I was advised by a mentor to renegotiate my loans on my equipment to help during Pennsylvania winters. When I went to my local lending institution, they were all very helpful. When I went to the international construction equipment company, that simple phone call triggered them to seek a repossession of the equipment. Even though I was never late on a payment, just my inquire in the “small print” allowed them to accelerate the loans and when I couldn’t pay the purchase amounts that gave them ground for repossession. That was beyond defeating and after hiring an attorney realized I was about to get my first lesson in the world of bankruptcy. I learned you can beat goliath!
Having learned that lesson, I decided I needed to branch out and have multiple income sources. Having saved my pennies and after a freak meeting with a computer programmer and the owner of the computer programming company, I vested in the online adult entertainment industry. This wasn’t a hard decision because of my background growing up and working at a local bar as a bouncer and having the duty of picking up the local entertainers to come to the bar I worked at, after hours to party with the bar owner and his friends.
This new business venture quickly grew and was filling our bank account faster then we could have imagined. Here is lesson number two, an employee of my partners firm quick and when he left he had emailed all the clients my partners company had worked with or built websites for, that he was one of the owners of this adult entertainment company. You would think, who cares, but one of the emails reach the bank that our deposit account was with and who my construction company had loans with. When the bank manager questioned me about being involved and looking in square in the eye and telling him “If I gave you a free password, you would be looking at it all the time” and him agreeing, but he said, that is true but having a very high-profile college football coach on the board wouldn’t be good for that football program if it was found out. I closed the online businesses, and that coach and other coaches were ousted for molesting little boys. Lesson number two, never let anyone bully you!
I now know what financially being in the adult industry is like and it was hard to walk away from and never left my mind to not look for another opportunity.
As I was closing the heavy equipment company and not solely focusing on the residential and commercial construction that we had morphed into during the bankruptcy. I very quickly took this business into the seven figures of yearly gross sales. I had goal to be a liquid millionaire by the time I was thirty and that happened six months into my thirtieth birthday. That day was so amazing, but I never felt complete, even with all the support from home, I didn’t have the one person I wanted the approval of “great job” from and that was my dad who had passed away a few years earlier at the age of 59 from cancer.
I morphed this residential and commercial construction into a land development company and into a eight figure small empire. Controlling all the land sales and homes being built within the development allowed for controlled sustainable growth. Again, learning from my first loss I wasn’t going to put all my eggs in one basket, and it is crazy how business opportunities arise.
This time around it was the owner of a concrete subcontractor that came to me one day and inquired if I bought real estate. I confirmed with him that I did, and he told me of an opportunity to own a gentlemen’s club that was being kicked out of the building they had been renting. He told me that he and his crew frequented the place and that he thought I would be a good investment. I proceeded to go to the establishment to speak with the owner and the entertainers. I decided to make an offer to the owner that he accepted, and I now owned my first of three gentlemen’s clubs and my future very successful time in the adult entertainment industry. I could never had imagined the amount of money one club could have generated but it generated so much I bought the second club a month later. I learned another life lesson here and it was when I was pulled over for speeding that there was a warrant out for my arrest. A warrant I said to the police officer, and he calmly explained it was weird how this is showing up but he needed to follow protocol. So, I listened to all his commands, and we drove to the station where the captain couldn’t even make sense of this. It was at that point I knew something was fishy! I contacted my wife to get a hold of a bails bonds company and I was being taken to the state police barracks and to county in my hometown. Lucky me to have been who I was and was able to finagle my way through the system to only find out it was all a setup from a homeowner who tried to cheat the system financially and I was quickly exonerated as the Judge berated the prosecution and cop who made this all up!
As this new venture in the adult industry was taking off the land development and construction had gotten even bigger, and it was on one fateful late afternoon my first brush with death came upon me.
I had fallen twenty-two feet on one of my job sites. I was always so cautious to tell my crew to be safe and make sure safety railing was up in areas that were dangers, and it was one of those that should have ended my life but it wasn’t my time! This prompted my evaluation of life for the first time. Money drove my goals to this point in life. Providing for my young family, providing for things I never had growing up. These goals took time and lots of it. That was something I realized at such a young age as an entrepreneur that is the one thing in life you will never replace, TIME!
Once I was strong enough, I sold the construction side of the company and kept the land development and adult entertainment businesses and it was off to Key West, FL where I was to sit back and enjoy family and life. That lasted about six months and then that entrepreneur bug bit again. This time it was the addition of another gentlemen’s club which brought me to three and expand my online website that was part of the alternative lifestyle. With the growth of the alternative lifestyle website half of the third gentleman’s club was turned into a alternative lifestyle club for couples and singles that partook in that type of lifestyle.
