One summer, a young Rhett Power saw a “for sale” sign attached to a nifty boat in his hometown of Moncks Corner. It belonged to attorney George Bishop, and as glamorous as it seemed, a teenage Power knew he could not afford it.
“You can work for it,” Bishop told him.
Power embraced the challenge and interned for the attorney’s practice at 223 E. Main St. for the remainder of the summer. The money he earned came short of the price, but Bishop rewarded him.
“At the end of the summer, I earned a boat,” Power said.
Power, now releasing his second book entitled The Entrepreneur’s Book of Actions: Essential Daily Exercises and Habits for Becoming Wealthier, Smarter, and More Successful, would cherish these lessons from the homestead as he ventured to become an entrepreneur, businesses consultant and now author.
From Berkeley High School, Power attended the University of South Carolina Columbia. He graduated, and dabbled in a variety of fields including media, political consulting and the restaurant business.
“I wasn’t clear what my direction was,” Power said. Life would steer him into the Peace Corps, and he gained more experience overseas as an international business consultant, working in Afghanistan amongst other countries.
He had become financially stable and had the opportunity to travel the world. He had a friend with a similar job, but the two felt something missing.
Their ordinary 9-to-5s were not necessarily what they wanted to do.
“You have that gut feeling,” Power said.
They longed to be entrepreneurs. The two purchased an existing company where a gentleman in Myrtle Beach sold frog-aquariums.
The guy did not keep any records of cash flows, so Power and his partner weren’t sure of how much money he made. Also, his product was hard to ship and sell.
Despite breaking “every rule in the book” for a business case study, the two were sold.
“We fell in love with it. It was a unique product,” Power said.
The called the company Wild Creations, a toy company that modeled its products after science and nature. It mirrored Power’s own upbringing, when the outdoors of the Moncks Corner countryside was the equivalent of what toys were to most children.
Advancing the company would a struggle though.
They didn’t make much profit starting out, not surprisingly, and resulted to living in their vehicles for two years. To top it all off, it was near 2007 where the economy plummeted.
These factors didn’t help as they reflected on the decision to leave financially stable jobs. But one day when Power entered the Myrtle Beach business, he was reassured. The company was his.
“You have that overwhelming feeling that ‘this is yours.’ You have to drive that ship,’” he said.
He and his partner pressed on, learning the art of scaling, transporting and shipping their products. Wild Creations earned honors as the Fastest Growing Company in South Carolina in 2010 and was also named one of Inc. Magazine’s 500 Fastest Growing US Companies two years in a row. Power was a finalist for Ernst and Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year Award in 2011.
Power admitted it took him and his partner a while to discover their passion.
“Eventually we figured out what that desire was,” Power said. “It was a magic moment for me.”
The two have since sold the majority of the company. Power now has a consulting contract in the Lesotho, Africa where he will work with charities using sports as means of informing residents about the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV).
He also serves as a business coach for entrepreneurs and chief executive officers and has written books on his experiences.
His initial narrative entitled “One Million Frogs” discusses how he stumbled upon success. His current and second novel is geared towards business execs that want to extinguish bad habits.
“Success is really, really hard work. It takes years,” Power said. “If you want something, you have to go out and work for it.”
Power returned to the Tri-County area on Jan. 26 to host a book signing for his latest novel at Barnes & Noble on Rivers Avenue. His parents, friends and old classmates dropped in for an autographed hardback and catch up on Lowcountry sports and old Berkeley High School memories.