Tell us about your business…
Glasshouse is a premium preventative home maintenance company dedicated to helping busy people keep their homes in peak condition. Our experienced Glasshouse Managers perform all the maintenance homes require through quarterly visits, and are available any time homeowners need them – for inevitable repairs or simply tackling their to-do lists. The House Manager will also track their work and catalog the home’s systems and appliances in an easy to navigate app.
Imagine finding out you have a problem with your toilet…before it leaks. With Glasshouse’s proactive maintenance plans, those types of issues can be prevented. No matter what issues arise, your Glasshouse Manager serves as a single point of contact throughout the process – one person to call for everything.
Our core audience is homeowners living throughout California’s East Bay in Oakland, Piedmont, Berkeley, Albany, Orinda, Moraga, and Lafayette. However, we are actively recruiting new House Managers throughout the country and plan to expand to additional markets soon.
Please tell us what being a business owner means to you and why you became an entrepreneur in the first place?
Owning your own business can be a daunting prospect. When I first came up with the concept for my company, I tried to get others who were already in the sector to add it as a service. When it became clear that the only way to really see my idea through was to do it myself, I embarked on the entrepreneurial journey – leveraging tips from as many of my friends and family who’d run businesses of their own. It’s extremely gratifying, but also draining. You never feel like you’re off the clock and every decision, good, bad, or painful, is yours. But I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I love my company, my team, and the whole of what we’ve built – it’s amazing!
While I thought that going into business for myself would enable me to better manage the amount of time I spent working, what I’ve learned is that I can never truly shut off the part of my brain that wants to focus on work. When you are truly passionate about your product or service, you don’t get to clock out. It’s a 24/7 job.
That being said, I created Glasshouse as a result of a need in my own life. I created a beautiful custom home for my family, but once the construction ended, there was no one to help me maintain it.
Very few people know what it takes to properly care for their homes, so I wanted to help them. By routinely checking on the home’s systems and appliances, we’ve helped our members prevent countless disasters from ever occurring.
What or who has been your greatest influence in business and why? I feel most influenced by stories of ordinary people who do extraordinary things. People who have no more experience, talent, or connections than I do who are able to create billion-dollar businesses or solve critical problems. When you see someone accomplish lofty goals despite coming from humble beginnings, it inspires you.
What would you say is your greatest professional accomplishment to date? There have been a lot of great moments since starting Glasshouse, but the one that brought me the most excitement was when the first customer, that I didn’t personally know, signed up. I felt validated that my business concept was working beyond goodwill in my social circle. If our sign-up process wasn’t completely digitized, I would have hung a dollar from that order up on the wall in our office.
What’s the best advice you have received in business that you wish to pass on to our readers? Particularly for women, don’t focus on how your gender has historically impacted your business. Find what you are passionate about and create a business around your competencies. People will value the work that you do, when you show them why you are an expert in that field.
What has been the most effective marketing initiatives or programs you have used to promote your business?
We created a marketing program targeting realtors. The program is designed to get realtors to refer our services or gift Glasshouse memberships to new homeowners. By gifting a Glasshouse membership, real estate agents can send their clients a care package that includes a caretaker.
So far, the realtors we’ve approached have been very receptive and our membership is growing steadily as a result
What one thing have you learned as a small business owner that has served you well over the years? Surround yourself with amazing people. No one achieves great success without a team of loyal, supportive, and talented people by their side.
Are there any resources or tools you’d like to share with other small business owners that have helped you run your business? If yes, please describe.
Good project management and communication tools are key to improving the workflow between team members. There are a lot out there, but a right now our team is using MeisterTask and Slack to collaborate.
Do you have any new projects or announcements coming up (or have you just completed a big project or reached a milestone, etc.)? If so, please tell us about it. We are releasing a new whitepaper on August 9th titled: What Does Home Maintenance Really Cost? We produced this whitepaper to help new homeowners create a realistic budget for maintaining their home. There are very few resources out there, and we wanted to use our expertise to help consumers looking to protect their most valuable asset – their home. You can download the whitepaper for free here: https://www.glasshouse.com/resources/whitepapers/what-does-home-maintenance-cost
What do you do for fun/relaxation? I raise chickens. I’ve raised them for 15 years. They make great pets and are very social. We even have one who loves to walk through the house and make herself at home.
What is Number One Business Goal you plan to accomplish over the next year? Over the next year, I am working on scaling Glasshouse and refining our technology. As the business grows, it is essential that we maintain the same level of customer service and expertise. Beyond that I really hope to educate homeowners on the importance of preventative maintenance.
You want to write a book on ______________________ Sustainability. Years back, around the time Al Gore’s “A Convenient Truth” came out, I was inspired to go get my Masters Degree in Sustainability. The concept of green living was gaining a lot of momentum, and I ended up not only writing my Master’s thesis on grey water, but also creating a LEED Platinum certified home for my family. But sustainability has been largely focused on the environmental impact we have on the world. What I’d like to write about is how truly “sustaining” something requires a balance of considerations – time, resources, costs, impact, etc. – many of which are not talked about enough.
Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers? I’d like to share that life is never a perfect balance. Sometimes my family takes precedence because we have a big life event like graduation to plan for and participate in. Other times, I’m stuck late at the office and making dinner for everyone turns into a scramble to find cereal in the cabinets. What helps me along the way is including my family in my business as much as possible.
What’s the best way for the readers of WE Magazine for Women to connect with you?