It is with a heavy heart that I bid you farewell as the author of this marketing column. For the past several years I have been working as a professional counselor and career coach. I am in the process of building a private practice along with the group therapy I give in two treatment centers in the Memphis area. I continued to write this column during graduate school, during my internship and now while working at my new profession.

In 2000 I sold my marketing and printing business to a competitor and became a marketing consultant. I chose the dry cleaning industry because I had a lot of experience helping a local dry cleaner expand his locations and routes and wanted to give other dry cleaners the opportunity to have an arsenal of marketing materials to expand their businesses. This strategy led me to writing this column for the past seven years. It was a way for me to get my name out as a marketing professional and known to dry cleaners nationwide. This strategy paid off when I developed a complete marketing system for dry cleaners, which many of my readers own. I subsequently sold this system to Greg Colosi who also has a column in this publication.

Marketing was my first love and I have no regrets for the 30 years I spent helping retailers keep their customers loyal. However, I found myself comparing my success to the success of others and always falling short of my own expectations, goals and dreams. I was successful and not fulfilled at the same time. Perhaps it was because I worked alone and had no one to share my ideas with. Or maybe it was that I was destined to help others in another way.

Marketing and therapy are very similar. You have to understand what makes people buy and what makes people act in certain unexplainable ways. It was a natural progression to move from one to the other. Today I feel fulfilled in what I am doing and happy to be out of the business rat race. I’ve entered another rat race of treating people with addiction and career coaching and I love what I do.

In this final message I would like to thank all of you who have faithfully read this column each month for the past seven years. The feedback, questions and referrals I have received has made this stream of income a pleasure. To Randy and Albane, my thanks for allowing me to share my knowledge with your audience.

One message I would like to leave with you is this. There comes a time in our lives when we receive a higher calling to achieve fulfillment by helping other people, no matter what the industry. We have to remain alert enough to hear the message because if we miss our true calling we will live sub standard lives unfulfilled, going to work each day dreading the returns, broken machinery and irate customers. Find the passion in whatever you do and you will feel fulfilled enough to make a difference in our beautiful world.