Who knew that sheds and historic preservation could come together to build a successful business? Jo-Anne Peck knew. For more than 14 years she and her husband have been doing historic preservation consulting, and six years ago they added their custom shed business, designing outbuildings that complement historic homes. Not only that, but they are raising two budding entrepreneurs as well as a dog and cat. In her spare time, Jo-Anne enjoys gardening and making rustic signs out of scrap wood left over from their sheds. Meet Jo-Anne.
1. What is the most interesting thing about you or your business?
If someone told me I was going to design sheds when I grew up, I never would have believed it. If they said I’d really enjoy it, I’d be even more incredulous. But designing unique little buildings is great fun. No two are ever quite the same and every customer is thrilled when their custom building is delivered. There are nearly endless options for growth, from more elaborate, fanciful sheds to designing and building larger structures.
2. What makes business ownership worth it to you?
I like the responsibility of being in control of my day (or the illusion of control). I like the variety of jobs I fill to make the business work. I like building something from the ground up that can be a legacy. And I like taking ideas and bringing them to fruition in my own way. That said, I also like that my husband and I are co-owners and share the responsibilities for decision-making, making the journey much less lonely.
3. Describe your typical day.
I start the day getting the kids ready for school, making school lunches and hoping I have time for a cup of Chai tea. Once I am at work, most of my time is spent in front of a computer, working on new designs and preparing construction drawings. Intermittently I walk around the shop to see how the shed builds are going, post on our company social media pages and field phone calls. I have a hard time leaving at the end of the day since I never feel like I got enough done. I often take work home and continue responding to emails until late in the evening, between helping with homework. On less typical days, I travel out to job-sites to see how installations are going or to meet with potential customers.
4. Would you ever trade running your own business for a 9 to 5 job?
On my more difficult days, I think about how much easier it would be to be someone else’s employee instead of being responsible for ours. Then I think a moment more and know I couldn’t walk away from what we are building yet.
5. What advice would you give to someone considering business ownership or entrepreneurism? Are there certain skills or traits they need to be successful?
Find a product or a service that you are proud to offer. Feeling positive about what you do will get you through the rough patches.
6. Why do you think you’re successful? What does success mean to you?
I didn’t come from a family of entrepreneurs, so I didn’t grow up expecting to have my own business. However, once I started taking on part-time jobs on my own, I learned pretty quickly where my heart lie. I was lucky to have a strong role model in my boss at an architectural firm who showed me the dedication it took to make a a business successful when I was considering venturing out. As I was about to make the leap I found a partner, who not only shares my work ethic, but also complements my skills.
Being successful will be having happy customers, having a good and honest reputation, and being able to support my family and those of our employees.