Back in the fall of 2008, I met an extraordinarily savvy woman who was determined to build the first nationwide organizing company. Something about her seemed unique and we connected right away. We studied hard and trained hard together at the CEO Space Entrepreneur School and quickly became good friends and staunch supporters of one anothers’ companies. Angela Cody-Rouget, CEO of Major Mom®, has grown tremendously in the last couple years and is making a big mark in the professional organizing world. She now shares with you her insider information to building a successful business. You can learn more about her company at www.majormom.biz.
Q: You run a professional organizing company called Major Mom®. Can you share how you got started and what sets your company apart from other organizing companies?
A: Everyone on this earth has a specific life purpose and skills and talents to make this world a better place. A very wise and loving man named Jesus said, “Each one should use whatever gifts he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.” I was absolutely born to organize and I love restoring order and beauty to homes and home offices. It is my God-given gift and the gift of all our employees/partners.
After I resigned my commission in the U.S. Air Force and became a full-time mom to my two little ones I definitely learned how hard it was to maintain an orderly home with a baby and a toddler. As I joined Mommy groups and play groups I witnessed how hectic a stay-at-home Mom’s life is and how isolated one can feel. I started to grow a big place in my heart for Moms and their busy families. That was the inspiration for my idea to start an organizing company that helped busy families. Many moms and dads need some help, but maid services do not organize and set up systems. Many of us no longer live next to Grandma and Grandpa or aunts and uncles. Many of us are all alone and not sure who to call for help. I want to make sure that everyone that lives in clutter and chaos knows who to call for help—MAJOR MOM®.
Major Mom® is different from other organizing companies in many ways. We do not implement cookie-cutter solutions. First, we actually evaluate our client’s needs, values and goals for their household via a one hour interview with the client and their family. Then we come up with a plan and solutions that are customized, achievable and sustainable. Second, we always show up to the job site ready to work in our camouflage pants, logo’d t-shirts, closed-toe shoes and our organizing toolkit totes. Third, we do not charge by the hour, we have created package pricing to meet the needs of our clients at all income levels. We are not the lowest or highest priced company, but are priced to provide maximum value for each dollar spent. Fourth, we require all of our organizing troops to attend the Major Mom AcademyTM and they remain an apprentice under a mentor for 3-6 months. Fifth, we continuously train and mentor these employees. We hold three training sessions per month. Lastly, we have built a very strong brand that we will be taking nationally in 2011.
Q: I understand that you have a very unique, hybrid employee model. What makes it so different?
A: We are an employee owned company. Each employee will have an opportunity to earn ownership based on their performance and various other factors. All of our employees are 100% commissioned, statutory employees. This means that they are only compensated when they actually organize. It also means that they can deduct 100% all of their expenses related to growing their book of clients. We require all of our employees to pay their tuition for Major Mom AcademyTM. My partner, Mandy and I, work very hard to drive traffic to our website and to funnel leads to our organizing troops.
This business model is very common in the financial services industry and insurance industry. We have taken the best parts of those industries, combined with the best parts of the direct selling industry and created our hybrid employee model.
Q: What have been some of the biggest challenges and obstacles in growing your company to where it is now?
A: The most difficult challenge was related to being a solopreneur and not having a good team of people around me to help me create and launch a national brand. Over a year ago, I learned about CEO Space from a member of my mastermind team and that is when I began to build an advisory board and management team. I returned home from Entreprenuerial school (CEO Space Forum) and assembled a team: Chief Financial Officer, Chief Marketing Officer, Chief of Client Care, Director of Human Resources and Director of Public Relations.
The second obstacle was lack of capital during our first two years made it very difficult to launch Major Mom®. Since I was the main bread winner for the company and my family, I had to organize many hours per week in order to pay for all the company’s fixed expenses. Since there are only 14 work hours in a day, I had to work on the business late at night and around my clients’ schedules.
Q: What have been the biggest factors in the success of Major Mom®?
A: Our brand is the biggest factor to our success. Our brand is memorable, fun and communicates our message without words. The Major Mom® brand is very unique in the professional organizer industry because we are the only company that dons camoflauge, salutes our clients and has a proven system to successfully organize any project faster than anyone. The Major Mom SystemTM enables us to raise up an army of organizers that consistently provide the same level of service to all our clients.
Q: You just spent the summer in France with your family. How were you able to get away and still earn an income?
A: For the first time in three years, I actually took a vacation-five weeks in France and 10 days in Indiana. I personally did not earn any income this summer, but my company did via our employees. So all the bills got paid and my partner, Mandy, ran the company while I was gone. Now I will admit that I have a Blackberry so I was connected and rarely unplugged. So although I did take my children to France and Indiana, I still worked a little.
I have some great mentors, Robert Kiyosaki, T. Harv Eker, Michael Gerber and Jesus. They have all taught me the importance of building a team that can move the company towards the mark without me.
Q: What great advice can you give readers who want to start a professional service company?
A: 1) Make sure it is something you are passionate about, otherwise it will be hard to stay on the entrepreneurial roller coaster ride.
2) It is very helpful if you have a clear vision and begin with the end in mind. The how will come to you but the what must be crystal clear.
3) Build a team around you of advisors: CPAs, lawyers, CFO, partner, and employees or independent contractors.
4) Also, join your industry association. The moment I decided I wanted to b a professional organizer I joined the National Association of Professional Organizers. I also started studying the most successful companies and people in that industry (an idea I got from “Build To Last” by Jim Collins).
Like what you’re reading? Wanna know more? Click on the shiny little “subscribe” button up top to stay abreast of the freshest startup business articles and info in Denver.