Jeff Stallings, along with his wife Lisa, started Mobile Attic Portable Self Storage of South Carolina in the spring of 2004 with 20 containers and 1 truck in Columbia, South Carolina. Over the past 12 years, Mobile Attic has experienced consistent annual growth of 10%-15% / year (even during the recent recession) and now has grown to over 800 containers, 9 trucks, about 15 employees and operates in 3 locations.
Jeff is also a committed Christian and the purpose statement for his business is to “Impact the world for Christ through Portable Self Storage.” He is involved with C12, a group of Christian business leaders, who meet together monthly to discuss good business practices and how to use their businesses as a ministry.
Time Stamped Show Notes:
- [4:33] How did you get where you are in your career today?: Started off 12 years ago. Hired father-in-law as first employee. Started growing from there by taking care of customers by doing the small things well – like returning phone calls – and doing them consistently. Hard to do the important things consistently. Lesson: Companies that survive the hardest times are the ones that consistently follow their plan. Also, first job out of college was with Ford Motor Credit. Hated the job but learned so much. Learned that he wasn’t cut out for corporate atmosphere. Learned how poor money management can devastate a life. Learned a lot from his boss. Lessons: 1) Live within your means. Save. Learned the power of planning (business plans included). 2) Learn from each experiences in your career. No matter where the Lord has you now, there is something to learn. 3) We impact the people around us in ways we don’t even recognize. 4) Cultivate wise counselors and listen to their counsel.
- [17:11] How does your business generate revenue for you. Mobile Attic is portable self-storage; self-storage brought to you.
- [18:51] Worst moment of career: Fall 2008 when economy tanked, gas prices skyrocketed. Hard to do business. Starting fighting to keep the business afloat. Sought counsel, learned about C12 (see “Resources Mentioned” below) and met with other successful self-storage operators to learn how to find business.
- [24:16] Aha moment: Several of those along the way. Realizing with Mobile Attic that they had a chance to serve people and minister to them through the business. Moving is a stressful time for most. Has shared Gospel through the business.
- [27:06] What advise would you give to high school seniors: Be true to yourself. It goes by fast. Enjoy every stage of life where you are.
- [29:45] What is your biggest weakness: Not a detailed person. Likes shades of gray, not black and white rules. Lesson: Focus on your strengths and find others to shore up your weaknesses.
- [32:06] What is your biggest strength: Too stupid to quit! Grit, persistence, is my strength. Lesson: Your strengths can get you through the hard times.
- [35:30] Was there a time in your life when you were confused about which career path(s) God would have you follow? When/how did the smoke clear so that the career path(s) became evident? Dad had a construction business that was Jeff’s for the taking, and it was expected that he take it on. But Jeff saw that his father didn’t like it. Also, construction and engineering requires a lot of math, and Jeff didn’t like math. Lesson: One of the leading causes of bad career decisions is that people are trying to live up to someone else’s expectations. Live YOUR calling, not someone else’s! Ask others to help you identify what you do best, for that is a clue to where your calling lies.
- [39:30] Has there been a time(s) in your life when God directed you down a career path(s) that you didn’t want to go down or didn’t make sense to you? What happened? What lessons did you learn? Yes! Wanted out of Columbia, SC, and searched for a job that would take him elsewhere. The job the Lord provided was in Columbia. Although he wanted out, he stayed, and as a result he got a great mentor at work and he married his wife! Lesson: Thank God for unanswered prayers. Sometimes our prayers are misdirected, and it’s great when the Lord doesn’t answer our prayers because He knows what we want isn’t what is best for us.
- [44:15] What was holding you back from pursuing God’s career calling for your life? Fear of failure. Lesson: To overcome fear, seek a lot of wise counsel, do a lot of homework, and pray for the will and the power to work the calling.
- [48:55] What is one personal habit you consistently adhere to that you would label as a major contributor to your career success? We focus on taking care of our customers by treating them the way we wanted to be treated. People notice that and know when you are sincere.
- [50:40] Share an Internet tool, like Evernote or OneNote, that makes you more productive in your career. Wufoo.com online form creator to track all sorts of business processes.
- [52:25] If you could recommend just one book for our listeners, what would it be and why? The Go-Giver. Publisher’s Summary from Audible.com (Get this audio book for free by clicking here): “The Go-Giver tells the story of an ambitious young man named Joe who yearns for success. Joe is a true go-getter, though sometimes he feels as if the harder and faster he works, the further away his goals seem to be. Desperate to land a key sale at the end of a bad quarter, he seeks advice from the enigmatic Pindar, a legendary consultant referred to by his many devotees simply as the Chairman. Over the next week, Pindar introduces Joe to a series of “go-givers”: a restaurateur, a CEO, a financial adviser, a real estate broker, and the “Connector” who brought them all together. Pindar’s friends teach Joe the Five Laws of Stratospheric Success and help him open himself up to the power of giving. Joe learns that changing his focus from getting to giving – putting others’ interests first and continually adding value to their lives – ultimately leads to unexpected returns. Imparted with wit and grace, The Go-Giver is a classic best seller that brings to life the old proverb “give and you shall receive.”
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Robbie Romeiser is a commercial real estate broker, real estate instructor, and author of the daily devotional Today’s Quote From God (www.TodaysQuoteFromGod.com). Desiring to help his own children follow God’s calling in their lives, Robbie founded Career Callings (www.CareerCallings.net) to help people find, prepare for, and pursue the work God has called them to do. To have Robbie speak at your church, business, professional association, or civic club, please email Robbie at firstname.lastname@example.org.