Budding entrepreneurs beware. Two in 3 new businesses fail within 10 years, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. What helps the other third avoid that fate? CNBC talked to three entrepreneurs who transformed their bold ideas into multi-million dollar juggernauts. This group of business owners, all members of the Tiger 21 networking group for wealthy individuals, reflected on their careers and provided tips to help you get your start-up off the ground. Shawn Stafford President and chief executive of Real Estate Service Solutions Company (RESSCO) in Detroit After graduating from Michigan State University in 1995, Stafford began working at Ford , where he built a career as a purchase manager, working his way up to oversee $1 billion worth of accounts and 100 employees. Yet Stafford, 46, says his lifelong goal of becoming an entrepreneur drove him to abandon the automotive world and jump into commercial real estate — despite not having any experience in the industry. “I was trying to find a niche business that I could get into that’s got a low barrier to entry,” Stafford said. His dream started slowly, with the married father of one starting to flip houses in 2003 while he worked at Ford. Meanwhile, he was developing a business plan take that side hustle full time. A year later, he left the car maker to launch Real Estate Service Solutions Company (RESSCO), a commercial real estate company. Stafford says his ability to self-fund RESSCO when he first started out, combined with Detroit’s low real estate prices, let him buy inexpensive properties and sell them for a profit after renovating. The management experience gained from working at Ford gave him an advantage over other entrepreneurs, he said, helping him to manage his business more efficiently. Now, 15 years after Stafford started RESSCO in his basement, the company has 130 employees and 15 locations across Michigan, Ohio, and Indiana, with $50 million in revenue. RESSCO’s specialty is multifamily housing, and the company controls nearly 5,000 apartment units across the Midwest. Nancy Lazkani President and chief executive of Icon Media Direct in Los Angeles Lazkani’s decision to go into business for herself wasn’t made in pursuit of money or status. “When I look at the basis for who I was, it was really about survival,” she said. When Lazkani was growing up, her family often moved between rental properties — with very little money to go around for her and her four siblings. She was the first person in her family to attend college, although she didn’t finish. After having her first child, the single mother jumped into the workforce and immediately began seeking ways to progress up the corporate ladder. Her first venture was an advertising agency, which she started with two partners. That ended badly but, undeterred, Lazkani jumped into her next start-up. She self-funded Icon Media Direct — a marketing firm with a focus on advertising analytics — with $10,000 in computers paid for with her American Express card. Clients from Lazkani’s first company followed her, eliminating the need to start entirely from scratch. Icon Media Direct’s early days saw Lazkani go months without a paycheck. But now, 18 years later, she said her company bills between $200 and $300 million per year and employs 100 workers. Dave Vreeland Co-founder of Cumberland Consulting in Franklin, Tennessee Vreeland, 50, attributes much of his entrepreneurial drive to his childhood. His family always had a “degree of economic insecurity,” Vreeland said. As an adult, he thought starting his own company was the best way to achieve a worry-free life for his wife and son. He started his career as a hospital administrator in the Midwest, before landing at Ernst & Young in Chicago. Vreeland’s job there immersed him in healthcare information technology — as E&Y was leading the health-care industry’s transition from paper medical filing to digital records. Having seen firsthand how much space patients records can occupy, Vreeland decided to seek a way to digitize the process entirely. That goal ultimately took shape in the form of Cumberland Consulting Group, a health-care information technology company that currently generates around $100 million in annual revenue. Published in Daily Times, December 3rd 2018.