I remember it like it was yesterday:
“Take them apart, put them back in the boxes, and go home.”
Before I started my business back in 2016, I did a bunch of “side gigs” just to get by…
One of those included building bikes, furniture, and BBQs at stores like Walmart or Canadian Tire.
It was piece work and paid based on performance.
The job wasn’t too bad though because you could set your own hours…
And as long as you met your quota, you could come and go as you wish.
Not bad for a budding entrepreneur, right?
One day, I was given instructions to build out 5 BBQs by the store manager…
This guy was not a pleasant person. He was always complaining and saying smart remarks to me (like some kind of weird power trip.)
But I learned to tune it out and just get to work…
So I put my headphones in, slice open the boxes, and get to work.
Now, I prided myself on how fast I could build these things… Usually, I could get them built in about 20 mins.
$40/BBQ x 5 = $200 in under 2hrs.
So I get to work… and sure enough, just around the 2hr mark, finished all 5 BBQs, immaculately built.
Fast money…
(Or so I thought.)
I give the store manager a call to sign off the work and get paid… Then he drops a bombshell on me:
“What! These weren’t the BBQs I wanted to build! I wanted THOSE ones over there!”
Shocked, I pointed out to him the BBQs I built clearly had the pink “BUILD” stickers on them (as always)… and lined up next to the work desk.
“I don’t care. They’re not what we needed to build. Someone made a mistake.” He said.
“Take them apart, put them back in the boxes, and go home.” He continued.
I just stood there staring at him.
Normally, I’m a pretty chill guy. I like to make people happy (I’ve got a somewhat bad habit of being a people pleaser at times.)
But this time, something inside me snapped.
I was tired of dealing with this guy’s BS…
Tired of being spoken to like an idiot and being laughed at…
And tired of being screwed around with…
“Your staff can put them back in the boxes. I’m not coming here anymore.” Came out of my mouth.
And just like that, I walked away from that gig and never went back.
The look on his face felt pretty good… Not gonna lie.
But at the time, I was also upset with myself.
I wasn’t in the position to be turning down work…
And I wondered if I should have kept my mouth shut and kept working for him.
But to be honest, I’m glad I walked away from that job.
If I didn’t, I don’t think I would have ever got a fire under my ass to start making moves towards starting my business.
That was just over 5 years ago…
Today, my situation feels like it’s done a complete 180.
The other day I did a phone call with a magazine publisher who was ecstatic to have me featured in their newest publications…
We work with some of the top flooring and renovation companies across the country…
And we regularly receive messages from clients sharing their wins from our campaigns.
I say this not to brag, but to illustrate a point:
There’s a time and place to bite your lip and take shit from someone.
Especially when you’re starting out.
I’m no stranger to proving myself to others.
But at a certain point, you also have to know your value.
You must be willing to walk away from something/someone that doesn’t appreciate your work.
You have to respect yourself.
Many Entrepreneurs are YES people…
But the greatest ones actually say NO more than yes…
Because they understand the value of their focus, time, and energy.
Put your hours in. Master your craft.
And yes, bite your lip at times…
But never, ever work for people who put you down or makes you feel less than.
Life’s too short to work your butt off for people who won’t notice the difference.
To your success,
Matt Thibeau