Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in business services but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Ian Schotanus, Co-Owner of The Big Picture Consulting, located in Medina, MN, USA.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

My business is all about Employee Management. The Big Picture Consulting does everything and anything required to manage employees in a safe, compliant, and, most importantly, sustainable way. While we can provide Employee Management guidance to anyone, we specialize in the Residential Service Industries: HVAC, Plumbing, Electrical, Roofing, Landscaping, etc. In a nutshell, I act as a Co-Opt HR & Safety Director for companies all over the US.

Tell us about yourself

I took a long way around to my calling as an HR Professional. My first job was in the US Navy, where I studied advanced electronics, then eventually found my way to Best Buy, where I worked in most sales departments and ended up in Geek Squad as a repair technician. Due to a vocal difference of opinion, I was let go from Best Buy and found an opportunity to start building an HR & Safety support program for a small payroll company specializing in the trades. Ten years later, my wife and I split off from that company and started BPC. For the last 3+ years, I have been waking up every day to take care of not only my family but the life's work of all my clients across the country.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

My biggest accomplishment as a business owner (to date) has been gaining the trust of both internal and external customers. My team of professionals, as well as our book of business, is growing steadily with no end in sight. Gaining and maintaining this level of trust in the world of HR is challenging enough... Doubly so when focused on an industry that traditionally HATES the fact they have to abide by bureaucratic laws and regulations.

What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?

There are ups and downs during the building and growth of any business. Maintaining clarity of purpose and trust in yourself to get through the down times is often the difference between long-lasting success and eventual failure.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

  1. Ask for help! There is no reason to try and do everything on your own. Allow others to share their experiences to help you minimize the speed bumps that come with growing a business.
  2. Know when to let go! To gain the trust of your team, you must give them direction, then LET THEM DO THE JOB. Nothing kills company culture and overall company performance like micromanagement.
  3. Do things the right way! The government does not care how long you have been in business or any of the other challenges you face as a business owner. The rules are there for a reason, and we all have to abide by them whether we agree or not. If you take the time to set up your business foundation correctly from the start, you do not have to dread the day the Dept of Labor comes knocking to look around. Save time, energy, and $$$ by operating compliantly from the start.

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.

Turn your craft into recurring revenue with Subkit. Start your subscription offering in minutes and supercharge it with growth levers. Get early access here.