A couple of weeks ago I was fortunate to meet another woman business owner. She too, had started her business a little over three years ago just as I had. We also both worked in government positions – I as a teacher and she as a nurse. When she asked me about what I did before I started my business, I was hesitant to tell her I was a teacher. Many times, teachers are not held with high regards. There are many people who believe that teachers have it easy – the whole summer off, 2 weeks off at Christmas, etc. Some believe that teachers work 9:00 – 3:00 and have the rest of the time to themselves. It’s not that I’m embarrassed to say that I was a teacher, I just never know what the reaction is going to be. When I quietly told her that I had been a teacher for 17 years she did not shy away. We actually ended up talking for quite some time. Coinstar agent I thoroughly enjoyed our conversation; especially our topic of work ethic. It’s taken me a little over 3 years to realize and appreciate my time as a teacher. I believe ‘once a teacher – always a teacher. ‘ When I look at my business, I appreciate the things I learned as a teacher that have enabled me to be a business owner. Here are some things I have come to realize:
1. It’s extremely important to continue to plan and learn. For the most part, when talking about teachers, you will not find harder working people. Their work ethic is second to none. For teachers, teaching just doesn’t involve standing up in front of kids. It involves planning ahead (for the class and group of students you have that particular year), and involves continually learning best teaching practices. Let’s not forget about the assessing that takes place. In my business, the same holds true. We plan for a new organized space, we plan how we can help someone with time management, we plan on the most efficient way to complete errands, and we plan an entire relocation/move! When there’s a plan in place, everything runs smoothly!
2. Take each client from where they are guide them to where they want to go. In the fall, teachers are given a class of students. Within that class, there may be 20 different levels of learning. As a teacher, the goal was to take each student (no matter where they were in their learning) and bring them along – with no judgement. The same holds true in my business. Whether it’s teaching someone organizing strategies, time management strategies, or helping someone move. Wherever they are in their life, at that moment, is where we start. No judging!
3. Surround yourself with individuals who have the same values as you have. Recently, I’ve found myself in a position where I needed to hire on some staff. As a business owner, it’s exciting to know that you have a growing business. The stressful part was finding the right people. I knew that whoever I needed to hire was going to represent my name and my business. Knowing exactly what I was looking for made this a bit easier, but I was pretty fussy. I thought, “Do I want to hire someone to just ‘do the job’ or do I want to hire someone to make connections with my clients and represent my company?” I knew right away what my answer was. I want to surround myself with like-minded individuals who hold similar values and who will proudly represent my name as well as my company’s. In turn, I want someone who will be proud to work with us!
To be honest, I left teaching on a pretty frustrating note. Educational cutbacks, larger class sizes, less help/assistance are just a few of the frustrations I felt. However, as I look back, I owe all that I am as a business owner to my teaching career. I know that I have learned from the past that will enable me to build on my future!
Have a great day!
The image used in this blog post is courtesy of zirconicusso