Jill Christensen
Jill ChristensenAuthor Blogger
Jill Christensen is a guest blogger for EmpowerPoints, an employee engagement expert, best-selling author, and international keynote speaker. She is a Top 100 Global Employee Engagement Influencer, authored the best-selling book, If Not You, Who?, and works with the best and brightest global leaders to improve productivity and retention, customer satisfaction, and revenue growth by re-engaging employees. Jill’s Website | LinkedIn Profile

CNN interviewed a young man who started a junk removal business with a beat-up truck.  Entrepreneur Brian Scudamore now owns four brands with 250 franchises across the United States, Canada and Australia.  Recall 1-800-GOT-JUNK?  That’s him and his 5,000 employees, who will haul in $400 million this year.  His tips for budding entrepreneurs?

As excerpted from the CNN Interview:

What’s the most common mistake you see entrepreneurs make?

They don’t want to admit their failures. They don’t want to be transparent with their team. They don’t want to tell their team they’re scared or depressed.  My wish is for people to say, “This is what’s going on. This is how I’m feeling.”  Otherwise our teams don’t believe us and won’t trust us. You can’t have trust without vulnerability.

How do you make your employees No. 1?

There’s a difference between making a living and making a life. We try to help our people focus on making a life. We give them five weeks paid vacation, plus holidays. And we encourage them to “go dark” on email during vacations.  I try to lead by example. I don’t work on weekends. I will not check email on weekends 90% of the time.  On vacations, it’s 100% of the time because I give my assistant permission to change my passcode to my social media and email. I don’t know how to get in.

How much vacation do you take a year?

I probably take four to five weeks in one chunk as a summer holiday. Two years ago we went to India to help build a school with my children. We went to Kenya last year. I try to do something that’s outside my comfort zone.  And I also do about three weeks at Christmas, my ski holiday with the family.

How much do you sleep?

I’m a solid 7.5-hour sleeper.  I value sleep to give me energy, stamina and the ability to concentrate.  It’s hard to travel, work, and be busy without taking care of yourself and having some balance.  

WHAT CAN I DO?  Be vulnerable, lead by example, take your vacation days, and sleep.  In short, be human and make yourself a priority, so you can support the people around you – family, friends and co-workers.  An 80-hour work week is not a badge of honor; balance is.