This past week, I was featured in an article in the Democrat and Chronicle that talked about my latest business venture, Upstate Charge. Not only did the article run in the D&C locally and online, but it was pretty cool to see that the article was also syndicated on the USA Today.
This is probably the 4th article that’s been published locally on me and as humbled and grateful as I am that anyone wants to write a story on me, it always bugs me that I can’t write the article myself – to a degree. I think the writers always do a phenomenal job writing the articles, but there’s always so much they leave out of the story, that to me, is so important, and usually gives so much more meaning to the accomplishment.
A lot of people saw this article and were congratulating on me on launching a new company, and I’m grateful for that. A new company and one that is so well received is a great thing, but I don’t think the greatest thing about this article is the business launch at all. I think the greatest thing about this article is that it is truly a testament to what God can do in someone’s life and what happens when you don’t give up.
In recent years I’ve connected with so many people and have really grown a network of people around me of those that are like-minded and share traits that I now have – wanting to live a life to please God instead of myself, having a burning drive inside of me every morning to work, being excited on Monday mornings for opportunities the week could create, and so forth. Many of these people who have only recently come into my life are clueless as to the story that led me to where I am today.
In 2004, after graduating high school, I tried going to college locally but it just wasn’t for me. I was working full-time at Wegman’s in a warehouse and tried going to night-classes and it just wasn’t working out. One night in the most boring literature class I have ever heard of, I fell asleep on the desk/table and my professor slammed his book next to me and said “you know, you don’t HAVE to be here – you pay to get to be here”. I got up and left and never came back.
While continuing to work full time and spending the rest of my time with my girlfriend, I started making bad choices. I was living for nothing. Eventually, the empty lifestyle caught up with me. I wasn’t into partying or anything of that nature, but it was everything else life threw at me that “got me”.
I got a little taste of what credit was and maxed out a bunch of credit and spent money beyond irresponsibly. I lost a desire to make money working because spending money I didn’t have (credit) was just more fun. Soon, I made the decision to quit my job to go on vacation with my girlfriend of 7-8 months. That vacation led to a huge family fight and ended up with me leaving in the middle of the night one night to go home. I had also made the decision to move out of the apartment I was living in because I couldn’t afford it. I had no money. When coming home from vacation, I wasn’t allowed to move back home, so I moved in with my girlfriend. Smart decision, right? Hah. A month later my girlfriend & I broke up. Now where to go?
Hesitantly, my mom let me move back in. I was still unemployed for the most part at this point. I had a few odd jobs here and there such as driveway sealing and roofing, but nothing truly stable. Living an empty life, nothing pleased me; I wasn’t hungry for anything but pity. The misery soon caught up with me and now I was verbally fighting with everyone in my house. One verbal fight actually led me to getting so worked up I ended up ripping a door of its hinges and throwing it through the room to be able to see who I was yelling at. Needless to say, I was kicked out of the house again (this time, escorted by cops).
Now, what? Did I mention I was financially ruined? No money, couldn’t even have a bank account because my license was suspended from unpaid speeding tickets, which even if I had a bank account, I had so much debt it probably would’ve been frozen and had any money in there seized by a law firm, hah. The only bill I had left was my car which I just couldn’t pay at all anymore, let alone the insurance. Repo men were constantly looking for me and I was constantly looking out the window to see if today was the day they would try to take my car.
So here it is, 2006. My friends were starting their second year in college, while I was broke, homeless, and being in essence “chased” by repo men who were on the lookout for my car that I couldn’t afford or make payments on. It wasn’t a fun time. I felt beyond worthless in what was arguably the toughest time of my life.
Now what to do? I had NOTHING to live for – NOTHING! So, what’s my next move? Kill myself? Numb myself with alcohol? Start taking drugs? Blame people around me? What?
I sure didn’t know. I also had no one to really talk to. I had caused so many relationships to go south that not many people were by my side. I don’t even disagree with many of their decisions; I mean who would want to be around such negativity and someone who was so problematic? Family relationships gone, friends gone, you name it – wasn’t there anymore.
