If you asked me back in high school what I wanted to do when I got older, I would shrug my shoulders and not have a clue but I definitely said, “I don’t want to work in the family business.” I’d like to think it was partly because of the teenage years where you think you know everything is why I said that because my family is awesome. It’s just amusing now considering I’m doing exactly what I said I wasn’t going to whether it was teenage inspired or not.
Family business was not in the cards.
I went off to college on a volleyball scholarship which at that point was the main reason I wanted to go to school because for some reason I didn’t think it would ever end (again possibly teenage inspired). Sports was what I was good at and having the athletic talent that I do is something I’m just truly blessed with. When I met with my counselors at college they told me about all of these classes I had to take just to get started and then asked me, “What do you see yourself majoring in?” I just sat there and then I blurted out, “Physical Therapy,” while thinking to myself, “What did I just say?!” I guess since sports was the only thing on my mind it seemed like the thing to do or at least look into it. Who knows.
As freshman year went on, I was talking to one of our volleyball trainers about what I was attempting to start majoring in. She immediately says to me, “Girl, you are not going to make any money unless you go here or here.” And of course being 19 I was thinking well that’s it for me, I guess I need to switch asap. Well of course I didn’t because volleyball was my life at the moment, literally. It wasn’t until someone made me realize (stay tuned for another story about this later) a skill that I had which led me to my next course to major in, broadcasting.
Why not, I love sports and I’m not afraid of the camera. Well about halfway into my junior year, they changed all of the curriculum and broadcasting went to “communications.” So then you were considered broadcasting, PR and speaking etc. Then to add to that they said, “Oh by the way you will also need to add a minor to this in order to graduate.” Good to know. Long story short, I continued on with what I was doing and truly loved all of it and ended up minoring in marketing. I loved the creative side of marketing and found it fascinating how agencies target and advertise to people. Once again my ideas on where I was going changed. Graduation came and I remember sitting there thinking to myself, “I have no clue what I want to do or where I want to go.”
I “thought” I knew what I wanted to do.
I stayed in MS working about 3 jobs as a waitress, aquatics instructor and helping a videography company. After a year I still didn’t entirely know what I wanted to do and that is also when the economy was going to crap and jobs were slim. I had been applying for different jobs out in CA/WA with companies in the tech industry just hoping to at least get my foot in the door. One day my dad called me from FL and said that he had just bought an additional business that he wanted me to help him run. I took a few days to think about it and of course the first thing that popped into my head was, “Do I want to work with family?” Let’s be clear too, I love my family with all of my heart it was just that sense of could I really work with them? My dad had coached me in basketball and softball when I was young and we got along great but would it be the same if we worked together? Well, I took him up on the offer and I headed down to FL for my new adventure.
You know when you have a picture of something in your head and it’s completely different when you see it in person? Yep, that was exactly what happened when my dad showed me the new place he bought. It was a dump basically. They had papers everywhere all over walls, crap out in the warehouse and they didn’t even have a computer for their accounts. Oh, it was a fence company and I had not a clue about how to install a fence. My mindset was already on the negative side considering I was thinking I would show up and it be a nice place to start working. Ironically, about a week after I moved to FL, I got an email from a large company in CA that was offering me a started job and of course it didn’t help the situation.
Jumping on the opportunity.
After cleaning up the fence company and getting it on track, we still faced a lot of uphill battles. My dad wasn’t there half the time because he was running two other businesses and my uncle was running the show with me. As a side-note, I had only known my uncle from being a kid and never really talked to him except at holidays we got together. I was scared straight of him because he was that southerner who carried a gun on his hip everywhere and that is all I could remember about him. We didn’t fully see eye to eye on everything but that’s family. Everything was starting to build up in me at this point and part of me just wanted to run away and scream but of course I just bottle it up as always.
One day a guy that worked with dad said he had a lady that he coached in swimming and she is a producer in Hollywood that needed help on some projects she was working on. Immediately when he told me about this my answer was a quick, “YES!” I called the lady that night and she said, “How soon can you get here?” My dad told me,”You should take advantage of the opportunity and go for it.” Two weeks later headed out to LA thinking to myself, “Wow, this is it and what I have been waiting for so let’s do this!” I am going to save all of this for another post simply because it’s a story in it’s own (I can hear my friends and family giggling right now thinking about the stories…).
Looking back at this part now I see that my dad only wanted the best for me and knew that you should never pass up an opportunity if it presents itself. The funny is though, when I was out there I had a lot of time to think about things and it made me realize that I was very capable of working with producers, talking to important people (even Leonardo DiCaprio) and that I should not ever be afraid to go after what I want to do. It also hit me about the idea that my dad and I spoke about right after I graduated college, which was Business Beware. All of these things made me realize that I needed to be back in FL (and a few other minor mishap stories that are for later). I hopped on the plane and headed back to the sunshine state.
I got back to FL and was ready to dive into the fence business and start working on this idea of ‘Business Beware.’ For a while I had my mind set on this idea of what I was “suppose to be doing” but turns out my path was leading me somewhere completely different. Change never bothered me because being an athlete you have to adapt to change pretty quickly in a game and during training. Not every strategy works with the the same team and that’s why you have different plays so you can adapt to the pace of the game to win the game.
I never expected to work with family, help run a business or even start a business from scratch like I did with BB but it was something I was destined to do. There is no road-map for life and we can plan all we want to but nothing will ever go according to plan. The best and most successful people in this world are the ones who can adapt and embrace change. I think my dad knew that I had to figure it all out myself although deep down he knew I was made to do what I’m doing now. It’s funny how we “think” we know what we want to do when we’re young (and even now) but truthfully so much can happen even in a year and there is a reason for everything that gets put in front of you.
When you work with your family it keeps you grounded, you push yourself because you know you have people behind you that believe in you and it’s the ultimate form of teamwork. It’s not easy by any means but what is in this life? Hard work always pays off if you consistently move forward. You learn way more working in the family atmosphere than you do under someone who just sees you as an addition to the staff at their business. I was basically thrown into the wolves when I first started but it was so I could learn on my own in a sense. Don’t be so dependent on others around you, think for yourself and fix the problem. You will never be an entrepreneur if you can’t do things by yourself or solve a problem.
I know that everyone’s story is different on how they jumped into the family business or even how they hated working with their family but my story is simple…it’s the best thing I ever did and everyday is just another memory I have with my family members for down the road. Never discount anything because you truly never know where you might end up or where the road is going to lead you.