Monday, May 1, 2017

Success Along the Way Feature: Shelby's Watch

One thing I know as I have attempted to be my own boss over the last 10 years is it is incredibly hard work.  You do infinitely more work at all hours of the day with very little financial return in the beginning...heck even years into it depending on how much time you have to devote to it.  But there are passionate women out there who are trying to turn their business dreams into reality.  To give back to these lovely ladies (and the men who are in it with them if that's the case) each month, I would like to put the spotlight on them to get their names out there.  

My first feature is Renee of Shelby's Watch.  

Tell us a little about yourself.  

James is originally from Texas but has lived in MO since 1992.  He went through law enforcement training at Moberly Community College and became a Police Officer in 2000.  He served on the Moberly Police Department for 8 years.  Then, he served as a Deputy Court Marshall for the Boone County Courthouse for 4 years.  Even now, years after being an officer, people still remember James as "Officer Shelby" and come up to him and thank him.  Renee was born and raised in Columbia, MO.  She went to the University of Missouri and earned a degree in medical dietetics.  She is currently a registered dietitian. 
Once they met and got married, James shared his idea about the business. They decided to dive in and they officially opened for business April 1, 2014.  

What made you decide to start your own business?  

As James was an officer, working long hours, he realized that he was missing out a lot with his kids.  He longed to continue his role in public safety but dreamed of having a schedule set to his own needs  He toyed with the idea of the business for 3-4 years, but always talked himself out of it.  Once we got married, we agreed to give it a try (even though I was his biggest doubter....shhhh, don't ask.)  Even though neither of us has a business background, we decided to take the plunge.  We would rather have tried and failed than to never have tried at all.  

Since opening, we have had overwhelming support and positive feedback.  I tell James daily that HE is the reason that the business will succeed.  There may be other businesses out there that are similar to Shelby's Watch, but no one has the personality.  Everyone immediately falls in love with James.  He just has a way about him.  People are drawn to him, he sets us apart.

Tell us about your business.

Elevator Pitch:  Shelby's Watch is a professional home and commercial security firm that has been serving Columbia for the past three years, providing peace of mind while you're away. James is a former police officer with 12+ years of experience. 

What does that mean?  A lot of people will tell you that they have family, friends or neighbors that check on their home while they are gone.  However, everyone is so busy these days.  More and more people don't want to bother or impose on family or friends.  Having a professional service come check on things is important so that you know it'll be done right.  Shelby's Watch will bring in mail, newspaper and door hangers.  We will water plants, flush toilets, run faucets and checks appliances and thermostats.  We will watch for obvious signs of leaks, damage or attempted entry.  We check to make sure all doors and windows are secure (you'd be surprised how many people leave for vacation and unknowingly leave a sliding glass door unlocked!).   Another HUGE service we provide is in-home pet care.  We had a dog that we did not want to leave at a kennel because she was not able to have her vaccines.  We saw a need for caring for pets in their own home.  Not only for safety/health but overall, pets just do better in their own environment. 

What sets us apart:  Because of James's law enforcement background, he knows what to look for.  If there are signs of attempted break-in, we will contact the police and be the point of contact, filing the report.  If there is damage, we will contact the service provider of choice and be the point of contact for repair.  All the while, we will remain in constant contact with the homeowner.  Our goal is for the homeowner to enjoy his time away, knowing he will return to his home just as he left it. 

What else do we do:
   1 -Security Services to local businesses.  This might be on-site, physical presence, or roving patrols.  James is licensed through the city to be an armed guard.

   2 - Event Security--this is on-site, physical presence for the entire event. He's done security for local sorority houses during Homecoming.  Tough job, huh?!

   3 - Package pickup--call Shelby's Watch during the day whenever you have a packaged delivered to your front door and we will drive by and place it inside.

How did it feel when you got your first client?  

Our first client....oh man...we were so excited!  We made ourselves a deal that when we got our very first client, we were going to treat ourselves to a nice dinner. When we got that first call, we were both SO excited.  Yes, there were happy dances all around....and hugs....and maybe screams.  We did it.  Our business was a LEGIT business. We will never forget that first client.  We were watching a dog while the owners were states away.  Even though we met the dog beforehand,  and he loved us, on the day we first went over to check on him, he growled at us.  YIKES!  We made it through, and he was a total sweetheart, but it was a bit scary at first.  We had our delicious (expensive) steak dinner to celebrate!  But honestly, we still celebrate in some way (more in the happy dance way, not the expensive dinner way) with every new client.  We love this business and every new client means we are doing something right!!

What is the hardest part about owning your own business and what is the most rewarding?

What is the hardest part?  Definitely still working full-time jobs while trying to get the business to take off.  It's like working 2 full-time jobs most days.  We work our "normal" job and then come home and work the business.  It's hard.  But it is so rewarding.  Knowing that this is OUR BUSINESS...formed on OUR hard work and OUR NAME.  We did this!!!

There is no way to describe it.  We take pride in the fact that we are serving our local community....with a business like no other.  We are unique and provide a service that is much needed.  We pride ourselves in being honest, trustworthy and hard-working.  It's hard work, but no one ever said anything worth having would be easy.  

What materials helped you prepare for being a small business owner?  

Preparation?  Uh....we did things backward.  We jumped and then learned how to swim.  Not the best practice.  We are learning so much as we go.  A lot of that is learning from our mistakes.  Columbia is an AMAZING environment for small businesses.  There are so many resources available to people in all stages of business.  People are so supportive of our venture.  Now that we've "lived and learned" (a little), we try to hit as many networking events as possible, meet with foundations geared towards helping us gain new clients or learn how to reach out to new leads. We ask questions.  We read.  We gather around like-minded entrepreneurs.  We established a mentor relationship with another local business owner. And probably most importantly, we always, always, always welcome constructive criticism.  

Who is that handsome pup in the ads? 

The handsome pup is Charles, our Boxer.  He has become the mascot of our business.  He is the coolest dog...such personality.  People love dogs and since that is a big part of our business, (my favorite part!!!) it just seemed like a logical move to use him in our ads.  He's a natural.  

What do you want for the future of your business?

The future of Shelby's Watch:  We would love to continue to grow the commercial side of the business.  In 10 years, I see Shelby's Watch as the leading Security Firm in Columbia, with us having multiple employees, providing security services to commercial businesses all over town.  This will be our full-time jobs (no more working 2 jobs each).  I am actually planning on taking some security education courses and obtaining my armed guard license as well, so we'll see where that leads.  No worries though....the residential side of things will never go away.

What would you say to other women who have business plans in their head that want to turn a "what if" into an "I am?"

Advice to business women: Never ever doubt your abilities.  Just go for it.  Wouldn't it be awful to look back 10 years from now and wonder "what if"?!?!  Find another woman who has been in your shoes.  Learn from her, let her mentor you and never look back!    

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  1. What a wonderful interview! This is such a neat idea to showcase women in business and how you really CAN do it. I wish them the very best success! Such a cool concept they have and having the warm personalities they do, I have no doubt they'll continue to grow. Thanks so much for sharing!

  2. I so wish they lived near us. It's a service we could definitely benefit from. Best of luck to them both!

  3. I love the idea of their business. What a great idea!


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