Jacky Fischer grew up poor and watched her parents struggle to make ends meet. Her mother supported the family on minimum wage while her father chased dreams of entrepreneurial success. After several false starts he finally opened a moving company and started making money in his 50’s. At age 66 he had a massive stroke and decided to sell his company. Her Dad had always been a risk taker so instead of taking his business to market, he sold it to his daughter, Jacky. Jacky took over the helm with zero business experience but knowing that if she failed, she would ruin her parents’ retirement. She buckled down and was determined to make the company a success.
And she did! Not only did the company grow, it outpaced they industry average growth rate by 30 times.
Her father passed away in 2016, but his legacy lives on within her.
To honor her father’s compassion for helping, she decided to create an organization to help others. She was able to climb up the ladder out of poverty and she wants to leave the ladder down. Jacky has become wealthy being an entrepreneur and now has changed her focus to giving back to others. 100% of the profits from her consulting, speaking, and book sales will go to the Ladder Down Foundation that helps others escape financial insecurity.
In the 1970’s, Jack Fischer, my dad, was a rebel without a cause. He spent his blue collar paychecks on partying late into the night, dancing, drinking, playing pool and an occasional bar room brawl.
One night, across the bar, he saw my mom, Shirley Ellen, a divorcee with 4 teenage kids. It was love at first sight.
Suddenly he had a wife and four teenage “causes” and soon a baby, me, on the way. He needed to make some money, fast!
He put down his pool cue, cut his hippie hair and bought himself a suit and started selling Kirby vacuum cleaners.
The Kirby business went under, so my dad decided to move us to Houston where he heard the economy was booming.
We arrived just in time for the recession and didn’t have enough money for the return trip so we dug in. My mom got a job at the public library making minimum wage while my dad started a business building bunk beds. That business went under too and he was stuck with a junky delivery truck and a stack of bills.
Rich people go bankrupt and poor people go broke. We were broke and it does something to a man when he can’t provide for his family, but my dad didn’t give up.
In 1985, at age 50 he put an ad in the paper and started moving furniture. Soon he began to get referrals and his business began to grow.
It was truly a family business. My mom was in the “marketing department” and hand drew flyers in the evenings when she got home from her day job. I was the “sales department”. I checked the cassette answering machine after middle school, return calls, and schedule moves. My dad was out on the truck moving customers.
The 90’s were years filled with hard work, but life began to get easier and my parents began to smile again. Soon we were able to move out of our low income apartment and buy a modest home for $27,000 in Katy Texas. We set up an office in the spare room and made bandit signs in the garage.
Then we got our first real office. Growth was slow and organic because banks would not finance us.
As the company grew, I was growing too. I went from a girl in middle school trying to fit into a teenager embracing my unique style.
At age 17, I moved out and away from the family business. Later, I got married, while that didn’t last, I did get two amazing kids out of it.
My dad suffered a massive stroke and I returned to the family business to help out. Working together didn’t last, as we still butted heads.
A week after I left, the movers signed a petition to bring me back and gave it to my dad. He offered me a raise and bonus if I would return. I told him the only way I would return is if he sold the business to me. He reluctantly agreed.
I went to 9 different banks and was denied a loan 9 different times. My dad agreed to finance me over the next 15 years.
I started running the business which grossed around $3 million in annual revenue. I reinvested the money I made and bought new office space and added more trucks. With false starts, failures, and some success, we set out on a period of rapid growth.
But, to take the business to the next level I was faced with the biggest challenge yet. Me! I had to discover my own leadership style. My Dad was a tough guy, but that didn’t fit my personality. I was still trying to figure it out.
I returned to college and earned my MBA from Rice University. Now I had the best of 3 worlds: Growing up in a family business instilled in me work ethic and the understanding of how to treat customers. Vistage peer mentoring gave me tactical solutions to business problems. My MBA gave me a high level strategy.
Cloud technology opened up many opportunities to make moving easier for our customers and movers. We added new technology, products and locations.
I began to understand the importance of how to create an environment of accountability and how to empower my team, yet I was still very hands on in the day to day operations of my business.
Personally, I fell in love and got married again. The kids grew up and left the nest. My parents moved back to their hometown 40 years after they left and bought a house on the river. My father died in 2016 and left a huge void in my heart as I struggled to understand how to move forward. Much of what I accomplished was aimed at making him proud of me. I began to search for a deeper meaning in my life.
A worldwide pandemic hit. We began to work remotely, which tested my thoughts and abilities as a leader. I had time to gain perspective on my life and values and realized that what I have experienced as a business owner might help others. I wrote and received a contract to publish my first book, The Growth Paradox.