Today, Ete sits down with serial entrepreneur, Brett Lee of Midway, UT. Brett has been a part of several business ventures including selling styrofoam shipping pallets in India, exporting succulents to China, and importing plants and fruit.
In one of those cruel twists of irony life sometimes doles out, Brett Lee was a recently graduated MBA working in real estate, in Arizona, in 2008. And he had just bought a new house. The timing was, to put it mildly, unbelievably bad. With a wife and three kids to provide for, a drop in income, and a new mortgage on a house without financial value, Brett found himself "trying to figure life out." The answer came as clear as day: Go to China.
So they did. They sold everything and bought one way tickets to China. Lugging 12 suitcases, and creating a "spectacle" along their journey, they moved to China. Brett had no job lined up. They had no real plan. What he did have–a hotel room booked for 3 days, and a whole lot of faith that something would open up–didn't seem like much. But coupled with Brett's tenacity and hard work, and a supportive wife and children, those "meager" assets proved to be enough. They found a home. Brett found a good job, again in real estate consulting, which he loves. The family thrived. They traveled to places they couldn't have had they not made that bold move. They had experiences that helped shape their lives. It was an unforgettable adventure.
This is not just a fantastic story. It actually tells us a lot about how Brett has found success in his life. First of all, Brett, like many of our interviewees, has followed his deepest interests and passions into a career. As a young boy he read the encyclopedia to learn about the world's peoples and cultures and geography for fun. He still loves learning about new cultures and working internationally is a great fit. He adores business and finance. And he's found a way to incorporate these things into the work he does. He's also done this in later endeavors, like his pallet company and import/export businesses.
Brett is willing to work with serious determination to make things happen. When he needed a job, he knocked on companies' doors until he found one. And when he got that job, he worked from 9 am to 2 am consistently to do his work well. Throughout his career and different business undertakings, he's kept up this ability to do whatever it takes to get things done, and done right.
Like many of the other people we've talked to, he has a spouse who is supportive. Brett's wife, Meredith, an adventurer herself, shares Brett's desire to travel and understand the people of the world. When the opportunity showed up, she was willing and excited about the prospect of moving to China. Having a spouse like Meredith is part of the reason he's found success in life and he shares a real appreciation for her throughout this episode.
The move to China also demonstrates a pattern of willingness to wade into discomfort and uncertainty, which is a must for any serious entrepreneur. Brett says he naturally prefers having control over any situation, and tends toward emotional reasoning, two things he had to overcome in this case. He knew with clarity that they needed to go to China. They didn’t know how it would work, but they acted, they jumped all in. The family relied on their faith that the right doors would be open to them, worked to make it happen, and the solutions came.
Hear more of Brett's stories and insights on this episode of The Company Next Door.