4 Life Lessons from Entrepreneur Dads

By Eric Golman and Ryan Schueler, co-founders of Javazen

Ryan and I started our business together while we were roommates in college. Instead of being afraid to start, we had the confidence to jump in head first because we saw our father's do the same thing when we were growing up.

In anticipation of Father's Day we bonded over stories from our childhood.

We decided to co-author a tribute to our Dad's. Here are some stories and life lessons that we learned growing up.


I remember thinking when I was 11 years old, "Dad has a business, why can't I have one too?"

The law in Virginia did not allow anyone to hire me until I was 16 years old.

But, no one said I couldn't start a business. After my mom agreed to let me use her credit card to sign up for an eBay account, I was off to the races and never looked back. I started to sell everything that was lying around the house. I found a niche buying external hard drives on eBay and reselling them on Amazon.

Lesson learned from Dad: Don't let age hold you back.

I remember exactly where I was during my senior year of high school on a tour of the University of Maryland campus. Looking up at the screen during the presentation there was a slide for the Hinman CEOs program. I learned of a statistic that a promising amount of students in the program started a business while in college and continued to build it after graduating.

I looked to the left and told my Dad, "I want to do that!"

Dad replied, "Great, I hope you can find a way to pay for out of state tuition!"

This was not a sarcastic response, rather a challenge.

After an intense search, I came across a program called the Academic Common Market, which allowed for students to get in-state tuition in states that offer a major that is not offered in your home state.

Lesson learned from Dad: You can ALWAYS find a way.


When I was young, my dad owned a car dealership which meant that I was always surrounded by new and exciting cars. I would always dream of my first car. It would be my ticket to the world.

Dad finally agreed to let me get a car... but with one condition. It had to be stick shift.

The first time we went out for a test drive, I had an anxiety attack. I was terrified of breaking the car every time I turned it on, but I persevered.

Like clockwork, I went out every day after school to the hill next to our house until I mastered first gear.

Three months later, I passed the driving test on a stick shift car and the car was mine.

Lesson learned from Dad: Perseverance leads to results.

My Dad had a passion for cars and business. I grew up watching him go from buying and selling cars out of the Sunday paper to building a car dealership. Every week he would drive up and down the East Coast to search for the best cars. This showed me that when you have passion for something, it is easy to work hard.

When I was 17, I started a painting company. I recruited a team and started knocking on neighborhood doors. Soon, we had a long list of clients and gallons of paint waiting for new homes.

I was passionate about helping my clients. By the time we finished the job, I felt like we were true friends.

I left the summer with a sense of pride and fire waiting for the next adventure.

Lesson learned from Dad: Hard work is easy when you have passion.

Happy Father's Day!