Again, the craziest business opportunities come at the craziest times. It wasn’t to long while living in the keys that an opportunity to keep the local cheer gym my kids belonged to open and winning a few state and national championships if I can brag for a second, the girls were amazing, it was all their hard work that achieved their goals! I only gave them the positive energy to feel they could.
But, back to the biz growth, at this time there was the business bug to open my second alternative lifestyle club and no better place then Key West, FL. An area very open-minded to such a business. As that business was growing and becoming popular among both tourist and locals another opportunity would come across my desk. It would be what is called a hotel takeover. Now what was originally presented wasn’t big enough for me to vest in.
After looking at other options it was decided to “take over” that is what it is called when you pre-purchase all the rooms and resell them back to the consumer. Anyways, the largest resort in south Florida was booked and was quickly named with world’s largest swingers event. With other 12,000 people in attendance over a three-day period assured that title has to this day never been broken. Even the following year there were a little over 10,000 attendees. It was at that moment different news agencies labeled me as the KING OF SWING.
Carrying that label both was a god sin and curse. It opened a lot of doors to meet some cool people and do more cool things in business that the normal person generally wouldn’t be able to do. I worked with A list movie producers, showtime, playboy and Emmy winning tv show producers. I still to this day cherish those friendships. Those takeovers to this day were some of my most accomplished goals I had set. Beyond controversial but financially worth it. But, was it worth it to the labels my kids carried at such a young age? They learned to deal with it but both parents and kids can be mean at any age to anyone they deem fit to be mean to. Fast forward and my kids grew up to be amazing young humans because their mother and father allowed them to be them and trusted them! Because of that they grew and were able to trust us as parents and while some of their friends were doing the things parents are most scared of, ours weren’t and we were sure of that. That was comforting.
The success of those events led me into more business opportunities and more troubles also. It wasn’t long that I invested into a friend’s Italian restaurant idea and wasn’t long I lost that large five figure investment. Roughly the same time I was expanding the alternative lifestyle club footprint to the mainland of Florida. I had researched the local attorneys and explained my businesses and found who I thought was a winner. I found an amazing location and secured a lease with the building owner and gave him a high six figure deposit. Things were running very smooth with the design and city approvals until the zoning officer passed away. This caused the project to be pushed back thirty days. It was that thirty day extension and where I found out my attorney wasn’t as good as I expected. The building owner wanted another large figure deposit for the extension and within our contract I had the thirty days built in. But my attorney didn’t file until the 31st day and that caused a default. To say I was upset was an understatement! The building owner then became unbearable to work with and I walked away from the deal. The building owner sued per the contract and won! This was the start of a very long and serious educational process of the bankruptcy system!
Our move to Key West was short lived and back to Pennsylvania we went. Shortly after the move back north I vested in my own Italian restaurant. I loved the food industry and watching peoples faces when they would mouth to their partner how good their food was. I had branded a successful line of Italian sauces. Here is where the stigma of that adult business ownership and living in a small town caught up with other businesses I owned and taught me a very valuable lesson in life. Rumors ran rampant within the small community and even though they weren’t true it had caused business to slowly decline to the point my ROI wasn’t enough for me to keep it open. The lesson learned was I was trying to be everything for everyone and that is when I realized “I will not be liked by 100% of anyone and it was at that point after closing the door, I never allowed the haters to win ever again!”
During this time in our lives, I learned the second lesson of having to fight goliath! Remember that building owner in Florida. Well, his building was repossessed by the bank during the housing crash of 2008. When you move from one state to another with a bankruptcy it is financially hard for the average person to collect, and I thought I was safe but learned differently when you are going up against someone or something with deeper pockets then you have. Now it was the building owner trying to collect on that rent debt. It was the bank! The bank had the means to come to Pennsylvania and try to collect. I generally do not make the same mistakes twice so my attorney on this was the best there was! We won!
So back to being bit by the food bug. I would invest later in more food business opportunities, some positive and some not so much. What I had found out early in business was partnerships are tough! If they work, they are amazing but if one partner isn’t pulling his or her weight that can quickly cause a strain and that had happened only twice before. So, I was always confident when partnering with people because I expect they will work as hard as me and I was let down only two other times in all of my 25+ years. This one time myself and a couple friends vested in building one of the world’s largest mobile bbq trucks. I had teamed up with who I thought were genuine people I had known and had some military background like myself but that didn’t last long, and we all lost our mid five figure investments. There were contracts in order and they declared bankruptcy and knowing the system, I knew collection was impossible.
