William Kivit is a professional automotive technician and the owner of a small business that repairs, customizes, and restores ordinary vehicles, as well as classic cars and trucks. Born in Chicago, Illinois, William was fascinated with cars, trucks, and trains at an early age. As he grew older, he accumulated a large collection of model vehicles, a collection that he proudly displays to this day. William Kivit attended grade school at St. Paul of the Cross Catholic School. At St. Paul of the Cross, he participated in multiple extracurricular activities, including scouting, fundraising, and various sports.
Later, William attended Maine South High School in the town of Park Ridge, Illinois where he played for the varsity basketball and football teams. During his first year, the football team won the state championship. Off the football field and basketball court, William focused on his studies and made arrangements to pursue his passions, which were primarily in the automotive field.
After graduation, William attended Triton College in River Grove, Illinois, majoring in Automotive Technology. During this time, William Kivit was also hired as an apprentice to a local vehicle mechanic. After earning a degree from Triton College, he moved to Wisconsin to start his own business, as well as to advance his career. Even at that time, William Kivit realized exactly how difficult it would be to successfully start a new business, and opted to establish his business slowly but surely and on a part time basis. While he was busy with that, he was also taken on as a General Motors Service Technician at Kudrick Chevrolet and Buick in Mauston, Wisconsin where he has worked ever since.
When he finds himself with spare time, William enjoys the country life, nature, and open spaces. When the weather is warm, he can often be found boating on the Wisconsin River, and when the weather is cold, he enjoys snowmobiling.
How have you achieved success?
I think the major factors that have allowed me to achieve success in life are mostly intangible, and all of them are integral to my personality. First, I have a very clear vision of what I want to achieve in this life, and have had for quite some time. That vision, that dream, gives me something concrete to work toward. I often think about it while I’m undertaking tasks that might otherwise seem menial or under-stimulating. Second, I believe in hard work. No worthwhile goal can be accomplished without elbow grease. And third, I have always firmly believed in seeing things through to the end. Call it determination or call it stubbornness, but I believe that quality has served me very well.
How has your definition of success changed over the years?
When I was younger, I think I had a bit of a misguided view of what constituted success. Back then, I used to define success as something more material in nature. When I thought of what makes a person successful, I thought of a bulging bank account, a big house, and a bunch of luxury cars. Now, when I think of success, I still think about cars, but in a different sense: I think of cars belonging to other people coming into my business to be serviced, customized, and restored. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized that building a lasting business—one that produces quality work and treats people fairly—is true success and ought to be my primary goal. By building a thriving business, I will not only strengthen my position in the world and enrich the community, but I will create a legacy to be proud of.
What obstacles have you overcome in the process?
There are always obstacles to be overcome when creating a small business from scratch. I’ve encountered some of the usual stumbling blocks, such as filing mishaps, supply problems, and hiccups in my marketing efforts. I’ve also encountered some obstacles unique to my chosen field. For example, I’ve probably spent too much time trying to track down extremely rare parts for certain makes and models of vehicles in order to satisfy the customization wishes of my customers. There isn’t too much that can be done to totally solve that problem, but I’ve partially dealt with it by setting up Google alerts to notify me when a specific part is available through commercial or private purchase.
What drives you to succeed?
As I mentioned briefly in one of my earlier answers, the idea of building a legacy is important to me. I want to accomplish something real and lasting with my life, and although I love working as a General Motors Service Technician at Kudrick Chevrolet and Buick, I also want to create something of my own in that respect. I suppose I find the idea of contributing something of worth to society—something that I envisioned with my mind and made with my own two hands—to be very appealing.
What has success meant to you?
It’s funny, but every time I accomplish a major goal that I’ve set for myself, I immediately feel an overwhelming compulsion to set a new, even more difficult goal. So, in a way, to me, success means making more work for myself. But I love it. Success also means autonomy. I would also be lying if I didn’t say it contributes significantly to my sense of self-worth.
Do you have advice for others on how to be successful?
Once you figure out what you want in life, don’t ever lose sight of it. Beyond that, it pays to cultivate fortitude, determination, and a propensity for hard work. I will also add that having a love of the whole process of building a business, and maintaining a focus on that instead of the end result—which might be decades away—is quite helpful, too. It’s also incredibly important to be realistic about what can be achieved, especially in the short-term. Dream big, of course, but sometimes it pays great dividends to aim small in the short-term in order to facilitate realizing a big dream in the long-term.
Follow William Kivit on Social Media:
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/William-Kivit-107976068293271
YouTube – https://www.youtube.com/channel/UClpitHuDPkiUTW_Rd3N7iSA
Medium – https://medium.com/@williamkivit
Website – https://williamkivit.com/