Friday, September 9, 2016

How I Started My Business: Eco Modern Concierge

I know you can go to my about page on the Eco Modern Concierge website and read all about how I started my company, but I thought it would be fun to go into more detail in this post. I first started EMC when I was in college. I was working part-time (at times, full-time) for an Oil & Gas company doing data entry and later on moved my way up to working in HR. I worked for this company all through college and started EMC on the side. I started EMC out of happenstance because I was trying to get extra money to pay for college, study abroad and, well, live.

I first put an ad on Craigslist to housesit and petsit. I wish I had my old ads to see exactly what I posted because it would be fun to go back and read. Mind you this was before Craigslist became what it is today. For me it was free advertising. I should note: I actually started petsitting when I was in high school and knew it was something I could do on the side in college. I could go about my normal day and house / petsit on the side between work and school.

My first client in college was so wonderful and I worked for her until she moved away several years ago. She gave me pointers and things I should / shouldn't do while they are away, etc. I soon obtained other clients and then ventured into organizing for people because I could do it on the weekends, after work or while I was housesitting. Soon clients were asking me to do errands and personal assistant tasks for them while I was petsitting and / or organizing. Whether this was making a grocery run for them when they returned from out of town or running errands after an organization project. I tried to do things in an eco way and soon had clients notice and ask me to help them change to eco products to helping them with composting. So, became Eco Modern Concierge. Sprinkled in between these things, I also did various things on the side from selling on eBay to doing real estate for an apartment management company (I still have my inactive real estate license) to mystery shopping, etc.

For years I would post ads on and off Craigslist and actually got some of my best clients from there. I quit because I didn't see it beneficial to me. As I increased my prices and found that Craigslist wasn't as beneficial to me because there were tons of others offering the same services for less. I may one day put on ad back up just as an experiment to see if I actually get any business from. As the years have gone on most of my new clients have been referrals. Word of mouth is definitely the best form of advertising.

Years went by and it became hard to focus on four different things. So I decided to stop pet and house sitting. I got married several years ago and it became more and more apparent that I wanted to spend more time at home at night and on weekends and petsitting wasn't fitting into my schedule as well as it used to. With that said....I do have a client still that I help out in emergency situations. I had projects that would last all day or long periods of time and I couldn't leave to go walk a dog in the middle of the day. I eventually left my O&G job when I was in grad school and had built up the clientele where I could produce an income to live off of.

I decided that focusing on professional organizing, personal assistant work and eco consulting was the way for me to go. Eco Modern Concierge is something that has evolved so much in the past 11 years. Man, I can't believe it has been this long. There have been many times that I thought about going to work corporate to get benefits, health insurance, 401k, etc. etc. even in recent years when business has been slower than usual I have entertained ideas from clients to go work full time for them and their companies.

Who knows what the future holds, but for now I LOVE LOVE LOVE what I do and have worked sooooooooooooo hard on EMC and truly love the clients I have and just have too much fun at the end of the day. No matter all the ups and downs, good stress and the bad, for the moment I don't want to give it up. Thank goodness I have such a supportive husband who encourages me to chase my dreams and supports me every step of the way, along with family, friends and clients :).

My advice is if you are on the fence about starting a business, I think you should definitely go for it. I had very minimal start up costs so it worked perfect for me. I meet with others pretty regularly who are interested in the industry and am always willing to help them with advice because who knows maybe one day I will need their help. Every so often I work with other professionals in my same industry because why compete when you can collaborate. Plus, they may bring fresh ideas to the table and sometimes you just need help.

Go for it! What are you waiting for?!?! Start that business already.

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