The Toughest Row to Hoe


Ever the storyteller, Aaron has a specific tipping story that has helped shaped many of the other aspects of what it takes to have decades worth of business under his belt, but this isn’t an easy topic for Aaron to share.

Living the American Dream

Back in 2002, Aaron was living the American Dream with holidays at the new family beach house and enjoying the success of business. And then he got a phone call from the IRS. Is it possible to take something surrounded by negativity and make it a positive strength to learn from in life?

While answering questions on a person that Aaron had had multiple interactions with, the American Dream begin to show some cracks as the IRS kept telling him that he should be careful with whom he does business with.

Worried, Aaron contacted a criminal defense lawyer whom stated that everything should all blow over soon. Only it didn’t; Aaron was indicted a few months later for conspiracy. He was blamed for something that he should have known, and realized that you can’t win going against the IRS. At the end of the day, a plea bargain was stated and 14 months and 1 week later, he was released from federal prison.

Plowing the Toughest Row

Now, nearly a decade later, he marks experiences in his life as pre-jail or post-jail because it was such a pivotal row to plow in his allegorical field of life which before had consisted of rows of good deeds as a straight-laced Eagle Scout, returned LDS missionary that was faithful to his wife and good to his family and friends.

A lesson that Aaron’s father taught him early on in life was that “It’s more important to be trusted than to be loved.” Aaron’s integrity is the very core of who he is, so serving time in federal prison made him question all that defined him before would now come crashing down. Worried, he pictured not being allowed in business circles after decades of entrepreneurship, because who he had thought he was no longer had the shiny, perfect badge of honor that straight-laced fellow was before jail.

Life’s crucibles can lead to brighter things…if we move forward

The thing that Aaron thought would have destroyed everything he had known ended up becoming a crucible that made sacred his marriage and given his children grit while in their youth. His family worked as a team and kept loving and supporting each other having going through hell and finding strength because of it.

Life is now bigger and brighter and more interesting. He didn’t lose any of his employees or clients. He didn’t lose the love and respect of close family friends; instead, they rallied together. His success is bigger than ever before and taught him lessons that have shaped him as an individual. Aaron believes that because he tried his whole life to be honest and do the right thing, that’s what kept people true.

Whatever is in your story, you too can have the perfect life no matter what trials you face, and if you need to talk to someone about your hardships, Aaron would love to hear from you:



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The most important thing you have is your integrity and reputation. It’s not just saying a lot of great stuff, but SHOWING through example what you believe. You CAN go through difficult things and survive them. For Aaron, it was prison.

The world is a bright place and no matter what plot twists there are in our story, we are the authors and can decide what will define us.



Aaron first shared with other entrepreneurs about his time in federal prison while speaking with John Lee Dumas at Entrepreneur on Fire a few months ago.

It’s never easy to admit parts of our lives that don’t truly reflect our character, but there is a lot of courage in being honest with one’s vulnerability which becomes very empowering.



10348224_10203003818990177_8143585800154248690_nEach of The Lookout Society show notes are written by Natalie C. Martin


A life-long learner and unashamed history nerd, Natalie is a certified teacher in secondary education history and English turned stay at home mom. She is the mother of four energetic children all two years apart from 8 to 2 and recently celebrated her 11th wedding anniversary with the only boyfriend she ever had. After the kiddies are put to bed, she writes show notes as she continues to ignite her passion for writing and editing, fact checking and learning to make the world wide web a more educated place. When we learn that more gets accomplished when we replace “can’t” with “can” so many possibilities are opened to us. In the words of Rosie the Riveter, “We can do it!”

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