Tag Archives: Journey

WIMS: WHO is Mike Simmons? Part 1

“Look at what we did. Came a long way from dirty ghetto kids.” Lupe Fiasco

Not many people know much about my background. Aside from a few exceptions, it’s something I’ve mostly kept private. But since the purpose of creating The WIMS Guide is to sporadically document the entrepreneurial journey I’ve been feeling compelled to share the origins of my story lately.

It’s something I’ve thought about doing for years now, but have hesitated due to a combination of self-consciousness and fear. Will people judge or look at me differently? Or perhaps they just won’t even care at all? I’ve finally realized that regardless if it changes the way people think of me or not, if it’s able to help even one person who’s had a similar experience by encouraging and motivating them to keep pursuing their dreams it will be well worth it.

My journey started out growing up in a pretty ghetto neighborhood in Harrisburg, PA (if you’re skeptical and think I’m embellishing Google Earth: 2353 Logan St.) before later making a relatively lateral move to a trailer park in Mechanicsburg. To say I come from a poor and dysfunctional family would be the understatement of the century.

While I had a very rough start, oddly enough three events that seemed like tragedies at the time ended up altering the course of my destiny and changed my life forever. First, I was sent to a boarding school called Milton Hershey School when I was five years old as my mother just couldn’t take care of me on her own (if you’ve never heard of it, it’s fascinating). Soon after that when I was six my father passed away. And then shortly after when I was seven my sister (who I was closer to more than anyone in the world) moved to California.

At the time, each of these events devastated and shook me to my core. I felt helpless, alone, and extremely confused. However, little did I know at the time that they all would be the very best things to happen to me (later to be trumped by getting married and having a baby). Going through all that at such a young age set the tone for the rest of my life by making me stronger, more independent, and extremely hungry to change my life for the better.

Even though most of my childhood was rough I often say that I was blessed to have the “Michael Jordan of Guardian Angels” by the way things turned out. MHS fed me, clothed me, and provided a wonderful well-rounded education along with opportunities I would have never experienced otherwise. Not to mention I hit the jackpot with an incredible set of “house parents” that taught me so much about life and how to be a man. Going there also allowed me to be able to visit my sister in California three times a year which opened my eyes up to an entirely different world, one with infinite possibility.

Despite greatly improved conditions compared to what they could have been, I do still vividly remember many times of going hungry when I was away from school at home. The memory of that feeling, along with that of having to live in the places we did, sticks with me to this day and creates an incredible desire to be successful and never go back to that again.

Being broke all the time made me realize that I wanted to eventually be an entrepreneur so I could have more control over my life. Ever since elementary school I started countless businesses such as selling sports cards, beanie babies, Pokemon, Pogs, and just about anything else I could profit from. Unfortunately, I had to do quite a few things I’m not proud of to get by as well.

Because of these experiences I developed a sense of ambition, drive, and commitment to doing well in school and getting good grades. Well that and the fear of my mother’s wrath if I didn’t. Understanding the importance of good grades was crucial and ended up paying off big time. After graduation, I literally became the first person in my family to attend college. On top of that, it was with a full academic scholarship to the University of Miami, half from “The U” and the rest from MHS. While there I earned my Bachelor’s Degree with a double major in Marketing and Finance and a minor in Advertising.

If my story ended there I would still feel extremely proud of what I was able to accomplish given how things began. But fortunately, I was just getting started.

To be continued…

THE WIMS GUIDE PIVOT

The WIMS Guide Pivot

I originally launched my blog, The WIMS Guide a little over a year now, and have been writing sporadically ever since. I mostly receive positive feedback with each post, which is nice, but to be brutally honest with myself it wasn’t going anywhere. And to keep doing it in that perpetually half-assed manner is just not in my nature. So I made it a point to redo the blog in order to breathe new life into and to tweak the approach as well. Here’s a brief overview of the concept, let me know what you think and perhaps even go one step further – and actually subscribe.

Now I read a ton daily, not just books but lots of blogs and how-to articles like “The Top X Things to Improve Your Y” type stuff. A lot of them are just subtly trying to sell you stuff, and usually they’re written by some intern but placed under the by-line of a famous entrepreneur or a partner at a large firm who most likely didn’t even read it before posting (I know this because I used to and still write for some).

I’m not just trying to bash Inc., Entrepreneur, Huffington Post, Business Insider, Elite Daily, etc. of the world as a lot of their content is quality. However so much of what’s out there is the same. Its lessons learned, tips to keep in mind, success stories from people who have already made it. At times I love reading them of course, but other times I’d prefer a different approach and angle.

So, rather than focus solely on the destination, I want to create content that focuses more on the journey. I want stories, insights, and life hacks from the people who are still in the trenches, scratching and clawing their way to success but haven’t quite made it yet. I want to read the words of the hungry hustlers and learn what they’re doing on a daily basis to achieve their goals.

We live in a world today that anyone can realistically become a pseudo-celebrity. With the compounding nature of our social networks, any one of you can create a massive following and loyal audience. I want The WIMS Guide to help enable that, not by only writing content myself, but with A LOT of help from my friends.

I’ve enlisted the help from members of my network, spanning across an extremely diverse range of backgrounds and expertise. The content will be primarily geared towards entrepreneurship and ways to enhance the daily grind in the lives of young professionals but with an occasional curve ball thrown in there to keep you on your toes.

We’re going to have entrepreneurs, consultants, health care professionals, bloggers, MBA students, lawyers, bankers, accountants, real estate brokers, investors, and on and on. The main goal is to provide an outlet to empower and raise each other up rather than focusing so much on celebrity entrepreneurs that we don’t even know.

If you have a compelling story you’d like to share, or know someone that does please send an email to mike@wimsguide.com with an overview of the concept. If you’re not a writer but want to share your thoughts on the concept, I’d love to hear that too.

Finally, to end with a shameless plug: please make sure to subscribe and share!

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