At 23 years old, I was fresh out of college and had no idea what I wanted to do. Today, I am the vice president of a company I started working at five years ago in an entry level position. If you're thinking that my unique path must be more than just a mix of hard work and good luck, you're right. It's ultimately a result of the people with whom I surround myself.
In 2009, I left SUNY Binghamton University in New York as a newly minted economics grad. Shortly after graduation, I relocated from New York to Hawley, PA, with my girlfriend. At that time, a family friend referred me for a job as a lifeguard at a local resort. While I enjoyed my time poolside, the job was far from what I saw for myself. With my girlfriend by my side, I decided to dedicate myself to being the best lifeguard possible and put energy into developing the skills that would prepare me for the career and life I desired.
Take a leap
A little over two years into my position as a lifeguard, now as a lifeguard instructor, a friend of mine started working for a new tech startup, which was a mobile repair shop in Stroudsburg, PA. He notified me about an opening for an entry level repair technician position at the company. While I always had an interest in tech, I had no professional experience in the field. The company, however, offered an in-depth training program for aspiring technicians. Slightly hesitant about transitioning into a field I had no experience in, my girlfriend encouraged me to apply.
Since the company was a small team of less than 10 employees, I interviewed directly with the CEO and co-founder of the company, Chad Altier. Chad took notice of my strong leadership qualities and made me an offer to start as a repair technician at iDropped. That moment, I realized this was a company that would give me opportunities to learn, train and grow. So my girlfriend and I packed up our things and relocated to Stroudsburg, PA.
With the new store opening quickly approaching, I trained tirelessly to learn everything I could about mobile device repair procedures. Once the store opened, I worked alongside a team of three other trained repair technicians to help new iDropped customers with their device mishaps.
Push yourself beyond what's comfortable
In a few short months, iDropped's customer base rapidly grew and the team realized we needed to bring on additional repair hands. When the new hires started, I made sure to welcome them to the team with the same level of enthusiasm that I received. I also made sure to offer my help to new hires whenever possible.
My managers noticed that in addition to my tech responsibilities, I had unofficially taken on the role of a trainer. I was asked to turn my teaching methods into a tangible set of training materials to help new technicians quickly adapt to the demands of the job. The training materials and the results of my efforts caught the eye of Chad and his co-founder Charles Hibble. Both agreed that they saw a fire in me and wanted to see what else I could do beyond my role as a technician. I was promoted from repair technician to operations coordinator.
With the success of the first two locations in Stroudsburg and Scranton, our company grew to three new locations throughout Pennsylvania. I was responsible for establishing the training procedures for each of the three new locations and ensuring the new staff was ready to represent the iDropped brand.
While this level of leadership was completely new to me, Charles and Chad provided me with the guidance necessary to take on this new role. As iDropped continued to grow throughout the East Coast, I steadily took on more responsibilities and was promoted, again, to director of operations. My girlfriend and I relocated to iDropped's headquarters in Scranton, PA, excited about our future together.
Fast forward a few years: My girlfriend became my wife, and iDropped started franchising. Now that iDropped provided an opportunity for entrepreneurs looking to own their own business, we needed to make certain that we standardized our training procedures across our franchises. I became the vice president of franchise development, and was responsible for leading the training and development efforts for all of our franchises.
Find people who have your back
After a remarkable five years at iDropped, I witnessed a small startup grow to five corporate and five franchise locations. As the current vice president of iDropped, I wear many hats and I add new ones to my collection every day. I owe my widely unique path to each individual who encouraged me to succeed.
I am thankful to work for a CEO that encourages us by sharing his wealth of knowledge and gives his employees as well as his franchisees the freedom to do what they do best. If there is one lesson that business owners, aspiring entrepreneurs or new grads can learn from my story, it's that the path to success is never a solo journey.
About the author: Tim Katsch is the vice president of iDropped, a mobile device repair franchise based in Scranton, PA. He graduated from SUNY Binghamton University with a BA in Economic Studies. Born in Queens, NY and raised in New Rochelle, NY, Tim currently lives in Scranton, PA with his wife Celina. In his free time, he enjoys building 3D models of tiny homes. For additional information about iDropped and its franchising opportunities, please visit: www.idropped.com.
Edited for length and clarity by Nicole Taylor. Have a great entrepreneurial story to tell? Email your pitch to Shannon at email@example.com.