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The Making Of An Entrepreneur

Joseph Tom Riach – Author of successful living books and mystery novels, vivid views of life and business


"The Making Of An Entrepreneur" is the twenty-second in my 2022 series of articles based on my real life experiences, professional insights, personal views and fun stories.

My hope is that in them you find joy and inspiration.




      My grandfather was a master baker in the city of his birth which was, at the time, the largest fishing port in Europe. As such my earliest work experience, early morning, after school and weekend jobs were in his bakery and in the fishing industry.

     The bakery was hot, an open-necked, sleeves rolled up environment where I learned to knead dough with easy-going, flour-ghosted tradesmen, bake bread and gorge myself on scorching hot Scotch pies straight from the oven! I needed them. Because from the bakery I high-tailed it on foot most mornings to the fish docks, freezing cold in the early hours of winter days, to unload trawlers, pack their cargo of wet fish in ice and deliver the bulky boxes to the fish processing houses for gutting and filleting.

     Where the atmosphere in the bakery was chirpy and cheerful, busy but sometimes subdued, the fish industry was an ever loud, vulgar, rough-and-tumble world, peopled by tough trawlermen and even tougher fishwives! The bakery taught me the skill of baking and the language of rolls, 'softies', loaves and 'fancies'. At the docks I learned how to handle, grade and cut fish and the coarse talk of the hardened souls which went with it.

     I also learned, not surprisingly, that fishworkers bought bread from the bakery and that bakers purchased fish from the fishmonger. On this realisation was my first enterprise born. It was a barter style arrangement whereby I supplied my friends at the docks with morning rolls and bakery goods and my baker colleagues with fresh fish.

     Each day the dockworkers awaited my arrival from the bakery before enjoying their early morning tea break with the hot rolls and pies I brought them. The bakers in turn relished my return from the docks with my fishy cargo before knocking off for the day and taking their fresh cod, haddock or herring home to their families for lunch.

     I now had three jobs, a foot in two industries, friends from many different backgrounds and the education and future contacts to go with them. Of course I was neither the maker of the bread nor the catcher of the fish, the prime wealth creation activities, but, as a middleman between the two, I had unwittingly become a young entrepreneur! Later in life I would create my own goods and services but for now I was earning in both real terms and, more importantly as I would discover, in experience and goodwill.

     In due course my grandfather retired and the fish industry died. But the need of the populace to be fed lives on. There is always a market for fresh food.

     And there's always a market for entrepreneurs and innovators willing to use their native wit, get their hands dirty and grind that bit harder than the rest – for those working on excellence.

     Grandad, the bakers and the fish workers all knew that. I know it too. So should you.         

 I am Tom Riach. I live and write in the sunny south of Portugal.

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'THE MAKING OF AN ENTREPRENEUR' is an original copyright Tom Riach feature.
I hope you enjoyed this presentation and found it to be of value.
To learn more please visit me on my Author Page.
See you there! Regards, Tom.

© Copyright Joseph T.Riach 1998-present. All rights reserved.
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  • Top Video Contributor

    Most of us have an entrepreneurial spirit but a 'Poor Dad'' approach and a 'Poor Dad' mentality.  It is not our fault, it is what most of us have been taught, speaking for myself, at least.  I believe you were blessed with and born with a "Rich Dad' approach and thought process and a "Rich Dad' mentality.  I had to learn it.  That is the key, it can be learned!  And thank you for helping to make that learning happen. Thanks for stellar content, an enjoyable read, and a lesson worth learning and remembering.   For those who may not be familiar:  Rich Dad Poor Dad is a book by Robert Kiyosaki ... and stellar is one of Tom's special words, he uses it sparingly and only for the best situations, this is a stellar post, thanks again, 

    • Top Commentor

      Reading your response is a mini-education in itself George. Your input is always of value and welcome. I was never conscious of having a 'rich' or 'poor' mentality, only that I was brought up (both at home and in the wider culture) to be self-dependent and work for my needs. Thankfully there were no hand-outs going, sink or swim was the order of the day. I chose to swim!

  • Top Member

    Entrepreneurs are innovators because of our creativity and imagination to use our special talent of finding a way to provide a service that's beneficial for people. I had a similar business offline serving food to business workers that couldn't leave their job location. It worked out very good and like you I met a lot of new faces and they were my customers and I added them to my customer database as well because of the relationship I established. Thank you Tom for sharing your knowledge and wisdom in your blog post today. Wonderful experiences and enjoyable read. 

    • Top Commentor

      You're a like spirit indeed Terri. I've mentioned food a few times recently. It's a subject not to overlook. All people need to eat. From a business perspective it's smart to be involved in food. Giving folks what they need today is the key to providing them with what you want tomorrow! 

    • Top Member

      Absolutely agree with you Tom Riach 

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