It takes time to develop pride in something. Sometimes you don’t see it until it’s gone.
Self employment is a labor of love. The self employed are a passionate, driven, and focused group. The time invested is extraordinary, from the beginning of your product development, to the back room paper work you finish after your 10 hour day is “done”. The work of a self employed person is never done. One much over looked point of self employment is that it is NOT easy. People tend to glamorize it into this very freeing, answer to no one, do what you want mentality. Uncle Sam comes calling on a regular basis, and believe me, that does not feel very freeing.
Years of fretting over customer service, the quality of the product you put out, and how to make ends meet eat away at your soul. Even when you are not working it is on your mind. It takes discipline to compartmentalize your life so it is not consumed by the work or the “to do” list. Those fortunate enough to have the resources to employ enough people to not have to worry about the day to day operation are far and few between, or just lucky to have found quality individuals that share the same passion in the job they are doing.
The industry that held my passion was dry cleaning. Not sure if it was because it was all I had ever known, or the idea of not wanting the 72 year old family legacy to go down on my watch, but it became my life.
The key to any successful business is pride in what you do. Providing a quality product for a fair price is the bedrock. My grandfather said “never put out a garment you wouldn’t wear yourself”. I carried that mantra with me everyday. There is no place for laziness and complacency and I did my best to put out work I was proud of and could stand behind.
Occasionally there was the unhappy customer, but you adapt and try to make it right, every time. Most people are evaluated maybe twice a year on their work performance. Small business owners are evaluated every time a customer walks through the door. I take pride in the many repeat customers I had for many years.
I am proud of the work I have done. I am proud to have been a part of a 72 year family legacy. I am grateful for how it has shaped my life going forward.