This is a follow up story for Skinny Wimp Moving. If you're interested in reading how they got started, published over 2 years ago, check it out here.
Hello again! Remind us who you are and what business you started.
My name is Max Maher and I own a moving and storage business called Skinny Wimp Moving. We provide (you guessed it!) household, commercial, local, and long-distance moving services as well as in-house storage services. I have been a service business entrepreneur and my moving and storage business is the 3rd evolution of my service business journey.
Age 13 - Small Landscaping Business
Age 18 - Pool Cleaning Business (hired my first employee)
Age 19 - Purchased the moving company where I used to work part-time
Age 21 - Grew said moving company from ~$5,000 in sales and a couple of employees to $1.8 million in sales with 4 locations across the country
Age 23 - Narrowed focus - sold the out-of-state locations and focus on my core location
Age 24 - Started the storage side of the business leasing a 6,000 sq. ft. warehouse
Age 25 - My business is completely delegated out (I spend about 5 hours per week on it) and I now live in Puerto Rico while the business averages $60,000/mo in revenues and 20%+ margins.
Tell us about what you’ve been up to! Has the business been growing?
Since we last talked I have narrowed my focus down quite a bit to my core, most profitable area of operations in Arizona. In the beginning, I wanted to simply be the biggest operator possible but I did that too quickly and learned a lot of expensive lessons. I realized that with a service business while you can earn a great income doing it there are really two ways to turn it into an amazing income.
- Have a recurring service - with a recurring service adding a customer adds to your base, it builds on itself, and it’s predictable
- Get into real estate - I found the most wealthy service business owners I encountered had a real estate component to their business
Because of these two factors, I decided to make the jump and add a storage component to my business and I am glad I did.
Sometimes if you’ve tried all avenues and nothing is working it is better to do something else completely.
I have also focused more than ever on systems in my business every single process that could have a system in my business does. EVERYTHING. We’re talking about everything from how to fix the printer to how to manage a crew. I even wrote a system on how to write systems.
What have been your biggest lessons learned in the last year?
Don’t be afraid to make leaps. I learned that generally as long as you do your diligence and prepare properly big leaps almost always work out. Sure, that isn’t a guarantee but if you truly are trying to make a big change (getting a new building, adding a product line, etc.), the change makes sense, and you bust your butt to give it the greatest odds of success things seem to almost always work out in your favor.
Don’t be afraid to pay more. I was always concerned about spending too much on everything including payroll but I learned that if you get someone amazing in your business the sky is really the limit on how much they are worth. I believe the best way to do this is performance-based pay - a percentage of profits, commission structure, or something else altogether - it’s human nature to get complacent, even with a nice salary, incentives help to counteract laziness.
What’s in the plans for the upcoming year, and the next 5 years?
The business is now completely delegated out and it is somewhat in the hands of my management to follow my guidelines and push the company further. We are aiming for a 20% year-over-year growth rate for the next 5 years and I will tweak systems accordingly along the way. Our big focus is building even more on the storage side of the business.
For myself, I personally focus the majority of my time on my YouTube channel. I have been able to grow it to over 250,000 subscribers and 2,000,000+ monthly viewers. I plan to double down on this and see where I can take it in the coming years. I still have a passion for business, though, so I am constantly searching for opportunities and investors in new projects.
Have you read any good books in the last year?
I have to be painfully honest. My reading has really fallen off this year. I am in the middle of a 1-year work marathon where I put in at least 10 productive hours of work per day, every day. I’m currently on day 177. This has, unfortunately, put a damper on my reading and consumption of media.
A few books in the past that have really helped me are:
Advice for other entrepreneurs who might be struggling to grow their business?
Instead of advice, I have a few questions.
Are you really working hard and doing so efficiently? I have yet to meet a person who is truly working harder than all of their peers that isn’t successful. And putting in long hours is not enough, you need to be efficient, I could spend 4 hours a day personally organizing my warehouse but this would do little towards actually growing my business. Instead, I write a system to delegate out the easy to delegate things and spend all of my energy on the tough nuts to crack (marketing, hiring, management, etc.) once that is figured out I move on to the next tough thing.
What is the market you're in? Not all markets or industries are equal. Some industries have businesses with $100M+ in sales were others the top dogs barely pull in $1M. Some industries have 30% margins where others have 5% margins. Sometimes if you’ve tried all avenues and nothing is working it is better to do something else completely. One of my biggest downfalls as an entrepreneur is not giving up on bad projects or ideas sooner. Major sunk cost fallacy issue. I always felt like I could fix something when sometimes it’s better to do something else completely.
Are you looking to hire for certain positions right now?
I am always open to hearing from highly skilled people!
Where can we go to learn more?
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