I recently had a conversation with my dad. We talked about some of the books I’ve been reading and he brought up the idea that he believed because I was raised in a small business environment I was better prepared for the world and more open in business. I never gave that any thought EVER. Do you think it’s made any difference in your life?
Yes, when I was very young my father ran the local airport. He was a flight instructor also. He started his own trucking business when I was in elementary school. I began answering phones after school and taking messages. My voice has never been feminine so people would always comment on how polite his ‘son’ was on the phone. I later began making appointments and by late junior high I was doing quotations for customers. In high school I took some accounting classes and did the day-to-day accounting which transferred to my grandmother who was in business for herself as a public accountant and who did our taxes at the end of the year.
I also learned a lot from my grandmother. She worked in the trucking business for decades in freight claims near the end. She began working from home and doing books for a number of clients and doing audits for businesses and her church. Come January she was always swamped with income tax business through April. She wouldn’t turn anyone away. She did this until the day she died at age 98. A true inspiration.
I don’t know that I am any more rounded than anyone else, but I do have a background and positive experiences in business. I know how important it is to look and act professionally. I realize how important word of mouth and customer service is. Any of these not handled well can sink a business. I ran my own business for 10 years.
I’ve done other business as well even if not officially a business. For a few years I ‘flipped’ cars. Before the Internet I would buy rust free cars in Oklahoma where I lived and adverstise them in Old Cars Weekly, a national paper, and sell and deliver them to buyers in the rust belt.
I’ve also been a very successful eBay seller. I started in 2001 when my late husband (before we married) began moving some of his belongings from Philadelphia (where he lived) to Roanoke, Virginia (where I lived). There was a lot of overlap or things he decided to part with. We would make sure everything was clean and take excellent marketing photos. He would generally write the descriptions as he was a great writer. We researched similar items that sold and were selling to find our starting price. We sold some amazing stuff we never believed. After his death I carried on and spent six months carefully cleaning, photographing, and researching vintage go-kart speed parts and lived on that alone.
I was fortunate enough to have a lot of great role models in my family. Everyone contributed in some way to who I am today. We all have opportunities to influence people. You don’t need to have children to influence someone. How you act, what you write, what you do with your life can all influence. Who will you inspire today? Will it be something you say at dinner? Will it be something you write give pause and makes someone think? We all have that power. It’s what you choose to do with it that matters. Who will you influence?