399: How To Scale a Million-Dollar Pest Control Business w/ Robiar Smith

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399: How To Scale a Million-Dollar Pest Control Business w/ Robiar Smith

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This week in the guest chair we have Robiar Smith, CEO of R.B. Pest Solutions. In a male-dominated field, she is trailblazing her way to the top and building a legacy business for her family and community. Juggling two rapidly growing companies in an unexpected industry, she’s redefining success and breaking barriers.

In this episode she shares:

  • How she developed an exclusive retail deal with Home Depot
  • What skills from her background in corporate America and MBA program she applied to being an entrepreneur 
  • Her transition into scaling a product-based business into a multi-million dollar company 

Highlights include:

  • 00:00 Intro
  • 2:30 Following the pest control legacy 
  • 6:34 How an MBA helped launch the business
  • 12:57 Acquiring customers and making them long time clients
  • 21:34 Phases of scaling a business
  • 25:41 Developing and testing retail products
  • 29:37 Difference in service-based and product-based business
  • 32:44 Maintaining profitability 
  • 35:48 Tips for entrepreneurs 

Check out episode 399 of Side Hustle Pro podcast out now on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and YouTube

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Guest Social Media Info

Robiar’s Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/r.b.pestsolutions/ 

Robiar’s Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/rbpestsolution 

Nicaila Matthews Okome 0:02

You're listening to side hustle Pro, the podcast that teaches you to build and grow your side hustle from passion project to profitable business. And I'm your host Nicaila Matthews Okome. So let's get started

Hey friends, welcome welcome back to the show. It's Nicaila here back with another interview episode. Today in the guest chair, I am chatting with Robiar Smith, the CEO of RB Pest Solutions. In a male dominated field she is trailblazing her way to the top, creating a legacy business and assisting with economic growth in her community. She will always tell you she didn't choose Pest Control Pest Control chose her. She's given the pest management industry a facelift by managing a successful pest control based service as well as opening a pest retail store in the community and now launching her own pest product line RB premium products. The first product She's introduced to the world is bug striker, which is an all natural insecticide for insects. As a result, major retailers aka one of them being home depot are trying to get their hands on this product. So you're hearing it here first book striker has found his first home on home depot.com Making Robbie are the first black woman in Home Depot with a bug spray. She's juggling two rapidly growing companies and making history doing so in today's episode, we'll get into how she pivoted from what she went to school for to start this pest management service based business and product line and retail location, how she's doing it and doing it profitably. So let's get right into it.

Welcome, welcome Robiar to the guest chair. How are you doing? Well, you know, my best interviews always start with a little technical difficulty. So here we go. Great conversation, we worked it out. So I never in my life really even considered looking in this industry for a side hustle pro guess right? And then you came across my feed on Instagram. And I said, Wait a minute, this is amazing. You are doing something that no one typically thinks of when you're like, What do I want to be when I grew up? How did you fall into this world of pest control solutions.

Robiar Smith 2:31

So my mom and dad, my dad's been in the industry for over 40 plus years. And so he's just always been a technician. And I've kind of see him have done the work. But of course for myself didn't think that I will be in pest control. So my mom and dad introduced me to the business. And so surprisingly, this is what I'm doing. He

Nicaila Matthews Okome 2:51

said you didn't choose pest control, pest control chose you in your bio. Absolutely. Now, when you say your mom introduced your dad, how exactly does that work? How did she land in it and the day start their own business as well.

Robiar Smith 3:06

So my mom was just like, I'm trying, they were a young couple. And she was helping her man look for a job pretty just in a nutshell. And it was a pest control company next door where she worked. And she went in like, Listen, you know, he needs a job. And the guy was like, bring it back tomorrow I'll do an interview. And he's been in the pest control industry ever since. And he's worked at different companies, okay, he's trying different people to go off and work, you know, for other companies doing important roles. And he just kept saying, you know, of course, go to school, get education. So that's what I did. I went off and I was a professor, I worked in IT social work. And so he was just like, take this test. And I took it over and over again. I failed it over and over again, until I finally passed it in 2016 and started the business in my living room.

Nicaila Matthews Okome 3:57

Tell us more about that. Because number one, I didn't know there was a test for pest control. Okay, what is on this test? What do you got to pass to be a pest control?

