This may seem strange that I have a kindergarten picture in the “about me” section, but hear me out for a second! I’m going to make a good case for why some of the best lessons in my professional life came from this time period (early-mid 1990’s):
At this age, I had already been taught how to shake a hand properly. “Shaking somebody’s hand is the first impression they will ever have of you, so you better do it right”, is what my Dad would say frequently. Being young wasn’t an excuse, and I don’t regret that this was one of the first lessons in life that still sticks with me even today. Every greeting to an old friend or a new stranger is initiated with a firm handshake and direct eye contact. I find it hard to not respect somebody that “crushes” the first few seconds of an interaction!
This picture represents a kid that had already found his own unique voice, his own unique way of communication, and his own unique personality.
You see, from the moment I could form coherent sentences, I was never spoken for again. If I wanted something, I would have to ask for it. If I wanted something, I would have to earn it. Communicating for myself and properly shaking hands was the best sales training that one could ask for at such a young age.
Fast forward to now; I have taken these childhood lessons, piled on years of experience, and developed a personality that thrives on human interaction and conversation.
Shaking Up The Common Perception Of A Millenial
I currently own and operate a Minuteman Press printing franchise in the Chicagoland suburbs. I have been able to take this store, that was on the brink of failure, and turn it around to a growing, thriving business, that is well known as an incredibly reliable print shop. More than anything though, I have built relationships, fixed old relationships, and forged my own unique path to growth.
Not that you care about the specific numbers, but I would like to briefly share an important metric to show you why, exactly, you should believe anything I say about business and relationship building:
Under the previous owner, the store (that I now own) did $112,000 in total revenue from March 1, 2015 to March 1, 2016.
March 1, 2016 was the day that I took ownership, and in the first year of running the store (March 1, 2016-2017) I was able to generate growth in revenue of 65%! This took total revenue up to ~$185,000. And this year, we are on track to obliterate that number too!
I am proud when customers ask me how old I am! As soon as I answer with “26”, I can see them trying to understand how such a young person has achieved something that many people in their old-years wish they would’ve done — business ownership.
Trust me, I don’t walk around patting myself on the back (even if it sounds like I do based on the last few sentences…), and in-fact, I use a lot of my energy trying to talk my peers into following their goals of entrepreneurship.
What It Took To Get Here
I would be flat-out lying to you if I said that getting here was easy. It wasn’t! It was hard-work, long days, and months of financial struggling.
It took constant growth and a constant search for knowledge. I, similar to many entrepreneurs, are never satisfied with current levels of “success”. There have been jobs that others surely thought I was plain stupid to leave…
But I am constantly asking myself, “what’s next?”, “where can I go from here?”, and “how will I get to the next level?”.
If I could break it down to short bullets, this is what I would attribute my growth too:
• Hard work.
• Having a “mission”.
• Replicating the success of others for myself by ethically copying their methodolgy.
• Never be satisfied with my knowledge.
• Seeking out, and building relationships with other people that are more successful than I (being the dumbest person in the room).
Looking Toward The Future…
So, what’s next for me?
After feeling a lack of passion for where I’m currently at, I have decided that joining the Praxis program, and working with a high-growth startup is the next chapter in my career.
I am extremely excited to work with a community of people that can help me master new markets, and decrease the time it takes to do so. Not only that, but I am thrilled to be able to utilize my skills and knowledge to create value for a new team of peers.
Believe me when I say, that no matter what market I may enter, I always position myself to truly understand the customer base on the deepest of levels; to become one of them, and to understand their frustrations, their fears, and their hopes.
I believe we, as a generation, have been brought up to be drones… Clock in, clock out, put your head down, follow the others, don’t talk back, don’t be creative, and most of all, don’t follow your passions because “there’s no money in your passion”.
Excuse my language, but that thought process is BULLSHIT. You can, with some hard work and dedication, get to a place where you either; love what you do and don’t mind working for somebody else, or call your own shots and don’t have to answer to anybody else.
Now, I’ve rambled enough, so let me briefly give you insight on the basics of who I am…
I am a conversationalist.
I am genuine.
I have a deep-seeded love of building relationships.
But most importantly…
I am a salesman with sincerity, and am sincerely a salesman.