How two “nobodies” went from clueless to industry mega-stars.

What’s most humbling is that they had absolutely no idea what they were doing at first. From the start, with virtually no money and no wine industry experience, they had to employ innovative ideas to overcome obstacles, create new markets and strategic alliances. Having learned the hard way, Michael and Bonnie fell forward into success.

The lessons they taught me were invaluable. As the CEO of Rich20Something, this is what I learned from their story.

1. Passionately pursue your goals.

Stop thinking about following your passion, and start thinking about following opportunity passionately. Michael and Bonnie had absolutely no experience in the wine business. They were both business coaches who happened to have a lot of clients in the wine business. One of their clients was a grape grower, and this grape grower hadn’t been paid by a particular client for three years. Michael went straight to the delinquent company to collect funds for his client, only to find out that the company was bankrupt. Makes sense why they couldn’t pay.

Now, here’s what distinguishes an entrepreneur from anyone else. The company didn’t have any money, but it did have a ton of extra wine. Michael noticed this and struck a deal, taking $300,000 worth of wine instead of the cash owed to his client.

Upon returning to his client, Michael was met with more resistance: the grape grower said he couldn’t possibly run another business, and so he wouldn’t be able to sell the wine Michael claimed. And that’s exactly how Michael and Bonnie got started in their wine business — because of a completely unexpected opportunity that revealed itself through persistence and finesse.

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