture’s Sales Agency, Sourcing & Consulting company. They represent some of the best companies, products, technologies including services across North America. With over 18 years industry experience within mechanical, power transmission, manufacturing plus industrial sectors, we bring value and true global understanding. www.mavind.ca