On Tuesday I had a post in my Law of Attraction in Action series on Vision Plans and used Nick Friedman and Omar Soliman as examples. Today I have an interview with them. I wrote my newest book, Effortless Entrepreneur: Work Smart, Play Hard, Make Millions (Three Rivers Press), with them. It details their rise to success as the youngest franchisees in America with their junk removal company, College Hunks Hauling Junk and gives constructive guidelines for starting your own business. I’m very proud to have worked with Nick and Omar on this book. They spell out how to create systems to allow a business to run smoothly so that they can have time for pleasure. Nick and Omar have been featured in dozens of publications, including chosen as two of the top 30 entrepreneurs under 30 in INC magazine, Readers Digest, Entrepreneur, and on TV, including Shark Tank and Millionaire Matchmaker.
Most business books encourage lots of hard work. While Nick and Omar do too, their First Business Commandment reflects a Gen Y perspective: Never sacrifice health, family or friendships for business reasons.
Life is to be enjoyed. I emphasize the importance of giving yourself pleasure. That build good self-love! Nick and Omar emphasize the importance of doing something you love so doing it a lot is still pleasure. I relate. I LOVE writing intensely. So even when I go for endless hours at the computer, I’m happy. You owe it to yourself to be happy! Here’s what Nick and Omar had to say:
Who is the “Effortless Entrepreneur? An Effortless Entrepreneur is anyone who breaks away from what society tells them is the “norm” and takes a risk by creating their own destiny. The journey in creating and running a business is by no means effortless, but when you are doing something you love, long days feel short and hard days feel easy. ? ?
How did you come up with the concept for College Hunks Hauling Junk? College Hunks Hauling Junk started on a hot summer day in Washington DC. Most of our friends were working typical “college student” jobs like waiting tables, boring retail jobs and internships. We wanted to do something different. Omar’s mom let us borrow a cargo van she used for deliveries for her furniture store. We decided hauling junk would be our summer gig. After putting up flyers that said College Hunks Hauling Junk around the neighborhood we started getting calls for our services. After going back to school Omar submitted a business plan for College Hunks Hauling Junk at an entrepreneurship competition at the University of Miami that won 1st place and $10,000 out of over 150 entries.
What gave you the balls to eventually blow off your jobs and start the business? It took a long chain of events for us to finally get the balls to quite our jobs, even with an award winning business plan and a summer under our belts. Nick was still afraid to quit and discouraged by his parents. Ultimately, the adrenaline rush from working on our business compared to the misery felt working in the corporate world was enough motivation to try and make a go of it.? ?
When did you realize that your business was successful? We realized our business was successful when we began franchising the concept nationwide back in 2007. In less than 3 years we grew from 1 location to 35 locations across the country. However, our true measure of success will be when we become the largest employer of college students in the nation. We are on pace to reach this goal within 2 years.
What advice would you give to young people trying to find a job in today’s economy? Young people looking for jobs in today’s economy need to consider what their life goals are. If they are seeking the security of a stable job for the next 20-30 years then entrepreneurship is not for them. If they want to break free from “social norms” and do something on their own there is no better time than right now to start a business. This generation of young people will go down as the most entrepreneurial generation in history.
You have garnered a lot of publicity by participating on shows such as ABC’s Shark Tank and Bravo’s Millionaire Matchmaker. How do you use this to your business’ advantage? There has never been a home service business that leverages publicity the way College Hunks Hauling Junk does. We consider ourselves a marketing company that just happens to do junk removal instead of the other way around. Publicity stunts such as taking a date to haul junk on Bravo’s Millionaire Matchmaker or participating in TV shows such as ABC’s Shark Tank help us reach our goal of becoming a household brand name. We don’t have the ad budgets that Fortune 500 companies have but we are able to be a part of dinner table conversations across the country because of the way we leverage publicity.
What was your original goal when you started College Hunks Hauling Junk versus what it is today? Our original goal for College Hunks Hauling Junk was to make some extra beer money before the college semester started. We had no idea it would turn into the company that it has become today. Our vision has changed considerably but we stay committed to our roots of working with college students to give them the tools to become successful in whatever path they choose. Today our goal is to become the largest employer of college students in the nation and a launch pad for future entrepreneurs. ? ?
How do you balance your friendship, which began long before the company was formed, within your work environment? We have been friends since we were 15 years old. Like any 2 friends or business partners we have disagreements. What separates us from the typical horror stories you hear about other business partnerships is the fact that our personalities and strengths complement each other. We know how to separate disagreements about business from friendship and vice versa. It’s imperative that business partners share the same vision BEFORE they embark on their journey.
What does success mean to you? In our company we measure success by our business growth in sales, customers and profits, but also in our progress as an organization in terms of client loyalty, franchisee profitability, and team member fulfillment. We always tell ourselves we’ll “never be successful if we don’t r
ecognize the fact that we have already been hugely successful.” The key is to continue growing and improving. If you’re not growing, you’re dying. ??
What’s your best advice for people who want to pursue their dream that involves taking a big risk? Do your homework first and make sure you have your game plan set. Start with a long term vision, and then work backwards (reverse engineer) your vision to what your business will need to look like 3 years from now, and what steps need to be taken this month , this quarter, and this year to start working towards that. Make sure you are passionate about the vision, so passionate that you’re willing to risk it all in pursuing it.
You can read a sample of Effortless Entrepreneur here and see how Nick and Omar went from buddies in 10th grade to partying in college to building a successful business here. They’re suggestions work to be successful in other areas of life too!
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