Robiar Smith 4:06

That is what bothered me is that I'm a professor taking a pest control exam. So I'm teaching hundreds of students CompTIA a don't want to 802 courses from IT people. So it's so technical. And so for me not to have been able to pass this test. It's a true testament to the pest control industry, and how it looks so easy to just lay traps and glue boards, but it's really a science to it. You have to learn the biology if you're dealing with pesticides, you have to learn how to mix the pesticides and so it is a true science and we're licensed through the Illinois Department of Public Health. If you're a Florida it's Florida Department of Public Health. So we are public health officials were essential workers. So I try to always mention that to let people know it's not just the field where it's just we're just doing things. It's a critical thinking piece and we are responsible for Your public safety. That is

Nicaila Matthews Okome 5:01

incredible. And now that you said it, it makes sense. This is chemistry in a nutshell. And we all know how hard chemistry was. You know, it's fun all the, you know, different formulas. But yeah, it certainly takes education. You remember a lot.

Robiar Smith 5:17

It's the public safety. And so we're dealing with pesticides, the biology of pests, they've been around since the beginning of time. So you have to know strategically what you're doing. Your lives are important. Let me say that.

Nicaila Matthews Okome 5:30

Yes. And they're smart, these pests, and then also, you know, their implications. So you really have to know, Okay, what does this do to humans? It does this to patch, but what will it do to us? You know, 1020 years? Yes, I

Robiar Smith 5:44

think the public had a chance to see during COVID When everyone was at home, we social distance, but the past did not. And people and people that felt that they didn't have pest issues, because they were at home, they realized that they did, okay, because the pessimal your structure way better than you they are survivors. So you're they know how to coexist with us. We just don't know how to coexist with them. So

Nicaila Matthews Okome 6:12

I hope this doesn't make anyone's skin crawl this episode. But I just

know, this whole world is really incredible to me, because again, it's not something I think about as a career path. And you yourself, you said you went to school, and you were studying something else. So what exactly were you studying?

Robiar Smith 6:34

So I received my bachelor's in psychology, and I was going to be a lawyer. Okay. And then I started having children. And so I have three beautiful girls that helped me run this company, they work at RB pest solutions. And I had to pivot because I'm like, okay, what can I do, and I had friends in it. And you know, people that I knew was they were doing pretty pretty well. Salary wise. And so I said, let me go back. And I went and got my double masters, I got an MBA and a master's in information technology. And that's how I was able to teach all these entrepreneur courses and it courses and was able to see a full circle moment, I was going to get an MBA and teach courses not knowing that I was going to one day have my own business. So I knew how to write my own business plan. I started my own website, I did all my graphics, I did my logo, I've done everything from scratch and stuff. To get to this point, it's like, okay, now I need help. I can't continue to do about

Nicaila Matthews Okome 7:37

Yeah. And when did you actually launch the business? I launched it in 2016. In my living room, why did you decide to actually launch a business in this field? You know, you've done all that work, you got your MBA, like you said, you could have gone down a different path, what made you decide to open this business? I think, because I

Robiar Smith 7:55

decided to bet on myself. Number one, and after failing that pest control exam, after the second time, it became personal. I said, Okay, it's personal to me, I don't this this, I mean, this is not that deep in my mind. And so I kind of dove into the literature, and started falling in love with ants and bees and, and how they reproduce and rodents and termites and bed bugs, all these little creepy crawling things, right. But I start to get off into the biology aspect of it, and how to keep the public safety intact, right. And I fell in love with it. So once I passed that test in 2016, I printed my business cards, I created my website, and I hit the ground running, I have not looked back. So

Nicaila Matthews Okome 8:42

I love it. I love it. Now, what were the first steps, though, so the website logo, we all like to think that's the first step. But when it really comes to like earning your first dollar, what were those early steps,

Robiar Smith 8:56

the early steps is getting out there and getting customers. So I will park at the end of the block. And I will hit every building. And if they had information on the building, even right now today, I'll take a picture of it, send it to my lead my sales, Lee, or our call and you have it never stops getting customers. And then once you get the customer, you do a good job and ask them to refer you if I did a good job. And if I didn't do a good here's the part, if I didn't do a good job, give me critical feedback on what I can do to become better. And I always tell people that if it is something like constructive criticism, what happens is that when people share it with you, you're able to implement it and move it forward with the next customer. So it was viral marketing, and then that's just standing by the integrity of the work. And as a result, we have become one of the leaders in pest control here in Chicago and in the Midwest, and we've made a name for ourselves nationally. So I'm grateful because we still do the same formula right now today. You treat your people Well, you do a good job so that they can tell others and you solve their problem. Yes, you'd be a part of the solution.

