Will Cotter is a young entrepreneur who made the transition from a desk job as an engineer to running his own startup from home. He started a local cleaning service called DeluxeMaid a few years ago. The idea was to save time and create transparency for consumers (particularly for tech-loving millennials) by making it possible to get an instant quote and book a clean online from a trusted professional in just 60 seconds.
We asked Will a few questions to get some insights into his experience.
Q. What motivated you to start your own business after working for someone else?
A. My two biggest motivations are the freedom and flexibility to travel anytime and anywhere in a heartbeat. It’s something that’s not always possible when you have a full-time job that expects you to be in the office 9-to-5, five to six days a week.
Q. Were you apprehensive about leaving the security of a steady paycheck for the uncertainty of being an entrepreneur?
A. Yes, definitely. There were some financial concerns to consider at first. That’s why I initially held on to my corporate job and started DeluxeMaid, a professional home cleaning company in Indianapolis, as a side hustle. I didn’t quit until it was stable enough and we were getting a steady revenue and a solid client base.
Q. What kind of challenges did you face getting your business off the ground? Who or what was most helpful to you in overcoming these challenges?
A. Perhaps the biggest hurdle was the learning curve during the very early stages when we were still figuring things out. There are so many moving parts to starting your own business that it can be quite overwhelming. Having great business partners to stop you from giving up is very important. If I had tried to do this on my own, I’d have quit long ago.
Q. Please provide some metrics showing how the business has grown.
A. We have grown exponentially over the years. From only one person doing all the operations and phone calls in the beginning, we now have 25 team members working remotely in different business departments, including customer service, sales, and marketing. In addition, we now have over 150 cleaners, and we’re continuing to expand and hire more as we go along.
Q. They say that you learn from your mistakes – can you share something you did wrong the first time and learn from it?
A. A mistake we’re guilty of would be being too eager to grow too quickly. For example, we booked too many cleans when we didn’t have the capacity in the past. Also, giving way too large discounts and not standing behind our prices. To begin with, our branding was not clear enough that we are a premium service, so we discounted to convert rather than sell the quality of our service.
Q. Please give any overall advice for young entrepreneurs or anything else that you would like to add.
A. Don’t feel the need to recreate the wheel. There is always room for a well-run business, even in saturated industries.