Guest Blog By Dan Willis Director Sales and Media, Publicita Online Marketing
Just speak to Sue Knighton of Earth Angel Landscape and Property Maintenance for a moment; the energy, passion and commitment she has when talking about her business is like a beaming ray of light. When other new entrepreneurs hear her, they become more empowered, confident and determined to succeed.
Sue isn’t shy about talking of her childhood in and around the shoreline in Grimsby, gardening with her mom or any of her career incarnations in the work-a-day world.
Nine years ago Knighton decided that if working for someone else meant being paid poorly, while doing a boring job, she would get out to were the money was; to where she could be outside working at a job she loved, in the gardens and fresh air.
Today, she is bound and determined to make that happen and greets each day thankful to be “in paradise, above the grass-line”
Knighton started doing snow removal in the winter of 2011. Shovelling really. Out there with only her determination and not so much as a business name or card, she began creating the opportunity she now celebrates.
She was no stranger to the Property Maintenance Business. With years of experience under her belt as a technician and field supervisor, Knighton new that she had a long row to hoe ahead of her.
There is no small measure of praise given for the role the Business Education Council (BEC) and Niagara College Employment and Training Solutions played in being the catalyst that launched her now successful business.
The Ontario Self Employment Benefit Program, delivered by a fantastic group of professionals at Niagara College, provided Knighton the know-how to create a viable business plan, which became the basis for her company.
“What a great resource, says Knighton. “Having all these people coming in. Accountants, Lawyers, Marketing Professionals and Business Consultants. Plus there is a support system and allowance. I am such a cheerleader for Niagara College. Even if it were $5000 to do the program I’d still give it a glowing review.”
Once out on her own, a beat up old truck a broom, a lawnmower and whatever tools were on hand were to be her stock in trade. Watching her sweep up one day, a customer actually brought out a leaf blower to quicken the job - and then presented it to Knighton as a gift.
Then her next leg-up was a kind gift from her Brother-in-law who presented Knighton with a carefully reconditioned camper trailer.
“It was not a small thing that John (Oke) did for me,” says Knighton. He had loaned me a 5X8 trailer, in which I could only ever get a couple things into. Then he found this used camper tailer for me. He stripped down and cleaned it up and painted it nice. Then I could give him his 5X8 Back.”
“My next upgrade came from a deal at the side of the road. I was working on Glenridge Ave. when a truck driver asked if I was interested in a proper landscape vehicle. After a quick negotiation, and checking out the provenance, it was mine.”
It might seem that serendipity plays a big role in Knighton’s success and it does, but that is because of an unfailing compassion for people and deep respect for seniors that places her in the company of like-minded people, who also make things happen.
Like all the members of her Life Group at Southridge Mennonite Church, who once pitched in to pay the bill on 5000 door hangars to help advertise her business for instance. And like the folks at Niagara College or her staff that go above and beyond for her clientele and like her marketing agency PUBLICITA, whose logo she proudly displays on her trucks.
Knighton can never say no to a request. “I can always find an honest trades person for a client that is having difficulty. I just get out the yellow pages and make the call.”
Now that Earth Angel Landscaping and Property Maintenance is celebrating its three-year anniversary, Knighton is once again determinedly looking to the future.
“I am on the death and out plan, says Knighton. I won’t stop until something stops me. My goal is to make the summers so busy, with the business growing to a point where I can take three months off every winter and go to Guatemala to do Missionary work.”
It is not surprising that a business would want to give back to the community, but when Knighton musters up all that passion and commitment and says, “I would give it all away and do missionary work”, you just some how have to believe she’s going to make that happen too.
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Sue cares for her elderly father who is never far from her thoughts. She carries many great pieces of advice that he has bestowed upon her and doesn’t hesitate to sprinkle them in conversation.
1)Respect and dignity for everyone she meets
2)Do it right or not at all
3)Always do more than expected
4)Leave it better than you found it.
5)If you screw up, woman up and be big enough to accept responsibility, apologize and ask if the situation is good.
6)Don’t lie. Don’t talk bull.
7)Be honest and straight forward.
8)Live life so you never have to look over your shoulder
On April 6th, 2019 Sue Knighton is celebrating the 8th Year Anniversary of her business, Earth Angel Landscape and Property Maintenance.
Sue’s outlook is infectious to others just staring out.
Graduate of the Ontario Self Employment Benefit program provided through Niagara College.
Successful businesswoman with humble roots.
Would give it all up, for a chance to help others.
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Earth Angel Landscape & Property Maintenance is actually a team of insured and WSIB registered professionals with over 20 years of experience and a long list of satisfied customers.
For more information about Earth Angels or to request an interview, please call Sue at 289-228-2509