Self-employment teaches people lessons of independence and accountability that can’t be learned any other way. Combine these lessons with a solid education, and you’ve got everything you need to start a successful small business. At ChooseWhat, we believe in both small businesses and the power of education. That is why we created a scholarship specifically designed for students with self-employment experience and aspirations. We are thrilled to announce the winner of the second biannual ChooseWhat Scholarship for Students with Self-Employment Experience: Mr. Davis Carl Johnston.
Johnston started his lawn maintenance business in the spring of his seventh grade year when he asked a neighbor if he could cut her lawn. By the end of that summer, business was going strong with five lawns to maintain. Today Johnston, who is now in college, has expanded his business to include raking pine straw and leaves, hedge trimming, and small tree removal. During this time, he says, he has “learned countless lessons … about responsibility, time management, finances, business growth, and future career choices.”
Johnston seems to have been born with a strong work ethic. As he explains, “I noticed in many [childhood] pictures of me I seemed to be ‘working’ even though I was playing. Planting flowers for Mother’s Day, building birdhouses with my grandfather, creating towers with blocks and Legos, pulling a wagon full of toys….”
This work ethic, as well as Johnston’s entrepreneurial spirit, has served him well, teaching him to successfully manage a busy schedule of academics, athletics, community service, and work:
Often, I had to turn down invitations to be with friends, so I could get my job done as well as fulfill my other commitments. Now, in college, I have to balance my classes, homework, and campus job with my social commitments and club responsibilities. My previous opportunities to learn prioritizing responsibilities with the lawn business, school, and activities have enabled me to be successful doing it in college, too.
In addition, Johnston learned the power of budgeting, saving money, and investing in equipment for his business, which in turn helped him to save and budget for college expenses.
Experience in the lawn maintenance business also taught Johnston that he would not be happy working indoors all day. As a result, he has chosen to pursue a degree in land surveying and geomatics. We are confident that Mr. Johnston will succeed in whatever career he chooses. As he says: “Who knows? After I graduate from college, I may incorporate a lawn business with my surveying skills….”
Congratulations to ChooseWhat scholarship winner Davis Carl Johnston!