Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in home care but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Lunise (Samie) Ambroise, Owner of Mission Maids, located in Calgary, AB, Canada.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Mission Maids is a residential cleaning company that specializes in move-in/out clans, deep cleans, and standard cleans. We are a Calgary-based residential cleaning company. We’re a young, growing company that helps customers book trusted cleaners for their homes quickly and easily online. Not only do we offer thorough and consistent cleans, but we also offer top-quality customer service that’s there to support customers before, during, and after their cleaning. Our cleaners at Mission Maids really love what they do, and they demonstrate this by the pride they put in their work each and every day.
We put a lot of effort into making sure that you have an amazing experience with us from start to finish - beginning when you first visit our website or talk to our friendly customer service representatives, all the way through to the point where you’ve received your cleaning from one of our dedicated cleaning techs, and we’re checking in with you to see how everything went.
We maintain our customers’ trust by listening to their feedback and being consistent. If we ever fall short, we accept accountability and immediately try to make it right.
Tell us about yourself
My name is Lunise Ambroise. My friends and family call me Samie. Before becoming an entrepreneur, I served 11 years as an HR Administrator for the Canadian Armed Forces. The military taught me so much and afforded me so many opportunities. I’m truly grateful for all of the experiences I’ve had with the Canadian Armed Forces and the many friends I’ve made while in uniform.
Although the military has been a positive force in my life, I found that near the end of my tenure, I was beginning to feel unchallenged and desired some change. I wanted to move on professionally from the military and try something new. I just wasn’t sure what that would be. At the same time that I was considering leaving and looking for new opportunities, one of my colleagues - who was also considering leaving the military - approached me about potentially starting a business together. I felt like this was the challenge I needed and thought about how rewarding it would be to work for myself. I was excited and fascinated by the idea, so I jumped on the opportunity to partner up with him. His name is Brian, and we are now partners together in Mission Maids.
There have been numerous challenges for us, but starting on this path of entrepreneurship has been both exhilarating and rewarding. Each day I feel proud and motivated by the progress our business has made and how much we’ve grown over the past few years. Whether it be cleaners telling me how much they love working with customers or us giving us positive feedback on our service, I feel so happy and grateful for having the courage to start this business. These things keep me motivated to continue on this path of growing our business and embracing the changes that will come as we grow even more.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
My biggest accomplishment was, at first, one of my greatest challenges. When we first started this company, hiring was very difficult. Hiring and having good employees/workers is often a challenge for most businesses but having to do it during a pandemic made it even more difficult. I had to change and adapt to different situations when trying to recruit new cleaners. Unfortunately, COVID made it even more difficult because a lot of people weren’t looking for work at that time due to their own fears of getting sick or because the government was helping to support families financially at the time.
It took me some time to learn how to effectively recruit, hire, manage and motivate our teams. I had to adapt and change a few of my leadership styles depending on the situation and individual. I learned that it was not effective to be on-site all of the time, and I had to trust my people more and give up some of my control.
From my experience of trying to recruit through the pandemic, I now look for cleaners that want to grow with our company and are excited to work with us. Since we started this business, I’ve learned how to effectively hire great people for our business. And I’m thrilled and proud to say that we have some incredible cleaners that have been with us from the start. I’m now focusing on streamlining our recruiting process and developing longer-term plans to help our business be effective as we scale.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
The two hardest things that I have encountered while operating a business are having to wear a lot of different hats, especially in the early stages. From the start to this very day, my business partner and I have taken on many different roles to keep our business running smoothly. I have worn the hat of a cleaner, operational manager, customer service representative, recruiter, and many others too. I had to learn to prioritize and make better decisions by determining what things should be done out of all the things that could be done. In the beginning, I tried to get it all done. I had to learn that I’m only one person, and there is only so much multitasking I can do until it’s ineffective. I’m trying not to sweat the little things and to give myself some grace.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
Three tips I would give to anyone wanting to start a business:
- Stay focused - Staying focused can sometimes be hard during rough times, and there are a lot of bumpy roads at the beginning. I always try to remember the end goal and remind myself of the vision of what I want to achieve and accomplish. I have had to sacrifice a lot of time with friends and family, and trying to have a balanced life can be very stressful. But a goal without a plan is just a wish. I was fortunate enough to be around like-minded entrepreneurs who gave me some sound advice. Also, I feel that my past experiences with the military have helped me maintain focus. Simple things like being able to organize my work effectively help me to stay focused on my goals and to continue achieving milestones for our company.
- Learn from your customers - We are only human, and mistakes will be made. It is important to learn from those mistakes. Staying humble allowed me the opportunity to grow and re-evaluate decisions that I made and did not work. I respect my clients and value their opinions and their constructive criticism. I try to really listen and engage with my customers because I know how it feels as a consumer to be frustrated and not heard by a company offering you service. When that happens, you feel like the company doesn’t care at all about you or your experience. As a company, Mission Maids really goes above and beyond to prioritize customer satisfaction and support.
- Show respect and protect the dignity of all who work for you - We value our cleaners, and I make it a priority to remind them. They are the backbone of our company, and there would be no Mission Maids without them. As a Canadian immigrant growing up, I watched my grandma work for cleaning companies that did not value her and her hard work. At times working in the service industry, it is easy to feel unvalued and disrespected. From the start, Brian and I had the same vision in regard to how we wanted our people to feel when they worked for Mission Maids. We wanted an environment where people felt valued, appreciated, and dignified at work. That includes things like providing people with a fair wage for their work, listening to their concerns, and actively trying to put people in situations where they can succeed. These are values that we hold and will continue to build on as we grow our business.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
If any of your readers are considering starting a business but are on the fence, just start. You can take baby steps. It’s completely ok. But, just start. Don’t overthink it!
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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