How do you create significance in your life and your business? What are the things you are most proud of accomplishing? What milestones have you crossed? How many years has your company traded? Do you have friendships and other relationships that have stood the test of time? What do you consider as noteworthy pinnacles worth celebrating?
“A life spent recognizing and celebrating deliberate consistent achievements is a life that’s continuously expanding its net worth.” DJK
I was 17 years old when I started my first business. I just wanted to make enough money to travel to Europe before I started my Universtiy studies. I never really put much thought into growth strategies or marketing plans. My business partner and I just got busy pounding the pavement, giving quotes and hustling up work. We made sure we did great work which helped tremendously when we asked for referrals and the jobs just kept coming in.
We ran a striping business. We knew that if worse came to worse we could always add another “p” to our company name and make a killing. Our first service was painting stripes on parking lots and we knew there were plenty of parking lots in our area that could use a touch-up.
Once we finished painting clean white or yellow stripes on one parking lot we reasoned the business next to it would always look a little dull compared to their neighbors. So we always made sure to hang around for a bit after we finished in order to be available for a chat in case the neighboring business owner stepped out for a quick look at our work.
Even though we were considered to be construction contractors we prided ourselves on being different than what was considered the norm. We were just that bit more customer-centric than your average construction crew. We were friendly, chatty and had a great time on the job. We also made sure to drop off our business cards to the neighboring businesses offering a free (no obligation) quote on their lots.
The more we worked the better we got and our jobs got bigger and bigger. By the time we graduated University we had a full-fledged striping business contracting with all the major paving and seal coating companies. We partnered with my friend’s dad and bought a refurbished road striping machine from the state of Ohio. We invested in a thermoplastic machine that would triple our profits when we quoted on federal highway jobs.
We became the biggest and best solution in our town of Chattanooga and started getting contracts to paint shopping malls, roads and highways in our surrounding cities of Atlanta and Knoxville.
Needless to say, we ended up making enough money that summer not only to travel to Europe but to fund our University tuition and expenses. We built our business in order to fund our travel during December when we had a month off school and questionable striping weather. Before we graduated we ended up traveling somewhere new every year. We visited nearly every European country, the Bahamas, Hawaii and Australia.
Our striping business was significant for us in the sense that there was a means to our hard work and a motivating reward for a job well done. The traveling we did really opened up my mind to the possibilities of living and working in another country.
After graduation, I would not have had the audacity to leave Tennessee and venture to Sydney Australia had we not been courageous enough to go for our goals and make D & L Striping (now called Chattanooga Striping) a significant part of our early adult life.
Another milestone I’m very proud of is this post, it’s my “200th blog and business post!” I’ve written a new post once a week for the last 200 weeks!!
Wow, these past four years have been an enjoyable and time intensive undertaking but the reward for sharing my thoughts, expertise, and (hopefully helpful) ideas has been a wonderful and worthwhile personal experience and I sincerely hope my readers can say the same.