How I Learned To Run A Business
I think there are really only two ways to learn how to do anything: by observing and by doing, and you need to do both to do something well.
From a young age, I watched my mom work extremely hard in the anesthesiology department of the UCLA Medical Center. Even with such a demanding job, I never saw her complain or break her smile. I did see her, though, at every single one of my games, performances, and academic presentations while growing up, always wearing that same smile. It was back then that I realized having a great attitude and working hard went hand-in-hand. The way my mom did things, I didn't think there was any other option than growing up and working as hard as I could in school and then later at my job.
Now, after looking to my mom as an example for years, I too make a point to attend all my sons' games, performances, and presentations because I saw her doing both jobs to the best of her ability. You can be a mom and a business owner all in the same lifetime.
I thank her as often as I can for being such a wonderful role model. I truly don't think I'd be where I am now with my business if it weren't for her example.
I came onto my business' team in 2004 as vice president of legal and business affairs. In 2009, I was given the opportunity to purchase the division, and so my life as a CEO began. Thankfully, I had a couple years of getting accustomed to the business under my belt before I dove in head-first by aquiring the company. However, this was still my first time owning a business.
You really don't know how to be a CEO until you are a CEO. You can read all the self-help books you want and take all the appropriate business classes in college, but there is nothing like learning on the job. I felt confident going into the position with the education and law experience I had, but I am still learning to this day.
The biggest thing I have learned while owning a business, is how to manage employees. This is an area I did not have much experience in coming into owning the business. I have learned to be firm and to be understanding all at once. I've learned that it's all about creating a positive environment where everyone can feel safe and respected.
The absolute best thing I have learned, though, is to never stop learning. Experience is priceless; with each new day at the office, I welcome it kindly.