It was then, in various ways, God slowly knocked on the door of my heart. I was as empty and poor on the inside as I was poor on the outside financially. I started questioning that there has to be more to life than this. This can’t be what life is all about. If it was, I lost at the age of 20.
At night, while sleeping in my car in an empty parking lot, I kept waking up. I had the car running for the AC to be blasting (was summer time), and I kept waking up extremely cold and would turn down the AC, then wake up hot and turn it up. I just didn’t get comfortable. I did a lot of thinking – a lot – I did more and more thinking that this couldn’t be what life was all about. I slowly got a stronger desire (from God) to get out of this rut. It wasn’t going to be easy, but I was determined. I was determined to overcome this adversity that life had thrown my way.
I was determined to never again be in that place – emotionally, physically, and/or spiritually.
I realized the first thing I had to do was swallow my pride. This was going to be a long road and I needed everyone I could get to help me, especially God. I first and foremost gave my heart to Him. I had learned that Christ died for me and if He died for me, He was worth living for. I surrendered my heart and accepted Jesus into my life as my Lord and Savior, securing my spot (via the only way) with Him in eternity.
Unfortunately, at this time, I still had a religious mindset that I had to do everything in my own strength and might. Soon learned (and it made much more sense) that this was not true – It’s in Philippians 4:13 Paul reminds us “I can do all things through CHRIST who strengthens me”. The more I asked God to reveal Himself to me, the more He did. The more God revealed Himself to me, the more I wanted to be in His perfect will, as I quickly realized He was so much smarter than me. Ever since then, very few days go by that my bible is not opened and I read and hear that still small voice of God give me wisdom and discernment for my life.
I started trying to hang out with only those that (for some reason) would encourage me. I didn’t want to be around misery anymore. Misery does love company but I had had enough. I quickly realized the only ones that would give me the time of day even were the same that would not judge me or condemn me. 99% of whom were those Christians who were trying to love like Christ loves – selflessly and unconditionally. While I was trying to figure out more of who God was, He slowly paved the road that led me where I am today.
I eventually was able to move back in at home for a few months before getting another apartment after a long-time friend’s father had asked me to work for him. I busted my ass like there was no tomorrow. Though he was tough on me, I know deep down he was looking at me like a son and was pushing me and in turn bringing out the best in me. I know this because of the trust he instilled in me. More responsibilities than other, more trust than others, more second chances than others, and so forth. He later even gave me a personal loan out of his pocket to go buy a car because of the fact that I had no credit and no money and my car by this point was long repo’ed.
While working 60-70 hours, I kept growing closer and closer to God and the desire kept growing to never be back to where I once was. I realized there was so much more to life.
At the same time as all this was going on, a friend of mine since 1999 had reached out to me and told me I need to get “back on the web”. All through high school I was big into the web and creating and running websites. Soon after the Wegman’s job, I had let go of the passion completely and never touched my computer too much. That’s when Mike called me and told me I don’t think we’re done yet, let’s talk about “WordPress.”
Mike had been doing what he does best, even to this day, conceptualizing companies. He had realized that we were so far ahead of everyone else with the web, that there was a large need for companies wanting to be on the web, and we could do it better than anyone else. After freshening up our skills and reassuring ourselves that we do in fact do this better than anyone, we started putting together ways to actually be able to complete websites for companies.
Soon Mike launched his biggest company yet, Farin Innovations – a website design and development company. Soon after that I followed suite and opened up Basch Solutions here in NY. While working both for Farin Innovations and launching Basch Solutions, I was still working 60 hours a week at my full time job.
Between the talent that was put on display at Basch Solutions and my entire demeanor/character that had done a 360, by the grace of God, slowly more and more people gave me a chance, and more and more people started asking questions about the “web stuff I was doing”. I was so passionate about this that I was able to start getting clients to trust me with their company’s reputation on the web and their money. To me it was crazy, I knew I didn’t deserve it and was extremely grateful for each and every client (still am).
Growing up I could always read people very well. It was just my personality and behavior that led me to watching people and learning about behavior and what it means. I took this skill with me to business and coupled it with strength God gave me, my unparalleled passion for the web, and my burning desire to never be where I once was and I set out on a mission to do just that – to never be where I once was.
