What does Empowering Women in Industry mean to you? To me, "empowering women" means to support other women in their evolutionary journey of becoming who they were made to be. I love to work and I'm thankful I had a father who taught his daughters they could do whatever they put their minds to - so I did. I was in the military and worked over a decade as a Paramedic in EMS, both male-dominated fields. Once I had kids (later in life) I found that there was a stigma that if you quit working temporarily to raise kids you will lose your work skills. That was sad for me because I personally found that compared to all my working years, raising kids was the most demanding thing I ever did, but also a very important job. Later, when I started a business in a male-dominated industry I have worked hard to prove that notion as ridiculous. I've had the opportunity to encourage many other women who have had the same feelings and experiences.
How did you get started in your field? In 2007 I heard about trash can cleaning from a guy who lived in the UK. He spoke to us about an automated system, that was eco-friendly and it disinfected trash cans. People in the UK had used services like that for 20 years, but it was not being done in America. After learning of the health and environmental benefits, I knew then I would start a service one day. In 2014, I partnered with my sister and we started one of the first services in America.
What do you love most about your job? What are you most proud of? I'm most proud that we have lived up to the company mission statement we wrote in 2014. We knew we wanted our business to be more than cleaning trash cans. We wanted it to serve a greater purpose. Our mission is to give to those in need and to create jobs. We accomplish this by being a leader in a unique industry and by being humble in our service to others. Almost from the beginning (without trying) we became leaders and had hundreds reach out to us asking about the industry because we were a rare source of information. We also give back to our community in so many ways both privately and publicly. It brings us great joy to utilize our business in that way.
What advice would you give to someone considering this line of work? Be who you are and show that to the world. There are so many small businesses that try to look big, meanwhile, corporations spend millions on advertising to look and act like a small business. Use social media and let your market know you are a college intern struggling to fit in and do your best or that you are a stay-at-home mom who is also working full-time on a new start-up. Don't be afraid to be vulnerable. There will be people who identify with or who are inspired by that. Those people will help get you to where you are going. Just be sure to turn around and help them get where they are going too.
Anything else you would like to add? It's very humbling how much our customers love trash can cleaning. When we started, I didn't know if people would care about a clean trash can or come back after a first time cleaning - but they definitely did and they still do! For those who were interested in starting their own business, I eventually wrote an e-book detailing things people want to know and created a closed facebook group a few short years ago so others can learn from us and each other. There are currently just under 200 other trash can cleaning services in that group. I'm so glad it helps others so they don't have to struggle to find as many answers as we struggled to find. We are also in the process of becoming a distributor for the largest builder of trash can cleaning systems in America. This is huge because it will allow people closer to Texas a place to come to get a system instead of going to Miami and there is no mark-up on costs. We are so excited to be able to help even more people to get into this industry and help them create jobs in their own communities in this way.