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Real Life, Right Now: My College Pro Experience

February 29, 2012

Chris O’Keeffe is a student at South Puget Sound Community College. Last spring, Chris participated in the College Pro student program in Olympia, WA. He generated $229,000 revenue in his summer business making him the Top Rookie Franchisee in North America. Watch him accept the Platinum Award. Below, he shares how his College Pro experience has changed his life – professionally and personally.

Chris O'KeeffeBy Chris O’Keeffe

Real life, right now. That’s a bold, challenging statement. But that’s what College Pro is all about, boldly challenging people to start living a meaningful life, right the heck now. It’s definitely been the biggest challenge of my entire life, but it’s also been the engine for the biggest positive change I’ve ever seen in myself.

In the spring of 2010, I didn’t have a lot going for me. I was midway through my college education, but I couldn’t afford to finish it at the time. So I was back home again, living with my parents. No job, no car, no real direction. That’s when I first found College Pro. I applied for a summer job as a painter, and little did I know that would be the first step towards changing my life. While working out in the sun for decent money was a good start, I knew I wanted more. I then got the chance to interview for the Franchise Manager position. “Now THERE’S a summer job,” I told myself. Being a Franchise Manager seemed like such a great job; being able to make your own schedule, hire your own crews, and be the leader of your own team. I was really scared though, I’ll be honest. Deep down, I wasn’t sure I had what it took to achieve the level of success that I wanted. What I did know was that I needed to do something to move up from where I was, and College Pro was giving me an opportunity that I might never catch again.

“Every day provided me the chance to learn something new, and useful.”

Fast forward to January 2011. I had been hired to run one of the franchises in Olympia, Washington. There were several of us who all drove up to our first training session together in Seattle. Sitting in the car that morning, I’ll never forget how nervous and excited I was. Here I was, about to start my life as an entrepreneur. Everything in my life had led me to this point, but who knew where the future would take me. The rest of that day, and the next several months, are a bit of a blur for me. That period of time was the most instrumental part of my entire life.

Up until then, I had felt like such a failure. I hadn’t really accomplished anything and I had no idea where I wanted to go in life. Once I started running my franchise, I knew I was on to something. Every day provided me the chance to learn something new, and useful. Every obstacle became another challenge for me to overcome on my way to the next goal. It really was Real Life, Right Now. No more babying myself. No more boring classrooms and useless information. No more waiting around for some grand external factor to change me into the person I wanted to become. College Pro gave me the chance to pour myself into something that I cared about, something where I could see and feel the changes in me every day.

Like I said, those first few months were paramount to me. After that, my business really started to blossom. Driven to work harder and care more than I ever had during my entire life, I rose up the national rankings at a breakneck pace. By the time summer came, I had reached the Top 10 in the entire country. And that’s also when I started painting.

“Driven to work harder and care more than I ever had during my entire life, I rose up the national rankings at a breakneck pace.”

Painting season, or production as we call it, is the make or break portion of our year. Throughout the spring, I worked as hard as I could to set my business up for a great summer, but nothing could have prepared me for all the learning I would experience over those three months. I don’t want to get too detailed, but suffice to say that I learned a lot this past summer, through both successes and failures. By the end of summer, and our overall year, I had reached number five in the entire country.

Through all my experiences, all my success and failure, all my learning, all the goals I hit and missed, I can honestly say I have never been happier. College Pro gave me a summer job that has literally changed my life. No more waiting to grow up. No more relying on others. I’m an adult now, and College Pro has shown me how to live my Real Life, Right Now.

Amazing story – Thanks Chris for sharing! A summer job isn’t just a summer job, it’s what you make of the experience. College Pro currently has open positions for their window cleaning brand in Massachusetts, Minnesota, Oregon and Washington. Learn more and apply.

Have you had a summer job that had a significant impact in your life? Share your story in the comments below.

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