I have done many financial investment opportunities in my life from annuities, stocks, flipping homes, real-estate investments, life-insurance, small business owner, and inventor (that was the worst idea for me).
I have been an employee for over 36 different companies. I have found that I do not ever want to be anyone’s employee EVER AGAIN...and so I could not stand to make people into my employee.
When I hire a person, I try to help them see that they are a part of the company and much more than simply an employee.
My philosophy that “CAN’T” isn’t a word, but a conjunction of “CAN BUT WON’T” leads me to try to encourage people to become better...especially when I’m paying them.
When they do a better job at work then they make less mistakes. Being better generally leads to faster production time which means higher profits and more clients served. Which means that my company is successful and can grow.
But, more than this, when you do something very well, it’s easy to take pride in what you do and helps build self confidence.
I had a certain young man as an employee who worked fast food before starting on with me. He was quiet, and had little self confidence. We started training him, and he became an expert in laying tile, painting, and doing trim work. He became confident. He proposed to a girl and got married, and began a very happy life for himself.
He became confident in himself. He was praised for his good work. He spend 40 hours of the week working with us getting praised for a job well done and being part of the progress to make beautiful homes. He spent time telling friends and family about his work and showing off pictures. He loved life and made something wonderful out of it.
I’m not fully responsible for his happy life, but I like to think that at least I gave him a push in the right direction.
I like to make people try to become better than they are, so I give my employees a lot of my attention. I like helping people get their life fixed and beautiful just as much as I like to do that for my client’s homes. In fact with some of them I tried too much for too long to help them before I realized they needed more than I could give.
For instance. Pretend I just hired you. You are a laborer. (because no matter what you think you know, you are not qualified for any other position in my company) You have a life of experience in something, but I expect you to put it on hold and do what you are taught until you understand that the most important people in my company are the laborers. And the most important thing you can do is a flawless job for the client.
When employees fail to understand this, they try to convince me that they know better than I do how things should work...sometimes they know better how to manage...sometimes they know better how to do construction...sometimes they know better how to lie and cheat and steal...either way they are shown how to walk out the door they came in and find their own path.
Once you are hired, and decide to stay, I teach you about my company mission (this actually happens way before you get hired...but stay with me…)
I tell you about my vision to help provide stable work and benefits to you. I explain that I want this job to be your last job. Meaning, that I expect you to grow with the company and become a leader in whatever role it is that you want to fill.
I explain that you won’t be doing physical labor your whole life; (Unless, of course, you love it as much as I do) but, that many laborers I have hired either left to start their own business, are a super-intendant in the company (yes I know that’s not a real word), or are a foreman in the company.
Next in your training, I tell you that you get to work along side of me, and learn all my tricks and discover which part of my job that it is you prefer to do.
As I watch you work, and give you assignments and teach you how to learn the trade, I discover your ability...or lack thereof...to use tools safely, to problem solve, to create, to perfect your skills. I learn about your personality when things are challenging. I learn what kind of person you really are and how you treat your family.
You also get to know me. Mostly you just learn how imperfect I am and how I get frustrated, and struggle with life, and even fail to shave most days…but hopefully you also learn enough to decide if you like the trade (with or without me).
My favorite is when someone really doesn’t like manual labor, but really desperately needs the job. As if their entire existence is bent over backwards just to please me, and they always look so stressed and worried that this opportunity will end and they have no idea what else they might do with their lives…
I should tell them about the blog and have them read about “Understanding Promptings”...but instead I get to probe into their life a little deeper and try to help them on a more personal basis.
I share a story about one employee. For respect to his/her privacy, I’ll not mention personal details.
He came to me wanting a job. He didn’t really care what it paid, just so long as it did pay. His last 3 employers in the past few months hadn’t paid him at all for the long hours he had worked. They just stopped using him when the work stopped, and he never really completed any hiring paperwork...so there really wasn’t any recourse for him.
He was so excited about the job that when I asked him what previous work he had, and his skills, he tried to lie and make up a lot of qualified experience to show that he was capable…
Worst thing ever! Never try to say that you can do something when you do not know how.
Anyways, when I asked him to describe the process on how he did a certain line of work, he went vague and glossed over too many important details…
(SIDE NOTE: upon hire I have laborers tell me exactly what they know and walk me through every step as if to create a documentation of the work step by step. Anyone who is expert can describe the process in great detail, how to hold the tools, what the costs of materials are, timeline, and potential delays and hazards...this process weeds out bad/fake laborers and ensures that our employees actually CARE and truly UNDERSTAND the skill and accuracy required to work for us.)
