Journey Of An Addict To Entrepreneurship

Journey Of An Addict To Entrepreneurship 

Watch The Full 30 Minute Video

Josh Lannon, YPO CEO of Journey Healing Centers and Franchises
Success Is Not About If But When:Make Your Will A Matter of Why 

Journey Healing Centers are world-class locations that surround you with warmth and serenity to help a person heal from the curse of alcoholism and drug addiction.  Started by a former victim of addiction and his wife, who are not venture capitalists, clinical psychologists, or serial entrepreneurs, these rehabilitation centers are hugely more successful compared to the averages.  Josh Lannon’s example is not a "success by landing into the lap of opportunity" story. It is a story of "success by design".
Josh and his wife, Lisa, are successful in a rather restrictive field of operations because of many reasons that unfolded during our conversation.  These are remarkable lessons in true entrepreneurship where odds were stacked against success because it was not an opportunity waiting to be tapped into, but rather a problem for the Lannons to tackle.  Anyone can make hay while the sun shines (a.k.a . dot com investing) but it takes true enterprise to breath new life into a staid industry . Josh could’ve taken the easier option out, which was running his family business - a nightclub is Las Vegas. But it was managing the nightclub which had turned Josh into an addict himself, and brought him to the verge of losing all the things that he really treasures, including his wife.

The ‘Why’
However, rather than “stay a victim,” Josh went into rehabilitation and thankfully he did not stop there, for his grave problem had led him to his life’s purpose. He wanted to give back to society, he wanted to help victims of drugs and alcoholism and that was what he calls, a strong ‘Why’ for building his business. Josh believes that without a strong ‘Why’ you cannot have the degree of commitment required to take all the falls in your stride and keep going till you achieve what you intend, which was what Josh did. Despite his business idea getting repeatedly rejected by banks and private investors for funding, he kept meeting them.
Josh began with the purpose - his ‘why’ and complete commitment, and he did all that was needed including learning how to create a business plan, rewriting and improving his business plan, seeking out and learning from mentors whatever he needed to learn about making his business successful.   His idea was like a commodity with not much future, especially because he had no obvious advantage in making the pitch to the investors.  He had to innovate to augment this concept with other elements to make it into a full scale business plan that the investors would find attractive.  And he did. After months of refusing to give up, the same investor who had rejected his proposal 2 times, eventually put in $1.5 Million into the business.

The Value of Mentorship
His business had several aspects - it would be a rehabilitation program and he needed people who would teach him about its different aspects. He went to the person with whom he took his rehabilitation program to learn how rehabilitation worked. He learned the fundamentals of business finance from another mentor, so that he could ensure that his business became self sustaining. According to Josh, mentors helped make success easier to come by and he makes it a point to have mentors for all critical areas. His personal take on the mentor/mentee relationship is that the mentee should choose a mentor whom s/he respects and learn by working for the mentor, by serving him, for free if needed.

Reasons For Success
Josh credits his success to his well rounded understanding of his business and emotional connect. He has a strong, personal attachment to his purpose and a sound understanding of the business side of things. Being a past victim himself, he knows what it feels; he knows how a care-giver feels as he saw what his wife went through due to his addiction. He says that the typical doctor or counsellor setting up a rehabilitation business usually has only half the knowledge and that affects the business' prospects. His finding of wise mentors early on helped him stay on track to develop a strong business model that would be self sustaining. Effectively, one could also see him being in the business of real estate besides being in the drug rehabilitation service. It is the real estate on which his centers are built that supports his purpose of freeing people from the curse of addiction. This perspective helped him find investors because even if his business was not successful they knew that they would have their money back from selling the real estate.  

To sum up, here are 3 lessons that emerge from our conversation with Josh, who is now going international by franchising Journey Healing Centers ( after owning 6 properties.  He is a member of the YPO Club - which is a testament to his success, given that he started as a bartender and an alcoholic at a Vegas Night Club, without the benefit (or detriment) of a traditional business education.

1) Breaking inertia is the hardest part of the start.  The first investor in your business is the most difficult.  Upon that, one can build the rest of the structure more easily.

2) You can look for opportunities or make them but choose the ones that compel you, because not only will you have to live with them, you may also need the extraordinary power of your passion to drive to success in the face of setbacks and overwhelming challenges.

3) Find mentors, work with them and serve them to learn all that is necessary and you lack.