For the new year, we wanted to offer tips on making millions and swimming through dollar bills like Scrooge McDuck. But then we checked our accounts and remembered we live in reality, too. • Good thing we know Nick Friedman and Omar Soliman. They're best friends living in Tampa and founders of College Hunks Hauling Junk. The business, founded in 2005, is just like it sounds — trucks, hunks and junk. But the simple idea has blossomed into a multimillion-dollar franchise. The men even appeared on that saucy success litmus test, Millionaire Matchmaker. • Their new book is Effortless Entrepreneur: Work Smart, Play Hard and Make Millions. Friedman, 28, says their achievement is not unattainable, even in a bad economy. He offers some pointers for hauling your own self out of the proverbial job junk pile this year. • By the way, College Hunks Hauling Junk is hiring. — Stephanie Hayes firstname.lastname@example.org
Be bold. Our business started out as more of a casual conversation, sitting around a table talking about some ways to earn extra money. How often do you come up with an idea and three years later you see it and think, "I should have done that."
Be savvy. Business is all about pitches and offers. Two of our newest corporate team members wrote a proposal where they outlined marketing ideas for the company. We really liked how they thought, and a few ideas opened doors to initiatives we're working on today, like our corporate blog.
Be consistent. We manage a lot of different locations, and we have consistent meetings scheduled with managers. It can be reassuring to the boss if the staff gives a progress report, and not in a way that makes it sound like you're bragging or trying to get praise. More, "Here's what I've been focusing on."
Be open. One good way of going about it is electronically. If you're not comfortable expressing yourself in front of someone, you can write up a draft and send it in an e-mail. Mention, "Here are some ideas I wanted to share."
Be honest. If you have an idea that counters the direction of the company, offer it in a way that's not combative or confrontational. Suggest an alternative. And you never want to hide. We've had incidents where there might be a truck accident or equipment lost. When the team members are up front about it, it makes it a lot easier.
Be responsible. It's such a technologically driven society with text messages and Facebook. Rather than look at it as common sense or something someone always should know, we train our guys in being responsible. Expectations are starting to decline across the board. If you carry yourself at a level that's more professional, you're going to stand out.
Be creative. We took a very simple concept, which is basically trucks and labor, and put a creative name, brand and image to it. You want to fit in with the company culture, but you want to stand out. Not in a way that's going to offend anyone and detract from performance, but you want to be noticed.
Be organized. Before you go to sleep, write down on a 3-by-5 card three things you're going to accomplish the next day. Make them very specific. Don't say, "I'm going to do sales calls." Say, "I'm going to make 10 sales." Or "I'm going to send my resume to five companies." Start with those things, so you don't just get on Facebook.
Be proactive. You have to keep the saw sharpened. If you're employed or unemployed, you can't become complacent, or the competition is going to pass you by. Reading is probably the least expensive way to stay on top of everything. If you go to networking functions, you're going to connect with someone who can lead to opportunities.
Be positive. When we first started, it was all so easy. All we had to do was park a truck outside and the phone rang. There was a time last year where business was struggling because of the economy. We questioned whether we were going to make it. Self doubt is inevitable, but having discipline and determination puts the doubt out of your mind.