Saturday, May 18, 2024
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  1. You will learn how to work. Developing a good work ethic – a willingness to work hard, to work with your hands – are abilities that will serve you for the rest of your life.
  2. You will learn a skill. Learning a skill is developing an asset. You are that asset. You can leverage your skills to make money over the course of your life. It is an investment in yourself. Mastering a skill is key to enjoying a high level of job satisfaction.
  3. You will learn the importance of creating value. This is a critical life lesson many self-absorbed people never get a chance to learn. Cold hard truth: For most of us, no one is awaiting our arrival. Our success depends on our ability to create value in other people’s lives. Leave your sense of entitlement behind and shift into the entrepreneurial mindset. It will help to stop waiting for permission and acceptance, get out there and make things happen. A valuable attitude that will benefit you in whatever you pursue later in life.
  4. You will learn to problem solve. You will come to see problems as opportunities. Challenges will present as solutions. You will learn to solve your own problems and create your own opportunities. You will learn to solve other people’s problems, while creating opportunities for yourself.
  5. You will learn to prioritize amidst overwhelm. What is essential here, now?
  6. You will learn to manage stress. Your ability to handle stress will increase and you will develop strategies for minimizing stress. You will learn to handle problems with less emotion. You will learn how to limit your exposure to unnecessary stress, setting boundaries for yourself  and others.
  7. You will learn that complaining and feeling sorry for yourself adds zero value to your life. As a good friend once told me: ‘Don’t complain unless you are willing to change.’
  8. You will learn that learning never ends and is a lifelong pursuit, not an objective or a destination. ‘Getting an education’ is not the goal. Constantly learning, building new skills and adapting will be normal. And you will learn a lot, everyday.
  9. There is plenty of work out there. The industry is not threatened. There is a skilled labour shortage. Baby Boomers are the wealthiest generation in the history of mankind and they are retiring. Often, their most prized asset is their home. The knowledge based economy is snatching up a lot of industrious young people. This all adds up to high demand for painters, and low supply.
  10. Soft skills you acquire are transferrable to so many other jobs. You will benefit from these skills for the rest of your working life: social intelligence, self-management, team management, value creation, problem solving, sales, organization, intentionality, willingness to get the job done, integrity, attention to detail, money management, communication, self motivated learning, etc.
  11. Hard skills are transportable to any location you may choose to move to. Want to move to a more prosperous area where opportunities abound? Want to move for family reasons? Want to help with disaster relief work? Want to move somewhere so you can transition into another career? If you run your own business and have the skills to start up again, where you live is largely in your control.
  12. Minimal barrier to entry. Compared to other trades, the start up costs are lower. There are less certification and permits required. You don’t require a lot of expensive tools.
  13. You will learn accountability. Not just to others. When you have a job you are accountable to your superiors for certain results and procedures, as you are to your clients when self employed. However, becoming accountable to ourselves is a more powerful concept that few learn. Depending on others for direction, acceptance and reward can be a difficult cycle to break. As a business owner, you are primarily accountable to yourself for results. No excuses. No permission. No barriers. That is the so-called ‘freedom’ so many seek in starting a business – the autonomy to make decisions and actualize your intentions, own your results both in business and in your personal life. Own your days. Own your business. Own your results. Own your home. Think like an owner. Freedom = Accountability.
  14. You will learn to let go of perfectionism. Perfectionism is a bad thing. It sucks the joy out of life and profit out of business. Reasonable clients don’t expect it. Craftsmanship and attention to detail are very important, but you will learn to balance that with letting go of perfectionism.
  15. You will enjoy the deep satisfaction of seeing the results of your hard work on a daily basis. This is profoundly important to our well being and self respect. You will see tangible, visible results each work day. You will see the impact your work has on your clients as they marvel at the results of your skills and efforts. You will see the good results of providing for yourself and your family. And in a larger sense you have the opportunity to contribute positively to your community.
  16. Novelty. Can you imagine the soul crushing experience of working in a cubicle farm under the artificial lighting all day, day in day out? Whereas getting to work on unique projects, in different places and for a variety of people is rewarding in itself. We all need new challenges, need to meet new people, have new experiences.
  17. You get to listen to music, or podcasts while you work. Certain types of music are proven to enhance your mental well being. Podcasts cast help you learn something new everyday. You can even take university courses via podcast. Get smart, be happy, make money. Not a bad way to spend the day.
  18. Tax write offs. Lower your taxable income by being able to right off more expenses against your employment income. Fuel to and from work, cell phone, internet, etc.
  19. The cash flow is pretty good. There is no ceiling on your income. There will be more money flowing through your hands than if you worked a part time retail job. You will learn to manage money quickly.
  20. You will stand out from the competition. There are not a lot of younger painters with the initiative to be in business. Potential customers will notice, and many will want to support you. If you are a young woman, the opportunity is even greater as some people may be more comfortable with a woman working in their home, and it is even more unique – different in a legitimate way, not contrived. Different is good.
  21. Imagine getting paid to learn all this and grow as a person? That is the opportunity awaiting a young person willing to work hard. You will get paid to learn all of these real world skills, versus paying to learn theories in school.

None of this is easy. In fact, it is all difficult. It can be very difficult – dangerous working conditions, toxic substances, heights, heat, financial risk, potential for conflict, complicated steps to getting started, accounting and taxes – it can be overwhelming, especially at the outset. But life is difficult and the sooner you learn the skills required to thrive, the better off you will be.

You may want to eventually transition into work that is less physically demanding or dangerous, work that creates exponential value, work that is more sustainable as you get older. But the value of learning a skill and running a business when you are young is a wise investment in yourself. If you like to work hard, are a quick learner and have some motivation, I believe in you – you can do it! Now get out there and make it happen! There is nothing that can stop you.

Simon Kuhl is a professional painter working on beautiful Vancouver Island, BC. He owns Sombrio Painting Co. and specializes in custom painting, staining and plastering solutions. He also operates Micro Contractor Blog in support of other small independent painting contractors. Beyond business, painting and writing, Simon loves spending time with his family exploring outdoors, reading and portrait photography.



  1. That’s great for me, a willingness to work hard with the painting job. After reading your post, i’m a little nervous in the beginning because i’m poor and it’s out of my reach and there’re more competitive out there. I’m an employee working for a local painter in Waltham ma, and i just strive to make our customers happy. I don’t have the funds to rent office space but would consider what is needed to start a boston house painters from now on

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