Chantel Gilbert

City: Victoria, Australia

Business: Bluegum Electrical Solutions

What: Electrical Solutions, Services

1. What was the catalyst for launching your business?
I’ve always had a real passion for customer service, and am easily frustrated by poor service or processes in businesses I interact with day to day. Likewise, I get so excited when I experience customer service done well. I knew I wanted to have a business centred around customer service. It’s what I love and I can see opportunities and mistakes in other businesses so clearly when it comes to their service. So when I married an electrician, it was an easy leap to make. What better industry to bring customer service to than the trades? So I threw my future corporate career in HR out the window and I haven’t look back since.

I strongly believe people need to learn to expect more from trades and not put up with poor service or workmanship as standard. It’s okay to expect a trade business to act like a business and show some professionalism and care towards their clients. By providing fixed price quotes printed from our van, we can keep our clients in control and give them the information they need to make an informed decision to suit their personal and financial needs. Bluegum Electrical Solutions is now an award winning business for its customer service and is focused on changing the way people perceive electricians and challenging people to expect more from trades.

2. What do you love most about what you do now?
I make happy customers and get to grow a business, which I find so exciting! We are currently a team of 3, with plans to take on another tradesmen each coming year. I get to be involved in all aspects of business and I’m constantly learning every-day. I can make things happen quickly and put my ideas into action. No day is the same and I can’t imagine ever working for anyone else again. I get to meet amazing woman do extraordinary things and I constantly have to push myself to play a bigger game each and every day. Receiving 5 star reviews online or gifts from our clients because of our service, is so rewarding! There’s no feeling quite like it.

3. Describe the biggest setback you faced when establishing your business? How did it affect you and how did you push through?

Cash, we started our business with $10,000 after spending the rest of our previously saved ‘house deposit’ travelling around Australia for our honeymoon. That was all we had, so we had to move into my parents’ house to be able to start the business and crossed our fingers we were doing the right thing. It was four long months before we were financially stable enough to move out. Once the business was doing well, I had the opposite problem, no matter how much the business would make, it would seem to be needed for something new; website upgrades, marketing, tools,  you name it. Realising that I had to put our wages and business profit first and not spend the money we were making on making the business ‘look’ like I wanted it to in my head was a hard lesson to learn. I have to constantly remind myself, what it was like at the start and remember to consider the return of the investment of each business decision, rather than focusing on making the business look a certain way.

4. Everyone has days where they feel flat or uninspired – do you have any tricks or tactics for overcoming these feelings?
Get out of the office, and surround yourself with other successful business woman. I attend many networking events simply to meet and be inspired by other business owners, never with the intention to drum up business. If I don’t get out of the office I find these days are far more prevalent. This is also how I’ve found my best suppliers. Another thing that really made a big different to my mental health was realising its okay to make mistakes and that no successful business is created without learning from mistakes and failures. I use to be so scared of putting things out there and making decisions before I realised no successful business is built without making mistakes, its unavoidable! So I may as well get on with it and focus on not making the same mistake twice.