Wow… where do I begin? Well, at least I would like to say Happy Mothers’ Day to my mother and all the mothers out there… especially the ones that will read this article. Thanks. On another note, though, I don’t ever think that I would have written an article on all the great business advice I’ve learned from my mom throughout my life. Life’s funny, huh. Mom, if you’re reading this, thanks for being a sacrificial example of success both professionally and personally… you’re the best.
With fifteen years of corporate and private business experience, one of the greatest business lessons I learned from my mom is to have unquestionable integrity and a consistent work ethic. I can’t recall even one time growing up when I ever heard anyone professionally say anything negative or derogatory about my mother or her lack of work ethic. She took pride in her work (including dress, promptness, charisma, etc.) as well as how she carried herself on the job. In those times when my siblings and I were fortunate to go on her job with her like for a seasonal party or regular work day, all her work counterparts and even managers extolled her virtues of hard work, integrity, and treating clients (she’s spent over 30 years in the healthcare industry) with the utmost respect and customer service. At the time, these compliments did not make an impact on me due to youthful ignorance until I entered the professional world upon college graduation. I quickly learned and understood how fortunate I was to have a mother that not only talked a good game about having a great work ethic and providing quality customer service, she was a living example of how to do it.
Secondly, my mother exemplified what it means to survive. My parents divorced when I was four and my dad didn’t play an active role in my upbringing. That’s not a low blow towards my dad; these are just the facts. My mom on the other hand literally did anything and everything to ensure my siblings and I had the necessities to experience life fully. I can remember at times when she would work two to three jobs just to make ends meet and she did it often with little or no sleep. Talk about dedication and commitment, right? In working with various small businesses and aspiring entrepreneurs, I often sense a false myth of becoming successful in business without a commitment to working diligently and most of the time hard. That’s not true and definitely needs to remain in the land of mythology. My mother taught me through her tireless diligence to her jobs that if you want to become a success in life whether professionally or personally, you will and must be willing to pay the price.
Lastly, Momma was a penny-pinching, money-saving, budgeting genie. I know Warren Buffet has a reputation for being a penny pincher himself; but, he has nothing on Mom. I can remember nights prior to going to bed, I would often see my mother at the kitchen table or in her bedroom pouring over the household budget and planning accordingly. Although at the time, I had no idea what she was doing, but my siblings and I definitely experienced the joy of having clothes, food, shelter, and the occasional luxury item when needed and sometimes if wanted. To this day, I still consider it a miracle that she was able to provide a pretty fabulous and stable upbringing for us in spite of working minimum wage healthcare and food service jobs. After working professionally with small businesses and studying and observing them, I noticed a great truth about business: without sound financial management and discipline, no matter how popular or robust a market a business operates in, it will soon be out of business. As Momma demonstrated with our household finances, cash is king and you better know how to treat and grow it if you want to survive and thrive.