Chris Rither - Founder of OneMeanDream.com

I keep it all productive and in sync by organizing each day’s activities with my morning coffee. I bought my first day-planner in 1988 and I still use a physical day-planner in large folder size on a daily basis to keep each day on task.

Christopher Rither was born and raised in Riverside California, where he started his first business at 13 by providing lawn services and painting houses in his neighborhood. After high school he attended Humboldt State University and then graduated from the Teen Challenge Ministry Institute of Southern California. After graduation he moved to Hawaii and served as a Youth and Associate Pastor and director for Kauai Teen Challenge. To help provide for the ministry work he started C.Rithers Services, which wrote grants for schools and non-profits.

In the late 80’s he married a woman with five children and needed to increase his revenue stream. So he started a building repair and maintenance company. After 10 years he sold this company and started Hawaii Inspection and Environmental LLC, which he ran for 12 years.

Over the years he also received a B.A. in Communications from the University of Hawaii, owned a foster home that took in dozens of abused children, traveled extensively throughout 35 countries, volunteered for numerous youth organizations, spent time on the missions field, and now works as a Professor at Myongji University in South Korea, and as the founder of OneMeanDream.com.

His 35 years experience as an entrepreneur, public speaker, minister, writer and avid traveler allows him unique insight into the ability of individuals to set and achieve life’s goals and live a successful life. This has always been his passion, and it’s his desire to provide the information and motivation people need to start doing the things they’ve always dreamed about.

Where did the idea for OneMeanDream come from?

As an entrepreneur and public speaker of many years my friends and acquaintances often approached me for business advice. Over time I began to notice a common theme to their questions and problems. Most of their issues derived from a lack of clarity in regards to overall goals and objectives for the various enterprises they were involved in.

Now as a consummate planner and goal setter it was easy to identify their problems and offer advice. I found that by helping people clarify their vision and goals in writing, they were able to work through their own problems without much help.

A few years ago I sold my last business and was looking at slowing things down a bit. I have always loved writing and wanted to continue using these skills, not so much to make money, but to help others reach their goals and live their dreams.

To begin I started the website onemeandream and have summarized the overall idea in our slogan – Ideas for Better Living, and our Motto – You Dream It, We help you live it.

What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?

First of all, I do not have a typical day since I focus my time on many activities and projects on a daily basis. As a university professor, I work in the mornings at the campus, afternoons on writing my book and articles for OMD, and evenings on my various health and artistic endeavors.

I keep it all productive and in sync by organizing each day’s activities with my morning coffee. I bought my first day-planner in 1988 and I still use a physical day-planner in large folder size on a daily basis to keep each day on task.

How do you bring ideas to life?

Everything is brought to life by an act of some kind. Bringing an idea to fruition can only be done through consistent organized action. I do this by making a list of 70 or 80 goals I want to complete in the beginning of each year. I then review this list regularly, throughout the year, and make plans according to what goal I want to accomplish that week or month.

What’s one trend that really excites you?

I would have to say it’s the various crowd funding sites and programs focused on helping entrepreneurs get off the ground. However I am somewhat disappointed this didn’t happen earlier in my life, it would have made a few of my past endeavors much easier to get going.

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?

I would have to say it’s my yearly goal setting routine and my morning planning regiment. Its hard to be productive if you can’t define what productive really means. For me productivity is found in accomplishing a specific goal within a set time frame. This is why the habit of consistent goal setting and accompanying planning is so important in maintaining productivity.

What was the worst job you ever had and what did you learn from it?

That’s a funny question since my worst job was also my best job. When I was 11 my mother took me down to the local newspaper and signed me up for a paper route. In the beginning I hated it. I had to wake up really early, my bike was pathetic, and the paper bags were so heavy that when my bike fell over I couldn’t pick it up. Then there was the dreaded door-to-door collection of subscription fees each month. Some people were so cheap that I had to hide out and wait for them to get out of their car, just so I could get to them to pay their monthly subscription fee. Even though I hated it in the beginning, I learned many useful things that helped me tremendously over the years, especially determination, consistency and the importance of superior customer service.

