Starting from Nothing - The Foundation Podcast | Building your business ENTIRELY from scratch.

Brian Scudamore is the founder of many companies under the umbrella of O2E Brands (Ordinary 2 Exceptional). He started his first business 1-800-GOT-JUNK, a junk removal company, in college, and grew it to a global brand with franchises in over 30 cities across North America. Brian’s other franchises include Wow 1 Day Painting, You Move Me, and Shack Shine.

In this interview, Brian tells us how he grew 1-800-GOT-JUNK from a college side hustle to a 250 million dollar franchise. Brian credits his success to two things: having a clear vision for his business, and hiring the right people.



In This Interview I Ask:

2:30 - How much money can you make running a junk removal business?

4:07 - What were you studying when you were in college?

4:42 - If you were about to have the possibility to enter college today and you still wanted to be an entrepreneur, do you think you would go through it?

6:36 - What did [it] actually look like for you to go from nothing, to getting something created out of thin air?

10:26 - What kind of income were you actually taking home, roughly?

11:44 - During those first five years, what was your relationship like with [your friends and family] relevant to your business? Were they supportive?

14:53 - After you lay off these eleven people, do you start to create a system in a structure around exactly what it looks like to hire the perfect employee for you?

18:32 - So you've actually never taken outside funding for 1-800-Got-Junk or any of the brands, is that right?

20:21 - What kind of a process have you put in place to onboard new franchisees and keep the culture?

21:45 - Was there anything that happened with the franchising model that you guys really learned a lesson from?

24:49 - You guys have a pretty unique way of managing your vision, don't you?

26:26 - How close to that five-year goal did you hit your 30th city?

27:46 - So when does O2E [Brands] come about in relation to 1-800-Got-Junk?
29:46 - What goes into taking a two-to-three week job and making it into a one-day job?
32:01 - What other businesses are now under the O2E Brands’ umbrella?
33:20 - Was [You Move Me] something that you actually engineered from the ground up with you and your team about what an ideal moving experience would look like?
34:49 - What's the kind of core idea behind the whole concept of the entrepreneur? Why is this so important?
36:53 - Why is [entrepreneurship] potentially a better option than a pure entrepreneurship model?
39:26 - What skill sets or lessons did you need to learn to go from one million, and then to fifty million, and then to 250 million? What are the distinctions and that sort of growth?
41:43 - What does it look like for you to be the vision and the culture side of the company in terms of what you do in a day?
43:34 - What does your “painted picture” look like for the next three to five years?


Learn in the Way That Works Best for You

In the world of business, there're so many ways to learn. Brian’s style of learning had always been getting out and talking to mentors, finding real-life people who had been where he wanted to go and learn from them. It all depends on what you're doing. If you're learning to code, you don't necessarily need to go to college. If you're learning to be a doctor, you probably should. Lots of successful people have gone the route of the classroom and studying to get an MBA. Find the method that works best for you.



Overnight Success Stories Take a Long Time

As entrepreneurs, it's worth reminding ourselves that “overnight success stories” take a long time. It took Brian ten years to generate his first million dollars in revenue. There's so much talk of people getting into tech and building the next billion-dollar app, but those are truly unicorns. They do not happen very often. Real businesses are the ones that take time, take that passion that never wanes, and you're just constantly giving to try and really grow your company.


Systematize Your Business

Write down all your business processes into a documentation of how your brand does everything. Systematizing became the foundation for 1-800-Got-Junk’s scaling. Brian took everything in his business, how he answered the phone, how he price jobs, how he resolved customer complaints, how he marketed the business when things were slow or busy; and compiled it on a one-page checklist of “how you do this the 1-800-Got-Junk way”.


“Inspect What They're Expecting”

When it comes to customer service, always ask, “What we expect, is that getting delivered?” A CEO shouldn’t ever get so far away from the front lines. You have to connect. You have to check in and you have to “inspect what you expect”, even as you continue to grow a business.


The Keys to Growing a Business Successfully


  1. Have a Vision of Where You're Going

“If you don't know where you're going, any road will take you there”. It knows exactly where you're going. You don't have to figure out exactly how to get there until time starts progressing and you start figuring out the how. The vision is all about where you going. What's the destination?

Imagine pure possibility. What could the future look like if only you could imagine it? Write down on a sheet of paper that your business would look like, feel like, and how you’d act at a point in the future.

Example: The “painted picture” for 1-800-Got-Junk was a five-year vision that they would complete by December 31, 2003. It said they'd be in the top thirty metros in North America. It said they would be on The Oprah Winfrey Show. It said they would build the “FedEx of junk removal”, but with clean shiny trucks, friendly uniformed drivers. That painted picture compelled Brian to start seeing the future, and he shared it with friends, family, co-workers, and new hires so that everybody would see this vision and make a decision if they believed, or if they should be doing something different.


  1. Find the Right People

It's all about people. It's people that make businesses grow and succeed and thrive. Find the right people.

Ask yourself, who’s the team? What does the team look like? What are the right seats? Bring those people in who have the same shared passion for your vision and towards building something bigger together. Hire and train them. Give them love and support and everything they need to be successful. Treat them right. Never compromise on the quality of people that you bring into your organization.

However, keep in mind that no one will ever be as passionate about your business as you are.


What is an Entrepreneur?

Entrepreneur stands for two things: opening doors to a new opportunity and then working together, building something much bigger together than anyone would have ever chosen to build alone.

An entrepreneur is someone who isn't going solo. They're not flying solo. They're building something together and what's awesome about our entrepreneurs is once they've had their own runway and started becoming successful, they recognize that the fastest way for themselves to grow, is taking other employees they have and saying, “Hey, have you ever thought of running your own business, of living the American Dream? I think I can help”.

O2E Brands is a cheerleading organization. They set a vision and help everybody work together towards that common vision. They also provide opportunities. They open doors and say “Come on in. Take the risk”. They invest with entrepreneurs and help introduce them to people could partner with one another to build a successful moving business or shine-our-window and gutter cleaning business in a new market.


Show Links:



Direct download: Episode_170_-_Brian_Scudamore.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:38am CDT