Beyond Invincible urges Alpha Entrepreneurs to live larger and longer with abundant success and leave a profound legacy of significance. This is the story of Phila rock star entrepreneur whose life was tragically cut short because he thought he was invincible. Jennifer shares the true story about her rock-star entrepreneur husband of 22 years, who built a multimillion-dollar houseboating business by 25 years old, married the love of his life, traveled to nearly 50 countries, ran numerous triathlons, raised two children, and had an unstoppable spirit. Tragically he was stopped at age 52 by prostate cancer because he wasn’t proactive about his health. Yet, at the end of his life he was able to say that he had nothing left on his bucket listexcept to be the world’s greatest grandfather. Entrepreneurs can live large, but they also need to live long. Because in life, length matters. Jennifer speaks to entrepreneurs and their spouses as she entertains, educates, and saves lives by sharing Phil’s story and emphasizing the importance of being proactive about health. Treat your health the way you treat your businesses, do the due diligence of getting checked, add years to your life, and leave a profound legacy!
|Publisher:||Morgan James Publishing|
|Product dimensions:||5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x (d)|
About the Author
Jennifer L. Carroll is an in-demand motivational and funny speaker, author, and documentarian whose passion is to inspire others to live large, live long, and leave a profound legacy. With her front-line perspective of the Alpha Entrepreneurial profile as a renegade widow, Jennifer channels her anger into passion as she tells her husband’s story about a life lived large but not long enough! Jennifer has her Bachelor’s degree in Broadcast Journalism from Arizona State University and is a former TV news reporter and entertainment host for Global Television Network and CTV Television Network and author of Bigsbee’s Unbee-lievable Journey to Fly. Jennifer is an avid snowboarder, wake surfer, cyclist, yogi who loves to dance, travel, and entertain lifelong friends with her story telling. She is mother to Jessica (YouTube Influencer and On-camera host) and Austin (Professional Hockey player) and lives in Scottsdale, AZ with her two dogs Gigi and Dill.
Read an Excerpt
My Rock-Star Entrepreneur
* * *
If you ask a couple how they met, if they've been together for any length of time, you'll likely hear two different stories. This is certainly true of Phil and me.
If you asked me, Jennifer Leigh Whidden, how I met Phillip John Carroll, I'd tell you that we met in 1983 at a celebrity fundraiser for the Special Olympics, in Banff, Alberta, Canada. I was nineteen years old and one of the model hosts welcoming international guests to the spectacular Banff Springs Hotel nestled in the heart of the Rocky Mountains. I'd describe waiting at the entrance of the grand ballroom, amidst the heavy velvet drapes and glittering chandeliers, scanning the red carpet to lock eyes with my favorite celebrities.
One by one, the stars arrived — with no Hollywood sparkle at all! Even my idol Mary Hart from Entertainment Tonight showed up in a beige turtleneck with a ponytail and no makeup! Where was the WOW? It was one celebrity sighting debacle after another.
Until in cruised this guy with a mane of blond hair and a moustache to match. Immediately the room was illuminated by his presence and his buttery-gold silk blazer. Who was this man? He screamed rock star! He turned out to be a hugely successful, twenty-four-year-old Calgary entrepreneur — and my friend's boyfriend. Darn!
Now, if you asked Phil how he met me, he'd look you straight in the eye with great pride and confidence and say, "I met Jennifer in the shower ... with two other models!" Although Phil stretched the truth relentlessly — especially with his favorite shower story — it wasn't as X-rated as he insinuates. I'll indulge you with the full details of the shower story soon enough, but first you need to meet Phil Carroll.
A Born Entrepreneur
If you asked Phil to describe himself, he would say, "I'm a loving husband, father, son, athlete, businessman, world traveler, and lover of life!" However, if you shook Phil out of a deep sleep and yelled aggressively, "Who is Phil Carroll?" he would shout back, bleary-eyed, "I'M AN ENTREPRENEUR! GO BIG OR GO HOME!"
Phil was born to be a wild, fearless, rock-star entrepreneur. There are some things about entrepreneurship that can't be taught; they are inherited. He was, as they say, a chip off the old block — both his parents were entrepreneurs. His father, Lorne, owned and managed a hotel in Banff, Alberta, while his mom, Dolores, started her career in the hospitality industry and eventually owned and managed a landmark gift shop on Banff Avenue.
