I find that business owners, in their quiet moments of self-doubt, wonder if they will ever break out of a rut. Some of the ruts I hear about are:
- “I’m getting too tired (or old) to build this business.”
- “I don’t have the right skills to build this business.”
- “I don’t have the right pedigree or connections.”
- “I don’t have enough capital.”
If you’ve ever said any of these things to yourself, you need to spend some time with Pearl Fryar.
For starters, Pearl is a man! http://www.pearlfryar.com/
If anyone were to have an excuse for not succeeding, Pearl could say he does. At first glance he is quite ordinary and in fact “disadvantaged.” Pearl
- is the son of a black sharecropper;
- was an average college student;
- worked full-time in a can factory;
- started his new career at age 40.
When asked about how he liked his name, he modestly said that he’s memorable because there are so few men named Pearl. Over the last 25 years he’s grown a nationwide reputation doing what he’s uniquely best at —a sculptor of topiaries, living freeform artwork.
“So it’s served me pretty well,“ he deadpans.
Like Pearl, business owners who are clear about what makes their business best extrude their unique value to become the best in their world.
In each instance Pearl took a “disadvantage” and turned it into an advantage. He was told he couldn’t move into a certain neighborhood because “blacks don’t take care of their yards.”
His response? Once he bought a home, he determined that he would win the “Yard of the Month” in Bishopville. Once he accomplished that, he built on that small footprint of reputation and expanded it.
He was too poor to afford plants and tools. He took plants from the compost pile of the local nursery and grew them using methods not “by the book.” He claims he didn’t even know there was a book. From these discarded plants he grew and carved free form living sculptures, topiaries.
For each plant he could see what they might become under his skillful carving, working long hours every night after work for five years to actualize his vision. Pearl’s commitment to hone his unique talent to create beautiful topiaries in his yard has even put Bishopville, SC on the national map.
His beautiful garden is available by donation and his goal is to give everyone who enters the garden an experience of “the different.” His garden also generates funds for average college students to exercise their unique gift to the world much as he did.
For Pearl, happiness is all about “the people you helped make a difference in their lives.”
If you’re facing a challenging phase in building your business, you might consider these questions:
- Proudly call out and own your “disadvantage.”
- Ask yourself, “How can I overcome that disadvantage with what my firm is uniquely able to deliver to our ideal clients? What’s the first step to become the best in our world?”