Jeff Lange never really left the farm in spirit, although following those long rows of dirt year after year wasn’t for him.
“I was feeling a little confined in a tractor cab and wanted to be a part of the world a little bit more and see the country and work with people and do deals,” he said.
He spent 10 years as a real estate agent, but he had always been an entrepreneur.
He started his own real estate brokerage, Jeff Lange Real Estate, that helps sell farmland and rural property throughout south-central Kansas. The firm has 18 agents.
He’s developed subdivisions. He owns farm ground that he leases. He also owns scores of rental homes and three mobile home parks.
And in 1998 he bought metal shipping containers at a discount and rather than renting them as shipping containers, he developed a company, A Box 4 U, to sell mobile storage containers.
“Entrepreneurs have to be able to stand some risk,” he said. “We had $2 million to $3 million in boxes sitting there with no guarantees.”
The company later evolved into converting the containers into mobile construction offices, and that evolved into making blast-resistant buildings for lease at chemical plants and oil refineries. That business continues to grow rapidly.
But Lange still lives in Conway Springs, his hometown. Until 1997, he actually lived in the house on Slate Creek in the middle of the family farm where he grew up.
“Follow your passion,” he advised, “and be patient.”
His keys for success?
• Keep your priorities right. Lange said for him it’s God first; wife and family second; and business third.
• Great people make great things happen. Call on successful people as mentors. Hire the best people and let them work.
• Work smart and hard. Watch for opportunities and work hard to make them succeed.