I started my first business at the age of 7. I wasn’t great at sports and my body struggled with joint pain and sensitivity to the cold. My favorite summer activity was lobstering with my Dad. My dad made me feel important by telling me that he needed me to sit on the bow of the rowboat and guide him to each lobster buoy marked with the colors of the Greek flag. My job was to grab the buoy from the ocean and help him pull up the trap.
Eventually, my doctor told him that it wasn’t the best activity for someone with my health issues and that I needed to stop immediately. I was about to lose the thing that bonded us, and got a lazy 7-year-old out of bed at 5 am in the summer. My dad, being the brilliant man he was, came up with a way to keep me on the bow of the boat and still get excited about waking up at 5 am.
He helped me start my first lobstering business. I was allowed to keep the profits of my sales as long as he could have free lobsters. I loved everything about running a business. Although I previously struggled with social anxiety, it disappeared when I sold lobsters. I would ride my bike down Longfellow Street in Lexington with my lobster order form. I can still remember how some clients responded to my first few sales pitches: “Lobsters, do you mean cookies? I’ve heard of door-to-door vacuum cleaners but not lobsters.” I even sold some lobsters to people who didn’t like lobsters but promised to find a friend to give them to.
In the beginning, people were a little surprised by this new service, but eventually, my customers got excited about the weekly deliveries. I cared about my customers being happy and wanted to offer the best service. I would spend time chatting with these adults and my job was not just about the lobsters, but building relationships with my neighbors.
I embraced every part of being a young entrepreneur, even cost analysis. My most memorable business decision was when we started to research the cost of our biggest variable expense: bait. After looking at all options we discovered the best price were the free fish heads at Market Basket in Burlington. Then came the next problem. How were we going to transport the bait from Burlington to Plymouth? We had one car that was packed with 4 kids and luggage, and it was a 60-minute drive. My dad said that if I wanted to improve my profits, I had to sit in the third row of the station window facing the back with the bucket of fish heads sitting next to me. I had never completed a trip to Plymouth without getting sick and now I was going to be in the back row with a bucket of fish heads. Well, I did it. And threw up so many times I wasn’t allowed to do it again. I would have done it again, but it was vetoed by the rest of the family.
My dad taught me at an early age that running a business requires sacrifice and blind commitment. You do it because you care about customers and sometimes it’s incredibly challenging.
All small businesses are feeling the same crunch. Right now we are in the back seat of that station wagon with that bucket of fish heads. We need your help to survive our biggest challenge yet.
First, we want to thank most of our members for embracing our remote program and not putting your memberships on hold. We need you as much as you need us. It is important to maintain a healthy routine and be engaged in a community. Join the challenge and let’s give back to other local small businesses. We don’t want to lose what makes our community special.
We also want you to spread the word. Encourage your friend to try our program for one month for $199. If you have a teenager at home watching you workout, sign them up for a teen program. They will have access to everything we offer and we will coach them and their family during this new normal. All friends can try a session this week. Just have them contact me (781.249.6193). We will have a virtual meeting and schedule a free session and class for them.
Help us help you during this time so that when the dust settles, we can continue being a part of our neighborhood and our community.