By Jim Mastin Sr

My wife loves decorating the house. Though home decoration is not a substantial part of our home budget, like eating out and other “necessary” items, she still enjoys finding just the right item to add to the home décor.

One day she came home from Hobby Lobby with her latest “thing” that she wanted me to hang on the wall. I have nailed so many nails in our walls over the years, when it rains our house looks like a giant sprinkler. Well, little did I know her latest purchase would literally change our lives.

It was framed, about 15” x 20” in size and very attractive. But what it said is what was really life changing.  It simply had three sets of words, one set on each line: “Live Simply”; “Expect Less”, and “Give More”.

Wow! How simple and how profound.  Though it was not planned, after seeing that plaque day after day and month after month, it quietly began to change our lives.  We began to realize we really didn’t need all the “stuff” we thought we did. We sub-consciously began to eliminate unnecessary things from our inventory. The biggest was selling our 34 ft Fifth-wheel travel trailer we had owned for a couple of years.  We probably had a total of less than 200 miles on it and when I figured what it cost us each time we took it to the lake 20 miles away, we could have stayed cheaper in the best hotel in America.

Slowly we moved on to number two and began to “expect less” from life and from others. We discovered no one owed us anything. We learned to not expect as much from our business, from our family, from our church, and it was amazing how it transformed our thinking. Number two made number three almost automatic. Once we expected less from other people and things, we started “giving more” and that’s where the real joy came from. We had stumbled on secrets of life that it seems few ever find.

I was thinking how much this applies to contractors too.

Live simply!  You will be happier if you don’t over extend. I can remember seeing contractors pull up to a job site with a pickup truck that looked 30’ long. Chrome pipes, huge tires, dual wheels, loud muffler, etc. etc. It cost them more to get to the job than they will make on it.

Expect less!  Your customer does not owe you anything except paying you a fair amount for a good job.  Don’t try and get rich on one job. Do a good job, get paid, and move on to the next one, and you will have a repeat customer.

Give more!  Doing a little extra on a job really impresses your customer. It’s the one thing you can do to set yourself apart from the others, that the customer will remember you for.


4 responses to “A LIFE CHANGING PLAQUE

  1. I really enjoyed reading this post!! It made me stop and think about my business. I need to do exactly what I am doing right now. This week I was wondering if I was doing the right thing for my electrical business. The part that says Expect Less!!, is what we are doing right now. It has worked, we have had customers call us back for more electrical work. Thanks for the post. It helped me by reasurring me that I am doing the right thing.

  2. PreferredContractor.com

    Thanks, Jake, hope it helps others as much as it has us.


  3. Way to hit home Jim.
    Often we all forget about the basics and we tend to stretch our means and expect others to pay for it. In todays’ times, we really can not expect much from others. Like you said, they don’t owe us a thing! Good work and “the basics” will keep you going. I did some private work for a customer for 18 months straight and my business did very little. Not knowing what was going to happen at the end of the 18 months, I just kept my faith. Sure enough, as soon as the word got out that I had business back in gear some of my older customers welcomed me back with welcome arms. Settling for the basics and not expecting a great deal, we are still making money! Praises!

  4. Its like you read my mind! You appear to know so
    much about this, like you wrote the book in it or something.
    I think that you could do with some pics to drive the message home a bit, but instead of that, this is great blog.

    A fantastic read. I will certainly be back.

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