As I transitioned out of this partnership, I decided I wanted to focus more on helping people and other entrepreneurs and you may laugh but I decided to get my life coaching certification from Southwest Institute of Healing Arts. As I described above schooling wasn’t for me that didn’t interest me and the life coaching courses and knowledge from licensed therapist gave me the tools, I felt I needed to truly help others. I really prospered in this environment thought I found my calling! I really enjoyed helping other kids like myself that the straight and narrow path in life wasn’t for them but need more guidance to keep out of trouble.
My next life lesson was about to be learned. This goes back to the you won’t be liked by 100% of anyone but what I was about to learn was far greater travesty! My life lesson learned here was people will say and do anything to save their own hide and if that meant trying to throw me under the bus was one of them then that was how it was going to go. The guidance counselor and principle at the local high school vetted me and I had a very successful speaking engagement a group of what the school considered troubled teens!
The reviews were so good they asked me back to speak with the entire school. Here is where being open about your businesses for financial growth caused the future backlash. At NO point would I or did I ever talk about the adult entertainment businesses. That is very inappropriate! But, it didn’t take long for kids to get on their cell phones to google me and find out about the King Of Swing background and start the snowball rolling downhill. Now the funny part is these kids probably don’t have a clue more than likely their parents partake in that lifestyle but who am I to say or judge! The worst mistake I made was not speaking up about the untruths. I didn’t want to bring my family into the mess, so I just let was said be said. That hands down were the worst mistake I ever made in my life and from that day forward I brought F U attitude when people worked with me. It became a “This is me, like it or leave” type attitude and to this day, I’m that much more ahead because of that situation. It goes back to you won’t be liked by 100% of anyone so don’t try! Circle yourself with like-minded individuals and groups.
I took a couple years to just be a dad. No new businesses. All the adult businesses were sold in 2010/11 and that was a decision made between myself and my family. I needed this mental time to regroup, I had a lot of losses mentally with partnerships and financial goals missed and I wasn’t used to this. I always had winners picked when I did businesses. I wasn’t used to losing. It was a well needed break for myself and my family.
It was the food bug that bit me and made me come back! One of my dearest partners Bob and I decided to open up a smoothie café in Harrisburg. The concept was launched in 2014 and by 2015 we had our first location up and running and doing amazing! So amazing it brought the next life lesson! The lesson of a three-letter government agency knocking on our door. I had come up with an investment opportunity that our attorney said we could do and after implementation and growing our locations from one to four within a year and had an incredible article written about our concept. It
was this article that was read by the local SEC and it was that article that taught me again to circle yourself with the right attorney or you will quickly find yourself in trouble! This concept though legal if I would have been advised correctly by our attorney but since we weren’t, there were many laws broken, fines paid and future locations forfeited.
Fast forward to my most devastating news. It was now 2018 and having had a mole located on my left shoulder that was being monitored by the local medical clinic but after a couple years and it finally being sore to touch and the clinic still saying it was this type of mole. My wife who is a RN told me to go to the main hospital and when I did the resident said the same and I said I paid $25 dollars to get in here so cut it off and so the attending Dr. came in and said okay to cutting it off but assured me that it would be fine.
It was two weeks later that fateful phone call came that said YOU HAVE CANCER! I was in disbelief as was the same Dr. who told me I would be fine. Not only was this a life lesson to be learned again regarding my final bankruptcy but I closed all the businesses. I mentally shutdown. I gave up. Why? It wasn’t just one cancer they found. I had three different kinds. I didn’t know if I would survive so I took all the necessary precautions to make sure my family wasn’t held liable for any businesses I had started. There went the cafes, coffee business, tattoo shop, all of it. I needed to focus on myself, my health, and my family.
It was in 2018 after giving myself enough time to wallow in sorrow I got back into business with my last business partner and got back to the things I knew and made most of my wealth through, land development and online businesses. Just as those new ventures were settling in and starting to take off, COVID happened and through a major wrench into all our businesses. It wasn’t until 2021/22 that most of those businesses finally were completed and now starting to gain traction online and in the field.
To date they found more cancer and my fourth type. I keep a positive attitude for I’ve been able to live this long and live a very prosperous life on so many fronts. It is easy to feel sorry for yourself but that does no good, as I learned and only affects, he people around you. I can easily look online at people that are far worse off then I am and by living by this motto has helped me appreciate live and the pockets of time I get and give!
Thank you for reading my TRUTHFUL synopsis of my life story. I have the life experiences that will help you transverse through your life’s obstacles. It’s time to join the Rejuvenate group.
Jason “Jake” Jean