Week 10 – Susan Thomas

Susan Thomas

I started my business, Anything on a Clock, 5 years ago.  In that time, I have done a LOT of networking and have met a number of well respected business owners.  For the first 2 months of this project I decided that I was just going to meet with people that I know.  This week I decided to spread my wings and meet with someone that I have never met before.  I decided to call Susan from Printfastic Printing because her and her husband started their business 31 years ago.  They might not be the largest print shop in the country but they are quite successful.

Who is Susan Thomas?

“I was born and raised inCalifornia.  I was a first generation latch key kid.  I always like to mention that because my mother worked primarily.  My father didn’t work consistently so I had to earn everything.  My husband came from a similar background.”

“When we first started our business, we both borrowed $1000 from our parents, which doesn’t seem like a lot these days but 30 years ago, when your parents don’t have a lot of money, that was their life savings.  Within a year we were able to pay them back every penny that we borrowed.”

“Working with my husband is another thing that has moulded me because when you work with family, it’s different than working with other people.  Being married and to be able to work together for over 30 years is a different environment.  A lot of people say ‘boy I couldn’t do that’ but we are very blessed.  Over the years we determined our roles.  I am more the administrative person where my husband is more the hands on guy.  I find that for us, it is a really good blend.”

On to the questions…

Business coach Jason Westlake asks;

Q.   What’s one thing that you were afraid of doing that if you did would transform your business and your life?

A.   “Back when we were starting our business, we were both 20 years old.  We were just newly married, new in the country so we had a lot of factors going.  My husband was working at the University of British Columbia at the time in the printing department.  I was working at Mills Printing and Stationary as a full time sales rep.  It was that leap of getting going.  My husband really wanted to start it for a while.  Ever since he was in grade 8 he wanted to be a printer.  I found it was a good fit for us.  I wanted to be a nurse practitioner originally.  Just being our age and with the education that we had at that point, just making that leap was the hardest thing for us.  That security of having full time pay cheques and going out and making something out of something that you wanted to do.  That was the most difficult thing.  We had to borrow money from each of our parents because we just didn’t have the resources.  I think that was it.  Just starting and getting the ball rolling, and just hoping that you didn’t fail.  Just taking it day by day, month by month and here we are 31 years later.”

Raj Thandhi from Fronte and Sentre Communication asks;

Q.   What is the one must read book for someone just starting their business?

A.   There are a lot of good books but the one that came to my mind was the E-Myth.  I found that once I read that, it really gave me a different level of understanding.  The big thing that I took away from it is that no matter what you do.  We are printers.  You could be a doctor or a lawyer or whatever your profession is like making clocks.  You’re good at that one thing that you do but with running a business, you don’t just need to be good at what you do.  You need to be a marketer.  You also have to be in control of your money and the administrative side of things.”

Melissa Musika from Indivine Visual Productions asks;

Q.   If you could go into a time machine and go back to the day you started your business, what advice would you give yourself?

A.  “That’s a really tough one.  There are different levels of advice I’d  give myself.  Because when you’re a business where you are in a husband and wife team, and when it’s time to start having a family, the juggling that I had to do with that.  I think I would give myself advice not to be so much of a perfectionist.”

In Conclusion.

Susan has been one of only a couple people who I have talked to so far that have been in business for over 30 years.  During our conversation, the one reoccurring theme that kept coming up is that just as there are 4 seasons in a year, there are also seasons in your life.  Whether it is your personal life or your business life.  After reviewing this interview, I came to the realization that my business and my life has seasons.  Each one is just as important as the next.  One season with my personal life was when I met my wife and the life we had together before we had our child.  The next season was the first 5 years of my son’s life and the first 4 years of Anything on a Clock.  Now that my son is full time in school, and I have more time to dedicate to my business, it is time to welcome a new season with my business.  One of the things that i am excited about in this new season of my business is this blog.  Another thing that I am excited about with this new season of my business is the ability to grow my business.  Thank you Susan to changing my view on my business and helping me get excited about where Anything on a Clock is going.

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About KevenMcTaggart
I own a small business called Anything on a Clock. I started Anything on a Clock in 2007 when my son was about a year old.

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