Two years ago Bobby Walker lost his job. With no time to waste, he started a company with his 17 year-old son, Caleb. Together they launched Total Restoration Team, a pressure washing and window cleaning business in Orlando, Florida. They hit the ground running, dedicating all of their time to the business and spending long days almost inseparable. Bobby says driving the business put their relationship on the line:
“There were times where Caleb wanted to quit. He wanted to quit his own company because of the dynamic of our relationship. That was a low point for me. It made me feel like a failure as a business person but also as a Dad.” ~Bobby
It reached a point where the business was pained because of their relationship and their relationship was suffering because of the business. Something had to change. Over dinner one evening, both Bobby and Caleb aired their grievances and made commitments to each other once and for all. It was the first step to rebuilding their relationship and defining what it means to be both business partners as well as family.
Since then, Bobby and Caleb have followed these 5 rules to successfully balance business and family.
1. Make a commitment.
If you say you’re going to do something, do it.
“I made a commitment that regardless of what Caleb did, I wasn’t going to react or respond the way I did. And he made a commitment that he wasn’t going to do the things that tended to push me to those limits. We both knew that no matter how the other one acted, we still had to stick to our ultimate commitment to each other and the business.” ~Bobby
2. Divide and conquer.
Sometimes a little space makes all the difference.
“Today, we have a great relationship. A part of that, if I’m being honest, is that we aren’t together all day, every day. I’m doing sales and backend stuff and he’s out running our crews - it makes it easier if we aren’t together for 12 hours a day.” ~Bobby
3. Own your stuff.
Both Bobby and Caleb acknowledge their strengths and challenges as business owners.
“I’m young and people can see that different ways. When it comes to employees, every one of them is older than me. All that means for me, is that I need to work harder to earn their respect. And when it comes to customers, if they find out my age it usually impresses them and has helped the business. It's part of the reason we get so many reviews.” ~Caleb
4. Learning is a 2-way street.
Both Bobby and Caleb have learned valuable lessons from one another during this journey.
“Success to me today is doing all the little things right. For example, I make an effort to let customers know about their sprinklers, because those will damage your home. It’s doing the little things that separate you from the competition and give you an advantage. And that’s 100% my Dad - I learned that from him. It’s the little things that make us or break us.” ~Caleb.
5. It’s the climb.
Be present for the journey itself. Bobby and Caleb have personal and business-related goals, but are also grateful for the everyday journey of entrepreneurship.
“I’m embarrassed to say I’m a Miley Cyrus fan - you know that song “The Climb”? I can relate to that. I want to have a place in Key West and have a big boat. But, I’m going to say we’ve already achieved success because every day we’re climbing the direction we choose. We’re doing it the way that we want to, the speed at which we want to. We may not get to the pinnacle, but I’m enjoying the journey.” ~Bobby.
To date, the duo have made half a million dollars in sales and say their relationship has never been stronger.