We Are All Entrepreneurs

Ever since I was young kid I wanted to be an entrepreneur. I wanted to be in charge, to have people look up to me, and to have a recognized brand that people would just say WOW when they heard who I represented. I would hear people say “our business”, “my business” or “our family business” and I knew I wanted in. Even though I had no idea what that meant.

I did not grow up around a family business, so McDonald’s was my first place of employment. Not because I was planning on being the next Big Mac, but it was where all my friends were working and seemed like fun. I wasn’t one to fool around, so I put my head down and got to work quickly soaking up everything I could and working as much I could. My first promotion came to me a quick six months into my burger making career and now I got to learn the customer service and cash handling side of the business. A bit of an eye opener especially when having to deal with the 3am drunk drive-thru visitors or the belligerent customer who kept getting served the wrong order, but I was happy to gain the experience and I didn’t complain. I then started noticing that my managers would schedule me during the busiest of times of the day and much more often than my friends who started before me. I would get calls from co-workers asking me to take their shifts, and managers asking me to come in whenever someone was sick because they both knew my answer would always be yes.

When I was promoted to a swing manager I quickly figured out how I was getting a lot of work coming my way. The managers had a list of committed employees who were always reliable when they were looking for shift coverage and my name was on the top! I remember my manager saying to me, “you’ve made a name for yourself as dedicated employee. You show up, work hard, learn everything you can, ask questions, help others, and always have a smile on your face. It’s what we want in an employee”. Basically, the harder I worked, the more shifts (i.e. business) was coming my way.

Moving my way up the McDonald’s ladder I was given the responsibility of training new employees for different stores. I shared with them my “success” and they either took it or left it. Some came in with goals of saving up for their first car, but never liked to work and eventually quit to party on the weekends. Others got jobs because their parents told them to, but quickly found out that it could be fun and by working hard they could make good money which led to more fun.

I kept this thought with me through other employers and University and to where I began working with contract workers. As their supervisor, I had the option of choosing from a pool of people to work the courses I created. But at the end of the day, if the course or instructor bombed it was me who took the burden of the complaints. In their orientations, I started to give the following message.

You are here to start your career as a dance instructor. In the beginning, you are just like all the other dance instructors we have hired so in order to stand out, you need to make a name for yourself. Take what you have been given and make it yours; make it unique to you. Something that when looking back people will recognize that it came from you even though the years have passed. The more relationships and connections you make with your students, the more the students will want to take your classes. And when the children are happy the parents are happy and they will start requesting you as their child’s teacher. Those parents and children will also start telling their friends how fun and talented you are and now those “strangers” will be calling requesting your class. Before you know it, we have had to add progressive courses from your intro to dance class and now expand them to two, no three nights per week! Your “loyal customers” are asking for you and soon your simple intro class has gained such a following you are reading to start your own dance school.

“Be fearless in the pursuit of what sets your soul on fire”

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