My Story

While I'm proud of my accomplishments, I don't really like to talk about them all that much. I hate to sound like I'm bragging when, really, I tend to think of myself as just a "C" student who made good. But the good news for you is that if I can make it as an entrepreneur then YOU can make it as an entrepreneur. My story is simply the story of a man with a vision, a little bit of luck and the drive to be independent.

Sometimes I feel as if I have been an entrepreneur almost since birth. I guess it runs in the family; my grandfather started a funeral home business that my father and his brother operated as I was growing up. Following graduation from John Carroll University and after a brief stint as an officer in the United Sates Army, I returned to Western Pennsylvania to join my father and uncle in the family business.

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It was a great business and I plunged into my duties with enthusiasm. But undertaking is a very conservative business and I was soon chomping at the bit to try something new. You see, this was in the mid 1970s and big things were happening in America, especially in terms of new technologies.

Little did we know at the time, but the big Bell Telephone and AT&T monopolies were about to be broken up, creating vast opportunities for new businesses. But I saw some early opportunities in 1975 and started a telecommunications-consulting firm to help client companies control their communications costs. That company has gone through numerous transitions over the past 30 plus years—along with the industry itself—but today I still operate that original business, now called Freyvogel Communications. We continue to serve the telecommunications needs of mid-sized businesses.

I love new technologies and I invested in many different businesses through this period. In the late ‘70s, my interests included the new technology of telephone devices for the deaf and a computer program that could pinpoint ideal locations for new businesses and franchises.

It was on a trip to Philadelphia to sell that particular technology that I came across a brand new concept … weight loss centers to help people regain their health and fitness. I was so intrigued by this concept that I ditched my plan to sell them my computer program and instead bought the franchise rights to a small market. The franchise owners were frankly skeptical that I could succeed in such a small market, but my instincts told me that I could make a go of it there.

I began with a single location in a small town in central Pennsylvania and turned the location into a profit center within a year. Within the following year, we launched another new location and made it profitable, too. By our third year in the weight loss business, my team and I were operating five locations in two states. We even received special recognition from the parent company when one of our new centers posted one of the first $1 million performances in the history of the franchise. Over the next few years we continued to expand, eventually operating 23 profitable weight loss centers in 3 states before divesting the franchise.

I've continued investing in various enterprises over the last three decades including a chain of automotive service centers, a manufacturer of fire extinguishers for racing cars, a process for fabricating limestone, a builder of inflatable boats, nutritional supplements, computer-designed shoe inserts, and videoconferencing services for large and medium-sized businesses.

My accountant tells me that, over the course of my career, I've founded or transformed more than a dozen small and million-dollar enterprises. I still operate Freyvogel Communications, but my latest interest is "Angel Investing." My partners and I enjoy locating and investing in emerging small businesses and in funding highly leveraged transactions.

For many years now, I've received requests from individuals and groups to talk about my exploits. In 2000, I wrote Seize the Century!, a book about my vision of the opportunities that the 21st century was opening up for entrepreneurs. A few years later, I wrote another book about the most critical interpersonal skills necessary for an entrepreneur's success, called It's Not Your Smarts, It's Your Schmooze.

My most recent book, Smarts, Guts and Luck: Straight Talk for Entrepreneurs is filled with valuable advice that can help any entrepreneur start and manage a business. It was fun to write and my readers tell me that it's fun (and informative) to read!

Between my writing, consulting, speaking and investing activities, it seems as though I have a pretty full schedule. However, my wife Katherine and I have raised seven children and now have 20 wonderful grandchildren, so a chunk of my time is also devoted to friends, family and philanthropic causes. When I'm not helping new entrepreneurs get off on the right foot, I sometimes manage to squeeze out a spare moment or two to enjoy reading, golf, skiing and off-road bicycling.

© Copyright 2015 by Ty Freyvogel, Inc. All Rights Reserved.