Lorne proudly boasts about Phil's first and infamous business, which he started at the age of eight. Like other youngsters he had chores around the house, and one of them was cutting the lawn of their one-story home in Calgary, Alberta. The Carrolls didn't have the typical, backbreaking, push mower — no, they had the state-of-the art, lime-green Lawn-Boy electric-start mower, and all the neighbors took notice. Little entrepreneur Phil recognized an opportunity and began soliciting the nosey neighbors to sign up for his lawn maintenance business. Phil became University Heights' official Lawn Boy, and he soon, due to high demand, began hiring his buddies to join his labor force. While most young boys his age were building Apollo 11 spaceships out of Legos and imagining their own heroic moon landing, Phil was calculating the profit margin of his neighborhood business venture. Dad didn't pay him for his chores, but the neighbors did!
Lorne recalls the day he was approached by neighbor Fred Perry, who, while driving home from work, was puzzled as he caught a glimpse of a strange boy, at a stranger's home, pushing his John Deere electric mower. Fred pulled over to inquire why this boy was cutting the neighbor's grass with his lawn mower. Without hesitation the boy said that he was working for Phil Carroll, and Phil gave him this lawn mower. A few days earlier, Phil had asked to borrow Fred's lawn mower. Fred assumed the Carrolls' lawn mower was broken, and so he did what any neighborly neighbor would do — he lent his mower to Phil. The reality was that Phil's business was booming and he needed more mowers, so he started to borrow them from his helpful neighbors. Fred got a kick out of this long-haired blond kid's ballsy move, so he kept lending Phil his lawn mower but negotiated a cut. When Lorne heard about Phil's lawn dealings, all he could do was chuckle to himself about his son's brilliant entrepreneurial strategy.
Dolores, too, has a young Phil entrepreneur story. In his mid-teens, Phil was in line with a buddy at the local movie theatre when they overheard two guys talking about this great job delivering flowers for the Christmas holidays. Phil jumped out of line and headed straight to the Flower Shop and got the job. Excited about his new income source for the holidays, he raced home to share his good fortune with his biggest fan, his mom. He explained that all the shop had required was a driver's license and a heated van. Dolores squinted her eyes a touch before asking him, "And how do you intend to get a heated van? We don't have one." Phil waved off her comment and said confidently, "No worries, Mom — I just unbolted the backseat of your Lincoln, and voilà, a heated van!" One of Dolores's parenting philosophies for her five children was "never clip their wings," which made this another one of her many proud Phil moments.
The Buck-Off Phil Carroll spent his life celebrating life. To Phil, life was one big party! He loved hosting soirées with his family and friends — the more, the merrier! — with music blaring from huge speakers, bottomless cocktails, lots of laughter, and his infamous toasts. He would raise his glass to honor his peeps and, in his boisterous vibrato, state what had become known as his motto: "In life, it's not what you do, it's who you do it with that makes all the difference. So, here's to you and ... who you do!" Laughter, applause, and the clinking of glasses would erupt, and the party would resume until the wee hours.
Phil walked his talk — or in this case, his toast. All his life he collected remarkable people to share his journey of success and significance, and to party with like rock stars. Although I was Phil's only wife, I was not his only life partner. Dave Steele was his business partner for thirty years, and their relationship was like a second marriage — but with different benefits. This truly remarkable bromance included weddings, childbirth, world travel, summers on the lake, and missionary work. It also endured business losses, family tragedy, illness, caregiving, a gut-wrenching eulogy, and a final good-bye.
Phil and Dave met at the University of Calgary at the ripe old age of twenty-two. It was their last year in business school. Dave was the president of the university's ski club and its two hundred members, which was the only reason Phil went to meet him. You see, Phil had a plan to put his partying talents to work and host the biggest party in the history of the University of Calgary, and he was calling it the "Buck-Off." He needed partiers, and the ski club had the most members of any club at the university. Phil decided he was going to do the Buck-Off with Dave Steele, because he was the ticket to selling tickets!
"Looking back, that party was when I learned what kind of guy Phil was," Dave told me. "You see, he couldn't just have any party. We had four bands, and male and female mud-wrestling. We brought in the El Toro bucking machine from Gilley's Bar in Houston, Texas — the first time it had ever been brought out of Texas. There were wet T-shirt contests, and the weight of all the eager onlookers hanging from the ceiling rafters actually brought down the house — or rather, barn. Fortunately, no one was hurt, but we only ended up breaking even after paying for damages. But what a party! Through that experience, I knew that Phil and I could work together and make stuff happen." Dave said this with a huge smile plastered on his face.
