Every period of his childhood mirrored what abject poverty meant. This is one of the darkest experiences Don Charlton feels reluctant to share, except in moments when he needs to tap inspiration from his journey of perseverance. As Chief Executive Officer of Resumator, he never dreamt of being an entrepreneur or having the opportunity to attend college someday.
All that mattered to him was having the chance to enjoy three square meals for the day and coping with a mother who was suffering from mental illness. However, it was these harsh realities that triggered his drive to become an entrepreneur.
Charlton began taking charge of his destiny when he was only 10 years old. While starving one afternoon, the only thing he desired was a $0.25 Little Debbie snack. Despite the effort and search in his room, he couldn’t lay his hands on a dime. Though melancholic, that moment led to an epiphany that changed his destiny entirely.
He wanted his life to mean more than a dime, and had a helping hand from a high school guidance counselor who shaped his career. He introduced him to the limited opportunities a computer could bring to his future, and directed his focus to graphic designing to enable Charlton to commercialize his interest in drawing.
When he graduated from college, the skill he learned helped him to land a job with a small design firm, Agnew Moyer Smith, which opened another door of growth for him. However, he was given a tough choice that he would only be employed if he was willing to learn how to design websites, and soon fell in love with computer programming, designing more than what was required of him.
When his bosses inquired why he did not consult them before proceeding with his designs, he indicated that he needed a challenging task that would open him up to failure. As a result, his management offered him opportunities to pitch projects to McDonald’s, Steelcase, and Caterpillar while assessing how he performed. However, those tests rather became his source of personal growth and his route to becoming his own boss.
At 27, he gave his first try at establishing his own business, and felt 10 years of work experience had given him enough insights to establish his own firm. However, he lacked the requisite know-how and experience, which caused the first company he set up to offer content management system services to fail before it could rake in any profits.
Many would have given up on their first try, but Charlton was resolute, according to Forbes. He picked the lessons from his initial failings and set up venture number two, which later transitioned into the Resumator. He was confident in pushing the frontiers to ensure the second business became a success.
Though challenging times compelled him to look for a job while running his company, he realized the divided commitment stunted the growth of his startup and decided to quit his job with Grasshoppers and formally launch the Resumator.
Today, the Resumator is worth $2.98 million and is used by thousands of businesses to select job applicants. President Barack Obama at one time used the platform to review job applications on his desk.
Charlton’s advice for prospective entrepreneurs is to learn from the pitfalls of established business executives. In his opinion, building a business requires learning how to build it from scratch and sustaining it before it begins making turnovers.