We had the good fortune of connecting with Joan Lewis and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Joan, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
“Ships in a harbor are safe, but that’s not what ships are made for.” I have lived by this quote for the better part of my adult life. That is why I left New York with no money and drove to California with no job in search of a better life. Starting any business is a risk. To me, risk is not about jumping off into a great unknown. It is about assessing your options, knowing the worst-case scenarios and making a decision based on those factors. I wanted to have my own business for a number of years. I tried a few businesses like a few network marketing businesses and a factoring business. None of these worked out. What was successful, though, was the training I got while attempting to run these businesses. When the opportunity to start the lien processing company, I was better prepared as far as marketing and other start-up functions. However, I knew very little about the industry, so I began my research and study. I will tell you that every day when the telephone rang, I broke out in a sweat afraid I didn’t have the answer to the questions people were asking. I had to learn the business from the ground up. Every day I wanted to quit. What I’ve learned is that there is a learning curve with any business. The sooner you start it, the sooner you will learn.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
We are in the business of helping people remove unwanted vehicles from their property or helping them to obtain paperwork on vehicles in their possession. We work with tow yards, auto body and mechanic ships, parking lots and private parties. If you have a vehicle on your property with no paperwork, you cannot legally remove it. This happens in auto mechanic shops when a customer brings in a car and doesn’t come back to get the car when the work is done. Tow yards are required to notify owners when a car is towed. And sometimes a person may park their car in another person’s backyard, for instance, and never come back. These are incidents where we can help. Although a private person can do the lien themselves, it is extremely complicated, so they can call us. We are licensed by the Department of Motor Vehicles to work throughout the State of California. Additionally, we are licensed by the DMV to conduct VIN inspections. In these cases, if a car is not in the California database, it has to be physically inspected so the vehicle identification number is recorded. This is another service we perform..
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Southern California has some of the most fun, exciting places to visit. Monday – Universal Studios and Universal City Walk. This is a full day adventure. There are great restaurants there. We would eat lunch at Bucca di Becco for some great Italian food. Tuesday – Visit the resort of Terranea. Many restaurants there as well as swimming, golf, tennis. Wednesday – Visit Old Town Pasadena. Great shopping. Lunch at Cheescake Factory Thursday – Disneyland and the surrounding areas. Friday – I would head to the Santa Monica Pier and Venice Beach. There are rides, beach and fun and sights galore. Saturday – Del Amo Mall – The largest mall in the west. Anything you want, you can find it there. Sunday – we would have relaxing dinner at the Salt Creek Grille. This is one of my favorite places.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I credit my success to two organizations. The first one is “Boss the Movement.” I participated in a boot camp where I was taught business principles and the value of having your own business and charting your own course. Prior to that I had no interest in starting or having my own business. In fact, I was very afraid of the idea. During an intensive week, I learned financial principles, values and business principles that changed my mindset. Then I joined Toastmasters International. That also was life changing. I joined to enhance my public speaking skills, but I learned so much more. I had an opportunity to learn marketing, event planning and leadership. All of these skills enabled me to know how to start and sustain a business. I have also learned that you never stop learning. These two organizations have changed my life.