Saša (Sasha) of Kitchener & Waterloo.
Schools are providing a diversity of career options to students of a younger age group. Programs give kids as early as grade three the opportunity to try their hand at computer coding and robotics. In addition, athletics and sports have, since forever, steered many students in the direction of sports medicine or coaching.
Shop classes and Home Economics, two vocational programs now almost extinct, promote skilled trades and inspire chefs and fashion bloggers. Science classes are filled with future doctors and scientists, art kids happily leave school with paint in their hair, and the best teachers generate future educators.
What if you open yourself to possibilities your school guidance counsellor, or even you, probably hadn’t considered?
Our teens and twenties are all about trying on a few vocations. We learn what makes us happiest and sometimes what we are ok with leaving behind.
For most of Saša’s (pronounced Sasha) life, he and his parents were on a set trajectory toward a place he knew little about and in which he could not even imagine himself living, let alone eventually working. I talked with Saša about his journey, which defined him as an entrepreneur/ business owner.
Jade /SmartWebPros: How long have you owned your JDI franchise?
Saša: For about four years now! My family and I moved from Serbia when I was 16 years old and when I was in college, I took courses to learn digital coding and networking. I worked for an Information Technology (IT) company for five years.
I had a friend who was a JDI franchise owner, and his suggestion that I take on a franchise came when I was tired of sitting in front of a screen and rarely leaving my cubicle. So, I took some of my savings, bought this franchise, and it has been the best experience of my life.
Jade /SmartWebPros: What is the best thing about working with corporate JDI?
Saša: Dan, my regional franchisor, Olga and Steve make themselves available to help with anything I need. The first couple of years were such a change from my former world in IT, but Dan and the team made it less scary. It feels good to know that I have that support, even four years later, if I need it.
JDI Corporate provides a lot of training which makes it easy to learn how to run a business. I learned about professionalism during my years in IT, and I carry that with me every day. The fact that I do not have to worry about invoicing and paperwork is a huge benefit.
Jade /SmartWebPros: What is the one thing you have splurged on since becoming a business owner?
Saša: In an ironic twist, as a single guy in an apartment, I got myself a Roomba with my first paycheck.
Jade /SmartWebPros: What has surprised you most since taking on a franchise?
Saša: I love that I am physically active during the day, and I have no significant stress in my life. Since the newness of being a business owner has worn off, I realize that I love the ability to get to know the people that work for me. We are humans first. I still love my time with computers; I design animation and challenge myself by developing games for fun.
Jade /SmartWebPros: Yes, in the end, those are the rewards of life, connecting with other people letting them know they matter. Sometimes those people we are closest to have different names for us. Do you have a nickname?
Saša: The name ‘Sales’ is a Serbian nickname for Saša; when I moved here, I’d see all the sales signs, and I’d joke they must all be for me.
Jade /SmartWebPros: Do you have an animal companion?
Saša: I have a six-year-old Rus-A-Pei, whose name is ‘Aska.’ She is a cross between a Jack Russel terrier and a Chinese Shar-Pei. She is a ball of energy who loves to take me outside running. That is one of the perks of having my own business; I can be flexible to a degree with my time and pop home for a quick outing with Aska.