I am a Motivational Speaker, Author, Entrepreneur, and Podcaster . I wanted to have a more authentic, transparent and candid “About Me” then typical. Hope you Enjoy.
Growing up it was just my mother and I. We have lived in Virginia, Florida, and Tennessee all before I was 9 years old. But, then she met my dad and we finally settled into a place I could call home, Durham, North Carolina. While in Durham I attended Riverside High School and played on the school’s Basketball team. At that time I had no idea I’d be running both on and off the court and that is where my story begins…
Every day my mom would give me $2.50 for lunch. While I was grateful for it, the truth is I am an athlete. Downing 5 Jr. Bacon Cheeseburgers plus some before a game was like a snack to me so that $2.50 wasn’t nearly enough to feed my appetite. I needed more.
Be the first to do something especially when nobody else is doing it
One day my mother purchased a 24-pack of 20 oz Gatorades. Then it clicked! If my High School could sell 12 oz. Gatorade’s for a dollar each out of the vending machine, imagine what I could do if I sold 20 oz Gatorades for the same price out of the 24-pack. I thought, surely I would make a profit because the 24 pack costs around $12.00 and I am giving people more of the same product without changing the price. So the next day I brought 8 Gatorade’s to my gym class to sell for a dollar and sold out in less than a minute!
One month later I was bringing a rolling suit case to school selling out of 24 Gatorades a day. My idea was running perfectly. Word continued to spread about me and my $12.00 investment was in full demand so I had no choice but to expand on what I was doing.
My expansion was adding in 16 oz sodas to what I was already selling. At the grocery store they were being sold 6 sodas for $2.00. I realized if I sold the same amount of sodas as I did Gatorade I would make over 50% more profit. The next day I brought 30 sodas to school and again sold out. Within a month I was able to employ 9 of my friends. They were selling around 16-24 sodas a day and keeping 20% of the profits. By the time school let out I’d take home over $100 in bills, quarters, and dimes. Maintaining the flow of production was an important lesson for me.
In order to make a significant impact you NEED a team.
Business was good for a while until the administration found an imported shipment of Coke products under a stairwell at school. See, Coca Cola was our official sponsor and they paid our campus to have their vending machines there. But, due to my school yard enterprise the fortune 100 company wasn’t making any returns towards their investment. Needless to say, after being called into a meeting with the school administration and my coaches I was almost kicked out of school, given in-school suspension, and suspended from one basketball game.
Although I was forced to shut down I had reached my defining moment. After that, my ambition only went up from there.
I am an entrepreneur and with a good strategy, team, and focus one man can take down a fortune 100 company
During my senior year the Polo epidemic began. Every teen in Durham and the south for that matter started wearing polo’s. Thanks to the internet I found a shop in China that I could bulk order Polo’s from for about $7 a shirt. I sold them for $20, selling anywhere from 15-60 shirts a week. Needless to say, another hit as on my hands.
In 2007 I attended North Carolina A & T for college and majored in Economics. Seeing that the crowd was more sophisticated and also saturated with Polo’s I closed the doors on selling shirts and wanted to open the doors to selling iPhones.
ALWAYS double check your sources and do your research
My freshman year I spent half a college refund check on phones from China. After I placed my order I felt great knowing that in a few weeks I’d be back in business. But, a week went by, then two weeks, and finally two months when it dawned on me that the phones weren’t coming! Instead of using the site that I’d used before to facilitate the transaction, I went directly to the source and got burned. Since China holds no allegiance to US rules and regulations I lost all my money. The total was $3,000 from two bad transactions; the other transaction sent me fake phones.
Going into my sophomore year of college I had a different approach. Once, I became a member of the Beta Epsilon Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Incorporated my vision for business changed. Being in a fraternity on my campus meant you held a lot of power. I decided to use that power to develop more as a leader, help others grow, and reach out to my community. The party scene in college was big but, I noticed that Promoters would profit off the efforts of students who helped them raise thousands of dollars without giving back in some type of way. Something was missing. And that something gave me the inspiration to create Join Me Entertainment.
Find out what they do and figure out how you can do it better
Over the next four years of my college experience I led up to 100 students from a variety of majors to develop themselves in many key areas through Join Me. We did event planning; hosting shows with live bands, food, skate parties, etc. In the community we gave back by having book bag supply drives, consistently working with Habitat for Humanity, MS Society, and any other positive effort. We also started an initiative, Join Me at the Polls which informed and encouraged students to vote.
Collectively, my team contributed over thousands of hours of community service and donated thousands of dollars. By my senior year I was on easy street. I held a 3.56 GPA, interned directly under the Mayor of Greensboro, NC, had a job offer from Johnson & Johnson Financial Leadership Development Program, was a notable figure on my campus, and was even voted “Face of Campus” by my school newspaper; an award that did not exist before me. It was obvious my business and my influence were growing, but, so was my ego.
Originally, I started Join Me as a resource for my classmates. I wanted them to gain real world experience of planning, marketing, hosting, and other areas of business. For me it was supposed to be a positive way to develop as a good leader, help the community, and change the world. But, slowly things became all about Greg. I got so caught up in the recognition of things that I alienated those who supported me, stopped going to church, and even going to class because I felt my focus would be better served coming up with the next “big” thing, not realizing that I am about to lose everything.
“Commit your plans to the Lord and you will succeed”
– PROVERBS 16:3
The error in my ways hit me once I failed two semesters of school. My scholarship was cut and my business was losing thousands of dollars at each event. Giving myself the glory caused me to lose sight of the vision God gave me. I’m a Christian, and what I was doing didn’t line up with my values. And just when I thought it couldn’t get worse, it did. I held 5 events spanning over 3 days and managed to lose every dime I had ever made. I didn’t use the knowledge I had gained from my prior experience and chose to trust the wrong people. Only this time there was no bouncing back. My self-image and my pockets had both hit rock bottom.
During the summer of 2013 I opened my Bible again, watched motivational videos, started running, and reading powerful books.
“It’s NEVER too late to become who you might have been.”
– GEORGE ELLIOT
It took courage but I returned to A &T that fall to finish my degree. I had a full beard, no hair cut, and was homeless (I slept in my car and the library) for about 3 weeks. It didn’t matter to me thought that I hardly resembled the “face of campus” or visionary that I once was. I knew what it was like to face death. To lose everything and for God to give me one more shot. This time I would be ready and willing to use my gifts wisely.
I graduated with my BS in Economics, got on as a Finance Analyst for another Fortune 500 company, and moved to Pennsylvania to start the next chapter of my life. Even though I was in a new place I kept up my new habits of dedicating my time to reading, running, and praying. I began writing down plans for my life and how I intend to achieve them.
My purpose is bigger than me. I am on this earth to empower others to believe in their own genius and live without limitations. I will change the culture by influencing athletics, education, and media through God. By believing in people, working with kids, and creating new innovations my legacy and future generations will not be lost.
In order to being your own journey towards your true purpose you must know your “why”. What is your attitude for doing it? Is your purpose bigger than you or are you bigger than your purpose? Once you know your why do not worry yourself with how you’re going to get there. How you get there will work itself out. Your job is to put faith behind your actions.
Thank you for supporting me from the bottom of my heart. May you apply these 7 keys to your life and join me on this incredible journey to change the world! Be great! There are no limits! And I believe in YOU!
Greg E. Hill – “The Culture Change Agent”