In the past, when I’ve looked for career advice and mentors, I’ve sought out wisdom from leaders in my field and other white-collar professions.
But I recently starting going to a new mechanic in my neighborhood who knows as much about business as he does about cars (which is saying a lot). Not only does he keep my red 1999 Subaru Forester running like a top, the lessons I’ve learned from him have helped me keep my burgeoning business running smoothly too. Here are four of my favorites:
Lesson 1: Be a business owner, not an employee. While sucking on his Camel and plugging a hole in the rear tire of my car, Frank once casually mentioned that he owns a house in an affluent New York City suburb where he lives with his wife and four kids in their 20s – plus a weekend home in the Hamptons, a haven for the rich and famous. How’d he do it? He said that he’d started working at the six-lift garage when he was a 17-year-old kid in the neighborhood--and then bought the operation from its owner.
The Takeaway: Owning a business means you own assets and wealth. Working for a business means you own a paycheck. The earlier you start your business, the more time you have to build your assets. (True, I’d already started my freelance writing business when I started going to him. But his basic business success, built on earning passive income and building equity in an enterprise, has influenced me as I build out new products that deviate from my old service business model of merely writing for money.)