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Christopher Thompson's Closing the Deal: Lessons from entrepreneurs are valuable

August 02. 2014 8:55PM

ONE OF the things I enjoy the most is meeting successful entrepreneurs and hearing their stories. Entrepreneurs are a rare breed. Not only are they intelligent and hardworking, they have the fearlessness and determination to actually do something with their ideas. Unlike the majority of us who sit around and dream, they actually put their dreams into action. And that's what I find most admirable.

Over the summer, I had the opportunity to meet Max Pruna at a get together with several of my friends. It was my first time meeting Max, and I had the chance to spend some time with him and hear his story. I hope you will find it as inspiring as I did.

Born and raised in Columbia, Max Pruna had recently married his wife, Andrea. In 1999 they both decided they wanted to have what Max described as an "international experience." They decided to leave Columbia, come to America and pursue their higher education. They both enrolled at Southern New Hampshire University in Manchester. In 2000, Max completed his master's degree in international business, and Andrea completed her MBA.

From there, they both landed good jobs, launched their careers and were well on their way to pursuing the American dream. During this time, they began to dabble in real estate. Max explained that they were living frugally and investing 50 percent of their income into real real estate.

They continued to grow their real estate portfolio and worked 20 to 30 hours per week on their real estate business, on top of their full time jobs.

Then, in 2008, during the biggest financial crisis and real estate crash we have seen in our lifetime and right when Max and Andrea had just started a family and had two young children at home, they made a decision that most people would consider crazy. Max quit his job to pursue his real estate business full time. And this is the part of the story I find to be so fascinating.

It was a decision that was criticized by a lot of their friends and family yet supported by Andrea.

And when you think about it logically, it doesn't make a whole lot of sense. You've just started a family. You have a good job. The economy is tanking. And what do you do? You quit your job.

Ever since this decision, Max and Andrea haven't regretted it one bit. They experienced tremendous success and eventually sold their residential properties to make a shift toward commercial real estate. Since then, their success has continued, and Max formed a real estate company with a partner that continues to thrive today.

And here's the best part. With one of Max's most recent real estate projects, he found himself with a little extra time on his hands. During his daily jogs, he often listens to podcasts about entrepreneurship. And the mind of an entrepreneur never stops.

Beginning in late August, Max will be producing a daily podcast focused on interviews with successful entrepreneurs. The podcast is called "Mente Emprendedora" which translates "Entrepreneur Minds" and will be targeted towards Hispanic entrepreneurs. It will be delivered in Spanish and posted daily on iTunes and Stitcher.

Max is a real life example of how hard work, education, risk taking and a burning desire to succeed can lead to tremendous success. Even if you have no desire to be an entrepreneur, the story of Max Pruna has elements that are applicable to everyone in business.

Christopher Thompson ( writes Closing the Deal weekly. He is the vice president of sales and services for leadership solutions at Skillsoft, a Nashua-based provider of learning solutions. Visit Skillsoft at

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