I feel rich.
I met my wife, Theresa, while working at a Harley dealer show 16 years ago (she worked for The Motor Co. at the time) and she’s been the highlight of my life ever since. You might feel rich because you’re living with the ones you love. But for many, feeling rich includes some level of financial stability: enough money to put the kids through college, live in a nice home with a cool man-cave, own several vehicles (I prefer one for each day of the week), take the vacations you want, when you want, and be able to retire, secure that you have enough liquid assets to see you through ‘til dust do you part.
This industry can be the place to make those dreams come true, even if you’re working in parts or service right now. I’ve met lots of men and women who started small, applied themselves, weren’t afraid to take on new challenges and grew to become company owners -- all in as little as 10 to 15 years.
If you had told me that when I was in my 20s and working as a mechanic, I would have thought you were smoking something that’s now legal in a few states. But today I can tell you with complete confidence that the road to riches is pretty basic: Master each job responsibility given to you, grow your interpersonal and management skills, and learn all areas of the business you’re in.
I started in the business working as a mechanic, and I was content at that job. I didn’t strive to make personal connections with my customers, to expand my knowledge of the business or to get the attention of owners and managers that might result in being promoted. But I did one thing right: I had a daily drive to do a better job than the day before and never repeat my mistakes. That can turn a commonplace tech into a great one. But just being a great technician will not pave the road to riches.
I did a brief stint as a service manager and then took a job at MMI as a technical trainer when it was a micro-sized school graduating fewer than 200 students a year. MMI was the turning point, but I didn’t know it then. MMI taught me how to work with a wide variety of personalities, how to communicate effectively and even how to write articles as I do today. During my 16 years at MMI, I met a lot of people who became lifelong friends. Many became managers and owners, and those relationships were essential to me starting my own company and enjoying the best years of my motorcycle industry career. That was all accomplished without a plan, so just imagine what you could do with a little preparation.