......without taking any automotive classes.
I did not start out in the automotive industry. I did not have a father with a repair shop. My father was a salesman who preferred spending time at the golf course to doing any work around the house.
I had gone to college for a degree in Hotel/Restaurant Management. I learned in a side class that cooking was my passion! I had a fun, successful cooking and catering career for over 14 years. Then I had a child. I became one of those super moms. I cooked with the baby in a backpack, as she would come everywhere with me. Shopping for a wedding of 150 people with a baby in tow? Traveling out of state to a conference for 5 days of cooking breakfast, lunch and dinner for 50 people with baby in tow? OMG! Talk about STRESS! Catering and babies don't mix!
I quickly realized I either had to hire a nanny to raise my child or
become a stay at home mom with a very part-time job. Well I didn't wait
34 years to have a child to hand her over to someone else to raise, so
I hung up my apron!
I wrote down all my skills other then cooking and put a $ amount of what I could make beside them. The biggest “bang for the buck” was bookkeeping.
I got a job as the bookkeeper at the Auto Repair shop that I took my car for oil changes. It was perfect!
All I wanted to do was watch my child grow. I would work 3-4 hours a couple days a week, and then play mom. What fun!
This lasted for 3 years. During that time I had great fun hanging around the shop. I would drive the mechanics crazy with all my questions, and the trade magazines I found in the bathrooms (Brake & Front End, Under Car Digest, etc.) were so interesting I would take them home and read them from cover to cover. I was slowly learning about cars.
The owner kept finding me talking to his customers about things like: why it was important to the health of their car to get a cooling system power flush, what a brake job entailed, why they should rotate their tires every other oil change, etc. So much so, that he asked me if I would like to expand my job to running the front desk. I would be the point person for the shop. Check people in, call to explain what was needed to do the job, order parts and pieces and check people out.
My daughter was 4 yrs. old. She was ready for pre-school, and I was ready for more!
I loved my new job! It was fast paced, full of variety, incredible social, and I was helping people keep their families safe and their cars reliable as they cruised on down the road.
I then thought we should be busier and took a bunch of marketing classes. The business doubled in size and the owner of the business asked me to be his business partner.
OMG! Now I was a female auto repair shop owner. How cool is that! This totally motivated me. I wanted to not only help my customers, but wanted to reach out and help everyone, everywhere.
So I started writing.
I started off writing a monthly newsletter to my client base. The I was asked to write an automotive column for Vermont Women Magazine (Under The Hood). I was getting such great feedback that I added free reports and helpful checklists to my website (www.autocraftsmen.com).
Then I noticed that we were having a reoccurring problem with certain customers. It was the customers that would buy a used car and not have us do an inspection on it before they handed over all that money! They would bring it in for service and say, “I need an oil change, and could you have them check out that funny noise in the front end?” I would send it on back to the shop, and would cringe when one of the techs would call me to the back because they wanted to show me something.
Next would come the dirty deed. I had to be the one to tell them, “We are not going to do the oil change on your new car, because that funny noise in the front end will cost about $600 to fix and it’s not really worth fixing with everything else we found wrong on it.” Then it would happen.
The men would start yelling and the women would start crying. UH, I hated this!
I wanted to fix this re-occurring problem. I wanted to make a difference.
So, I wrote a step-by-step, fill in the blank workbook: How to Buy a GREAT Used Car. I got such great feedback from the hard copy that I created a website www.usedcarexperts.com where anyone, anywhere could download an e-book version.
The next logical step was to create a How To Buy A Great Used Car Class. I practiced by going into driver education classes and then opened myself up to talking to any group that wanted the information. What fun! I was able to get this important information in front of people BEFORE they handed over their hard earned money on an unworthy vehicle.
I still felt I wasn’t reaching enough people. So I put together a talk and a turn-key program for other Auto Repair Shops. I taught them how important it was to educate the public about buying a used car, how to do a thorough used car inspection, and sold them the rights to print and sell my book. Now I had over 48 other repairs shops around the country helping to “spread the word!”
My book got the attention of The Women’s Car Care Council (www.women.carcare.org). They asked me to speak at their annual meeting in the summer of 2006, and then asked me to join the education committee of their board. WOW! Now I was rubbing elbows with women from around the country in all different aspects of the automotive industry.
This got the attention of Jody DeVere, one of the brilliant minds behind www.AskPatty.com . She asked me to be on her panel of Automotive Expert Women.
I now start my day off by answering questions about buying used cars from women around the country. I would send her copies of my magazine articles and she would post them on her blog, which would get picked up by other websites and spread throughout the world wide web. Now thousands of women were able to read information on auto care and safety.
I wanted to make a difference and I did!
And as an added BONUS, I’ve met some of the brightest, innovated Auto Girls from around the country that continue to inspire me to keep learning all I can about this fascinating industry!