Nicaila Matthews Okome 10:06

And that's important, because I've heard you say that sometimes people will want their client to be recurring. So maybe they won't solve the problem. But that's actually not a good way to go about, especially in this kind of business, right? You want to make sure people feel like, Oh, they got to it.

Robiar Smith 10:23

Yeah, yeah. Because I mean, when people hear pest control, they think of contracts, they think of, okay, this person is trying to put me on a contract. And they just want to come to my house, even when I don't need them. And so I have created an environment that even customers or clients that are not our customers, can give us a call. And we'll walk them through how to use products that they purchased at our retail store. So they can get an opportunity to see I'm trying to create a community around this, yeah, I get a chance to hire in the community and people that look like me and give them opportunities, introduce them to this tray. So it's much bigger than just putting you on a contract, I want you to say every since they come to my house, I have not had an issue or any type of issue at all, yes.

Nicaila Matthews Okome 11:16

All right. Now let's go back to that taking a picture of the building, you take a picture of the building, and before you had a sales lead, and all of that, what would you do next?

Robiar Smith 11:23

So I will give them a call. And I will say, Hey, give us your worst pest control job, are you having pest issues, give us your worst job, give us an opportunity. If we solve your issue, let's discuss ways to maybe work something out to have your reoccurring services, or just call us when you need us. And most importantly, tell someone that we did an amazing job. And so from there, it was able to kind of organically grow. And then from there, also, once I get the job, I check in and make sure that they're satisfied. I'm such a big component on that. People sale all the time. And once your services, and once you change the dollar for service, then it's now about Are you satisfied, are you happy, it's like I want to close the deal and make sure you're happy. So again, feedback is really important to me. So once I call set the email, did the job. And if they said they have pest control services, I said, Okay, well keep us in mind. And I'll double back around. And you know, maybe we can work with your current pest control company, because we do other services that maybe your pest control provider don't do. So maybe we can collaborate and figure out a way. So I just always try to try to find a way to be a necessity of the person that I'm sitting in front of because we are a one stop shop, we have a retail store, we do services. And now we have products in Home Depot. So we are one stop shop,

Nicaila Matthews Okome 12:49

I saw that that's incredible. Before we get to that, all of the ways that you expanded, what were those initial first years, like as far as building that clientele, and earning enough revenue to continue to grow the business? Oh, goodness,

Robiar Smith 13:05

I feel like each phase that I've gotten to has been challenging, because the phase that it takes you to make a certain amount, when you're ready to kind of set a goal to make another amount, whether it's seven figures, eight figures, or you're just trying to make 250,500k, it's a different set of skills. In the beginning, you're just trying to get clients. And that's the goal to get clients to satisfy your clients. And to make sure that you are taking the revenue and you're putting it right back into the business. As you reach a certain point that no that works on top of you have to create systems and processes and remove yourself out of that seat and allow yourself to cultivate other leaders to sit in that seat and make decisions and follow the processes and systems that you put in place. And then from there as you continue to grow us up. So it's it's different set of skills for each phase of the business. But it's challenging. Each phase is challenging each one because you're learning new things at each phase. It's like you go back to zero, and then you have to figure out how to scale from this point. So it's been challenging, even right now today is challenging.

Nicaila Matthews Okome 14:17

And what kind of marketing Did you invest in when you were starting out?

