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My Story Part 1

It started with a McDonalds burger then got hot and sweaty


Dear Entrepreneur,

I was sixteen and I wanted a job. That is how it all started.

As weekends go, it started off no different to many others. A friend and I went into town to do some shopping and to grab a bite to eat. McDonalds was the restaurant of choice back then, if you can call McDonalds a restaurant!

But this weekend was different, it changed my life.

As we stood in-line waiting to be served, a sign behind the counter caught my attention – “Staff Wanted – Apply Today”. As a sixteen year old who was still at secondary school and had never worked before, especially for a giant household name such as McDonalds, my palms got sweaty and my body shook with nerves as I neared the counter.

“Can I speak to someone about the job please?” I asked as I pointed to the sign.

“Sure, let me check and I will get you an application form” was the reply from the McDonalds representative (who we would normally call a “worker” and who was only a few years older than me).

Two minutes later, the worker returned to inform me “Our HR manager will see you now for an interview”.

As I was ushered past the chip (fries) deep fryers and the hot plates where Big Macs where being prepared, there was no going back now I thought, I have to go and meet them.

After a 15 minute interview with “Sandra” in one of the smallest rooms I have ever seen, I was told I had the job.

That was it.

I started working the following weekend and I have never stopped working since. Not a single day unemployed in 28 years.

Even after all these years, I still remember Sandra. Not because she was the one who interviewed me and gave me the job, which would set me on a path that would end up with me making £millions of pounds for individuals and companies around the world. No, it was because that was the final interview question.

Let me explain, at the start she introduced herself as Sandra, then she went on to ask her scripted interview questions. At the end she asked “Can you remember my name?” to which I replied “Sandra”.

That is when I first truly learned about the importance of listening to others who have been there and done that.

She knew what to look for in staff who would operate in a highly stressful and dangerous environment such as a fast paced kitchen, or for counter staff who needed to correctly recall and enter a customer’s order into the till.

Anyone who has watched the film “The Founder” with Michael Keaton playing Ray Kroc, or who has read any of the business books on processes, franchising and marketing – will recognise the attention to detail required to operate a McDonalds franchise. To the consumer, the brands objective is to have the same burger served exactly the same way in any McDonald’s restaurant around the world.

This means following clearly defined processes, being persistent and when needed, being ruthless in the search for perfection.

It also awakens you to identifying opportunities and to having ambition.

Ray Kroc never made his $500 million through selling burgers, he made it through property, by buying and leasing back the land on which franchised McDonald’s restaurants were located. He spotted the opportunity to make regular income from rent and to create assets (the land). He made his money no matter how many burgers or milkshakes were sold.

It has been stated that Ray Kroc was 52 when he found success at McDonalds. When questioned if he was an overnight success, he famously replied "I was an overnight success alright, but 30 years is a long, long night."

Back when I was sixteen, I was just beginning my working life journey at McDonalds. As you read this now, you are on a journey. What type of journey depends on what you want it to be.

I only worked at McDonalds for a handful of months, mainly in the kitchen on the grills. And after 10 hours flipping burgers on a flaming hot grill, you soon become hot and sweaty. Did I enjoy it? Yes, I guess I did.

It taught me about being self-sufficient and how to be reliable to others (if I didn’t show up, then someone else who have to stay on and cover my shift). At the time I could not drive, so I had to rely on public transport. Knowing which bus would get me in on time, after accounting for any cancelled services or breakdowns, as buses weren’t that punctual back then.

It taught me a lot about myself and interacting with other people in an organisation. It taught me about time keeping (as we had a clock-in / clock-out card machine) and if you didn’t clock-in or correctly clock-out, you never got paid for that time!

It taught me about continually learning and personal development, as you were awarded “Gold Stars” when you passed various exams. It showed me how people could progress up the career ladder if they stood out and worked hard.

That was nearly three decades ago, and I can still recall it today as if it was yesterday. Why? Well I still use some of the learnings to this day. I still see the growth of McDonalds around the world. And I know they are still using some of the well-defined processes I adhered to all those years ago.

Many areas of traditional marketing, growing a business or becoming a successful entrepreneur haven’t changed drastically over the past few decades.

What has changed, is growing and marketing a business online!

Through my series of stories, I will share with you my experiences of generating £millions of pounds through building an online business and how to market it in today’s world.

In my next story, which you will need to register for here, I will tell you how I moved from McDonald’s to one of the best known supermarkets and also received my first shareholding.

Best regards

David

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