Good News: The American Dream Ain’t Dead. Better News: Poverty Can Be Beaten.


…the dreams ain’t broken down here now, they’re walking with a limp…
– Tom Waits, Small Change

This blog has been out of whack for a while, listing way to far to the franchise-as-scam department.  I’m not intending to stop posting investment warnings and hosting debates, but I’ve been eager to add more of the positives of business start-ups and franchise success.

Then came Blog Action Day with the call to post on the cheeriest of topics:  Poverty.

I immediately started writing a compilation of the comments I’ve received from the newly impoverished, victims of unscrupulous business opportunity sales people, unwise investments and downright boneheaded start-up ventures.  Like all-cereal restaurants.  PB&J restaurants.  Grilled-freaking-cheese restaurants.

So much for avoiding the depressing.  Since I haven’t mastered the noose, I went to bed to read.

Scratch Beginnings is NOT a Golf Story

I’m currently reading the self-published version of Scratch Beginnings by Adam Shepard.  A few weeks back, in between the my daily correspondence with the millionaire widows of deposed African dictators and marketers of male enhancement products (how did they know?!) I received an email from the 20-something author, offering me a review copy.  Unlike most recent college graduates, Shepard ventured out to seek poverty, not wealth.  After reading Nickle & Dimed, a book pronouncing the American dream a goner, a pissed-off Shepard set out on an experiment.  He started in a strange city with nothing but $25, his inexperience and the goal of having a car, furnished apartment and $2500 by the end of a year.  In Scratch Beginnings, he chronicles his tale of starting out on the street, sleeping in a homeless shelter, working day labor and donating plasma.  He finally lands a job working for a furniture moving franchisee and falls in with a robust group of the working poor… some of whom have their eyes set on becoming middle class and achieving their American dreams.

Shepard not only manages to get the apartment, car and $5,000 in savings, his straightforward, self published book and relentless marketing landed him a contract with a major publisher and an interview on The Today Show.  Then, just when things couldn’t get any better, he landed this post on on Blog Action Day.  Even a Pulitzer will be a let-down after this.

Success creates more success.

It didn’t occur to me until writing this post that one of the underlying success stories within Scratch Beginnings is, indeed, a franchise success story.  It was the franchise owners of the moving company who give Shepard his big break by employing him in their American dream business.  And that’s the way it works when people make smart investment choices and build solid investments that create jobs and enable them to give a leg-up to others.

If the franchise owners had turned their nose up at a furniture moving franchise and opted for, say, a Meal Assembly Kitchen, a cereal cafe or a scotch tape store, poor Adam might still be fighting for a good spot to lay his mattress in the Crisis Ministries shelter.

Learn more about Adam Shepard and his book at the Scratch Beginnings website.




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Photo source:  Adam Shepard.  Used by permission.

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