What led me to start my company- On day 7 i’m going to rewind back to 95 and fast forward to 99. I’ve been in the retail side of the automotive industry for over 14 years and I love it. There was a short period where I wasn’t interested in the business I had grown to know so well — from how to walk a customer through the 10 steps to a sale, to being able to get anyone approved on an auto loan and sell back end products, over to being able hire, train and to manage a sales force of 25 plus men and women from all different walks of life and be able to lead them down successful paths, but everything happens for a reason. Now I was accepted to Bethune Cookman University in Daytona Beach, Florida back in 1999 on a full ride. (my scholarship was for music, those of you that know me know that I was a classical music singer back in the day- Baritone) Before college I always kept a job in high school. I started as a paper boy for the Tacoma News Tribune where I made about $290.00 a month delivering papers. Then I got my first job where I clocked in at Mcdonald’s ( I think i will use my first paycheck stub as the image for this post) I made I think $5.50 an hour and enjoyed the hell out of it. Great learning experience –
- teaching me how to first be responsible
- accountable and a team player but also how to manage a flow of things
- when breakfast switched to lunch our lobby was always full of customers so being able to manage that transition by being prepared and having a plan was essential in ensuring our day flowed smoothly
- learning that a good personality and a smile can go a long way even when you mess something up
- you don’t have to work as hard if your working smart
Then one day as I was walking through the mall with mom (I was 16) we stopped by the AT&T cell phone booth, I wanted a Nokia 5150 so bad. I had been looking up cell phone companies and I knew AT&T was the best because they had service all up and down the I-5 corridor (at the time they had better coverage than the other providers like Voicestream, PrimeCo, Cellular One, Sprint and I think Nextel was out to but I don’t remember) so when we hit the kiosk and the manager Dan, began telling my mom everything about the service I started talking over him about a minute in. I was telling my mom which plan I wanted and why that would be the best plan for me- the free evenings and weekend plan with 500 Peak minutes included was the one for me. I told her everywhere the phone worked and wouldn’t work based on the coverage map and I let her know that even if i was in a bad area the phone would “roam” and that would be charged at “X” per minute. Dan said well I don’t have anything to say but I want you to fill out this job application, I am hiring you on the spot. I needed my mom to put the phone in her name because I was turning 17 in 9 days, so she agreed to get the phone and I had to pay for it.
Dan asked my mom was it cool if I worked for him, she said of course but it was my decision to make. I was all for it-so he called the CEO and got the OK to hire me. I let my GM at McDonald’s (Miss Cynthia, a friend of my moms) know what was going on and thanked her for teaching me and went on to work for Activate Cellular- an authorized retailer of AT&T services. I was making $8.00 an hour plus commission on the phones. The commission scale was 🔥 LIT. I was selling phones to all the high school students from all over Pierce County because I was able to build value in allowing your child to have a cell phone to their parents. I had no idea that this job was preparing me for a life in the sales industry. I would average in between 45–50 activations (uuuum is that spelled correctly because for some odd reason the red squigglies are under the word activation’s oh shucks, I forgot the apostrophe LOL) per month so I would see around $1700-$1900 a month in just commissions. Add my hourly on top of that and I was cleaning up house for a high school junior about to enter his senior year.
So i’m headed to sleep- its 1:07 AM on Tuesday Jan, 20th in my next post I will tell you guys how I met Earl Simmons (D.M.X), sold him and his crew cell phones when he was in town for the Hard Knock Life Tour, how his manager at the time KP gave me backstage passes to the show, brought us down up to the hotel after the show to chill with D.M.X and all kind of wild shit a 17 year old should have never experienced.
To be continued …