Tulsa, MI (PressExposure) September 29, 2009 -- Bill Bartmann was the youngest of eight children; he grew up poor; the family moved often. Homeless at the age of 14, Bill traveled with a carnival and later joined a street gang.
How does someone with this life become a billionaire? Bill Bartmann said, "By recognizing an opportunity and working hard. My opportunity was in the debt-collection business. I had been poor for so much of my life that I knew exactly what the typical bill collector was like. My company took a different path; we broke the mold, redefined an industry and made lots of money. We treated people with respect and they reciprocated by paying us ahead of others."
How does one recognize a good opportunity? "It should be just good enough to be true," said Bartmann. "When someone pitches you on an opportunity and there's only good news for as far as you can see, that's bad news. You only get any two of the following: fast, cheap or good, but not all three. Everything has tradeoffs; only work with people who are up-front about them. You can be successful and make a profit as long as you see the negatives and act accordingly."
Why debt-collection? "When an opportunity seems to say: Welcome, come on in! - that's no real opportunity," said Bartmann. "I look for powerful statements which everyone seems to accept but which are not based on any factual reason. The reputation of debt collectors was somewhere below politicians and scam artists. That big "keep out" sign meant less competition and more profit."
Bill Bartmann says to question the motives when someone is offering you what appears to be a great deal. "For example, if someone says "Because I want to give back," I say, "That's nice; now why are you really showing me the deal?" they might say they already have more deals than they can keep up with; this might be legitimate as long as they can back it up with proof."
In conclusion, Bill Bartmann advises entrepreneurs that many great business opportunities have a half-life. "Blogs and video sites are currently in; if your business relies on popular trends it pays to watch for signs of user fatigue. When I was buying defaulted loans, I knew the opportunity would not last forever. Sure enough, it was profitable for a few years and then dwindled."