Robiar Smith 14:21

So marketing for me is I created my website. I did flyers, we did door knockers. I've had billboards, we've been on radio, we currently are working on our commercial now to be on reoccurring TV. I've always taken the opportunity and just recycle the budget, look at the marketing budget per quarter. And from there, I take that and allocate those to marketing and then I look at the numbers and see what works. And based on what works. We'll just continue to reinvest in that area. Social media is huge for me. We have a huge social media following because we're just a presence and we provide tips and videos and opportunity. So social media has really been good as well. So I'm always taking it in that quarter recycling it, and then figuring out a way to reinvest it. That's

Nicaila Matthews Okome 15:12

really interesting. You would think social media about pest solutions wouldn't be that big are interesting. So what do you mean, when you say you share tips? I find that really interesting. Yeah. Because with pest control,

Robiar Smith 15:26

there's not one business that can do business without pest control. If you're purchasing a house, if you're opening up a restaurant or daycare, if you're closing on a home, you have to have a pest control component, you have to have an inspection. And you have to be clear, there's no type of pest issue there. Because you have to go through the Department of Public Health, it goes back to their license. So everyone needs pest control services. We're like the dentists, no one comes to us unless they have a toothache. But we'd like to get ahead of it. And we'd like to say, Okay, let's create some preventative measures so that when you come to me, you're not like, okay, here got this pest control person just trying to get my money there. I'm hundreds of 1000s of dollars. If you could just buy this little $10 $11 bottle, I'll save you tons of 1000s of dollars along the lines. So that's how the product became about and that's the marketing tools, real estate investors, restaurants, daycares, home owners, you all need pest control, you need tips to stay pest free, because each season bring different pests. So I like to educate people along the way.

Nicaila Matthews Okome 16:40

What was that initial investment like to start this business?

Robiar Smith 16:44

The initial investment was was me. I took the money from my last check once I resigned, and we couldn't invest Interesting. Okay, I did, I did. I was so excited that I passed.

So many times, and I was so excited, I passed the I resigned, I knew if I was going to make this work, nothing else was going to work. And I just took the last couple 100 When I say couple 100 I mean couple $100 and went and brought the pesticides needed to do the jobs, went door to door and just tried to collect as many clients as I can. And then where I was staying, they found out that I did start a pest control company in my living room, and they gave me 30 days, so they kicked me out. So at that moment, they stated that you could not start a business with your lease. And it's not like I was low income or anything like that. So she gave me 30 days to leave. And that was a very trying time for me because I have three children that's in high school and me and my husband

Nicaila Matthews Okome 17:58

was against the lease was it? Were you?

Robiar Smith 18:03

I don't I guess it was because I was operating. So I was receiving revenue through the lease. And there was something in the lease that I just I couldn't do at home business, okay with the lease. So I couldn't write now the day, I can't figure it out. People start home based business all the time. But I guess because I was not the owner of the apartment. And I was leasing department, I guess whatever perimeters they had to get revenue from it while being a lease holder. I broke the lease, she stated. And so she gave me 30 days to leave. And so that was a pivotal moment, because it was either stop running this business that I believe in, or Hurry up or find somewhere in 30 days and change my children's school and figure out a way to continue to make this work. And this was the best decision I've ever made though. What did you bet on? God is so good. I was able to move into something quadruple bigger, my children was able to be in a better environment. It was a better situation. And that's a testament to sometimes you're scared to take a leap into something better, because you're comfortable with something where you are. And sometimes you have to have a hard push like something that you think that it's trying to bury you is actually working for you. And it's a rebirth. So that's why that situation taught me that was trying times like that happen. On the other side of it is amazing. That's when I knew for sure on one knee that demons have today. Yes, listen, do not be scared. If something happens that put your back against the wall to make a decision. I almost guarantee you on the other side of that decision is freedom. Yes.

Nicaila Matthews Okome 20:01

I love that someone needed that message today. So you I believe were able to find and you did it. I'm so proud of you, because now look at what you've built. But you know, we would never know that looking at the business that this is what happened when you were first starting out, you know, did you have a cushion for if it didn't work out? No,

Robiar Smith 20:21

no, because I was just starting the business, RB pest Solutions has not taken out a loan, I used a couple $100. For my last check. I was banking on the customers that we did accumulate at that moment, we'll just continue to be satisfied with the service and hopefully go with reoccurring service, so that I can least pay my bills. And it was a very difficult time because my children were in school and trying to figure it out with that. And so it, it was really challenging trying to move and figure out what to do. But that was the best decision ever made is that woman kicked me out. And she's my client right now.

