When painting a room I find that having a system leads to the most efficient and consistent results.
One simple part of my system is working left from the entrance into the room and proceeding from left to right, top to bottom. This way nothing gets missed and no time wasted deciding where to start.
Another part of my system is to...
As a former high school drop out, it is not my place to say that getting a degree is a bad idea.
However, it is clear that education is changing fast and that the cost:value ratio of traditional post-secondary institutions is becoming more of a burden than an asset for many students.
Technology, industry and economic shifts are developing so fast that a 4-year program is sometimes obsolete by the time you graduate.
The skills that seem to be valued in the current job market are adaptability, life-long learning, working with others, project management, entrepreneurial skills, value creation (rather than getting paid to 'show up'), problem solving, social influence and so on. It is a dynamic work-scape out there, with few guarantees or long term commitments on both sides of the employer/employee divide.
I'm definitely not an expert on any of these issues. And there is no question that some types of post-secondary training can lead to higher paying work. Having a basic high-school education these days doesn't open a lot of career doors. I just thought it would be practical to think about whether starting a painting business is a viable option for a young person, as opposed to pursuing 'higher education'.
The cover story on the August 2016 issue of Consumer Reports stated that 42 million people owe $1,300,000,000,000 in student debt. While many countries around the world offer free education, in North America adult students are drowning in deep pools of debt. Is it a wise investment?
Jackie Crowen, aged 32, from Portland Oregon, with $152,000 in student debt is quoted as saying "I kind of ruined my life by going to college." Let's play with some numbers...
If she attended school for 10 years, that is an average of $15,000/year in debt. If she had worked instead of attending school during those years, lets assume she could have earned an extra $15,000/year in earnings. That is $300,000 over 10 years that she is behind someone who didn't attend school and started painting full time, earning $30,000/year. How many years will it take her to catch up? If she gets a job paying 50% more because of her education, it would take 20 years! But that is assuming she doesn't end up working at Starbucks, as many highly educated people do. You sometimes end up over-qualified for entry-level professional jobs while lacking experience required for middle-tier professional positions. And that is assuming her skills and education are even still relevant after all that.
Now there are other factors to consider...
So about 8 years ago my brother-in-law and I requested a meeting with my business mentor. He kindly granted us a 20 minute meeting so we could run our latest idea by him. In our enthusiasm we never expected to receive the advice he gave us that day.
My brother-in-law Andre and I get along amazingly well. We both paint for a living. We have very different but complementary strengths and skills. We both recognized that painting is better with 2 people, and we had a lot of fun whenever we worked together. So it seemed logical that maybe we should consider a corporate merger and blend our businesses into one.
Let me give you the short version of Mr. Mentor's advice...
1. It is unethical. It indicates that you are willing to sell your integrity and honesty for the privelege of working on a project. You don't pay sales tax - it doesn't come out of your pocket, you simply collect it for the governement. So there is little incentive for you to rip off the government. You may feel pressured in order to win the bid, but consider whether you want to work for someone with such ethics. Interestingly, I've had teachers, police officers, Christian clergy and devout Muslims, among others all ask me over the years to 'work for cash', hoping to save 5 - 12% in sales tax. Either you are honest, or your not, simple as that.
2. It is illegal. Do you want audits, fines, assessments, bank accounts frozen, customers contacted by CRA, interest charges, jail time, legal fees, a criminal record? All these are possible consequences of fraud.
3. You never know if it is a test - to see if you are an honest person. Clients are trying to determine if they can trust you with thier most valuable possessions and working around their precious family. Trust is the only thing you are selling. People assume you are a proficient painter...what they want to know is if they can trust you. Trust and honesty go hand in hand. Best to have a solid policy and stick to it firmly and respectfully. You may even be talking to CRA/IRS auditor...
I just watched a few really interesting talks that contained some good take-aways for me and my business...thought I'd share the links in case you might be interested in some positive psychology...
After 10 years of operating a painting business in the Okanagan Valley I had a nice client base of about 300 customers, which I had worked very hard to acquire and service.
It felt good to have so many happy customers...it gave me a sense of security. The problem is that I couldn't service so many customers well. Sometimes my best, most loyal customers had to wait 6 or more months for me to fit their project in. I wasn't delivering top level service to my best customers and I was often over-booked and stressed.
So when I opened another painting business here on Vancouver Island in 2015, I decided that I would try to get to 100 customers as soon as possible. This, I thought, would give my business a solid base, while giving me a more manageable number of customers, hopefully leading to less stress and better service.
We may think we need a lot of customers to have a successful business. So it was interesting when last week I looked at a report of my sales by customer for 2016 thus far. You know what?...
Ever wonder if you will be able to retire from painting? By making a few lifestyle changes you can earn your freedom much sooner than most think possible. Pete Adeney is not a painter but his experience of retiring at age 31 may inspire you to adopt some of his strategies...