After working in the technology sector for fifteen years, Ricky Funk decided it was time to start his own business. He founded Dust Busters, a residential and commercial cleaning business that he now runs with his wife. At the company Funk manages the numbers, looks for new opportunities, and is in charge of client acquisition.
Can you share a little bit about your background? What was your old job? How did you get into the cleaning business?
My background is in the technology sector. I was a computer/network engineer for about 10 years, then I switched careers and became a software engineer for about 5 years before becoming an entrepreneur. I have always been self taught: I dropped out of college after my first year. I was tired of working for someone else's dream, sometimes not being recognised - one day, my wife and I decided that enough was enough, and we started working on a plan to become business owners.
How did you decide it was time to start being your own boss? Can you walk me through that decision?
Once you reach a point that no matter how successful you are, you are making someone else's dream come true, your entrepreneurial side kicks in and says enough is enough - I wanted to succeed or fail but doing it all for me.
How are you validating the risk of entrepreneurship?
There is a risk in everything, keeping your current job has a risk, looking for a new job has a risk. I feel the risk is worth the reward, even if you fail there are great lessons to be learned. The only way to control your future is to own it, and by being a business owner, you have full control, it's up to you, for better or for worse.
How has failure helped you later in life? Can you share any specifics?
Yes! Fail often and fail fast, learn from your mistakes and move on. Life's greatest lessons are often learned in failure. I recently had to restructure my whole team, we had to close for a month because of COVID-19, once we were ready to come back, all employees were on unemployment, we had to re-hire and re-train. We learned from past mistakes and now we have a better and stronger team.
How have you put yourself out in the public so far? What is your method of advertising?
I spent about a year learning marketing, going to conferences, learning at night after work and so far it has paid off. I do get pleasure from helping others, especially around marketing and business development, there are a lot of scams out there, and being able to spot them and warn people has been really gratifying.
What is the best part about this whole process? What is the worst part?
Best and worst parts are similar, the "growing" as an entrepreneur, the uncertainty of tomorrow, having to adapt to instead of receiving a payck, having to create a paycheck, not only for you but all your employees. You are responsible for multiple families, feels great but it comes with a lot of responsibility.
What is the largest obstacle you have had to overcome? How did you overcome it?
Learning that not everyone will be a great employee, you want them to succeed so bad, you really push for them, I'm probably my employees biggest cheerleader, but unfortunately not everyone is ready for success, not yet, we all are running our own journey.
What is some of the best advice you have ever received? Some of the worst?
Best Advice: Sometimes you could be your own worst enemy, listen to advise, be open for feedback and create your own conclusion.
Worst Advice: You need to have your plan from A to Z, polished and make sure you are going to make money. This is a complete bull... sometimes you need to try things, yes, make sure you have an overview of a plan, but you need to try things, read the data, change it and keep going.
What is some advice you can give to aspiring entrepreneurs?
Once you own your own business, once you work for yourself, you will realize you could do it again if you fail. You need to get out of comfort, try things you have never done before, it's fun to learn new skills. We are raised to believe that we need to go to school, get a job and die and no, it's never too late, I started my entrepreneurial journey around 32 years old, and I think it will never end.
My Favorite Quotes:
"Once you reach a point that no matter how successful you are, you are making someone else's dream come true, your entrepreneurial side kicks in and says enough is enough, I wanted to succeed or fail but doing it for me."
"The only way to control your future is to own it, and by being a business owner, you have full control, it's up to you, for better or for worse."
"Once you own your own business, once you work for yourself, you will realize you could do it again if you fail."
"You need to get out of comfort, try things you have never done before, it's fun to learn new skills."