Nicaila Matthews Okome 21:00

Get out? How did you have to tell that story? Like, how did that happen?

Robiar Smith 21:06

She contacted looking for a pest control company not knowing I owned it. Wow. And she because she's one of my clients, and later found out that I was the owner who she kicked out,

Nicaila Matthews Okome 21:17

out. Okay, so with regard to scaling the business, when did you decide to open a retail location? And what were the first steps that you took there.

Robiar Smith 21:27

So I think what I've been able to really do at each phase is figure out my customers needs as entrepreneurs and business owners were sometimes so busy with trying to sale that we're not trying to fit a need. And so each phase, we have the pest control services, but many people were saying, okay, I can do it myself, I have my husband at home, I have an uncle brother that can come over, I don't need your services. And so we said, Okay, that's great, but they're not licensed, and they don't know what to use. So just come by store. And we'll walk them through how to do it. And we opened up a retail store. And then that piece came into play. So now if you contact RB pest solutions, and you don't go with the services, you can least get the products and we'll walk you through how to do it safely. Because the most important part is for you to do it and do it safely, and have licensed pest control technicians to speak with to do that. If you go to a store and going out of the store and all these pest products, you're like which one is good, and you get a chance to call us and we'll walk you through it. And then the third component was, wow, people are spending all this money. How can we save them money while we continue to grow. And then we said you know what bedbugs are 1000s of dollars. If we create a product, where people can travel safely and clean up their home safely and get rid of dust mites, bedbugs with this product, we'll catch them on the front end. So we don't have to see them on the back end. That's satisfying a need. And so I learned this by being at the checkout owl Oh, and you're paying for things. But guess what, you have your gum right there, you have these little trinkets before you're paying for your actual items that you forget, like, Oh, this is a good idea. And you get to add in like $10 worth of that. That's what you do with your business, you fit a need. And then you continue to figure out how to fit another need with your customers so that you become a one stop shop solution for them. Okay, and that's what we've tried to do.

Nicaila Matthews Okome 23:42

Did you keep the overhead low there? Or at that point, were you earning so much with the actual service based business that you were able to reinvest it into the retail location comfortably?

Robiar Smith 23:53

So it was difficult because and it's difficult now because I think people assume that our the product based company is the pest control company, okay. And it's two separate companies. You always want to take your money when it comes in. And the money is not your money. If you don't figure out a way to take the money that you get from any business and divide the money. So if it's $1, you got four quarters, you got a quarter, IRS got the other quarter. You gotta say the other quarter, you're gonna reinvest the other quarter. And if you don't create that formula with $1, you will always be able to say, I don't have the money to scale. Yeah, because you haven't disciplined yourself enough to separate the funds when they come in. If I had a $20,000 check that cannot go in one place. Now I may have $40,000 worth of bills. So the 20,000 on me Yeah, but $20,000 cannot go in one place. And I think us entrepreneurs make that mistake. So when it is time to reinvest in other great ideas, you don't have the money or you can't pay IRS, you can't open up other divisions, you can't pay for someone to assist you or replace you so that you can work on the business and not in the business because you haven't divided your money up properly. If I'm making sense,

Nicaila Matthews Okome 25:24

Oh, that makes perfect sense. That's word. So that now let's talk about these retail products. How did you develop those? Did you work with an external chemist or based on you know, what you studied? Were able to develop it yourself?

Robiar Smith 25:36

Yes. So we were able to work with chemists and we develop it ourselves. We tested it ourselves for a whole year. That's the thing is that as a pest control technician, we were like, We have to make sure that what we're using this stands up against what we're using. Okay. So we talked about it, people knew we were working on a product, but not really. And then once we were able to safely say, oh my god, it killed it on the spot. It got rid like and it was great. And it was set free stain free. I use it. It was like it's time to put it out and see what the masses say. And we put it out just in November of last year has not been even six months that we put it out. And we got it. We've been getting calls from all over the place about this product. And it's been amazing. And particularly the three ounce bottle with the travelers is the most popular because they're able to just drop it, put it in their purse bag and go.

Nicaila Matthews Okome 26:33

So what's it called? And what does it do? Is this specifically for bedbugs, or is it also for dust mites and other things.

