An Entrepreneur Endeavors Q&A with John Facciani, owner of Hot Wheelz in Westwood:

Why did you choose to become an entrepreneur?

I worked for different businesses, not only cars, but I just couldn’t take orders from anybody. I had to be my own boss.

What do you credit your business’ success to?

Treating people good. Word of mouth in a small community and repeat business is where you got to get it from.

What advice would you give to new or burgeoning entrepreneurs?

Work for somebody first. Know a lot about what you are doing. I came into this business totally green and took a lot of lumps, which sometimes the lumps you take you learn from. I tell other people now, “learn the business first before you take the leap.”

How do you define success?

Success at one time was selling three cars a month. I was happy as a clam. Success now is just being able to have a nice business, maintain it and spend time with my children and my family. I waited a long time to have children. Being 6 and 10 – I take them to school every day, I pick them up every day – we spend a lot of time together. And that’s success to me.

What was the most significant turning point in the success of your business?

Making the right contacts with the right people. It takes a while to get that down pat – the right people to buy from, the right people to maintain service for your automobiles. You have to get through the bad to get to the good, and it doesn’t happen overnight. It could be a real process.

Which individuals were the most influential in your success and why?

My grandmother loaned me $3,000 to start this business. She said I’ll give it to you if you cut your hair, and I did. I cut my hair, she loaned me three grand and from there we were off to the races.

And my wife. She’s seen the the ups, downs, ins, outs, and she keeps me grounded.

What is your legacy that you want to leave behind?

My son is 10 and doesn’t like cars, which is OK, but in 10 years when my son is 20 and my daughter is 16, I want them to know what their dad did and if they see somebody that says “I bought a car off your dad and he really treated me good.” I want them to remember that I cut out my little niche here and I did something and the reflection will come back on them of what I did.

Ronald Fisher is a reporter for The Tribune-Democrat. Follow him on Twitter @FisherSince_82.

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