Moving on with his story.
He saw he wasn’t convincing me, and said, I really just need this job and I’ll do whatever it takes to learn and become the best at anything you need me to do.
I told him that I acknowledged his lack of ability and had him tell me his real work history. He told me he had experience painting and doing concrete curbing, and that the vehicle outside was a loaner from a family friend and that he was living in another friend’s basement…
I gave the man a personal vehicle, a $900 gift, and told him that in a few days we would start his first job.
He was in tears and overcome at the kindness I showed him and said that he couldn’t take the money. My wife leaned around the corner and said, “If you try to decline, he will just find a way to give it to you.” And added as a second thought, “I’m glad you offered him the car because I was going to if you didn’t.”
We met at the job a few days later, and I lined up the tools, and explained the timeline, and process for the job.
After explaining to him, he asked me a few questions, and then we went to work. He did an excellent job following directions and asking questions when he didn’t understand.
Over the next few weeks, he learned and became capable at some of the work. I saw that he was a diligent worker and that he was honest and reliable when I left the job for client meetings.
I promoted him to oversee a job and told him that the second anything seemed even slightly over his head, to call me and have me walk him through any questions he had.
I received a phone call from the homeowner that a part of the work didn’t look right. I went over and fixed it, and then took the employee out to dinner to talk about what was wrong and explained that he should have asked for help.
His response was, “I didn’t see anything wrong with it. It looked good enough to me.”
I should have let him go then...but I wanted to help him.
(SIDE NOTE: this taught me something that I had never been aware of. I really did have a knack for envisioning the best practice and that some people can not EVER see things mentally. This type of person requires a LOT OF PRACTICE until they are able to envision something without drawings)
I relieved him of the role of a foreman, and he became a laborer again. After some time of working well under others, he expressed that he would love to be the full-time painter for the area.
He had always done a great job at painting, so I gave him his request. He did great at first and then over time things began to fall apart.
He would buy the wrong materials, or spend senseless company funds on a gimmick tool because he thought it would make the job easier instead of using the tools I had bought and proved to work. Obviously he knew better than me.
He started to assume the funds I had built up for the business as “disposable”. The timelines for the jobs to be too stringent. The mistakes he would make as acceptable.
I learned the hard way that every “employee” needs a mountain of micromanagement to be worth their paycheck. But if you’re not an employee, but instead a future business partner, or future owner or manager, you learn to make decisions and solve problems and become excellent at the work you do.
This knowledge then brought me to a realization that I would never hire an employee again. My opinion of an employee died with that realization. I have never treated an employee as an “employee” since then.
I do not give my employees a paycheck. I do not give my employees a ride to work, or a car, or a bonus, or a gift. I do not give my employees anything. They earn it.
I give to those who God tells me to give. I am a charitable person, but almost ALWAYS, money doesn’t help anyone. I know this is true. When I was faced with bankruptcy and struggled to make payments, and almost lost my entire company due to GROSS mismanagement of funds by an “employee”, money didn’t save me. Diligent work and business management skills saved me.
My employees earn their wage. They work diligently to have the opportunity to come back to work tomorrow. They work diligently so that they can be like Robbie. (he was hired as a laborer, progressed and is now happy working as the foreman in Oregon) Or like Josh. (He was hired as a laborer and after intense progress and learning, he is a foreman in Texas).
I have tried to hire great managers and train them to understand my company model and to comply...they have not ever worked out. I have tried to hire skilled laborers...they start to cut corners and do a worse job than an unskilled high school student. I have tried hiring other contractors, but they just want the money and don’t care about the success of anything.
And so our business model is set up to accept the world we have and to thrive from it...not as a money mongering pit that pulls funds from everywhere to create its own wealth, but as a building opportunity for people and homes that is profitable to everyone involved.
I have found that what I really want from life isn’t money or fame or time off.
Though I’m not exactly sure that I’ve found EVERYTHING I want from life, I have found that helping other people be happy by doing an honest day’s work, living healthy, playing with my family, and serving others has brought me much happiness.
I try to create a vision in the minds of the people I hire. They have a job working for me, but they are not my employee. I want them to be successful and happy in life. I can provide that opportunity and encourage them to take over everything I have and become everything/anything I have been able to become. Which leads me to tomorrow’s blog, “NO COMPETITORS FOR TURBO RENOVATIONS”.