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Inspiring Millionaire CEO Pays It Forward by Hiring People Who Need a Second Chance

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Chris Rickerson couldn’t catch a break. He grew up in poverty, had a chaotic childhood, and struggled with drugs, among other misfortunes. All he needed was a chance to turn his life around. Thankfully, there were kind-hearted people who paved the way for that to happen.

In 2013, after years and years of struggling, Rickerson founded Elite Staffing Solutions. The Wichita, Kansas-based staffing company helps people who have hit rock bottom. It provides construction, administrative, and professional temps. Today, Elite Staffing Solutions is valued at over $3 million.

The road to Rickerson’s success, however, wasn’t easy.

Rickerson told Inc.com his story. According to him, he was exposed to drugs at an early age. His mother was a drug addict, and they lived in low-income housing, surviving only on food stamps.

“I remember food stamps and sitting outside the closet, waiting for my mother, who’d be shooting up behind the door. My breakfast spoons had to be bent back into shape so I could eat with them. I found drugs in a compact disc case, needles by her bed, and pot under the coffee table. By the time I was 13, our house had been raided twice.

“But I don’t blame my mom. I remember telling myself that I would not become like her. For a while, though, I did–I started using in sixth or seventh grade, after she brought me to her drug dealer’s house and he offered me meth.”

Rickerson dropped out of high school and started selling drugs.

At 24 years old, Rickerson realized he needed to make a change, else he will end up dead or in prison. He checked himself into a treatment facility and embraced Christianity. Later, he found a temporary home in Oxford House, a sober-living center. He told Inc.com:

“While I was there, I started tending brick–moving it up scaffolding, doing manual labor. That led to other jobs–regional manager for an amateur poker league, dispatcher for petroleum trucks. I met a couple of doctors who owned a vacant building. They said, ‘If you can do something with this space, we’ll give you 40 percent of the income.’ I turned it into a banquet hall that did a lot of quinceañeras. That was my first entrepreneurial endeavor.”

All the people who gave Rickerson a chance to start over helped him get to where he is today – making money and changing lives.

He also worked for a staffing company in Kansas, but he realized he wanted to do something on his own. The single dad of three maxed out his credit cards, sold his car, and refinanced his minivan to pay for daycare while he started Elite Staffing Solutions.

“We open at 5:15 a.m. We require people to show up with the right attitude and a pair of boots. I employ a lot of people who have had their struggles. Someone gave me a shot once, and I’m adamant about doing the same for others.

“The cycle that I was born into ends with me. My kids will get to pick where they go to college. Also, my mother lives with me now. She is clean and sober, and an amazing grandmother to my children.”

What do you think of Rickerson’s story? Share this to inspire others, and don’t forget to pay it forward!

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