What does your role include?
As the Co-Founder and CEO of Fantastic Services my role is constantly evolving. Each month I shadow a different area of the company to fully understand the jobs they do for our customers and make sure everything is up to scratch. I take frequent trips to our office in Bulgaria to work with the IT and Developers teams to further develop our user efficient app and head up managers’ meetings to ensure the company is running smoothly.
What is it the company does?
We provide multi-operational services to residential and commercial customers. We deliver professional domestic services to our clients to alleviate stress in their busy lives. Through developed technology we offer real time availability and advance booking via our app GoFantastic, or the website. We started out with Fantastic Cleaners and have expanded to offer over 25 services ranging from gardeners to removals, pest control, and many more.
Give us a brief timeline of your career so far – where did you start, how did you move on?
I served in the Navy, trained as a chef and studied business in Denmark. I moved to London around 20 years ago to go to Southbank University.
Following completion of my degree I was accepted onto a graduate programme with British Telecom and most recently I worked for lastminute.com as Group SEO Manager.
In 2009, my business partner Anton and I founded Fantastic Services after a chance meeting at a party. I’d just started out in the city and like many young professionals, I didn't have any spare cash so it was vital that I got my flat deposit back.
This made me think how many other people must be in a similar situation and that it would be great if there was a cleaning company that could guarantee return of deposits.
The idea grew from there and with an emphasis on using evolving technologies to make booking services extremely easy and upholding customer service, we became the multi-operational company we are today.
What do you believe makes a great leader?
I firmly believe in the ability to empower and motivate, so we use this to try to build purpose into our work force.
Each and every one of our staff are proud of the work they do and have the same mind set as us; a job must be done to the best possible standard and be enthusiastic about what they do.
A company will run smoothly if employees are eager to come to work and feel happy when they head home at the end of the day.
What has been your biggest challenge in your current position?
With 2,000 professionals working daily, trying to ensure everyone’s happiness always makes for a fun task.
As the head of a large business which deals with lots of companies who supply us with tradesmen, there are countless challenges.
It is imperative to make sure they have the same ethics as us and will deliver the quality of services that our customers expect and that we uphold.
How do you alleviate the stress that comes with your job?
Running your own business doesn’t allow for a lot of time of relaxation, however, my favorite way to alleviate stress is through extreme sports.
I am a huge adrenaline junkie and love experiences that push your body’s physical and mental boundaries.
I recently came back from a cave diving trip to Mexico and it was amazing to be able to turn my phone off and escape the internet for a couple of hours.
Cave dives are much longer than ordinary dives and much more technical.
You need your brain to be engaged and to be able to mix the mental exercise with a physical experience.
Doing a four-hour dive with limited oxygen is where I get my kicks and this allows me to fully switch off!
When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?
From a very young age I knew I wanted to own my own business. I remember being 10 years old and my parents bought me a desk.
I spent lots of time everyday arranging it. I had a stapler and pens and I knew that one day I would have my own desk, in my own office.
Having this drive from a young age has been hugely beneficial to the success of Fantastic Services. In the initial days we faced obstacles including funding and growth but I knew this was something I had dreamed of from a young age so it persevered.
Any pet hates in the workplace? What do you do about them?
I hate clutter and unnecessary mess in my work and home environment. During my first year in the city I was extremely stressed and had very little time for cleaning and the organisation of my flat. This was the lightbulb moment for the decluttering service because as my life became more hectic I realised that others must be in the same boat.
Where do you see the company in five years’ time?
We have just launched our new booking system “GoFantastic” that works using real time availability technology, similar to that in the travel industry and is the first of its kind in the service industry.
The new system allows users to get better deals if they book further in advance or choose a time when the provider is already in their area. The new algorithm has a green button function allowing users to see when a professional is already going to be near them and the consequent lower price of a service.
We also aim to improve our emissions and move the company forward in an eco-friendly way. The new platform will be the first step towards this, and we are also in the process of finalising details for our new squad of handymen and cleaners who will be cycling to jobs on their bikes in central London.
What advice would you give to an aspiring business leader?
Trust your instincts and believe in your ideas and vision. Also, ambition is necessary to succeed. It is so vital to maintain a sense of ambition and drive, while gaining experience in other roles prior to setting up on your own. You will learn some things you like, some things you don’t like, but it is key to add them all to your personal tool kit and skill set to use in the future.