Robiar Smith 26:39

So based on the biology, okay, I don't want to creep anyone out. Oh, well, it's book strike. And if you put in women in pest control, our whole story pops up just in case you forget all these things that I'm talking about. But what it is, it's a stain and scent free liquid, and it gets rid of bedbugs, dust mites, but if anyone knows about insects, insects are in one family. But you just named them dust mites, bedbug Centipede, millipedes, they can be these different names. But essentially, they're one insect. They're one book and one family. So this pesticide, it gets rid of bedbugs, dust mites, any type of insect in this family, which is your household insects, or when you go to the hotel and things like that. Now dust mites are everywhere, people have allergy, because of dust mites and allergens. And so as a result, you can use this product, when you are changing your bedsheets and you're at home or you're trying to minimize and purify the air. It gets rid of the dust mites in your home, but it gets rid of the bedbugs as well. Or if it's in the early stages, which is when you go to your hotel room. And you pull out your sanitizer in your 91% alcohol and you sanitize the room. Now you have a product that actually tackles the aches and the insect eggs in your room to get rid of them immediately. So you do not take them back home with you.

Nicaila Matthews Okome 28:13

Sometimes when it comes to this stuff, especially stuff you can't always control like if a hotel, you just never know when a bedbug could come from it come from the airplane, you don't know. Right? So it can feel overwhelming. Like I've seen people talk about, you know, all these different extreme measures they do. And yes, their safety in that. But like realistically, are we always going to do each of these things? I don't know. So knowing that there is like a product that can help with that, that that is really reassuring. Where and how do you test this kind of stuff. So

Robiar Smith 28:48

because we are pest control technicians and we do jobs every day, anytime a job came up that consisted of insect millipedes, centipedes, spiders, bedbugs. We secretly used our product, okay, opposed to the product that we typically use. And the customers didn't know the difference because the results was still there. So that's how come we knew that the product worked. And it worked even better. And so we figured we was on to something and we decided to put it out. And it's been amazing. All right. What's

Nicaila Matthews Okome 29:21

been the biggest investment, right? The services based business, the retail location or the product based business?

Robiar Smith 29:29

That is a really good question. So RB pest solution services is going to always be my baby because it helped fund the retail and product. Yes. So it's an extension of it. With the service based business, you exchange your money for time. In the product based business, you don't make it once you put it out now it's just a matter of getting it out to the masses nationally. So because we have the service based business where every city and state I go to I have to be licensed in there, I have to have an actual body there is different from the retail piece that I'm shipping these products nationally. And they're just often doing what they supposed to do without me physically being there. So the product piece is growing rapidly, which is part of now my issue, but it's a good issue. Because I have the service Facebook, which is has me right here in one seat, you have to see me but the products are like in people's hands that I do not know that are using them, they're doing reviews and sending it over. So in the long run the product is what's going to touch everyone that the service based business could not have. But the great part about it is the service base is fun, you get a chance to touch your client, and I get a chance, you'll know what I'm talking about, I can go on a job, and still connect with the people and test the product out and make sure that it's still you know, doing what it's supposed to do. And sometimes with the retail, once it's in retail enough and going, um, you can't quite do that you don't have that luxury. So it has this. It has its

Nicaila Matthews Okome 31:09

pros and cons. And I'm sure even you can charge more for the service based business and the product, right. But then they are ultimately, you know, as you grow, you can have the product nationwide worldwide. And that opens up more revenue. So yeah, that's very interesting to know. Because that's not often that I interviewed someone who has all three, all based around the same brand, right? That's an incredible accomplishment in and of itself. So kudos to you, thank you. And I like that you still are in direct touch with your customer, because that helps with marketing, marketing copies speaking to pain points, or even just knowing which project to develop in the future. Yes,

Robiar Smith 31:49

yes. I mean, and that's the point of many people say, I'm an entrepreneur, I'm a serial entrepreneur, but starting out and growing, want to still make sure that if I'm over here flipping pancakes, and then I'm over here doing pest control, which is both right, they're both for great because I'm a serial entrepreneur, but I'm more believable, because everything is still in pest control. And I'm, you know, certified in it. So I'm least able to people, but it's believable, let me say that

Nicaila Matthews Okome 32:25

a lot of people lose money in the first few years of their businesses, what has been your experience with profitability.

