When Your Passion Finds You
Greta Bajrami chats with Sam Beiler Co-founder and CEO of Boostpoint on his podcast about thinking outside the box.
Not every road to success is glamorous
Greta may be a prominent entrepreneur, public speaker, and founder of a multi-million dollar company, but her journey to success was unlikely and filled with doubts along the way.
As a young Albanian immigrant to the United States, Greta had big dreams of going to law school and becoming an advocate and proponent of legislative change. Those dreams were quickly dashed when she was discovered in her senior year of high school that she was pregnant.
Dedicated to spending time with her young daughter, she gave up the dream of attending law school but pursued a business degree at a local college. She and her husband were determined to earn their degree to make a better life for their family, all while nurturing happy family life.
In an unexpected turn, Greta and her husband ended up in the roofing industry. As young college graduates during a recession, Greta took a high-paying job as a roofing foreman, never really intending to stay in the roofing industry.
Yet, as she learned more about how things were typically operated, she saw nothing but opportunities that were much needed in an industry that hadn’t changed or modernized in years.
Projects weren’t always being managed efficiently, sub-par products were used to cut corners, customers were given “ballpark estimates” with surprise cost overruns, and the roofing contractors themselves weren’t always treated with respect, despite all their hard work.
Asking “what if”
With continual training and curiosity, Greta knew what she could create a high quality service to protect her customers.
“A roof is a basic necessity,” said Greta, “This isn’t always a luxury item.”
So instead of a high–pressure sales process, her roofing company would produce comprehensive estimates down to the penny so that homeowners could make the best decisions based on their objectives and budgets.
Applying all her business knowledge, Greta took a chance that she could actually make a difference.
Moving forward even when it feels impossible
“You’re crazy,” her former roofing supervisor told her when she gave her notice, “You’re a young woman and immigrant without a network. Who is going to refer you?”
Internally, Greta knew that her supervisor was right – the odds were against her. Unlike other local construction companies, she didn’t have a deep local network to send her business and referrals. On top of that – she certainly didn’t fit the mold in a male-dominated industry.
And she was filled with the normal doubts of any entrepreneur – would they make it? Where would the first customers come from? How could they turn a profit? Was this the right choice?
“I just had to try,” Greta said, “If I stayed in that job, I would have been miserable. I was tired of watching how the construction world was handled so poorly.”
If you’ve decided to go for it, stay authentic
One of the biggest mistakes is to track and mimic your competitors. It’s a natural first instinct to try to compare yourself to others in the industry, said Greta, but that can actually be detrimental to your brand.
Your competitors may have advantages – maybe they’ve been in the business for years, perhaps they’ve captured a niche, or maybe they’ve perfected a specific product or process. Trying to be a copycat and compete against what they are doing successfully is an uphill battle.
Instead, figure out what you’re good at and what you stand for. This will be your brand and will set you apart from everyone else.
Just take a step forward – your passion will find you!
As a young girl, Greta dreamed of becoming an attorney to be a powerful advocate for those who needed it most. Instead, after becoming a mother at 19 years old, Greta found a more practical path in college and roofing that provided for her family.
In an unlikely journey, Greta built a multi-million dollar roofing company and has become a leader in transforming and modernizing the roofing industry. She serves on the board of several roofing associations and brings her message of entrepreneurship and change to the stage.
She found her calling in advocacy – just not in the traditional avenue! Young Greta never would have dreamed of becoming an advocate for roofing workers, immigrants, and budding entrepreneurs from her position as a CEO of a roofing company.
“You never know where life will take you,” Greta said, “But if you keep at it, you’ll end up where you’re supposed to be. It will find you, I promise.”
Looking for a blueprint for entrepreneurial success?
For all the entrepreneurs at the beginning or tipping points in their journey, now you can grab Greta’s blueprints for success from her upcoming platform The Rootless Entrepreneur.