Alan Silver doesn't have an alarm clock. He wakes up when he feels like waking up, usually around eight o'clock. He spends his mornings writing and taking care of business. Afternoons, he does something he enjoys. In the winter, when he's spending time at his second home in Park City, Utah, he skis. Back home in Boca Raton, Florida, he likes to run or jog along the beach, or simply sit by his pool and read.
At 53, Alan is a multimillionaire who does what he wants to do when he wants to do it. But it wasn't always that way.
For 15 years, he made a living selling office supplies. "It was a tough, competitive business," Alan said. "I earned enough money to support my family reasonably well. But it was always a struggle, particularly after the big chains like Office Depot came into the market."
In 1995, Alan had the opportunity to make a switch. He stopped by the office of a friend of his, Rick Walker*, and overheard a conversation that changed his life. Rick, a newsletter publisher, was talking to a vitamin supplier about starting a new company to sell natural supplements to readers of his company's health publication. But he was having a hard time convincing the man that the joint venture would be a good idea.
Rick hung up the phone, frustrated. "Those guys wouldn't recognize a money-making opportunity if it hit them in the head," he said.
"I would," replied Alan. "I mean, I'm a salesman ...