The experiences they had and shared as entrepreneurs was invaluable to me. It all began with my Grandpa, who started several businesses in his lifetime. He passed his work ethic and business savvy onto my Dad and Uncles, who ran the largest one of his businesses until they sold it in 2010. Here are the most impactful business lessons I’ve learned from my Dad:
TAKE A RISK
I clearly remember telling my Dad that I was thinking about starting a business. He instantly told me that I would never know unless I tried and I needed to be willing to take a risk. He followed that up with telling me I would never regret the decision. He said the worst that would happen is it wouldn’t work and I would be successful doing something else. Everything was a teachable moment with him.
My Dad was one of the hardest working people I know. He expected a lot of himself and others. After a day of work at the office, and coaching one of us in some activity, we would find him at the kitchen table with papers spread out where he would be working for hours after each of us had gone to bed.
ORGANIZATION – IN HIS OWN WAY
My Dad was a list maker. He actually had lists for his lists. He had a calendar/address book that was with him at all times. Opening it you would see different colors highlighted for work, each member of our family’s activities and later grandkids’ activities (that is a lot of different colors). His overuse of highlighters was a common joke in our family. And he had binders – many, many labeled binders, often times with piles of items waiting to go into the binders. Yet, if a question was asked that no one knew, they called my Dad and he would know just where to look to get you the answer. He was organized in his own way.
Being in the printing business, it was only right that my Dad loved paper. With everything moving to emails, he knew he needed to adapt to technology to better serve his clients… but some habits are hard to break. By loving paper I meant that each email was printed out.
Many of my Dad’s clients became his friends. He knew about their families along with their work. He was genuine, human and kind. The number of people that my Dad touched in his lifetime was evident in the number of people that were at his funeral… we were simply amazed!
Dad served on many, many committees giving back to the community for as long as I can remember. His involvement created opportunities for our family to volunteer as well. We’d hear about the good these organizations were doing, but it wasn’t until his death that I knew the sheer number of volunteer awards that he was given as an individual. He had a passion to help others.
TAKE TIME FOR FAMILY
My Dad coached all of us kids in our sports. He said he would rather leave work early to coach us and work late when we were sleeping than miss out on that opportunity. In finding his thorough practice notes and scouting reports from 3rd – 8th grade basketball, there is not a single, good reason that one of his kids didn’t play in college or professionally.
IT TAKES A TRUE PARTNERSHIP
Over five years ago when I was having the conversation with him to start my own company, he advised me how hard I would have to work. He also said that he was fortunate to have Mom as a partner to help him with so many other things. I too am blessed to have my husband as my partner supporting me and being a wonderful Dad to our boys!
I’m so thankful to have learned from a great man who always believed in me, encouraged me and is my example in business and life. Love and miss you, Dad!
~ Chellee Siewert, President of Capture Marketing