I grew up in a humble and unstable financial situation. We didn’t have money. Dad was in sales. Mom worked in bars and restaurants. There were ups and downs.
I also didn’t know many business owners. My godfather owned a two-person plumbing business, and I knew a shady guy who owned a summer camp. But most of the people I knew worked for someone else, and the highest aspirations I heard most people talk about were to become cops or firemen.
So when I dropped out of college and needed a job, and got hired as a Domino’s pizza delivery guy, I met the first business owner who made an impression on me.
Matt was an ex-marine who used his savings to acquire this Domino’s franchise. He wasn’t even from the area, but moved here to try to make it as a business owner. His goal was to make this store successful and acquire more.
Matt was energetic, focused and positive, and here’s a few things I learned from him.
- Take care of your shit: Matt was insistent that the shop was always clean and organized. While we were working, we kept the place clean and organized. And every day when we closed up, we left the place spotless. Matt showed me how to really mop, not sweeping the mop back and forth lightly, which only moved the dirt around, but really leaning into it, digging the mop into the tiles to get the real dirt up. I learned to like mopping, treating it as a workout at the end of my shift. Doing a thorough and complete job is satisfying in and of itself, but I realize now it’s part of good business as well.
- Have a good attitude: Matt modeled a positive, successful attitude, and hired people who were pleasant, focused and professional.
- Hire, and trust good staff: Matt hired Majid to run the store when Matt wasn’t there. Majid was organized, professional and pleasant. To this day, he’s one of the best people I’ve ever worked with. I hope he got his own stores, which was his goal.
- Say yes and hustle: Offered more shifts from Matt, I said yes, and got positive feedback.
- Dress tight: Matt modeled and I copied dressing in a clean, well-fitting Domino’s uniform. I took pride in how I looked, and I think it mattered.
When I look back, I can see how my experience with Matt helped move me toward a future on my own, as a business owner. My direct experience with someone I respected, at a critical time in my life, helped me not only learn a few key lessons, but see a future for myself that would be satisfying, challenging and fulfilling.