If you want to make money, sell soup
This story isn’t about money or soup. It’s about Uncle Eddy.
Uncle Eddy was my mother’s oldest brother. He died this week. There was no tragedy. He was old. He had diabetes. He had dementia. He hadn’t been himself for a long time.
This is not a eulogy, however. This about how, as a young boy, he gave me my first glimpse of what it meant to have a job and to be a businessman.
Uncle Eddy was not polished. He was a working-class guy. He didn’t go to college. He had hairy arms, crooked teeth and bottle cap glasses. He laughed too loud, smoked too much and drank too much coffee. His clients were just like him, mostly immigrants. Greeks who ran restaurants. Italians who fixed cars. He did their books and taxes.
Simply put, they trusted him.
I remember the day he took me to tour his clients. We basically spent the whole day bullshitting and eating. I thought it was great. That one day had a lot to do with why I studied accounting in college. I didn’t make a career out of it, but it sent me in a direction.
Today, I own my consulting business. And, honestly, it isn’t much different than what Uncle Eddy did. His clients trusted him and they liked him. He was himself. Believe it or not, in 2020, my aunt, Uncle Eddy’s wife, still does the payroll for five restaurants, something a computer can do, but people still want people to do it for them. I think that’s great.
There was one other thing Uncle Eddy told me that day. He said, “nephew if you want to make money in the restaurant business, sell soup, it’s mostly water.” Hear, hear to unexpected mentors and good advice.
Rest in peace uncle.