This week, we’re focusing on those wanting a fresh start in their careers (and their lives) by starting their own business. To get some valuable insight into what it takes to build a business from the ground up, we’ve interviewed entrepreneur and former CEO Cora Schupp to give us some insight on how she found success. Cora has created and sold several thriving cleaning businesses like Masterpiece Floor Maintenance Ltd. and The Janitor Room Supply House.
To learn more about Cora, her new book, Cleaning Up in a Dirty Business is on sale right now!
- What is the most important thing for entrepreneurs to keep in mind when starting a new business?
While many view entrepreneurship as something incredibly risky, it doesn’t always have to be. “Keep it simple in the beginning,” Cora says. “Don’t jump in and take huge risks right away, but focus on building your knowledge and gain as much experience as you can.”
Risks may be an inevitable part of being an entrepreneur, but Cora emphasizes the need to carefully watch your “pain tolerance”. Never take on more risk than you can handle!
- What is the advice you wish you had received when you first started?
“I wish I knew how to say NO”, Cora reflects. When she started her first business, there was such an overwhelming compulsion to keep taking on more work. “It got to the point where I had to juggle my children, a mortgage, the business, and a billion other things at once. Keep a clear work-life balance or you’ll end up being burned out.”
How can you do this?
“Set your boundaries at the beginning and always make sure they’re respected”, says Cora. “If someone wants you to do something that you can’t do or you aren’t comfortable with, you need the self-confidence to put your foot down in a professional and respectful manner.”
- What makes the cleaning industry so different? Why is it recession proof?
Unlike many of the high-tech startups we see popping up left and right over the past decade, the cleaning industry appears to be much more low-key. “It definitely isn’t a glamorous industry,” Cora warns, “There’s a lot of hard work initially, but you get a lot more control over your work hours compared to other jobs.
As to why the cleaning industry is recession-proof, every company needs to have a clean HQ. It doesn’t matter if you’re a retailer, a restaurant, or a corporate office; floors need to be vacuumed and scrubbed. A spotless floor or a clean office reflects back on the brand of your business.
For those worried about getting their hands too dirty, Cora has some reassuring words. “Once you build up your reputation, you’ll be hiring others to do the actual cleaning for you, leaving you to handle other important managerial and accounting tasks.”
Learn more about Cora’s new book, “Cleaning Up In a Dirty Business”!