A League of Her Own

Couch showed incredible passion, creativity and determination when it came to finding balance between work and family.

Mom to the rescue! With the arrival of her first child, Jessica Couch quickly found that balancing a career, household, and a newborn was no easy task. She realized that she needed help around her home and began the search to find an affordable, weekly cleaning service. Jessica’s search ended quickly as “most agencies required a small fortune and my firstborn as collateral.” Rather than giving up, Jessica combined her mom multitasking skills and entrepreneurial self to start Home Run Cleaning Service. As a member of America’s Best Companies, Couch has experienced much success through online presence with EZlocal and she looks forward to continued growth in the future.

Can you tell me more about yourself? First and foremost, I am a mom: my kids are everything to me. I have been running this business for 10 years and I’m so fortunate that I have the time for everything, including my kids. Although, working is the only thing I do between sleeping and eating!

What made you decide to get into this business? I had been in the cleaning business for many years, when I decided that I wanted to start my own business. I took what I had learned from my previous company to start Home Run Cleaning. I knew the niche market like the back of my hand, and so I changed policies and business practices to create a great working environment.

What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome? Taking out so many loans! It was especially hard in the beginning. I had to take out loans to cover things like advertising, insurance, and workers compensation. Especially in California, liability insurance and workers’ compensation takes out a huge chunk of your money.

What is your favorite aspect of owning your own business? Flexibility. It enables me to spend more time with my kids, which is very important to me. It was one of the main reasons that I started Home Run Cleaning. It is difficult to manage time with kids, including picking them up, carting them to extracurriculars, and spending time with them. I work 60-70 hours throughout the week, but it still gives me time to see my kids and be an involved parent.

What motivates you? People. Many people are dependent on me and, in return, they influence me. I’m in the business I am to stay involved with my kids, and it is definitely paying off. My family and friends keep me going as well and provide constant encouragement and support. Also, my employees. Last year I had 15 employees, some full- and part-time, and now we are down to six full-time employees. It was a big change from before. Now, most of the employees are moms as well who have the same flexibility as I do. These women are great and dedicated to the business.

What advertising and marketing strategies have worked for Home Run Cleaning? America’s Best Companies has worked the best for me without a doubt. We are paying a high price to be listed in various phone books, and have not gotten any business in return. The Internet is where it’s at. ABC offers Internet advertising for a very affordable price. We have experienced great business and growth thanks to the online advertising and placement; I can think of many clients off the top of my head! I refer many of my clients, who are small businesses, to America’s Best Companies because they want to know what works. America’s Best Companies works, and I can’t thank them enough!

What has been your biggest success so far? The previous company I was with took 20 years to get to where Home Run Cleaning Service is today. I have learned that hard work pays off in the end, and so does learning from your past. Through advertising with America’s Best Companies and working constantly to improve our service and business, everything has paid off. We have accomplished so much in so little time, and are still thriving despite the recession. That’s a remarkable accomplishment if you ask me!

Where do you see Home Run Cleaning in five years? The ultimate goal for five years is to double our sales. I have big dreams and goals that we are working towards in the future.

What is most important thing to remember when starting your own small business? Don’t be greedy. I learned that from the company I previously worked for. You need to not be too eager for success and money right away. When I started Home Run Cleaning Service, I remembered what I learned and it has really paid off for me. I have employees who I have kept happy and have stayed loyal to me for many years.

If you could give aspiring entrepreneurs any advice, what would it be? Hang in there. Stick with it, and never give up!

—Cheryl Sowa

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