Eyes Wide Open: How the Military Prepared Me to Own a Business

For a business to thrive, it needs a natural born leader — and as a former Master Sergeant in the U.S. Air National Guard, Mike Sandness was made to take a team to victory. For 20 years, he honed his leadership skills by working his way up through the ranks. But when he retired, it was time to put his experience toward something he’d always been dreaming of: business ownership. Here’s how he became a franchise owner with WOW 1 DAY PAINTING.

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O2E: What were you doing before you purchased a franchise with O2E Brands?

MS: I was in the Air National Guard for 20 years and retired as Master Sergeant. I also worked a corporate job in the food industry for 20 years. In my last year at that job, they restructured the company and I was packaged out.

O2E: Tell me about the turning point — how did you end up owning a WOW 1 DAY PAINTING franchise?

MS: I’ve always had the drive to be an entrepreneur but I never had the nerve to do it. So when I found myself out of a job at 50 years old, I decided I didn’t want someone else controlling my life any longer. I took matters into my own hands and that’s when I found WOW 1 DAY PAINTING.

I was sold as soon as I saw the brand, the message and the business model. Even though it was a new business, it wasn’t like they were starting from scratch — they had proven systems in place from 1-800-GOT-JUNK?. When I got in touch, I knew it was the right fit from the first phone call.

O2E: How did your time in the military prepare you to be a successful business owner?

MS: The strong guidelines and structure of the military helped me continue to be a professional yet firm leader. I also am always on the go — when I have a goal of what I want, I make it happen. This has been beneficial in both the military and in running a business.

Success in business is a matter of buckling down and doing what needs to be done. There are definitely tough days, but if you go in with your eyes wide open, then you’ll be prepared. The military is similar in that way.

O2E: What are the benefits of joining O2E Brands?

MS: I could have tried to do it on my own but I lacked the knowledge — and I’d be working inside the business, trying to do everything at once. By joining O2E Brands, I have access to everything: social media, marketing, sales, and proven systems for success. Joining a franchise system makes a lot more sense if you want to run a sustainable business.

O2E: What is the best part of owning a franchise?

MS: There is so much potential with this business. The industry is so fragmented, but we provide a level of service that others don’t.

It’s also very gratifying to be in charge of your own future. At corporate jobs, they restructure to benefit the higher-ups without thinking about the employee. As a franchise owner, I never have to worry about that again.

O2E: What advice would you give others who are looking into buying a franchise?

MS: Don’t think for a second that you won’t have to work hard. If you think you can sit back and watch the business grow, then don’t buy it. You need to be strong willed and have some backbone. There will be ups and downs — but the ups will far outweigh any obstacles you come up against.

The first few years will be lean and mean, but I see such great potential with this business year over year. We’re headed into Q2 of our third full season and we’re already at three times the volume as last year. We’re blowing the numbers out of the water.