A self-employed entrepreneur since 2001, Tim J. Schmidt is the President and Founder of Skin Pro International, Inc.
Eager to work from an early age, I had my first lemonade stand at age 6, a lawn mowing route by age 10, and before I reached middle school I was doing research and development for Rollerblade. I thought I had reached the pinnacle of a fun work environment way too early, but I was just getting started.
My grandfather had a long career as an inventor and fortunately for me, his entrepreneurial genes flowed down the family tree. Motivation is something I was born with, so I've never lacked the desire to succeed. But to be a successful entrepreneur, you also have to love what you do. If it becomes routine, gets stale, or doesn't stimulate you on a daily basis, it's time to move on.
Since 2002 I've had my hand in many business ventures; I rode the peaks and valleys of being an entrepreneur before founding my current business, SkinPro, a global company based in Miami that manufactures and distributes skin care products using cosmeceutical ingredients.
Here are three pieces of advice I received along the way that helped shape the person I am today:
1. Never become complacent.
I find the number of people who become complacent at a high level of business incredible. The competition's complacency is the exact reason I made it here. Whenever you think about showing up late, working fewer hours, or outsourcing something that nobody can do better than yourself, remember the sacrifices you've already made to get where you are today.
I remember having an important meeting with a manufacturer on a hot summer day in Miami. Given my humble beginnings, I didn't have functional air conditioning in my truck. The 40-minute shirtless commute was torture, as was getting myself presentable in an empty gas station near the manufacturer's office. But I persevered and left the meeting with a deal in place.
Knowing that there is always someone chasing me with that same hunger drives me to keep going.
2. If you're not networking, you're not working.
I learned this from the best networker I know, Steve Nudelberg, founder of On the Ball Marketing. He opened up my eyes to the thought process of being only one introduction away from something life-changing.
Think about that long and hard. How many people around you know what you do? Can you look around your neighborhood and say with confidence that everyone knows your profession? Networking is incredibly easy, especially when you are passionate about your work. Tell people about it, and watch what happens.
3. Get in the trenches.
Working at the Northern Tool & Equipment company gave me the opportunity to watch its tireless leader check the pulse of every department. As a result, I bought into the theory of performing the job of every person in the organization on a routine basis in order to identify shortcomings and know where to reward successes.
A savvy CEO will embrace taking customer service calls, spending time in the warehouse and personally working with key accounts. If you don't spend time in other people's shoes, how are you going to accurately gauge their efforts?