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Chirag T. Patel
Amazon Take Action! and Startup Development Institute
My name is Chirag T. Patel and I was born in Drumright, Oklahoma. When I turned 3 years old I moved to a small city in Georgia called Milledgeville. My mother was born in New Zealand and my father was born in India. In 1979 my father came to America to pursue a new life and the American Dream. My mother also moved to America during the same time who was brought here by my grandfather to pursue a better life for my mother and her sisters and brothers. During this time my parents had not met yet. My parents were like many immigrant families that came to America who had a dollar and the dream, well more like $10 for my dad.
Being the first generation of Indians who immigrated to the US they did not know anything or anyone. Through word of mouth my father and mother were introduced and like the Indian culture they were married within a week in a arranged marriage. Today all that has changed, believe me, I am married and she didn’t say yes until three years later, but that’s another story!
Not knowing how my parents were going to survive, make money, raise a family and get a piece of the American pie. They went straight to work at a small independent motel making minimum wage. Then everything changed-- I was born! Not knowing how they would survive and raise a family on minimum wage they took a leap of faith. From the money they saved and getting a loan they moved 926 miles from Cushing, OK to Milledgeville, GA and bought a small motel called Royal Inn on the not-so-great part of town.
Now my parents didn't know anything about ROI, PnLs, customer service, or managing a motel. They didn't go to college for this. All they knew was working hard and HUSTLE! They knew if you worked hard at something then results will follow. But little did they know, they instantly became entrepreneurs!
For the first few years business was slow, but knowing there was no turning back they had to make it happen by any means necessary. So the next thing they did was the greatest entrepreneurial idea that my parents ever came up with. To their credit probably the best idea they ever had! They decided to build a liquor store within the motel! You heard right, a drive through/walk in liquor store. So now customers can buy their favorite drink and rent a room without ever drinking and driving!
Business went up ten fold! Now people could come and buy liquor which in turn was free marketing to the motel. This move brought a lot of business to the motel and we were renting rooms left and right. Or I guess you can say we were in the business of preventing drinking and driving!
My sister and I grew up at the Royal Inn, it was the place we called home. We played, ate, slept and slumber partied with our friends. Yes, our friends always asked why we lived in a motel since they all lived in normal houses, but it was all we knew and growing up everyday was a adventure.
From the time I was 12 years old I started helping my parents operate the motel and the liquor store. Well, I didn't have much of a choice because (1.) I lived in the motel and (2.) my parents made me! So even before I was a teenager the entrepreneur spirit was instilled in me.
When I turned 18 I was more than ready to get out of Milledgeville. Although I think it's the greatest city in the world! I was ready for bigger and better things. I moved to Atlanta and attended Georgia State University. Throughout Middle School, High School and College I knew I wanted to own my own business so I just needed to figure out exactly what I wanted to do. To make a long story short I became a Headhunter and worked both sides of the industry including the agency and corporate side.
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