Q&A with Franchise Owner Stacey Huskey
Over the years, women have taken the franchise world by storm. A report commissioned by the International Franchise Association (IFA) found that in 2012, 30.6 percent of franchise businesses are women-owned — a figure that’s up from 20.5 percent just five years before.
At Merry Maids®, we’re proud to give female entrepreneurs the opportunity to take control of their personal and professional lives by franchising with us!
In honor of American Business Women’s Day, we sat down with Stacey Huskey, the owner of Merry Maids Newport News and Virginia Beach, to get an inside look at why she invested in Merry Maids and what our brand means to her.
What other business leaders do you look up to and why?
I’ve always looked up to Richard Branson — his creative thinking and style of leadership is inspiring and makes me want to be a better leader. I have always admired his points of view and the way he appreciates life and his employees. My favorite quote from him is “I have always believed that the way you treat your employees is the way they will treat your customers, and that people flourish when they are praised,” and I couldn’t agree more!
I’ve also always looked up to my parents, they opened our first location of Merry Maids in 1995. They inspire me to keep family values in our business and never forget where I came from.
How do you balance your work life with your personal life? Do you have any advice for new franchisees?
That’s definitely something I’m still working on! Being more present was something I realized I needed to work on about two years ago. Now, my husband and I really try to limit our “business conversations” while at home.
The first year and a half of joining Merry Maids I had no balance and everyone felt it — myself, my kids, my husband, and my staff. I struggle like any other working mom, heck any mom! I have the typical mom guilt on days that I’m not able to be at the bus stop or the days when my kids’ lunchboxes look like I own a prepackaged company. My balance now comes from realizing the things that can’t wait and the things that can. Full transparency? The most important aspect was having the right team on my journey.
My only tip for other owners would be to reach out to their peers! Learning from other owners has been invaluable for me. I visited other offices, emailed owners, and called with questions. That helped me tremendously with building a team that allowed me to have a balance.
On your best day at work, the day you come home and think you have the best job in the world, what did you do that day?
I’m passionate about people, whether that’s our customers or employees, and I can honestly say that every day is a great day. Are some days more challenging than others? Yes! But in the end, I know that we’re making a difference in people’s lives every single day. Whether that’s seeing our employees come back to the office joking and smiling after a long day to receiving praise from customers about their cleaning. On my worst days, I still leave the office feeling proud of the business we’ve built and the team we have.
What is your number one tip for other women looking to breakthrough in their industry?
Don’t be intimidated — ask questions and learn from others. As women, we tend to want to do it all and see asking questions as a weakness. The day you think you know everything is the day you stop growing.
What are some of the skills of your top team members?
The desire to deliver customer satisfaction is one of the best skills our team members have — that is not taught, it is within them. Their passion to serve people and develop relationships with our customers is remarkable. They care about their customers and the work they do.
We teach them the standard of how we clean and give them the tools to do so but it’s our team members’ work ethic and customer service-driven mentality that shines through when in a customer’s homes.
What goals do you have for yourself and your location in the next 5 years?
I want to be part of changing the mindset of a cleaning business and showcasing a different image than what many are used to seeing. I also hope to expand our company cars and increase our revenue to a healthy growth of 5% each year.
What was your “aha” moment? The moment you realized that Merry Maids was where you wanted to be?
My husband and I knew we wanted to have a business together and I was ready to make a career change. I grew up around Merry Maids because my parents were owners for so long. We were customers of Merry Maids and loved what it gave us, personally, but we never once thought about owning. We spent a lot of time looking at multiple businesses and ideas but it wasn’t until I saw that cleaning companies were on the list of best businesses to own that I had that “aha” moment.
Suddenly, I found myself thinking, “Why haven’t I considered Merry Maids?” That sparked conversations with my husband and then my parents. Being able to learn from mentors with years of experience, as well as their friends that I respect, is priceless. Where else can you have the opportunity to do that? Merry Maids is truly a family of owners that encourage each other and want others to succeed. Why search for another business when I saw that family-oriented mindset first-hand for 20 years through my parents.
What do you think makes a successful business successful?
Having the right team and a leader that allows people to shine where their strengths are is so important.
Looking for a fun career that offers a flexible schedule and competitive pay? If so, we want you to come live the Merry Maids® life!
Take it from Stacey, working with Merry Maids is unlike any other job. Your day is filled with many satisfying accomplishments – each one building to become the best part of our customers’ day.