By Kim Eckerman, NWIR.
What was your career path? How did you get here?
I started my career path with desire and passion to help people. I was a nurse right out of High School having taking Vo-Tech classes my senior year. I did that for 7 years while moving more into the Insurance / Administrative realm of Healthcare. I obtained my Undergraduate Business Degree from Southern Nazarene University with an emphasis in Organizational Leadership. I had always had an interest in Real Estate Investments & Flipping Properties before it was even a thing people made shows about. Property Renovation became a side hobby that I did on nights and weekends to save money by doing it myself.
In 2010, a family member asked for my help with a business plan to start up a home improvement company. That was an exciting offer to help someone I cared about start their dream of owning their own business and getting to do it in a field I loved so much. Throughout this process I realized that I also had the same dream of being self-employed one day. I was pulled in the direction of leaving my secure job in the healthcare industry to work with this new company I helped create. At first it was Accounting and Administrative help on nights and weekends. Then we had a huge storm in Oklahoma City in 2013 that had me working a full-time job during the day and an additional 30 hours a week during nights and weekends. I learned everything I could because it was all hands-on deck. I learned the Sales Process & Management, Product Knowledge, Production Management and Insurance Claims Process working my way up to becoming the CFO of the company from 2014-2018.
During this time, I also obtained my Graduate Degree (MBA) in Business from Oklahoma Christian University. It didn’t take long for me to realize I had all the makings of running my own company. Having put the infrastructure together and in place for that entire company and intellectually developing all the SOP “Standard Operating Procedures” to run this very successful company; I got to see first-hand how to do all the things that needed to be done to be able to make a living. I made the decision to go out on my own, not because I was unhappy working with the company I helped create, but because I was tired of not seeing my family. The decision was made because I saw a quote by Tony Gaskins that said, “If you don’t build your dreams someone else will hire you to build theirs” That hit me like a ton of bricks. Working so many hours every day and every week, week after week, had me missing out on so much and feeling that working mom guilt. Our daughter had just turned 11, son 9 and our twins 2 yrs. old, I realized I wasn’t getting any younger and decided working 18-20-hour days making someone else’s dream come true wasn’t in alignment with what I ultimately wanted to do in this life.
So, I took the leap of faith and went for it! In April of 2018, my wife and I started Pitch Perfect Roofing and General Contracting Company. We are Female Owned, Veteran Owned & Minority Owned company. I knew at first, I would probably be working the same number of hours in my own business as I did before, truth is you are always on the clock as a business owner. Until you learn how to place healthy boundaries and figure out how to achieve work/life balance. For the first 6-8 months I did work the same 18 hour days. I did a lot of research and reading on productivity. I hired a Business Coach and learned some new productivity tools to make sure I was getting as much done in the time I have allotted as possible. I finally have control of my own schedule instead of it having control over me. I hired staff so I can delegate more things I don’t have to personally be involved with during the day to day production and office work.
What challenges did you face and how did you overcome them?
Challenges in this industry happen daily, being a female owner in a male-dominated field. Unfortunately, I am always dealing with ego issues. I take it with a grain of salt now and understand that their issues with woman in this industry or “me” are their issues, it has absolutely nothing to do with me. I try to gravitate towards business people who honor and respect women in this business.
Also, many people in my industry do door to door knocking. We do not door knock, it is not part of our business model. I feel like that is highly predatory behavior after someone has suffered a property loss. People can be at their most vulnerable emotionally during that time. So, the way we get in front of people is by strengthening our relationships in the community. We get lots of repeat business from clients or from those who have personally worked with us and refer a friend, colleague or family member. We only advertise by word of mouth and referrals. I find that changing our business model to this has brought us the right customers who want to do business with us because of the value we bring to the table and want to experience the way we do business.
What personal and professional accomplishments are you most proud of?
My professional accomplishments are, that I am always trying to help everyone I come across with their businesses or personal lives. Even if we are in the same industry. If I have knowledge that I can share, that can and will help others grow their businesses or grow personally, I give that information freely. I understand that there is more than enough work out there for everyone. I am not anyone’s competition nor are they mine. We all have unique gifts we show up in this world to bestow onto others. I never want to live with the regret that I could have helped someone in need, but I didn’t because I thought that they might be more successful than me. To me, the decision to keep things that could be helpful to others comes from a place of scarcity and I want to always live in a place of abundance.
What NWIR pillar resonates most with you? why? how? (networking, mentoring, education, recruitment)
Education for sure! I don’t ever sell anyone anything. Even though I make sales in my business, I find that when you come from a place of educating your consumer it empowers them to do the thing they want to do already…BUY. It just gives them the confidence to know they are making the right choice for themselves. No one wants to feel like they were sold. Everyone loves to buy. Professional education is the space I live in most days. I am always reading up on products, installation methods, marketing, business development, etc. I pretty much “Nerd Out” when I get the chance.
What growth have your efforts brought to your organization? to our industry?
I think by helping others grow their companies, I have developed some amazing connections with people both personally and professionally. I find that I am always looking out for opportunities for others. It may not be my opportunity but if I can help connect the dots for two people who are looking for one another, I want to do that. You never know when they may be willing to do that for you. Karma, Ethics & Moral Code goes a long way in this industry!
What do you do when you’re not working? outside of the roofing industry?
When I am not working, I am spending time with my family and friends. Most of my time is with my wife and 4 kids or my extended family. I read a lot and do a bunch of self-help workshops and programs. I’m a total type A personality so I want to constantly be working on myself and pushing myself to do and be better.
What does work/life balance look like to you?
I try to keep it to Monday through Friday now. My work day starts around 8 am, I finish up around the time the kids come home from school around 4pm, unless I have scheduled evening appointments. I cook dinner most nights and do family things like helping the kids with their homework and baths and bedtime for the twins. Then I am usually in bed around 8-9 pm so I can get up at 5:00 am. I intentionally get up this early because it allows me time to work on personal growth. I ground myself in yoga & meditation each morning, listen to podcast or business coaching before our kids’ feet hit the floor at 6 am and everyone is busy getting ready for their day.
Occasionally, because of bad weather during the week, I may have to work over the weekend or catch up on paperwork or do production to make up for bad weather days.
What’s your favorite thing about the roofing industry?
The industry is always changing, there are always improvements to be made to processes, products & services. I like being part of that solution.
What advice do you have regarding success in the roofing industry?
Always do your best, show up authentically and surround yourself with ethical people. It is easy to get pulled into the negativity of competition in this industry. I have personally seen people who have. They get wrapped up in negativity and gossip about others in the industry to make themselves look or feel better. They end up taking short cuts with craftsmanship, hiring undocumented workers or sub-contractors with no
insurance, or waiving deductible’s just to get the deal and make ends meet to be what they consider “competitive in the market.”
What they don’t understand is that they are hurting our industry. To me those decisions are made from a place of scarcity not abundance. The decision is made from a place of having a fixed mindset (someone who feels like they know everything, and this is just the way it must be) rather than a growth mindset (open to feedback, alternative and better ways of doing things, positive outlook on life and business). I also feel like it is important to always vet your customer. I set expectations up front, that I run an ethical company, we don’t take short cuts on anything. We provide the highest quality work for fair market value. The customers that are looking for a “Free Deductible” will weed themselves out of my business model quickly with just a few questions.
Original article source: NWIR
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