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“Would you like fries with that?” was my first job, at 14-years-old. I was so proud, so excited to be working at McDonalds for $3.15 an hour. I rode my bike five miles, to and from work, every day. It was around the same time, I started mowing lawns for a couple neighbors. I couldn’t believe it... I made more money in one-hour mowing laws than in five hours at McDonald’s. That was my first taste of entrepreneurialism, but it would be a several years before I started my first real business.

In 1992, I got a job doing floors at a department store. It was a fun job (if you believe cleaning can be fun), it was by far the best paying job I ever had. Then something strange happened. At first, it frightened me, but it would soon light my entrepreneurial fire. Six months after I started cleaning floors, the company restructured itself and, without notice, laid everyone off. 

I was devastated. I found out the guy who had been my supervisor was now a contractor. This intrigued me, so I inquired about it. The company explained all that was involved in running a cleaning business and offered me the opportunity to take on a contract. Too afraid, I turned him down and ran home with my tail between my legs.

I discussed the situation with my father and my uncle, Bob (who has since passed away), and it was Bob who said, “What is it your old supervisor can do, that you can’t?”

I pondered the question a long time and couldn’t come up with anything other than, “nothing.” It was true. I knew how to do the job. Running the business was paperwork. I could figure that out (okay, so it’s more than paperwork, but I was nineteen, give me a break). The following 25 years I owe to my Uncle. Without Bob, I would have never gone back and taken that business opportunity.

I ran the cleaning company for nearly ten years and made a great living for myself and dozens of employees in the process. I got out of the business because the market became saturated with contractors, willing to work for minimum wage. I could no longer grow the business. So in 2001, I let my last contract expire and I started something new...

Hobby Games! 

Well, a hobby store, to be exact. I teamed up with a friend who already owned a store, and together we made that business soar. I learned more in one year in the hobby store business than I did in ten, cleaning floors (go figure). That was my first taste of retail, customer relations, marketing, and hobby games, which leads me to my next business...

While working at the hobby shop, I started developing a collectible card game, I called Mystical Empire. It was a play on the crazy-popular, Magic: the Gathering CCG, only I thought it was superior, others did, too. But, I never intended to start a business out of the collectible card game, until...

It was 2004, I was no longer involved with the hobby store (one of the many invaluable lessons I learned in that venture, was, never trust a person who promises a contract for your share of the business, but constantly seems to forget), I was out of work due to a slip and fall accident that had me unable to perform physical duties. It was torture for me, however, I kept myself busy, working on the card game.

I was somewhat depressed. My wife and I (and our six-month-old son) had started attending church and I quickly became friends with our Bishop. One day he came to our apartment and noticed the card game I was working on. He was instantly drawn to it, thought it was the coolest thing. He scooped up my son in his arms and said, “Your father is going to be a millionaire!” Talk about a morale booster.

Six months later, I founded Northeast Games, Inc., had a large board of directors, raised over a half million dollar, and got my first small taste of a very BIG business. I traveled the country, demonstrating, training, selling, marketing, designing, developing, attending board & shareholder meetings... During my time with Northeast Games, I developed  great writing and editing skills and had started my first novel.

When the company folded, due to intense competition and lack of funding (Hasbro spends over $1,000,000 in 3 days at one trade show) the president of Northeast Games was relaunching his own business (Medical Education Resources, LLC) and asked me to be the designer for his magazine.

A decade later, I‘m still Creative Director & Production Manager at Medical Education Resources, and I have helped start up, and sell several businesses along the way, however, TopShelf Publishing is my true passion. I have finally found a place where all of my skills can be put to gainful use. 

I help authors achieve their dreams. I use my knowledge of design, editing, marketing, networking, sales, web development, writing, etc. to build this exciting new business and get the word out about our fantastic authors.

But I want to take it a step further. I want to help bookstores become more successful, too, and I have written a book, called, Vital Marketing Tips for Bookstores and want to share these invaluable tips with you, FREE of charge!  I will include a new tip in each issue of TopShelf Magazine and I encourage you to signup for my FREE TIP of the WEEK! email, at