Robiar Smith 32:31

So the mistakes that you make, it's very important that you implement them because for example, when I first started, I was busy worried about getting clients, right. And so the clients will pay, but what happened to the clients that didn't pay after I did the services, so I had to say, Hold on, we offered free inspections. And a lot of people don't like the fact that when they call, we don't offer free inspections anymore. And some people are like, Hey, why don't you do free inspections. But early on, we were have 20 jobs that they scheduled for inspections, and maybe only three people went with services. And that's because when we got there, we will spend 45 minutes walking you through your home what to do and how to do it. And then you will go to Home Depot and purchased everything I told you about yourself. So we learned that to weed out the customers that were serious about getting pest control, is that we have an inspection fee now, okay, but the inspection fee is only an inspection fee if you don't go with the service. So for example, if you decided to say, hey, you have given me everything on me, it was $50 to do it, it was like okay, it was in you can go off and do what you need to do. Or if you decide to go with the service and we charge you $100 Then the $50 is included in the $100. So it's not an inspection fee unless you decide to not go with the service. And some people are a fan of that model and some people are not. And I'm okay with.

Nicaila Matthews Okome 34:01

You got to be okay with people not liking everything right, you got to do what's best for your business. That is really smart. Yeah, and I hope that helps some folks, I could see that applying to various industries, you know, consultation fee, that's waived, if you you know, end up going with the package. So nice tip there like that. I like that a lot. Now, before we jump into the lightning round, I'd love to know, is this a line of business that anyone could get into, you know, how can you learn and study for this exam and start your own pest control business.

Robiar Smith 34:33

So if you go to the Department of Public Health in your city, they have pest control exam dates, study dates, material that you can study for, and then from there, while you're doing that you have to work with a pest control company because you have to have so many hours of experience showing that okay, I've worked in this industry, I'm serious about it. I'm going to take the exam I'm going to pass it and from there what you get trouble license, then you can start doing pest control work because many people that have the license don't always want to start a business. And that's the thing is that everyone these days, entrepreneurship is just pushed on, like, everyone should be an entrepreneur. Everyone should be a boss. Yeah, everyone does not want to be that. Everyone loves it in so respecting that and you know, so you can get a license and not have to open up a company. And you can work under your license and things like that. So, but yeah, that's how you we'll get into it and go from there.

Nicaila Matthews Okome 35:35

Now we're gonna do a quick lightning round, you just answer the very first thing that comes to mind. You ready? I'm ready. Okay. Number one, what is a resource that is really helped you in your business that you can share with a side hustle pro audience, my accountant? That is a resource that is the most important

Robiar Smith 35:55

resource? Yes.

Nicaila Matthews Okome 35:57

How did you go about finding your accountant? Short

Robiar Smith 35:59

story. I was looking for one, someone referred this guy, but he was not taking on clients. And when I spoke with him, I said, Hey, his clients is really huge. He's been doing it forever. And he's like, Listen, I'm gonna take you on because of this referral. And I've been his client for the past seven years. And he's not taking on any more clients because he's just that good. And I'm nervous when he retires. But it was a girl. Okay, so I'm so mad because I can't refer him to anyone because

Nicaila Matthews Okome 36:29

I'm worried but we got to keep on looking for you guys. All right, number two, who is a non celebrity black woman entrepreneur who you would switch places with for a day and why? Oh,

Robiar Smith 36:40

my goodness. Besides my mother, yes. It would have to be Malindi Cooper. She's a serial entrepreneur that has just like started the After School Matters movement. Yes. She's just an entrepreneur who really big in philanthropy, and does amazing work. Melanie Cooper is one that I followed that I really like, how she runs her businesses and corporations and things like that. And as a result, she's well known. Okay,

Nicaila Matthews Okome 37:12

that's perfect. I love it. We have to look up, Melanie. All right, number three, what's a non negotiable part of your day these

Robiar Smith 37:19

days? I'm not doing anything I don't want to do Oh, I like that. I have gotten so good. Thank you. I've gotten so if official party, official Bar Mitzvah, it fits. If it's important to you, I respect that. But if it's not what I want to do, I am not doing any more than enough of that in my life. I've released myself of that burden of being and doing and operating in things that I don't want to do if I don't want to do I love that. I want to do it, get somebody else to do it.

