Michael Price is still deciding on his ultimate destination. He and Paula, his wife of 31 years, are avid travelers. Currently, Michael and Paula are working hard to make sure their 17-year-old son makes the right decision as he prepares for college. Luckily for their son, he doesn’t have to look far for inspiration. Paula is currently a full-time senior lecturer at Harvard Business School as well as a corporate board director. Michael is the proud owner ofSpeedPro Boston Metrowest.
Michael Price launched his journey with SpeedPro, the nation’s leading large format graphics franchise, eight years ago after a successful career in ad sales. Entrepreneurship wasn’t something he was pining for, even though those around him knew it was a perfect fit for him. “A friend of mine told me a long time ago that I should do my own thing,” says Price. “I never gave it a second thought. I always resisted. I thought I would have to work constantly as an entrepreneur to earn my keep. The thought of working 18 hours, doing a ton of heavy lifting, didn’t appeal to me.”
Price’s career ladder involved working his way up through media ad sales. Out of college, he landed a job working in local radio. He quickly moved on to television ad sales – first at a local tv station, and before long, a national cable operation.
His wife was also experiencing similar success in her career. A job opportunity for Paula allowed the Prices to call London home for three and a half years. “We got to travel and see much of Europe!” Michael says.
They were reaping the rewards of their successes financially, but Price says they were smart with their money. “We were living below our means. We had nice stuff, but we weren’t living super extravagantly. We were investing and socking money away.”
Price says growing up, one of his nicknames was “Rich Man,” because, “I was tight with my money.” Being frugal with his funds paid off later in life because it allowed Price to self-finance his own SpeedPro studio.
After London, the pair moved to New York City and then on to Boston. In Boston, Michael worked at a Spanish language television station. That’s when Michael began to listen to the entrepreneurial whispers. “My heart wasn’t fully committed to that job the way it should’ve been,” says Price. “At the same time, I reconnected with a friend who had gotten out of the TV ad sales game and was now involved in franchising and doing well.”
Michael picked his friend’s brain and determined it was time for him to become a business owner after years of pushing back. “It was working for him, and I felt it was something I could do,” says Price. “He didn’t have a history of entrepreneurship. I was looking for something else to do – I wasn’t sure about the media business, even though it was all I’d really done. Franchising seemed like a natural progression.”
Price met with a franchise broker who introduced him to three potential businesses. “One was an expense recovery firm where you would pitch people how to save money,” he says. “That didn’t appeal to me. The other was a waste recovery franchise. I thought I could do that, but it didn’t appeal to me working from home. Plus, I didn’t want to have to deal with responding to an emergency call at three in the morning.”
Price said SpeedPro was right up his alley because of the business-to-business model. “You’re not hoping and praying people walk in your doors,” he says. His extensive background working in sales helped him quickly establish a quality client roster. But being a new business owner didn’t come without challenges.
“I did a lot of learning on the job early on,” Price says. “I went through the ups and downs. Some perhaps unavoidable. It’s important to grasp the nature of the opportunity and the effort required to successfully launch a business and keep it successful. Regardless, things are going very well and I’m thankful that the ’18-hour’ vision I once had is not the reality as a SpeedPro owner!”
Grasping the totality of being an owner is advice Price passes on to aspiring entrepreneurs. Particularly for young African-Americans. Price is among the two percent of African-Americans who are business owners in the United States.
“I want to be an inspiration and be that shining light for minorities,” Price says. “I want to counter the stereotype about minorities. These operations can succeed when they’re run by someone who looks like me. I can be an example of someone who happens to be black and is doing something that works. My goal is to normalize black ownership.”
Eight years later, Price remains excited to be a SpeedPro studio owner. “It’s a business model where the rewards are generally commensurate with the time and effort put in to it. It has also taught me the value of life outside of work by spending quality time with my son and continuing to see the world with my wife,” says Price. Michael is enjoying the fruits of his labor. It’s a lesson he hopes his son, and others, learn, too.
“Entrepreneurship is about doing something that you have a passion for, that matches your skill set,” Price says. “Don’t be wishy-washy about it. Wishy-washy isn’t going to work. Doing something halfway isn’t going to get you far in life. Be all in. Add something positive to the situation, and no matter what field you go in, be passionate about it.”
For more information on the SpeedPro franchise opportunity and what it takes to be a successful franchise owner, like Michael, visit speedprofranchising.com.