Ingrid Barrero // Contributing writer
Although she would have never imagined a cleaning company being her dream, Kristen Hadeed is leading one of the fastest growing businesses that started because of a pair of jeans.
On Thursday, Oct. 1 in the Graham Center ballrooms, Hadeed spoke to students about how she became the leader of an amazing opportunity. She talked about the struggle of starting a company, the obstacles she faced, the opportunities she turned down and her views on how to keep a business successful.
From a very young age, Hadeed was all about business.
“I wanted to learn about the way things worked, the people around me, and I was particularly interested in making money,” she said in her TEDxUF speech in February 2012.
As a Finance major in her junior year at the University of Florida, Hadeed asked her parents for some money so she could purchase the latest “Lucky Brand” jeans. As most parents would, they laughed it off, said no and told her to get a job.
Having no time between her already busy schedule, Hadeed opted against getting a job and instead posted an ad on Craigslist offering a cleaning service for houses at a reasonable fee. As time went on, she had so many requests that she started needing help from friends. But the real obstacle came when Paradigm Properties, a property management group in Gainesville, Florida, asked her to clean the apartments of moved out residents throughout the summer.
In less than a month, Hadeed had to hire 60 students to handle the workflow for Paradigm. Doing a phenomenal job, Hadeed and her team were asked to come back a year later for the same contract, and this is where Student Maid began.
Hadeed explained that to be successful, there were four key points that have to be remembered. One, your company has to have a vision. Two, there has to be a value system set in place for the company to grow. She shared her company’s personal values, saying that thanks to noting what she wanted her company, employees, and herself to stand for, made a world of a difference in the success of her business. Three, there has to be some tough love in a working environment because that’s how people better themselves. The last key point and probably the most crucial is the ability to network and form relationships with people.
“The world runs on who you know,” Hadeed said.
Hadeed gave the young entrepreneurs advice on how to create a business and also reminded them that it’s not simple but it’s worth it.
“Remember, leadership is not an excuse to do less, it’s a responsibility to do more,” Hadeed said.