Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in maintenance and organizing services, but not sure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Chris Rouse, the president, and CEO of Load of Rubbish, servicing the areas of London and Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.
Tell us all about your business...
Our business is Junk Removal, but more specifically, we're in the business of making junk removal fast, easy and affordable. Our customers range from a spouse who's tired of looking at that old big screen tv in the basement to a family member cleaning out the house of a loved one who has passed away.
What's your background and motivation to grow as a business owner?
I first started Load of Rubbish when I was in college. It originated as a class project to create a business plan. It was the only assignment I can ever recall receiving a 100% grade... the school wasn't my "thing." From there, I found the concept of junk removal so interested that I started doing it on the side and slowly building my business.
The idea of junk removal was pretty new at that time, so I put a lot of time and work into making the whole process and system more streamlined, intuitive, and straightforward. I am proud to say Load of Rubbish had an interactive, calendar-integrated booking form before any significant competitors I know. This type of innovation keeps me going; I am always striving to improve systems, processes, and the overall customer and employee experience in my business.
When I was in college, I read somewhere that any company that is not constantly moving forward is moving backward; there is no such thing as remaining stagnant in business. This concept has been a driving factor in how I approach business ever since.
As an entrepreneur, what does success ultimately mean to you
My biggest accomplishment as a business owner would have to be opening a second Load of Rubbish location. It was always the goal to grow and open new places, but I don't think I came close to grasping how much of a leap that was going to be until we decided to do it. A load of Rubbish has always been family-owned and operated. Even though I built the company we replicability in mind, there were still a lot of hurdles to overcome in opening that second location. Expansion can be terrifying, but it is also rewarding.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being an entrepreneur?
Being a business owner can be lonely, but not in a traditional way. When you're a business owner, you call the shots; you make the decisions; you pay the bills. Ultimately, everything that happens within your business is a result of your management and decisions. You WILL make mistakes; you will have employees, vendors, and customers unhappy with you or your company. You will realize that no one else will fully understand what you are going through emotionally or how much these things can weigh you down over time. Starting and running a business is not easy; there will always be challenges to overcome, so make sure you let your passion drive you forward and remember that what seems like a crushing blow in the present will feel like a small bump road in the future.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run or grow a small business today?
- Create a business plan. No matter how well you think you know your concept, idea, or yourself, DO IT. To be realistic, one of the biggest mistakes I see business owners make is setting unrealistic goals and ignoring threats and weaknesses. (SWOT, anyone?)
- Join networking and business groups. Get yourself out there, start talking to as many people as possible about your business or business idea. You will be amazed how much support, advice, and expertise you can accumulate just by talking about your business. This can also be a great way to find a business mentor who can help you in your journey to success. I avoided this for a long time but wish I would have done right from the start.
- Stay positive! You CAN do this. Don't let mistakes and small bumps in the road discourage you from your long-term goals. Remember that you are the most important representation of your business; if you are positive, your customers and employees are most likely to have a positive attitude and experience.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
Business for me has been a rollercoaster experience spanning 11 years. There have been significant challenges, highs, and lows, but I wouldn't change being an entrepreneur for anything. There is no greater reward than getting to wake up every day and do what you love.
Where can people find you online?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as an entrepreneur or business coach that you'd like to share, then email firstname.lastname@example.org; we'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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