Saturday, March 1, 2014

SOL 1 of 31 - The First Customer

I'm starting this blog at the last minute to join the Slice of Life March Challenge. The blog, like my life, is still under construction.  

I got my first customer today.

I have started a new business and I have sold something.

I can’t help but think back about ten years ago when I was a young teacher.  Early in summer vacation, I walked into the temp agency of my small rural town.
A middle-aged man was sitting behind a heavy wooden desk.  A filing cabinet was behind him with one drawer open.  He held a stack of papers in his hand and looked up at me when the bell on the door jingled as I opened it. I had never been inside a temp agency before. I barely understood what it was.  But everyone knows teachers are well educated, hard workers and make excellent temporary employees.  I took a deep breath, straightened my back and put on a smile.
“Hi. I’m Susan and I’m a teacher.  I was wondering if you might have some part time work for me this summer?”
“Uh,” the muttered in a froggy smoker’s voice. “What can you do besides teach?”
I froze.  Nothing, I thought.  I can teach reading. I can teach math. I can explain complicated science things in a way that six year olds understand.  I can read stories aloud with great expression and animation.  I can teach manners and responsibility.  I can write letters to parents.  Yeah, I can teach.
“I can file,” I started.  I vividly imagined all the time spent behind my desk at my filing cabinet.  My files are excellently organized.
“I can type…”
“How many words/minute?” he asked.
“Um…” I tried to remember back to my high school typing class—the last time my words/minute was calculated.  What is a good typing rate?  Is 100 words per minute too much?  Could I actually do that?  “I think something like 75 words per minute, maybe 90…?”
“What else?” he quizzed.  He still held the stack of papers in his hand. The filing drawer was still hanging open behind him.
“I can organize, clean, write…”
“How about sales? Can you work a cash register?”
“Sure, probably,”
“Drive a fork lift? Do landscaping?” 
“Well, that’s the kind of work we have.”
“OK, well thank you.”  I turned and got out of that office.  It’s true: I had no other skill but teaching.

That man’s question has haunted me ever since.  A few years ago, I realized that I should have said: “Because I teach, I can do anything.”  I had realized that I have good time management, strong people skills, excellent communication and leadership skills, strong problem solving abilities, public speaking experience, and lots of creativity.

Today I can say that I’ve started a new business and I have successfully sold a product. 


  1. Congrats on your first customer and sale...I can see how teachers are lead to believe they can't do anything else...but teach which is its own awesome responsibility! I am not sure how to break that cycle of thinking...glad you are giving it a go! Thanks for joining the SOLSC this year.

  2. That is wonderful! I'm so excited to see you also take the plunge into joining the Slice community this year.

    I'd love to hear what your new business is!

    1. My new business is a franchise of Juice Plus. It is a home-based networking business. Juice Plus is a whole food based supplement; it's fruits and veggies in a capsule!

  3. "What can you do besides teach?" I think that's a question that would stop most of us in our tracks. I think I'll ponder this for awhile. Should make a good slice sometime this month!

  4. Welcome! This is my first challenge but have been slicing on Tuesdays since July. I agree with Deb in that the question, "What can you do besides teach?" would make a good slice. Good luck with the challenge.

  5. I ran a cash register a long, long time ago, but not any of the new ones! It would be intimidating to be asked that, but I love your answer! Welcome, Susan! So happy to see you here!

  6. With so much pride and excitement for you,