For as long as I can remember, I have always been a very competitive person. Growing up I participated in many different sports: basketball, football, soccer, tennis, baseball and track.

At fifteen I started a LLC called JaRo Promotions, we promoted and hosted events and parties for teens. I invested a very small amount of money into the events. I printed out flyers from a home printer while  getting a friend to DJ for free. My biggest investment in the company ended up being my time. I met many new and exciting people while out working and promoting our events. Looking back I had many amazing nights that made for great memories while being fortunate enough to get a taste for success early in my life.

As JaRo Promotions grew, I soon partnered up with a modeling agency called Dynasty Productions that recruited aspiring teenage girls who were interested in acting and modeling which worked out perfectly because as a hormonal teenage boy, teenage girls happened to be my target demographic. They were also the target demographic for JaRo Promotions events. Needless to say I didn’t have to pay for  anymore flashy marketing materials or TV and radio ads.

During one particular event that I hosted with my new partner and  mentor, I learned a very painful, albeit important lesson. He offered to split the event’s revenue 50/50 if we shared overhead cost along with expenses which came out to a modest $350 each. As a 16-year old kid $350 seemed like a lot of money and I instead chose to receive 25% of the evening’s revenue while avoiding any upfront costs. The event earned $24,000, my cut of which was $6,000. Hindsight is 20/20 but had I just made that $350 investment I would have doubled my profit. I was definitely very happy but equally disappointed at the same time knowing I let a great opportunity slip away. This was my first bad beat. That night I realized I wanted to be my own boss and my first course of action was to be to invest in myself and read books. On my new mentor’s recommendation I read the book Rich Dad Poor Dad which to this day it is still my favorite book.

After that I  only worked two jobs that provided ample opportunity to learn or give back to the community before I transitioned to poker. Both of these jobs  were heavily commissioned-based and allowed me to set my own schedule and make my own hours. My income was based on my sales performance and my performance was based on my skill level. I believe my early experiences in business and playing sports gave me the discipline required to be a winning poker player. If you are not disciplined or enjoy competition, professional poker may not be right for you.

Next post we will examine how I turned $16.67 into over $35,000 in four months using a simple bankroll management strategy.

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