Three important lessons I taught my kids about entrepreneurship

Ryan Zink Franchise Fastlane

A Father’s Day reflection on my role as a dad and a founder

As Father Day approaches, I reflect on how two of the most important things in my life have meshed together, my role as a father and as a founder. My kids don’t remember my early days as an entrepreneur. They were too young to fully understand all the hard work that I put in to build a successful franchise system or any of the time I spent on other franchise-related companies that I helped build and sell.

Part of the reason I founded my current business, Franchise FastLane, was to be an example to my kids. When I leave for work in the morning or come home at night, I love that they know that I am helping others. I love it when they ask questions about business ownership or how we help people. It makes me smile to think about all the lessons they receive just by watching me. 

It’s important to me that my kids understand that being the boss isn’t always easy or cool. Even though many rewards come with entrepreneurship, there are also many struggles and sacrifices too. I want my kids to know that there’s so much more to life as a business owner than just the bottom line.

With Father’s Day upon us, I’d like to share the three most important lessons that I taught my kids about entrepreneurship.

Franchise FastLane CEO Ryan Zink has taught his four children about the struggles — as well as the rewards — of entrepreneurship.

Lesson 1: Being the boss means you are a servant leader, not a dictator

My kids often get confused about who works for who. They think it is cool that I am the boss, and they think that means I get to do whatever I want. I laugh a little when they say this, and I explain to them that the opposite is true. People don’t work for your business, you, and your business work for your people. Your number-one role as a leader is to ensure your team has what it needs to succeed. If people feel as if they are not part of something meaningful or working for a person who doesn’t value their contribution, they will leave for something better. People are a company’s most important asset, and the leader should devote most of his time to ensuring the team has the resources needed to be successful. 

Lesson 2: Entrepreneurship isn’t easy, but it can be rewarding

I always remind my kids that the life they currently enjoy started when I decided to become an entrepreneur. However, I make sure they realize that just deciding to become an entrepreneur is not enough. You must solve a problem well enough for others to pay you for it, and you must work smart enough to ensure you are continually improving on what your business offers. Business ownership can be one of the most rewarding parts of life, but to get there, you must be accountable for what the business becomes and how it impacts others. 

Lesson 3: It’s more important to be proud of what you do than to love what you do

We often hear business experts advising us to find a business doing something we love. While that is the ideal situation, it isn’t always a possibility. What if you love something that isn’t going to make a good business? I really think what you need to do is be in a business you can be proud of. Franchise FastLane has sold franchises that smash trash, rent out port-a-potties and install insulation. I don’t think anyone wakes up in the morning and jumps out of bed saying they love any of those things, but they are all businesses people can be proud of. Find something you can make money doing that you can be proud of, and you will wake up in the morning excited to attack your work.  

As my kids get older, I’ve started to get the question from my peers on whether I think it is a good idea to include them in my business. For me, the answer is an absolute YES. Life is short, and why wouldn’t I want to surround myself with the people I love most? Business is one of the most important passions in my life. I think it would be a dream come true to mesh my kids with my passion and show them the benefits of entrepreneurship. Plus, as a dad, I am always looking for an excuse to spend more time with them. 

Happy Father’s Day!

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Ryan Zink is the cofounder and CEO of Franchise FastLane, the largest franchise sale organization (FSO) in the United Sales and a multi-unit franchisee. Ryan has been involved with franchising since 2003. Ryan has co-founded two separate franchise suppliers, has been a franchisee of 25+ locations and co-founded Complete Nutrition, a franchise brand that he grew to more 200 units before selling in 2015.
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