There's something to be said for the American worker. Their dedication and industriousness make them the backbone of our economy and our communities. As a small-business owner myself, I'm thankful I get to be a part of that tradition. This month, as we recognize the American worker on Labor Day, I want to talk a little bit about my experience.
As you may remember from our previous posts, I grew up on a tobacco farm. It was hard work, and I learned a lot of valuable lessons. Then in 1984, I went into business for myself and opened my first shop with my wife, just the two of us. I worked on cars, handled the ordering, and took care of the customers. My wife did the books. We were off to a good start.
Then, as the business started to take off, I hired my first employee, then my second. Before long, I had to move into a new building and hire even more people! I was always looking to the future, thinking about the next step and how I could improve the business. I thought about how I could be better in my position and with hiring and training new employees.
These are things I still think about today, 35 years later, while I'm still putting in the long hours. Most days, I'm the first guy in the shop in the morning. But I'm okay working long hours, even after all these years. I love to fix cars and keep busy! Being able to work for myself is one of my biggest accomplishments. I have the skill to fix cars - and I get paid to do it! But an even bigger accomplishment for me is being able to hire employees who are also good at what they do. It's hard work to find the right people.
There's one thing I've noticed a lot lately - people have gotten into the habit of thinking it's not possible to succeed in America today. They say the American Dream isn't what it used to be. I don't think that's true at all. In fact, I think it's just the opposite. It's easier than ever to succeed in America.
Think about it - we have so much technology at our disposal. You can get yourself out there and marketing yourself through so many different channels. When I start out, the only place I could really advertise was in the Yellow Pages. It wasn't much, but we made it work. Who knows what would have happened if I had all of this technology back in 1984.
It's also easier to start a business today - pretty much anyone can do it. All you have to do is go online, fill out a few documents, and you're set. Plus you can learn just about anything. The challenge is, you still have to put in the time and effort. But if you do, you'll get a lot closer to finding success. You have to be willing to accept delayed gratification, though. A lot of people today - both young and old - have gotten used to instant gratification for a lot of things. You can't start a business or a brand-new job and expect to buy a new house and car and go on a two-week vacation right out the door. It all takes time.
"The American Dream is Still Alive"
Back in 1984, I struggled with the business side of things. I didn't know how to run a business. But I used what I had learned when I was working on my parents' farm - showing up on time, putting in the hours, and making sure things get done on time.
Today, we have a great group of people working at Quality Plus. They're dedicated and hardworking and I'm proud of them. I know that the shop will run like a well-oiled machine whether or not I'm in on any given day. We found the right people and that itself is a huge achievement. Here's to our team at Quality Plus and here's to the American worker.