Recently, John Gulledge, a franchisee in Georgia, was spotlighted in Entrepreneur.com‘s Franchise Players interview series.
His work ethic was evident from the very start. At 15 years old, Gulledge began working full-time at a local pizzeria. In seven short months he had worked himself up from dishwasher, to line cook, to assistant manager. Not only did he work hard, but he was willing to learn about all aspects of the business. He attributed his success and growth to what he said were his two greatest personal qualities, availability and eagerness: “I used to gobble up hours from other workers that had other plans or simply did not want to work.”
It was this dedication and hard work that gave Gulledge his opportunity in the franchise world. A few years after leaving the pizzeria to attend college, Gulledge’s former bosses, having sold the pizzeria and opened a build-your-own burger restaurant, asked him to be their first franchisee. Gulledge accepted and has been successfully (and profitably) running his franchise for almost 8 years now. The relationships he developed in that first full-time job were meaningful and lasting.
“Making money, having a great product and service, and helping your community can happen, but it all starts with hard work, dedication, and faith in yourself and the people around you,” Gulledge said.
The obvious lessons in this story: If you want to be your own boss, be willing to learn from others. Develop a strong work ethic. Foster relationships. And while it’s not too late for those of any age to think about franchising, we hope that you can share this story with at least one young, hard-working high school kid and let them know where their hard work can take them.