Twenty-three-year-old Nikki Swint (known as Nikki Roberson at the time) was living in her car, washing up in truck stops, and going door-to-door to hand out flyers advertising her new cleaning company.
People were yelling at her to get off their property. She had the sprinklers turned on her. Her strategy wasn’t working.
She had just quit her nine-to-five in Houston, Texas. She had about $500 left in her bank account and no backup plan.
Skip ahead ten years. Nikki is now a serial entrepreneur who makes seven figures a year. And she did it her own way.
This article is a glimpse into how she did it, what she’s doing now, and why she’s so passionate about helping others (women especially) build the “business of their dreams.”
Why (and How) She Started a Cleaning Business
Before deciding to start her own business, Nikki’s day job was working in sales. And despite being recognized as a top salesperson for the company, she wasn’t making ends meet.
Nikki was tired of being broke all the time working for someone else. But there was more at play. She was starting to see the big picture:
“I feel like they don't teach us how to become successful entrepreneurs at school because they fear
. They never really made entrepreneurship an option from what I recall,” Nikki told Housecall Pro in a phone interview. “ I feel like they want us to be stuck in the system so we can build their dreams instead of building generational wealth for ourselves. They don’t want the competition because we need the workers. If you become an entrepreneur, then you become the competition.”
Nikki got the idea of starting her own business on her commute to and from work. She’d pass through commercial districts in downtown Houston and starting thinking about all those office buildings. Someone needed to clean them.
“I know that some of those buildings already had in-house janitorial services. But not all of them,” she said.
She also realized there were still people working late in the office. By the time they got home, they’d be too tired to clean.
“So I thought to myself, those are two opportunities to make money. And that's the reason why I chose cleaning because I knew that I could make money cleaning homes and offices.”
Nikki reached her limit when she received a $500 paycheck after working eighty hours over two weeks.
“I quit my 9 to 5 job THAT DAY! On my way out of the door my boss looked at me and said to me that if I quit my job I wouldn’t be able to return. I didn’t plan to,”
So Nikki made her flyers and started promoting her
door-to-door. “It just wasn't working,” she said.
And then, she overheard some women from her Bible study talking about a friend’s success on Groupon.
“She was telling her friend that she had another friend that was a Karate instructor, and he went to Groupon.com. He signed up and he made $7,000.”
She decided to try it out for herself.
Nikki figured out how to work the system to her advantage and made almost 90,000 her first month.
“To this day, my cleaning company still holds the record of the most vouchers sold for a cleaning company, and I haven't even worked with Groupon or LivingSocial for years,” she explained in a Facebook post.
She was soon partnering with Groupon to run cleaning services in different cities. She worked from home while managing cleaning teams in places like Denver, New York and Atlanta.
How Nikki Went from Business Owner to Serial Entrepreneur
Nikki went on to sell her cleaning business. Through her involvement in the home services industry, she started noticing a pattern.
“A lot of people
or handyman businesses, and they may have the skills to complete the services, but they know nothing about branding and marketing … So a lot of people start businesses, and then they just give up because they don't know what to do.”
She started offering several
. Nikki offers one-on-one and corporate coaching and consulting services. She has online courses available, such as
Nikki also sells packages that give people everything they need to start their own business, such as a premade website and logo, scripts for customers and staff, instructions for social media setup, etc.
She Forged Her Own Path
Nikki doesn’t have a college degree. No one in her family had taken an entrepreneurial path, and she’s never had a mentor. She just had the strong drive to succeed and the faith that she wasn’t alone.
“I didn't have a blueprint. I didn't know where to go or who I could turn to. I just knew that I needed to make something happen … God just guided me every step of the way.”
And she had to overcome the challenges of being taken seriously as a woman — especially a Black woman:
“I've had contracts with contractors that are working on developments and commercial spaces. And I walk in the room: I’m this woman with the top handyman company in the state, and they're just looking at me. I’ve seen people give me the side-eye & make negative comments about me once I entered the room. At times it was hard for others to accept that I’m a young black female entrepreneur. Men dominate most handyman businesses. So, I faced a lot of challenges as a woman, but it's a new day. It's a new age, and women are running shit.”
Because of these challenges, Nikki has a particular interest in helping other women entrepreneurs.
“I specialize in helping women build the business of their dreams. Of course, I'm not going to refuse to help a man that needs my services, but working with women: that's my passion.”
To learn more about Nikki, her journey, and the services she offers, check out her website here