Voice of the Contractor: Stop Owning Your Job and Start Owning Your Business

Written by | Voice of the Contractor

How can you stop owning your job and start owning your business?

Ever feel like running your business is worse than actually working for someone else? You work longer hours than everyone else, have to put up with all sorts of crap from homeowners, your employees, and on top of all of that, you’re the last one to get paid?

Believe me, I’ve been there!

My name is Nick May, and I’m the owner of Walls by Design, a Denver-based painting company for over 17 years (and counting). I started my business with one employee and now I have over 20.

Today, my business runs fairly smoothly, but it wasn’t always that way. I remember working 70+ hours a week, being the first one to the job-site, the last one to get home, and the last one to get paid. When I first started out, I didn’t know much about business, but had the dream of one day, not having to do everything. Today, with a staff of 20, there is no way I could do everything.  It has been a long hard road filled with a lot of ups and downs.

I have been a client of mHelpDesk almost since they started. They asked me if I would be willing to share some of my experiences, struggles, and victories that I’ve experienced over the last 17 years through a series we are calling Voice of the Contractor…real stories that you will be able to relate to.

I don’t claim to have all the answers on building a successful service-based business, but I have learned a lot along the way, and I’m happy to share.

I started this out with a question: Do you ever feel like running your business is worse than actually working for someone else? I know I have. It’s not easy to run a service business. Many times I think it would be so much easier if I just sold a product, but the grass is not always greener on the other side.

I’ve always had employees, even if it was just one.  As I’ve grown the business, some things get easier, while other things get harder.  But, I must say, the larger the organization gets, the happier I become. Not just because we make more money as the team expands, but because there is more freedom in growing, and it provides for more opportunities.

Many of you have most likely fallen into business ownership by default. Maybe you didn’t plan to own a business, but here you are.  Some days you like what you do, but most days you would like to do anything but what you’re doing. It doesn’t have to be like that.

The days of answering the phones, hanging door flyers, and putting paint on the wall are far behind me, but it’s because that’s what I wanted, and that’s what I planned for.  Some of you may love the activity that your business does — maybe you’re a mechanic, a plumber, a computer tech and you enjoy turning working in the field, but at the end of the day, you don’t enjoy all the other duties you have to do to keep the business going.  Worse yet, at the end of the month, you never seem to make more money than the month before.

I’ll let you in on a little secret…there is a way to get customers, build a team, make money, and grow a business that you love. It’s not easy, and it will more than likely require more than 40 hours a week, but almost anyone can do it.  So why not you?

I’ll be contributing to the mHelpDesk blog once a month, and if you make a commitment to check in here, I promise to share the good stuff.

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If you have questions along the way, please ask in the comments! If there is a topic in your business you’re interested in exploring, please let me know. I’m not a journalist, a tech geek, or an accountant — I’m a real guy who loves his business and loves sharing information with others.

Keep dreaming big and building that beautiful business of yours.

Until next time…

Nick May owns Walls by Design, based out of Denver, CO. He started the business in 1999 with one employee, and grew it to be one of the largest residential interior painting businesses in Colorado. May believes in systems, team building, and marketing…not necessarily in that order. When he’s not working with his team, you can find him playing soccer or hosting his successful interior design podcast called The Chaise Lounge where he shares the stories of some of the most successful designers in the industry today.


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Last modified: March 19, 2019

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