How I got Beyond Payroll Survival

By Aaron Lee, president and creative director of Illuminati Studios and a member of EO South Florida

I’ve been a business owner for 10 years, but I feel like I’ve been an entrepreneur all of my life. Several months ago, like many of my fellow small business owners, I was just trying to understand how to survive from one payroll period to the next. Surviving is not a way to run a business and I sat back and really considered pulling the plug because I just wasn’t having fun anymore. Soon after, I decided that I didn’t know how to not be an entrepreneur anymore and chose to succeed, not just survive. As the saying goes, I threw my hat over the wall with no idea how to get it.

It was about this time that a colleague and friend of mine introduced me to EO and suggested I consider joining the Accelerator program. There, I felt like jumping for joy, this was exactly the type of organization that I had been looking for. I attended an introduction dinner, submitted my application that night and was accepted. I spent 12 months in Accelerator and that experience was truly transformative. It provided me with the structure and foundation I was looking for to keep my mind focused “on” my business and not “in” my business. I attended every EO chapter event I could and that sealed the deal. I wanted in as soon as possible. Our thriving South Florida chapter is electric and filled with men and women who are succeeding, not just surviving. I needed to be with these people.

12 months later I crossed the threshold and was accepted into the chapter as a full member. Soon after I was elected moderator of a new Forum, eager to take on the role and use my experience in Accelerator to keep developing my management skills. My business is thriving, enjoying our highest cash flow in ten years and looking for fresh talent. I can’t say enough for how being a part of this organization has impacted my business and life and I can’t imagine what’s to come. Looks like I found my hat, now I just need to go find a bigger wall.

Accelerator, an Entrepreneurs’ Organization program, is the catalyst that enables first-stage entrepreneurs to catapult your business to the next level. Our mission is to empower you with the tools you need to grow your business to more than US$1 million in sales and provide you with the skills to make yourself a better entrepreneur and leader.

Categories: Entrepreneurial Journey Lessons Learned


3 Responses to “ How I got Beyond Payroll Survival ”

  1. Aaron Lee on

    Just a quick update on the article above which was actually submitted several years ago but just recently posted. As of today, my company has been in business for 13 year and we will celebrate our 14th anniversary in January. In January of this year we actually acquired another company, bringing our staff to 18 and finally realizing the vision I had originally set out to achieve of becoming a full-service digital marketing agency.

    EO has continued to play a major role in my personal and professional expansion and I have been honored to serve on the board of the South Florida chapter for the past three years as Communications and Learning chairs. At the 2013 GLC in Panama I was truly stunned to be recognized with the Global Communication Chair award. Most recently I was nominated and elected to take over as chapter President in 2016.

    So you could say that EO has continued to be an integral part of my life and I have the deepest passion for the value that our organization continues to provide to entrepreneurs around the world. Be engaged!


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