10 Lessons Learnt From Running A Successful Startup

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#01. The biggest risk is not giving it a chance

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My  personal principle is to give anyone and anything a chance. I have tried so many things during our early stages, from booking systems, CRMs, phone services and of course to people. Experiment, experiment and experiment.

Looking for high quality cleaners can be a challenging task, so we have decided to give everyone and everything a chance.

So when we first started we invited almost everyone for interview to discover what sort of cleaning skills they posses. That’s how we found exceptional cleaners that other cleaning companies may have refused to interview.

Not everyone has an fancy elaborated CV or Covering Letter, but giving them daily job tasks during interviews helped us to create and see how they work and how they react in real world situations.

#02. You do not know everything: embrace it and ask for help from everyone


Listen and Learn: You will never know who can help you if you’re not asking for help.

The secret is to get involved: meet with people, attend conferences and any meetings that you consider relevant and that can bring a small contribution to your company.

I have started to approach friends, friends of friends and even random people from conferences and meetings that had never heard about Gleem. But I tried it and help has come from people that I didn’t expect. I’ve made a list of contacts and advice that people gave me and now try to apply them to my company.

#03. Too many cooks spoil the broth: take opinions on board but still make the final decision yourself

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I gathered a lot of opinions and ideas that other people considered great for Gleem, but you always have to balance them and see from the other side. They don’t have the full picture, so might not be looking at issues from the most appropriate angle…

I took into consideration each opinion, but made sure I whole-heartedly agreed with the changes I made to Gleem and to my personal life also. You’re the business owner and you have to decide what’s right or not for your company.

#04. Believe in yourself: have confidence in your abilities.


Having confidence in everything you do is really important. But confidence come doesn’t that easy, you have to gain it. Not everyone is a great cleaner, not everyone is a great speaker and not everyone is a great leader.

If you want to be confident in everything you do, you have to change your perspective about things, start to think more positively and challenge yourself.

#05. Regularly remind yourself of the bigger picture: your bigger aims and ambitions

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If you don’t think big enough, you’ll never achieve anything big.

A few years ago, when I started the company, I knew there was an opportunity, and I pictured myself as a leader in the cleaning industry around Bristol and Bath area. Guess what happened over the time? We became leaders.

Have you ever watched or read The Secret ? I don’t personally trust everything that’s written in this book, but some things are definitely like that. Set specific goals into your head, illustrate them on a board or document and improve: become personally accountable and dedicated to targets. Be outspoken about them, and you’ll be that much more committed to making sure that they come to fruition.

#06. Build a business that represents you: if you build something different you will stop enjoying it

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About a year ago, I found myself focusing on the figures, the growth (the money). I found myself more lethargic everyday, and enjoying being in the business less and less.

I had started a business to have a job that I loves, but I wasn’t loving it.

Once I realized this, I knew how important it was that the morals, and structure of the business MUST be aligned to me as an individual: If it wasn’t, how could I FULLY enjoy it? So from that day forwards I have vowed to myself that Gleem needs to stay true to my personality: and I love my job more and more every single day: I don’t focus relentlessly on the numbers, I focus relentlessly on enabling everyone who works at, with or comes into contact with Gleem to enjoy themselves: that’s what it’s all about for me.

#07. Have confidence in other people’s abilities: trust them to truly get the best out of them

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Working with people that you don’t trust can be really difficult, nearly impossible. I’ve tried to build trust  to grow a better business.

When I first started hiring people I looked meticulously at their skill set, and this caused me a few issues along the way. Now I focus upon raw enthusiasm for the role and for Gleem: if they have those, I have full confidence that they’ll work hard and learn the skills to make themselves (and Gleem) a success, and I’m willing to let them make mistakes because I know they’ll learn from them. They know that this is how I operate too, and it gives them a freedom in their roles that I love to talking about: a freedom that brings out the best in people.

#08. Stay frugal: think through your decisions to spend or invest in things carefully

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I started Gleem with £200, and we’ve never been a cash rich business. Consider this position in comparison to VC backed businesses. We have to think through our spends carefully and save money wherever possible. This could be considered a drawback, but it is also a huge blessing: before we spend we have to lock down our priorities and then focus upon them. It stops us throwing money at a problem to try and make it go away, and instead we look for efficient solutions: solutions that make us sustainable and efficient

#09. Share your long term ambitions with your team. It can help to sculpt their decisions.

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Being an entrepreneur, with an NED, and part of an incubator brings about a necessary level of reflecting and foresight in terms of what I want the business to become. That’s all well and good, but if my team weren’t informed about these aims (and helping to sculpt them), they might not be as fired up as I am. They certainly would be making decisions based upon this bigger picture.

#10. Enjoy the ride: overcoming adversity and tackling challenges are where the real enjoyment comes from.

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When I reflect upon my business journey so far, I find myself smiling the most when I think about the challenges: the tough parts that I came through, the troughs of the roller-coaster, because once you come out of a difficult period, the sense on satisfaction is so energizing, it’s what empowers you to keep pushing.


#11. Be thankful with what you have achieved.

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At times I looked at the business and felt frustration with where we were in comparison to HUGE businesses: still just a small business that was barely profitable. This got me feeling pretty low at times, and I lost my drive…I had so much further to go until I was where I want Gleem to be…will I ever make it?

But looking back on the business presents things in a completely different light: I had £200 when I started the business. We’ve started, grown, rebranded and kept growing: I’ve gone from working on a dining table at my parents house to operating out of a 1000 square foot office in just 2 years. I have built a team of 7 people around me who believe in Gleem, and out cleaners have growing from Olga and Karoline (my first team of 2 cleaners who gave the business model a shot) to over 50 cleaners. Yes there is a long way to go…my my how far we’ve come!

3 Gleem Home / House cleaning staff members inside a  homeroom wearing  purple aprons, white t-shirts with white Gleem logo and yellow rubber gloves on hands holding a cleaning brush, vacuum cleaner and  a mop.