MAKING BUSINESS DREAMS A REALITY
STARTING A BUSINESS REQUIRES HUSTLE, PASSION AND PATIENCE
According to Business Insider, fifty percent of new small businesses fail within their first five years. For the entrepreneurs that make it beyond that time span, the path to running a successful business still encounters many challenges along the way. It takes a lot of time, patience, energy, dedication and much more to get a business off the ground and prosperous. No one knows this more than local entrepreneur Al Hebert.
“You have to let your passion push you through. You got to have a lot of faith; you got to believe in yourself. And you got to believe in what you’re doing,” Hebert said. “There’s going to be a lot of times where you’re going to think that the dream is dead, and you just have to keep going and believe in it. Keep pushing.”
Hebert started getting a feel for what it might be like running his own company when he started working in a shipyard following his graduation from Nicholls State University in 1999. He was quickly promoted to a management position in the company. However, the business he worked for wouldn’t quite let him work behind the “closed doors.”
“It always intrigued me to get more into the financials of companies. You never get that full open door of being able to get in into the real finances of a company that you don’t own, no matter how far you go up the ladder,” the Raceland-native said. “There’s the reports, and then there’s the real reports. It’s very hard to find people that allow you to really look at what the numbers truly are when you work for them.”
His dream of completely running his own business became a reality after he opened Houma Martial Arts in 2007. Martial Arts had been a longtime passion of Hebert as he had been practicing it since he was six years old and teaching it since 1996.
Although he was finally able to run his own successful business, Hebert still didn’t let his entrepreneurial spirit deteriorate. In October 2017, he founded Bella Contractors—which does carpentry, floor coatings, and specialty coatings, amongst other construction needs—while building his newest business, Da Swamp—an indoor trampoline park and arcade.
“It’s all about the hustle—it’s just as hard as you want to work. My phone doesn’t stop—24/7. A lot of business owners out there that believe at five o’clock you got to shut your phone off, and on Saturdays and Sundays, you don’t answer your phone,” Hebert said. “I get the phone calls on those days and I answer. It’s just a different mindset and mentality that a lot of guys out there right now don’t have.”
Not only does a successful business owner need to be on call 24/7 and have extreme work ethic and passion, they must also have patience. Da Swamp was an over two-year process of establishing the LLC, researching other trampoline parks, drawing out the plans, traveling to banks to receive financial backing and then finally, building the actual park.
“Learn everything about it from the ground up. Educate yourself. Spend the time,” Hebert said. “You either spend the time, the effort and the money ahead of time, or you spend a lot of money trying to catch up. If you focus on the process, the money is going to take care of itself.”
“You have to let your passion push you through. You got to have a lot of faith; you got to believe in yourself. And you got to believe in what you’re doing. There’s going to be a lot of times where you’re going to think that the dream is dead, and you just have to keep going and believe in it. Keep pushing.”