When I was 17 years old, my sister (Anna) gave me a book that explained that you’re more likely to be “successful” if you write your goals down. AND, that your odds of achieving those goals are even higher if you hang those goals on a wall so you can see them every day. Surprisingly, as a 17-year old, I followed the instructions: I wrote my goals down, went to Staples, and hung a laminated poster on my wall.
That list still follows me to this day. “Graduate high school with all As” “Be accepted into the Kenan Flagler Business School” and some other funny ones “Take my wife on a special trip for our 10 year anniversary” (btw, I’m not close to that, but 17-year old Austin wanted to squeeze that one in there). Two of the unchecked goals, “Start a major company” and “Treat every employee with respect” have been glaring back at me since I graduated college.
As an “entrepredoer,” I’ve attempted a few more ventures than your typical 25-year-old: Vending machines. Bow & Arrows. Selling T-shirts. Documentaries & Short Movies. Car washes, lots of those. Publishing. Speaking. Software in the AL/IL space. None bringing huge successes, but fortunately, none bringing huge failure.
Rereading the goals (now as a 25-year old), 17-year old Austin was pretty vague. What’s a “major company,” what industry, and when do I start this company?
In my three short years post-UNC my life has been nothing but a blessing. For 30 months, I worked for the Griffin Brothers family in Charlotte, NC. The job allowed my spontaneous, ADD-like mind run wild. I was able to get a feel for what real entrepreneurship means and how I could one day create my own legacy for my family. The experience also showed me that a “major” company isn’t defined by a dollar amount or an industry, yet it’s defined by the people you impact.
What does success mean to you?
This brings me back to a question my Dad asked me when I was a sophomore in college, “What does success mean to you? I want you to answer that and write it down like you did your goals.” Like all good sons do, I listened. To my surprise, success to me (as a 20-year-old) wasn’t really defined by objects, money, or fame, yet it was defined by making an impact on people. Those people were to be my future wife, children, family and employees. Yeah, there were some financial metrics, but the majority of the list had nothing to do with money.
Side note: If you’ve never taken the time to think about “what success means to you,” I highly encourage you to do so. Success to me is broken down to what I call the “5 Fs” Faith, Family, Fitness, Financial and Fun. You’re welcome to use that as a guide, but don’t let me stop your creativity.
But wait…. a Plumber?
Yes, you read that correctly, I’m now a partner in Charlotte’s newest plumbing company, Ease Plumbing!
Ease, pronounced “eez,” will be the first 100% employee owned plumbing company in the Southeast (according to my Google search). Our first day of business was August 19th, 2019 and we’ll be serving the Greater Charlotte, NC market for years to come. Of course, we’ll eventually be across the Carolinas, Southeast, and US, but I’ll try and hold my excitement back for now.
Now, you might be thinking… “You went to UNC and majored in business…. How could you know anything about plumbing??” And I would tell you you’re partly correct, but I partnered with a licensed master plumber, Derek Thornburg. Derek has been in the industry since he was 15 years old, has more than 20 years of experience, and loves every second of the trade… well most of it 🙂
Derek is the first of many “plumbing partners” I will learn from and have as part owners in Ease. As I mentioned above, Ease Plumbing will be 100% employee-owned. This means that plumbers that join us will have the opportunity to earn ownership after being with the company for 18 months. As the business grows, their value will grow as well. For example, a plumber that joins us in the next few months and works with us for 15+ years, will have a heck of a retirement plan. They’ll reap the benefits of Ease as we grow to a $50M+ revenue plumbing business.
Below you’ll find more detailed mission, vision, and strategies that we can’t wait to implement! We’d love any feedback, advice, or leads that you may have.
Ease Plumbing is a service plumbing company that prides itself on being employee-owned and customer-driven. With our prompt replies, customers can feel at EASE when calling us for any of their plumbing needs.
Ease Plumbing will be the best and biggest employee-owned plumbing company in the US.
“We’ll put you at EASE with all of your plumbing needs”
Company Goals –
$1.5M in Annualized Revenue by August 2020
$3M in Annualized Revenue by August 2021
5M in Annualized Revenue by August 2022
10M in Annualized Revenue by August 2024
20M in Annualized Revenue by August 2026
50M in Annualized Revenue by August 2030
Company Verse –
2 Timothy 1:7
“For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love, and self-discipline.”
Growth Strategy –
- Traditional marketing: Google, Google Local Services, HomeAdvisor, etc
- Video Marketing
- Partnership with ZoomUp (www.griffinbros.com/zoomup)
- Acquisition of plumbing companies. The most exciting piece. There are a ton of plumbing companies that don’t have exit strategies in the Carolinas. We’re looking to partner with these companies to provide them with a way to sell/exit their business as they look to retire.
Our focus will be on servicing residential and commercial customers! If you have a leaky faucet, small project, restaurant, or all of the above, please don’t hesitate to reach out!
For those that know me, I get super excited about anything. Starting a one-of-a-kind plumbing company with Mike Griffin and the rest of the family is an incredible opportunity. For 30 months, I recruited 25-35-year olds to enter into “service industries” and cold-called companies looking to exit. And now, as Reese Blackwell (www.greenwaywastesolutions.com) likes to tell me “I’m really working!”
Mike Rowe is infamous for encouraging young people like myself to get into industries like plumbing. “Don’t follow your passion but bring your passion with you in all you do!” Mr. Rowe, I won’t let you down, I’m diving face first into plumbing, and I’ll be sure and wear a belt J
There’s a new kind of plumber in town…
Just a kid,