As I am now well into the second half of my life, I typically take miles stones as opportunities to reflect and look back on the most recent season of my life. As I have gotten older it has also been more common for other people to ask me to share what has made me successful. To answer this question, I usually give a cheeky response and say lots of coffee.
In many ways, that is the truth. I have loved coffee for years. While I do enjoy a fancy cup of coffee from one of the hipster coffee bars, I can still remember waking up as a child and smelling my dads freshly brewed cup of Folger’s Coffee. Equally as important to the coffee, was the early start to the day I learned from my dad. My dad taught me the value of waking up early and getting more done by 8am than many people do in an entire day. The goal was to get the 3 most important things for the day done by 8am.
For me that meant lots of early morning planning, executing, building, and of course drinking coffee. When I smell coffee I associate it with the daily hustle and grind that over years helped make me successful. Today when working with young entrepreneurs one of the first things I ask them is what time do they get up and how many of the most important things have they completed before 8am. Simple but effective tweak is learning to own the first three hours of your day.
With focus and discipline, new habits can be created and your life can be changed. For me, an early morning cup of coffee, focused goals, and consistent hustle helped make me be successful. Apply the same principles and you will have a great start to your day and ultimately change your life as well.
As I previously mentioned whenever I sell a property, I like to take time and thank the people who helped make the project a success. As an owner I rely on the hard work and dedication of a massive team. Some of my team members are employees and some of my team are Independent contractors. The key for me was to treat all of them with respect, dignity, and fair pair.
Over the years I found when I was cheap, and I tried to save a few dollars it ended up costing me more money in the long run. This can be especially true in the hospitality industry where our margins can be thin. Early on, I didn’t want to pay maid service employees anything above minimum wage. I felt like it was a simple job that any one can do. Well this led to high turnover causing me to spend excessive time interviewing and training new staff. What I failed to realize was by paying such a low wage, I tended to attract people who found themself in a desperate situation. By paying them such a small amount I failed to gain their loyalty. This lead to high turnover and low quality of work. On the other hand when I increased my wages, the turnover shrunk and the quality of cleaning service sky rocketed.
Our Motel has gutters that run along the second story. Because of the local leaves and rain debris would build up and ultimately clog the rain gutters and prevent them from draining. For years I did this myself, but I am also not a huge fan of heights so i would put off cleaning the gutters for years. One year we had a huge storm come in and it rained for several days straight.
On the second day, I began to notice a leak into one of my then occupied rooms. The water damage ended up costing my thousands of dollars. Another silly example of trying to save some money by doing it myself when i should have hired someone to clean my gutters for me. Shortly after that storm, I quickly hired Adam, for gutter cleaning services, and I have not cleaned a gutter since.
As my business grew, and as I grew as a person I learned that a much greater skill set was to identify trustworthy and dependable people who were skilled at their work. Hire them and free myself to focus on revenue generating ideas and providing high level customer service. The more successful I became in business the more I learned it was easier for me to find ways to increase revenue than it was to focus on haggling over contract service prices.
With that, I’d like to thank a handful of contractors who provided incredible value and great service to the Cedars Motel. I’d like to thank previously mentioned Adam for cleaning my gutter and cleaning my windows. I’d like to thank Maya for her Maid service. I’d like to thank Steven for his maintenance repairs. I’d like to thank Coop for accounting, and I’d like to thank my staff for making work enjoyable on a daily basis.
I have been in the hospitality industry for almost my entire adult life. I started as bag boy in high school. I grew up in a tourist community and on the weekends I would help guests with their luggage to their room. I was barely paid anything on an hourly basis and so it was all about the tips. The longer I was a bag boy I learned to read people and better understand what caused me to get a higher tip. The better the tips the more money I’d put in my pocket.
I was never a big spender but preferred to save up my money for some unknown adventure that would take place in the future. After years of being a bag boy I graduated to being a bellman where my base pay was a significant improvement over what I made as a bad boy. Plus as a bellman I was more or a greeter and host to our guests and had to do less carrying bags through the snowy parking lots to our guests rooms.
As a bellman, it was important that I learned the best restaurants in the area, and that I could make recommendations to our guests. I was a pretty simple guy and I had to start prioritizing learning about other foods and tourist attractions. I would visit some of these establishments try their food experience their events. That was the only way I felt confident in making a recommendation. My reputation was important to me and I didn’t want to just make something up that wasn’t true. My guests trusting my suggestions was a top priority. This was one of the many reasons as to why I loved the hospitality industry. The ability to have a positive impact on someone who just a moment before was a total stranger.