If you were to start again, what would you do differently?

As I have stated before I thrive on setting and reaching goals. However sometimes I get so caught up in the end game I forget to enjoy the present. Therefore if I could start again I would focus more on enjoying the present and not so much on reaching an end point in the future. Like they say – life is the journey not the destination.

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

That is easy and I can say it in three words – evaluate, evaluate, evaluate. Do not be satisfied with the status quo. Things change fast today and to stay on top of our game we must be constantly evaluating what we do and how we do it. Outside of financial analysis, I find it amazing how few entrepreneurs have an actual plan for evaluating their company. One of the first things I did was set up a regular and methodical plan to evaluate every aspect of my company. I recommend that everyone break their business into various categories and come up with their own way of evaluating the effectiveness and efficiency of each category.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business? Please explain how.

Most of my endeavors have been in the service industry and my growth strategy always favored personal contact and service for my clients. When I first started my building repair company I found that by keeping myself ever-present in the minds of my clients they would choose me first when they needed help. I did this by providing useable gifts (like good quality pens, beautiful calendars, or Starbucks gift cards) to the agents, home and business owners I served.

When I started the Inspection and environmental service companies, I became personally acquainted with as many real estate, insurance and banking agents as I could by making regular visits to nearly every office on all four major islands of Hawaii. After some time I got to know every one inside these offices which allowed me to get to know them as individuals and not just clients. I found that people will re-hire and refer the person they like.

I also found that by setting myself up as the expert in my field, I would often become the go-to guy because people like to refer to people they consider experts. I did this by providing regular training seminars inside the individual offices I served. Over the years I put together updates and hands on training concerning current issues in the real estate industry. For example when mold became an issue I did mold training, and when liability became an issue, I put together a training session for realtors on how to spot red flags before they listed or sold a property.

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

My biggest failure was quite the adventure and occurred shortly after selling my last company in Hawaii. I had some free cash, time to spare and a great business idea and decided to move to Singapore to start my new venture. After a year or so, I was unable to find enough investors and decided to cap my losses, and move on. I basically overcame this failure by weighing my options and getting out early. I also revamped my business plan and re-started the idea on a much smaller scale.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

I live in Korea and noticed that although many people wear T-shirts and hats with logos and writing on them, all of them are Americanized and all the writing is in English. If someone were to create a T-shirt and cap company with unique designs that had writing in Korean I am sure they would do well. If anyone were interested I would love to get involved, although I have no desire to start a new company on my own.

Tell us something about you that very few people know?

In the first grade, I was diagnosed with Minimal Brain Dysfunction (now called ADHD) and had a bad speech impediment. This was in the late 1960’s and there were little options for children like me. The school didn’t know what to do with me so part of the day I was sent to the “mentally retarded” class, and the other part of the day they put my desk in a large walk-in closet in my regular class. This was quite humiliating and not the happiest part of my childhood.

What software and web services do you use? What do you love about them?

I bought my first computer in 1987 and I would say email, QuickBooks, Yahoo Finance, and Word are what I use most. I love them because they save me time and make me money. However, my all-time favorite is email, because it has made my life easier. In one of my companies we generated thousands of reports over the years. In the old days they all had to be sent out by mail to the various parties, which consumed much time and money. Since email became the defacto form of business communication, we pretty much stopped the daily mail runs.

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

I would have to say the bible has been and is my favorite read. For entrepreneurs I would recommend the book of Proverbs, Nehemiah, Daniel and Ecclesiastes, since they both apply to leadership and provide useful information about running a business.

What people have influenced your thinking and might be of interest to others?

As a business owner I have found that the magazine Success provides great information and motivation. As an investor it’s the Wall Street Journal, and as a leader it’s the book A Tale of Three Kings, by Gene Edwards.

Connect:

http://onemeandream.com/
One Mean Dream on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/onemeandream
One Mean Dream on Twitter: @chrisrither