- THE MAGAZINE
About 29 years ago, I married into an Italian family from New Jersey. Being from Alabama myself, I didn’t realize that when you marry into an Italian family, instead of getting wedding presents, you get cash!
We got $3,000 in wedding money. At the time, I was a waiter making only enough money to pay the rent each month. While in New Jersey getting married, a friend of the family who was my age (23 at the time) was tooling around in a little red Mercedes convertible. That got my attention. Turns out that he had a carpet cleaning business and that’s how I got the idea to go into the carpet cleaning business.
As soon as we got back to Houston, I spent the entire $3,000 we got in wedding money on a carpet cleaning machine and a vacuum cleaner. My wife was really thrilled about that, let me tell you!
So, I start my carpet cleaning company out of the trunk of my car (not a Lexus - it was a Toyota Corolla). Before too long I realized I couldn’t do it all by myself. If I was going to be successful, I had to hire people. Therefore the journey of building a team began.
At first it was hard, frustrating and many problems arose. Most of the issues could have been avoided if I had been skilled as a leader. John Maxwell says “everything rises and falls on leadership.” I wasn’t a very good leader. Once I began to learn leadership skills and systems, my business began to do better.
In May our company had its biggest month ever and I wasn’t even there. Now, it’s predictable, profitable and turnkey. It wasn’t easy, but I have to say that building up the right team has been the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done. Not only am I living my dream, they are living theirs.
What’s Your Dream?
Zig Ziglar said that “desire is the most important ingredient for success.” Napolean Hill said that success begins with a “burning desire.” That vision comes when there is some kind of “little red Mercedes convertible” experience or when you get tired of being stuck doing everything yourself.
No Team, No Dream
Dave Anderson said, “If you have a dream, but no team, you’ve got to give up the dream or build up the team. Is your dream inspiring enough to create the desire you need to build a team?” John Maxwell says a dream is “an inspiring picture of the future that energizes your mind, will and emotion, empowering you to do everything you can to achieve it.”
Remember, the one and only reason your business exists is to be a vehicle to help you achieve your life goals (aka your dream). There are many things required to build a business that are simply out of your gift zone. To begin putting people in place, you’ll need to organize your company.
There are 12 functions on the organizational chart. Are all of them important? You bet! If you leave one of them out, does it hurt your business? You bet it does. Can you effectively handle all of these yourself and still grow)? Not a chance. In fact, none of us are gifted and skilled in all of these areas.
Discovering how to replace myself in all of these areas set me free to do the things I love to do. I have a staff of 40 that run my companies for me and I can travel the world without having to be involved in every detail. I learned what leadership is. I developed myself as a leader. I then began developing my people to be leaders. Then I applied my systems approach to leadership just like the other areas of my businesses. The result? I can travel the world, take as much time off as I want and live my dream because I built a team. That is the reward.
I believe anyone can learn how to be a more effective leader which will help you attract and develop the right people. And when you do that, you will be on your way to reaching your biggest dreams in life.
Remember, you must give up the dream or build up the team. You won’t reach your biggest dreams in life by yourself.