"We learned that we could not only work together, but play together, too," he went on. "We became best friends."
So the Dave and Phil bromance began with a barn-burning Buck-Off party that still holds the title of the best party in the history of the University of Calgary. Their next adventure was to turn the art of partying and holidaying into a multimillion-dollar business, all before they turned twenty-five.
Three Buoys Houseboats
In January 1982, the two boys and their friend, Rob Jensen, went on a weekend ski trip to British Columbia. En route, they stopped in the small town of Sicamous on the eastern shore of Shuswap Lake, which had the distinction of being the houseboat capital of Canada. A frozen fleet of a dozen houseboats piqued their curiosity. "Now, that would be an awesome party boat for next summer's getaway!" the three boys marveled. Phil noted that they would have to add a huge stereo and coolers, of course, to rock those boats. Completely pumped, the boys were astonished to hear that all the boats were booked for the next two summers.
Intrigued, they inquired at three other local houseboat companies, only to discover the same scenario: everything was booked. In college, the boys had learned one of the most important economic principles: when demand exceeds supply, there is a business opportunity.
Rob studied the boats carefully, and with his extensive twenty-two-year-old handyman skills, announced confidently, "Hey, I could make one of these boats easy," which ignited a blowtorch in Phil's entrepreneurial mind.
That was it! The aha moment when Phil decided he and his buddies were going to build a houseboat of their own. They jumped back into their van and were headed for the slopes, when something caught Phil's eye. He suddenly veered off the freeway down a dirt road and right into a farmer's yard. Without explanation, he jumped out of the car in front of an old, rickety Quonset hut filled with hay. He ran up to the door of the farmer's house and started pounding, until a less-than-impressed farmer answered, holding a shotgun. Dave and Rob quickly jumped up on the porch to make peace after Phil rattled the roost, and before they knew it, they found themselves in the midst of an amicable rental negotiation of fifty dollars a month for the farmer's Quonset hut. There it was, their perfect, affordable, houseboat building warehouse. They shook hands with the farmer and told him to clear out the hay, for they'd be back with building supplies in a couple of weeks.
Dave explained, "Our ski trip was not about to happen. Phil was on a mission. We turned around, drove back to Sicamous, went down the main strip of town, and found a one-acre waterfront property for sale for $100,000. We needed a $3,000 deposit, so we scraped our money together and wrote the realtor a check. We had just bought our first marina. On that one day, bound for the ski slopes, a sequence of events transformed our lives forever. In the course of forty-eight hours, without knowing anything about the houseboating business, we found ourselves driving back to Calgary with a farmer's Quonset hut for our factory, a marina to house the boats, and a general contractor to build them."
Dave and Phil continued working their nine-to-five finance jobs every week until five o'clock Friday, when they would shed their suits and ties, jump into their white Riviera, and bee-line it six hours to their Quonset hut warehouse in Shuswap. On the drive, they would strategize about raising the capital, designing and constructing the boats, and developing the business plan. All weekend they would work with Rob, building their houseboat, with Journey blaring, "Don't Stop Believin'," from the boom-box speakers. With the celebratory clinking of Molson Canadian, Three Buoys Houseboat Vacations was born.
Just like the Buck-Off had to be an epic party, Three Buoys Houseboats had to be an epic houseboat experience. In fact, they were about to launch the world's first floating luxury entertainment centers.
"Phil had to build a sexy boat and then offer a complete holiday experience. Even the first two boats had a railing on the top deck, complete with sun chairs, a huge beer cooler, and more importantly, a sound system that would rock the Shuswap waterways," remembered Dave. "The complete vacation package ended up somewhat like a mini Club Med experience. We had activities and games like parasailing, waterskiing, jetskiing, campfires, and skit nights. Many times groups of houseboats would tie up together and become a massive floating party."
For the next two summers, those two sexy houseboats were sold out. After just two years of houseboat rentals, they were in business.
"Sold out" meant that Three Buoys needed more inventory, which required three things: money, houseboats, and a brilliant business plan. Their first business strategy was to approach local Alberta banks for money to build hundreds of houseboats in the landlocked prairies. It was ludicrous. At bank after bank, the response was the same: a definitive NO, followed by a door slam.
