Wayne Jordan: Ghostwriter
Connecting You to Your Customers
Wayne buys a business. Capitol-Gazette Newspaper Annapolis, MD 1986
Scene 1: A rude awakening
My eyes were opened when I was thirty-six. In September 1986, I purchased my first business: a piano dealership with a retail store, a warehouse, and a large repair shop.
One afternoon as I passed from the sales floor to the warehouse, I heard laughter coming from the shop. I stepped in to join the fun, but as I did, the laughter and conversation stopped. The shop became dead-quiet.
I was startled by the response. It was unexpected, like a slap in the face. I asked a couple of questions about a delivery and then left. Later, I wondered about the conversation that I had walked in on. Was it about me? Were there unspoken complaints? One thing was sure: I was no longer "one of the boys." I was the boss: "THE MAN." These weren't my friends. They were my employees. My life was different, and there was no going back. And the sooner I learned this lesson, the better for everyone.
Other lessons came back-to-back: economic recession, technology shifts in the piano business, urban renewal, and health problems put me in a tight spot financially and a dark place emotionally. To survive, I liquidated my retail stores and reorganized as a mobile warranty service for furniture and piano retailers and claims adjusting for van lines. As an adjunct, I became a certified personal property appraiser.
Scene 2: I Grow Up A Bit
Advertising flyer for van lines damage claims service 1998
These were distributed at a trade show booth
The service business prospered. Within a year, I was making more money than I had ever made in the piano business. I expanded the staff, acquired new shop space, and bought two new service vans. Things were looking up.
Until they weren't.
A second heart attack and quintuple coronary bypass surgery left me unable to work for months. When it became clear that I wouldn't be able to sling furniture and pianos around anymore, I sold the business. While in recovery, I occupied my time by becoming a licensed auctioneer and accredited business broker. I also became licensed in real estate and insurance. I planned to focus on estate liquidation, including real estate, personal property, and business brokerage.
Scene 3: I Fall Into Another Hole
I loved the estate business. Helping families deal with an avalanche of property issues at an emotionally-charged time was challenging but satisfying. Everyone grieves differently, and with each new estate, I saw sadness, anger, jealousy, frustraton, greed, or indifference. But, each family had stories to tell about heirlooms and the origin of their family company. My business was steeped in their memories, which helped me gain perspective on my life.
Business Broker Wayne, 2006
I had become accustomed to the ups and downs of the economy, so when the Great Recession hit in 2007, I didn't panic. But, my estate liquidation business faltered, and the business brokerage tanked. The U.S. housing bubble had burst, and there was a global financial crisis. I had sale contracts for several companies in due diligence, but I couldn't get anything financed. No one was loaning money to buy a small business. Almost overnight, I watched six figures in commissions vanish.
Scene 4: I Get Paid To Travel The World, and I Discover a New Career
By the end of 2008, my cash situation was dire. I needed to ride out the downturn for at least another year. So, I accepted a contract with a major art gallery to auction art aboard cruise ships. For most of 2009, I cruised the Caribbean, Baltic, and Alaska. The art income kept me afloat (no pun intended), and I had a great time.
Somewhere in Alaska; cruise ship art auctioneer Wayne, 2009.
Also, I rediscovered writing, a passion of my youth. On port days, when I had ship duty, I wrote travelogues about the places I had seen. I sent them to my wife, who sent them to friends and family. By the end of the year, I had an extensive mailing list of folks who wanted to read my stories.
When my gallery contract ended, I restarted my estate business. Since I couldn't afford much advertising, I began blogging to promote my services. One of my first pieces got Antique Trader Magazine's attention. They hired me as a columnist. Soon, my column Behind the Gavel was a mainstay of the magazine.
Since then, I have made a comfortable living as a freelance business writer. I have written corporate training manuals, software user guides, advertising copy, radio ads, speeches, thousands of product descriptions, and hundreds of blog posts and articles. I have published four books and ghostwritten several books and memoirs. In 2020, I became Senior Editor for WorthPoint Corporation. I am currently semi-retired and serving as WorthPoint's Editor Emeritus.
Best of all, I get to work from home. No employees. No landlords. Just me, my laptop, phone, and clients.
Over the years, I have developed an unflinching rapport with small business owners. After all, we have the same struggles, don't we? We deal with employees, accountants, taxes, and lawyers. We know what it's like to see cash flow tank but still meet payroll and keep the lights on. When we greet another business owner socially, the conversation is lively. We have much in common. We are all part of the brotherhood of small business owners.
Ghostwriter Wayne, 2021
What can I bring to your storytelling that most others can't? In a word: empathy. I understand—at a visceral level—what it's like to build and hold onto a business. The dreams, schemes, sleepless nights, setbacks, triumphs—I get it. When coaching, I focus on asking the right questions and getting to the heart of a story.
The only way to know which questions to ask a client is to have traveled the "I've-run-a-small-business" path. A good guide must know the territory. If you were going on a fishing trip, would you hire a guide who has never fished? Of course not. Likewise, don't hire a writer who hasn't traveled your path. They will miss too much.
What's Your Story?
There are hundreds of folks who could write your stories. Some of them are better writers than I am. Grammar, punctuation, and spelling are all essential (and I'm careful with those), but no one will read your text if the story falls flat.
First, we get your story right. I confidently guide you through that process. Book a discovery call, and we will discuss your project. No commitment, just conversation. If we aren't on the same page, we will agree to part ways, no harm, no foul. Otherwise, we will get the job done.