Nicaila Matthews Okome 38:01

All right, number four, what's the personal trait about you, Robbie, that has helped you be so successful in business.

Robiar Smith 38:07

I think paying attention to my GPS, like for me when things don't happen in the way that I want them to happen? Or I hear no, yeah. I'm not rattled by it. I don't pout like, I didn't get it. It didn't work. Yeah, I really feel like that is the universe GPS of attracting me to where I really need to go. Yeah, so I don't look at things like it. Oh, it wasn't for me. I didn't get it. I don't feel like I miss out on anything. Okay. Let me say that. I feel like everything that's for me, is for me, and I don't miss out on anything that God has for me. Yes,

Nicaila Matthews Okome 38:50

yes. And then finally, what is your parting advice for our listeners who wants to be their own boss, but are scared of losing that steady paycheck?

Robiar Smith 39:02

The paycheck is not a safety net. Nothing on this God's green earth is of certain inshore, if I can just release you have certainty. And things are going to happen the way you expect them to please release yourself of that, that just does not exist. That is a false. That's a false sense of living is that things are guaranteed. Everything can happen in a blink of an eye. You create your life and your opportunity, your opportunities, your paychecks that you get every two weeks is because of what you showed up to do. So imagine if you showed up and do to do something that you really wanted to do. It'll work in that room as well. And this is not for anyone who works a nine to five that's like Okay, be an entrepreneur because again, I want to stress entrepreneurship is not for everybody and I know many friends that don't want to be entrepreneurs. Horse. That's not what they want to do. But for if you're doing if you're putting your energy into anything that you are miserable with, and you don't want to do thinking that that creates certainty. That is a hot that's a big face lie. It doesn't work like that

Nicaila Matthews Okome 40:17

sit right there. That's it. That's the quote. That's the snippet. That is it. And with that, where can people connect with you? And RB pest solutions after this episode?

Robiar Smith 40:30

So if you put in woman and pest control, I pop up what Robbie

Nicaila Matthews Okome 40:36

R Smith? Come on.

Robiar Smith 40:39

Right by the billionaire Robert Smith. Oh, Robert. Robert, Dr. Smith, so I'm on my way to something.

Nicaila Matthews Okome 40:49

Love it. Also,

Robiar Smith 40:50

we're located here in the city of Chicago, we do services in Indiana, you can find Buck strike, you can find it on home depot.com. Online, only. I'm only purchasing level nine. And you'll also be seeing more of me on your local television show weekly.

Nicaila Matthews Okome 41:12

Him heck can you tell us more?

Robiar Smith 41:16

No, I can't. I can't. I shouldn't have said that much. But what I will say is people are so interested in what we're doing. We have been approached to do amazing things and appear on love it so so that you all can see pest control and actually what it is that we do so fingers crossed, you will be seeing us

Nicaila Matthews Okome 41:39

know we'll be seeing a lot more frequently. So we'll be replaying this episode and resharing and retagging everything all right, well, Robbie, thank you so so much for being in the guest chair and guys for having me of course. All right, guys. There you have it. Hey guys, thanks for listening to side hustle Pro. If you like the show, be sure to subscribe rate and review on Apple podcasts. It helps other side hustlers just like you to find the show. And if you want to hear more from me, you can follow me on Instagram at side hustle Pro. Plus sign up for my six bullet Saturday newsletter at side hustle Pro, that CO slash newsletter. When you sign up, you will receive weekly nuggets from me, including what I'm up to personal lessons and my business tip of the week. Again, that side hustle pro.co/newsletter to sign up. Talk to you soon

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

Meet the host:

Nicaila Matthews-Okome

Hi! I’m Nicaila, the Creator and Host of the Side Hustle Pro Podcast. I started Side Hustle Pro when I was a side hustler myself. I was a digital marketer at NPR by day, side hustler by night. Through the powerful stories shared on this show and the courage to launch my own initiatives, I was able to quit my own job and go full time with Side Hustle Pro.

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