5 Proven Steps to Starting Your Own Success Story Without Any Prior Experience

Scratch Beginnings: A Story of Self-Discipline and Success


Adam Shepard’s book ‘Scratch Beginnings’ narrates an inspiring story of how one man starts from scratch with only $25 in his pocket and a backpack, to prove that the American Dream still exists. The book details Shepard’s experiences during his quest of achieving $2,500, a car, and a place to live in just under a year. Shepard chronicles his journey to success, showcasing the importance of self-discipline, having a long-term plan, and a gutsy attitude in achieving one’s goals. In this article, we will dive into some lessons from Shepard’s book that can be beneficial for anyone striving for success.

The Attitude of Success:

In his book, Shepard’s primary goal was to refute the notion that individuals born into poverty or with limited financial resources will remain in the same conditions forever. Shepard’s experiment aimed to demonstrate how the attitude of success and self-discipline can help one move beyond homelessness in under a year. Shepard’s determination to succeed is evident in his mindset, which is focused on the goal he set out to achieve. He did not set out to create a rags-to-riches story. Instead, his determination to succeed drove him towards his goal.

The Long View:

After arriving at a homeless shelter, Shepard meets two categories of men- the first group had plans for their lives beyond the shelter, while the rest had become complacent with their current situation. This observation highlights the significance of having a long-term plan, regardless of one’s financial situation. At the shelter, many residents relied on a day labor operation to get by. While this provided them with a quick fix to their immediate needs, it did not provide any path for progress. Shepard realized that his priority would be to find a permanent job, a long-term solution, to move out of the shelter and work towards his goal. Having a long-term plan is essential in moving forward, regardless of one’s current situation.

Guts Get the Job:

One of the significant barriers to employment is the lack of skills, education or experience. However, the one thing that can overcome these obstacles is having the courage to take an opportunity when presented. Even if one doesn’t have a permanent address, like Shepard, walking into an employer’s office and asking for a job can demonstrate confidence and commitment. Shepard had to learn this the hard way. One moving company turned him away, not willing to hire someone living at a homeless shelter. Shepard convinced the company manager to give him one day on the job, unpaid, to showcase his work ethic and desire to succeed. The manager impressed, hired him on the spot, and he continued to advance. Having the courage to pursue opportunities is critical in achieving success.

In The End:

Shepard’s experiment lasted for nine months, during which he accomplished his set goal of having $2,500, a car, and a place to live. He saved $5,000, twice as much as he expected to save. He achieved this without any special connections or privileges and proved that anyone can achieve their dreams, regardless of their starting point. Shepard’s story emphasizes that success is not about the opportunities presented; it’s about the opportunities that one creates themselves. Success is about having a specific goal and working diligently towards it.


Adam Shepard’s book ‘Scratch Beginnings’ provides valuable insights into achieving success through self-discipline, having a long-term plan, and a gutsy attitude. Shepard demonstrates that anyone can achieve their goals, regardless of their starting situation. The book is a testament to the American Dream and how having the right mindset can take one from rags to riches. Shepard’s story is an inspiration to anyone who may be struggling to achieve their goals, highlighting that with determination and hard work, anything is possible.