Back to the drawing board the boys went, but this time they were one boy short. Rob was approached by one of the established houseboat companies to run their boat building division and decided to jump ship. Dave and Phil agreed to give Rob one of the two houseboats, but they would keep ownership of the Three Buoys name, marina, and warehouse. The three boys split with an amicable agreement.
Phil and Dave then devised a brilliant investment package, where individual investors could buy the houseboats as tax shelters by taking advantage of the seldom-used Canadian federal tax incentive to encourage the marine industry.
About this time, Phil's big brother, Randi, who was running a lucrative employment newspaper in Seattle, came up with a bright idea. With his clever publishing mindset and whimsical way with words, he said, "Boys, seeing is believing. You want the dough; you've got to give them a show."
So Phil went to Mama Carroll and borrowed $5,000 to charter a jet. The plan was to fly seven investors out to the Shuswap to wow them with their new, sexy, Club Med-style houseboat that their entrepreneurial crystal ball was telling them would soon revolutionize the houseboat industry.
That first investors' houseboat tour went down like the Titanic. It sunk, and deep. While seven investors, Dave, Phil, and brother Randi sat in the lush private jet, with bottles of Dom Pérignon chilling in the ice buckets, the pilot announced that there was a storm brewing in the interior of BC, and they were grounded. Dave told me, "It was the lowest point of our journey so far. Trying to get those busy corporate CEOs back for another flight was an unlikely proposition. It was the only time I felt that maybe this wasn't going to be."
After shaking the hands of all the potential investors, thinking they'd probably never see them again, Phil and Dave went for Chinese food. Phil got a fortune cookie, and it read, "Market your idea."
"Believe it or not," Dave recalled, "we both looked at each other and said, 'You know what? We put way too much into this to give up. We have to find a way to make this work.'"
Over the next few weeks, Dave and Phil set out to find seven more investors. According to Dave, the morning of the rescheduled flight "was the most beautiful sunny day, as if God was shining down from above to illuminate our vision for the world to see — or at least the seven investors. At the end of the day, landing back in Calgary, seven investors handed us checks for half a million dollars, and we proudly popped the chilled Dom Pérignon with a toast."
Randi and his marketing genius officially came on board, and they were three boys once again. They worked in the basement of Phil's home, which became the Three Buoys Houseboat Vacations' official headquarters. It was time to hire their first employee. "We interviewed several girls," recounted Dave, "but this one gal, Brenda, stood out among the rest. In fact, she ended up asking us questions and interviewing us. She inquired about benefits." Dave laughed, remembering the look on her face when they bragged about having a fridge full of beer. Within ten minutes, Phil, the ever-so-spontaneous decision maker, said, "Man, this gal is just unbelievable. We've got to hire her."
But there was a hitch, as Dave tells the story: "She started the next day as a receptionist/secretary, and when we handed her the to-do list, she looked at us and said, 'Guys, I need to tell you something. I can't type.'" They had just hired their first secretary and found out five minutes after she started that she completely missed the job criteria. Brenda remained their number one employee and dear friend, and she eventually took over the entire operation of Three Buoys Houseboats with her husband, Gordon, whom she met through Three Buoys.
Rich as Cheesecake
Like all entrepreneurial ventures, the Three Buoys Houseboat journey had lots of ups and downs. One of the biggest ups was the media attention the company got because it had the three young, single, vivacious men at the helm. The media was all over these golden boys from Alberta, who were selling hundreds of boats to wealthy prairie investors. It was a broadcaster's rags-to-riches dream story. Only four years after leasing the farmer's Quonset to build their first boat, Dave and Phil appeared in the September 22, 1986, issue of Forbes magazine, which boasted, "To date, Three Buoys has sold some $29 million worth of houseboats."(Continues…)
Excerpted from "Beyond Invincible"
Copyright © 2019 Jennifer L. Carroll.
Excerpted by permission of Morgan James Publishing.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
Part One Living Large,
Chapter 1 My Rock-Star Entrepreneur,
Chapter 2 A Great Love Affair,
Chapter 3 The Christmas Carrolls,
Part Two Lessons Learned Living While Dying,
Phil-osophy #1 Be Positive,
Phil-osophy #2 Stay Focused,
Phil-osophy #3 Just Keep Swimming,
Phil-osophy #4 Live to Give,
Phil-osophy #5 Leave No Words Unspoken,
Phil-osophy #6 The Greatest Is Love,
Phil-osophy #7 Leave a Legacy,
Phil-osophy #8 Get Checked,
Epilogue Finding Our Way,
About the Author,