Some people know what they want to be when they grow up from a very early age.
Few might say they want to be in business.
Not so for local businesswoman Hailey McCoubrey who says she wanted to be in business and study business at University of Western Ontario since she was in Grade 6.
The 20-year-old, third-year Western student is going into her second year running her own student painting business and plans to expand.
Last year, she and a team of eight employees (at the height of the busy season) completed $230,000 worth of painting projects.
This year, her goal is to double the amount of business and employees for Painters on the Bay that offers boat-in and on-land painting around Victoria Harbour, Port Severn, Midland, Penetanguishene and beyond.
“If you had told me five years ago that I would open a painting business I would have laughed,” says McCoubrey with a smile.
“I had painted a couple of bedrooms in my home, and I’m pretty artistic so it came naturally to me,” says the budding entrepreneur who had never thought about opening a painting business until hearing about the success of a fellow young businessperson.
The idea came from her university roommates who had worked as painters over the summer. She met their boss, a young entrepreneur, learned about partnering with Student Works Painting, joined their management program, and set to work opening her first business.
“Opening your own business, you develop skills that you can’t learn in university in a classroom,” says the business student, who points to managing people as a prime example of the skills she’s developing as a leader.
“People respond to different styles of managing, and that was really eye-opening.”
McCoubrey also notes that there is rigorous training that each employee has to complete before going on the job. Safety is a large part of painting when using ladders and painting at heights, and when handling the paint itself.
The young upstart says she owes her desire to be in business to her mother, Dianne McCoubrey.
“She is a superstar saleswoman who has held different VP positions at multiple different start-up companies. She basically takes start-ups and turns them into multi-million-dollar companies,” says McCoubrey.
In high school, the young entrepreneur completed her co-op with her mother and after watching her excel in marketing, sales, hiring, and dealing with clients, she felt inspired to do the same.
“The way she handled sales stands out to me now,” she says of her mother’s talents in business.
“I catch myself using her tactics. People say we’re a lot alike and that’s a big compliment to me,” says McCoubrey about her mother.
As for the secrets to her own success, McCoubrey says she took inspiration from the places she worked before opening her own business.
As a server at the Keg for five years, McCoubrey says that company culture was very important, and that stayed with her.
When she was hiring staff for her painting business, she was sure to hire staff that she knew would do well in the job and that would work well together.
“I take pride in my company culture, and want to make sure that everyone enjoys coming to work every day.”
“Everyone wants to have a fun summer job,” she says.
The other pieces are about dedication, passion, and being the best part of someone’s day.
“I had to drive three and a half hours from school to Midland to do quotes,” says McCoubrey, admitting that she didn’t at first realize how much work was involved.
“The best part about the job is that I’m running my own business and I get to be my own boss,” says the successful entrepreneur.
“One thing I tell everyone about this is that I wasn’t a big risk-taker. I like immediate gratification. You can’t do that in business. Stepping out of my comfort zone allowed me to do well.”
When McCoubrey talks about her business, the joy she gets from working with people comes through, and she tries to translate that into an infectious desire for success for those around her.
In the future, she plans to keep that going by working with Student Works in their mentorship program helping other young business owners find success.
If you have a painting job interior or exterior, check out Painters on the Bay, and see how a young businessperson gets the job done.