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Work Hard and Retire When You Are Able

May 7, 2015

About 290 years ago, a 17-year-old boy ran away from home with barely enough money to live on.  He got a job as a printer and worked very hard and became pretty good at it.

About 6 years later, after a series of mishaps, he decided to go into his own printing business.  At first, he did everything himself – wrote the articles, set the type, prepared the paper, mixed the ink and worked the press.  One time, he had everything ready to print and he dropped the type that he set and had to do everything over.  Not only was he very upset, but he had to work through the night doing it.  Neighbors noticed the candle lights on when they went to sleep and noticed the lights on when they woke up. The neighbors didn’t know that everything was being redone and they thought how hard a worker the printer was so they started giving him their printing business.  He learned from this that it was very important to work hard but just as important to make sure people knew it.  He became a good “promoter” and also busied himself with many volunteer activities to network and meet people who would become his customers.

His business grew so much that he was able to hire people to assist him and even invested money with printers in a dozen other places to form partnerships with them.  He also leveraged his conventional printing business to writing and publishing a newspaper and books.  One of his books was an annual almanac that became the largest selling book in the American Colonies for 25 years!

His investments and publishing made him so rich that he was able to retire from the printing business when he was just 42 years old.

This man died 42 years later as one of the richest men in America.  However, he isn’t remembered for being wealthy or for the businesses he started.  He is remembered for what he did after he retired and got free time to devote to non-business activities.

One of those things was to help create the United States of America by signing the Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution.  His picture appears today on the front of the $100.00 bill and the back of the $2.00 bill along with Thomas Jefferson and John Adams.  His name was Benjamin Franklin.  By the way, his Poor Richard’s Almanac is still being reprinted today.

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