Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in general services but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Jennifer McBurney, CEO of Queendom Cleaning Ltd., located in Spruce Grove, AB, Canada.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Queendom Cleaning Ltd. is a residential and janitorial service company based in Spruce Grove, Alberta. Our clients are local families, seniors, and single people who all want to find a little more freedom in their days. We also service just over 20 locally owned businesses who want to find the best cleaning service available in the same town!
Tell us about yourself
I started up Queendom Cleaning in early 2017. I had somewhat recently moved on from my "career of choice," which was in environmental science; I was an environmental scientist in Edmonton, having completed my degree a few years earlier in 2014. I went into a management position for a large company after that and then left that position and the stress and extreme demands on my life and time for a shorter-term serving and bar tending position at a nice quiet hotel in Stony Plain. During all of this time, I always took on side jobs helping people in their homes. From yard work to dog clean-up and some home cleaning, I figured I should try to make something out of all of this experience. I started as a solo cleaner charging $25/hour, and I learned on the job. With 18 staff members working hard every day, I am motivated by their needs, selflessness, and desire to live a good life. I always do whatever is reasonably possible to make sure the work environment at Queendom is empathetic and inclusive.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
In the first part of my year cleaning alone, I quickly realized I wanted to scale the business to a point where I could have employees and stop working 12-15 hour days. Even though it took a long time and was a major challenge, I succeeded and went from working 15 hours a day to working about 5 hours a week on average. Finding freedom in my life is my personal definition of success, and knowing I can disappear to the lake for two weeks without cell service proves to me that we have accomplished that. Additionally, finding and retaining the wonderful people that keep my business running seems like an accomplishment that many struggles to achieve!
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
The hardest thing about being a business owner is that usually, you are the only person that everything will fall on if things come crashing down. At some point, though, that isn't a scary thing anymore because one has hopefully learned to go with the flow of things and go day by day. Secondly, a business owner tends to have to learn everything the hard way!
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Automate as much as possible. Not all automation is necessarily "automatic" but can include processes that automate the stuff you can only find in your brain (e.g., a quoting process anyone can do - point and click). However, actual automation like online quotes or auto-responses is important too.
- Decide what your personal future and the future of your business look like, and then do everything you do with that in mind. Remember that it takes money (risks) to make money and that you will have to put in the time and effort to make things better and easier in the future. One day spent creating and refining something could save you many hours or days of wasted time in the future.
- Don't take anything personally, pay attention to people, and learn from the past.
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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