At this point, it was now a fight. It was a fight to overcome adversity. I did everything I could to ensure that I would persevere. I wasn’t going to lose.
- I drew closer and closer to God, leaning on Him more and more for discernment on what to do next, which relationships to peruse, to renew my strength, etc.
- I surrounded myself with people that had characteristics that I felt I could benefit from if I learned. For example, working side by side with my friend Mike who to this day I have one of the strongest relationships in my life with. Or, working out with a former bodybuilder every day at 7am for a plethora of reasons, despite if I wanted to or not.
- I eliminated people from my life that brought me down. Nobody was in that car with me when I was waking up to turn the AC on and off, and nobody felt what I once felt, so I didn’t expect people to be as motivated as me, but if people wanted to bring me down, I’d rather do without their presence in my life.
- I worked harder everyday than the previous day. It didn’t matter what job, task, or project I was working on, I wanted to do it better than anyone else.
- I learned about people’s values and beliefs and if they were in line with mine, I read more and more about them and tried to learn what they did wrong and what they did right.
- I got up every time I failed and tried to do it again, and then I would try to see where I made a mistake and go at it again and again. Not giving up. Not surrendering to defeat.
It was working.
By the grace of God, Basch Solutions and other web-based projects/companies I was involved with were taking off and I was able to quit my 60 hr/week job and make Basch Solutions my full time job. It was by far one of the proudest moments of my life and I thank God constantly for gracing me with the ability to do it. It’s solely by his mercy and grace that I am able to do what I do and call it a career.
Since then, I have continued to do that which I have listed above every single day to improve, to grow, to further secure the likelihood of never being where I once was. Today, Basch Solutions has a client list ranging from global companies such as Bausch & Lomb, to top local businesses in Rochester, NY such as Shear Ego and Tony D’s, to a number of professional athletes including recently signing 3 Olympic Gold Medalists, and so forth. If curious what God has done with this company, you can view some more satisfied clients here: http://www.baschsolutions.com/satisfied-clients
In addition to Basch Solutions, I also co-founded and co-own EndLayer, a vastly growing IT and Hosting company based out of Boston, MA, am VP of Client Management at Farin Innovations, and recently co-founded Upstate Charge. Quite a 360, right? Did I mention, I sit on the board of directors for an amazing Christian organization (Teen Mother Choices International – TMCInternational) that aids teens who chose to become mom’s instead of having abortions?
I don’t’ say this to boast one bit, it is extremely humbling to have made such a comeback and to continue to be so well received in all that I do and looked up to by many. It’s important to realize that this all happened for two reasons.
1) We serve an amazing, graceful God, who by the grace of,
2) I never gave up.
There are times in life that seem so overwhelming, we can’t fathom anything BUT giving up. There are times in life we are filled with so much heartache that we lose sight of our blessings. There are times in life when we want to just throw the towel in. I know this because it wasn’t just back in 2006 I wanted to throw the towel in, it still happens to this day at times.
Life is tough! We face things in life that blindside us, we face things that can seem to break us, when in reality these things make us. It’s true. God breaks us to remake us. Thankfully, God can, will, and does make beauty from ashes. He’ll do it time and time again and though it shouldn’t surprise us, it ignorantly does.
A lot of things in life don’t make sense. Some do. Looking back there are many things I encountered that I can logically reason and say okay, God, I see what you did there, thank you! There are other things that happen that leave me with my fist in the air screaming Why, God, Why. It’s wrong, but it’s true, I do it. Often times we lose sight of the Creator and focus on the created. Often times we feed our fears and starve our faith.
Regardless of what’s before you, regardless of the trial and tribulations you’re enduring, I can’t urge you enough to not give up. Keep going! There is a light at the end of the tunnel! Things might not make sense, and sometimes things never will, but that’s why God gives us a peace that passes all understanding.
It’s gonna be ok.
(Hungry for more? Check out this blog article I wrote last summer: Dancing in the Rain – Go ahead, get wet.)