Confessions of a Reluctant Entrepreneur

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Dec 01, 2016

By Tim Terry, Founder Terry Lockridge & Dunn/World Trend Financial

The interview was proceeding nicely. A lot of easy questions about the challenges of running financial services firms. This was in my wheelhouse.

Everything changed with the: when did you decide to become an entrepreneur question.

Staring blankly, I heard myself reply: “I didn’t”.

The reporter’s perplexed look telegraphed her next question: “Why am I interviewing you for an article on entrepreneurs”?

The truth of the matter is I never thought in terms of entrepreneurship. I was just a guy looking to provide quality professional services at the highest level. I also liked to save people money. I was intrigued by the question of why some people became financially independent while others struggle to pay the bills. No one in the accounting field seemed to be focusing on this area of practice. In fact, it just did not exist in 1978. I decided it would be a good opportunity to open an accounting firm focused on financial planning, wealth accumulation and tax planning.

When I first floated the idea to my accounting friends, they laughed at me. In their mind, the idea of opening an accounting firm which did not perform audits was ridiculous. It was universally agreed I would fail within the year.

When you are one of eleven boys in a family of twelve, there is no such thing as failure. Their comments were the equivalent of throwing down the gauntlet. I was now determined to prove them wrong. That November day in 1978, I dragged a metal filing cabinet into the Dows Building wondering if I would ever have enough clients to fill it up.

Thirty-eight years later, I am looking forward to leaving the Dows Building (sans the filing cabinet). Our firms will move to our new home in the Town Centre at the end of this month. Along the way we have accumulated a team of world class professionals who focus all their energies on providing the quality professional services I aspired to in 1978.

I was reflecting back on that day as the firm welcomed several new associates. While I doubt any of them would claim the title of entrepreneur, I am confident in 2054 they will be able to look back on a successful career of helping their clients achieve financial independence.