Brian Scudamore, founder and CEO of 1-800-GOT-JUNK?, shares some quick insights on his company and how to become a successful entrepreneur. This interview was conducted by David Mammano, an EO Elumni and CEO and founder of NextStepU.
- Mammano: Please tell me about your business.
- Scudamore: 1-800-GOT-JUNK? is a full-service junk removal company whose drivers have set a new standard for professional junk hauling and great customer service. The company hauls away items that city garbage collectors do not typically accept, such as old furniture, renovation debris and backyard mess. Whenever possible, items are recycled or donated to charity.
- Mammano: Why did you start it?
- Scudamore: I was inspired to build my own company after seeing a rusty, old pickup hauling junk through a McDonald’s drive-through. I thought: “I can do better than that” and went out the very next day and spent all my money ($700) on a truck. I was 18 years old. I soon realized I loved providing a great service and was motivated by the people who worked for me.
- Mammano: In your opinion, what are the top benefits of being an entrepreneur?
- Scudamore: The opportunity to build a team of passionate, like-minded people, to set goals, to make a difference in the world.
- Mammano: What are the negatives?
- Scudamore: Sometimes you have a world of responsibility on your shoulders, yet you feel such a great sense of accomplishment when you work through those responsibilities. I believe that everything happens for a reason. When something goes wrong you have to ask yourself: what can I learn from this situation?
- Mammano: What are the traits you see in successful entrepreneurs?
- Scudamore: They keep their eye on the important things: people, goals and delivering exceptional service. They are engaged on a daily basis, always positive and driven. They never stop learning.
- Mammano: What habits make you a successful entrepreneur?
- Scudamore: The ability to envision the future, create a picture in my mind and making it happen even if I don’t know how … the ability to set clear targets with destinations, stay focused, make things happen … and the ability to attract and retain the right people to accomplish things together.
- Mammano: What can a high school student do to learn more about being an entrepreneur?
- Scudamore: Study the habits and practices of entrepreneurs from the brands you admire and love.
- Mammano: What major should a student pursue if they want to be an entrepreneur?
- Scudamore: Major in learning as much as you can from your mentors and successful business leaders. That experience will stand you in better stead than any university degree … if you have the passion for what you’re doing.
- Mammano: How can young business people get respect?
- Scudamore: Always conduct your business and personal life with integrity, and you will get respect and be a role model for others.
- Mammano: What advice do you have for a teenager who is thinking about becoming an entrepreneur?
- Scudamore: Don’t let the naysayers get you down. If you feel something strongly enough in your gut, you can do anything. Listen, watch others and keep a laser focus on your dream to succeed.
This post was originally published on David’s blog. E-mail David at [email protected].