Starting a Business When You Are Disabled – Elchonon Hellinger
This is one interesting and a very motivating story about a business started from scratch by a guy, whose passion and desire overcame the health problems he has had since he was 2. He didn’t have an easy and careless childhood, what many of us had, but this was not an obstacle for him at all to succeed online. It was not easy at all, but he never gave up, and now his efforts have started paying off big time. This is the story of www.thriftycomputer.com and its manager and founder – Elchonon Hellinger. He and his brother has proved that there is no hindrance, that can not be surmounted by human mind and desire. They have even beaten up the financial crisis and now they enjoy a nice and growing business, that is there to stay…
Elchonon Hellinger is no stranger to overcoming adversity. At the age of two, he developed tumors that resulted in a diagnosis of Neurofibromatosis Type II (NF2), a debilitating disease of the central nervous system. He has worn a brace on one foot since he was five. He had spinal surgery at 12 that left him without the use of his right hand, so he learned to use his left. Growing up was painful, due in part to the teasing of other children. Twenty operations later, at age 19 he found himself totally deaf and depressed. He had intended to study law before health problems intervened.
Hoping to rekindle his ambition, his mother suggested that he try developing an online career. He found some suppliers, began selling computer and phone accessories on eBay, developed his own website and his company, www.thriftycomputer.com, took off. In his early 20s, and heading a company with sales approaching $900,000, Elchonon was on his way to success as an online entrepreneur when a series of setbacks caused him to retrench. Problems with partners, products, merchant accounts, suppliers, even utilities, sent his fledgling company into a financial tailspin. He thought of declaring bankruptcy, but instead, Elchonon chose to retain his company, split from his partners and personally pay off a mounting debt that was nearing $60,000. Eventually, he was forced to move back home, share space with his five siblings and start over.
“Thriftycomputer became much bigger than just a company or a name to me. It’s a dream, an idea. I wanted to build a great company to offer customers the quality of service that I myself hope to receive,” says Elchonon. “We try to put ourselves in the customers’ shoes, as consumers, as people who want to buy something. It’s not just about making money, but building with the customers and building a business to last.”
During one of his tumor surgeries, Elchonon received an auditory brainstem implant (ABI). His physician at House Clinic, Dr. Derald Brackmann, says that Elchonon was an excellent surgical candidate and scored well on post-surgical tests. But the device takes getting used to, and with practice, it delivers a better quality of sound. Elchonon chose not to apply his energy to that purpose.
“Working online meant I was able to communicate without face to face or phone contact and this makes life much easier when you are deaf. So I didn’t put the time and effort into learning how to use the ABI for a long time, much to my regret,” says Elchonon. Back at home, while working to pay off debt, Elchonon received a smaller, more convenient ABI and this time he worked hard on improving his use of it. “Being able to hear more clearly now is certainly worth it, and it makes me wish I had done it much sooner,” he says.
Now 26 years old, with his younger brother Yosef as a partner, Elchonon has reinvented Thriftycomputer. He has re-established his relationships with suppliers, reopened merchant accounts, and is slowly rebuilding on a more stable foundation. The company is doing well at this point. This time he plans to expand more slowly, and with greater deliberation.
You think that this is an interesting idea? Visit their site and see more about how they do it.