Kristen was born in Gainesville, Florida on February 26, 1988. Her family moved to Flagler Beach, Florida when she was two. She eventually returned to Gainesville where she attended the University of Florida. Fashion is an important for element in the life of most college students, and Kristen was no exception. She wanted a pair of Lucky jeans – they were perfect – but expensive. She asked her parent’s permission to use their credit card only to hear a three word reply – Get a job! That wasn’t the answer she had expected. But she wanted – no, needed – to have those jeans.
Wanting work that would accommodate her grueling study schedule as a Finance major – she placed an ad on Craigslist seeking to clean houses. Her goal was to buy those jeans and to earn enough to fund a Spring Break trip to Pensacola. Her early customers loved her work, referring her to their friends and neighbors. Soon, Kristen hired a couple of other students to handle the workload. She enjoyed cleaning, was good at it and was earning decent money. She decided to make a very bold move. Kristen approached Paradigm Properties, a large property management company, seeking to clean the apartments vacated when the student renters left for the summer.
Kristen got the contract – and all of the responsibility that came along with it. She committed to only hiring students, but they had to have a grade point average (GPA) of 3.5 or higher. She hired a team of sixty, the number she projected it would take to complete such a massive job in the stated three-week window. Everything was going absolutely as she had planned – until day two.
After one day on the job, 45 of the 60 students she had hired quit. They quit – not because of the cleaning or the hours. They quit because as they worked in hot apartments, Kristen was sitting in an air-conditioned clubhouse reading and having a salad. She convinced all of them to stay on the job when she committed to working alongside of them – she would be the first to arrive and the last to leave.
Having learned a powerful lesson, her business began to thrive. Services expanded to include concierge type activities – such as running errands, dog walking and pet-sitting and organizing. Kristen completed her degree and graduated in 2010. For as long as she could remember, she had her sights set on working on Wall St. She received a significant job offer to do just that – which she turned down.
Kristen – and her sister – had always been encouraged by their parents to pursue what interested them. That’s exactly what she did. Not only did she like cleaning, she loved the business, her employees, the high degree of customer service they provided and the fact that the business was generating a profit. Kristen decided to go ‘all in’ with her cleaning company.
Her parents had also taught the girls not to be afraid of failure – which was good because Kristen was about to fail again. She chose not to research the name she had selected before filing for incorporation even though her father, an attorney, had urged her to do so. For his part, her father elected not to intercede, allowing his daughter to take full responsibility. For her part, Kristen’s decision almost put her out of business. The name she’d chosen was already in use and protected, which forced to start over after ‘wasting’ nearly $5,000.
Kristen learned another powerful lesson from a failure. That situation led her to file a different name – Student Maid™. That company has grown to employ over 500 employees. Their employee retention rate averages two and a half years versus the industry average of two months. All of the student employees see an increase in their GPA after beginning to work for Student Maid. The company, and its hundreds of employees, have achieved tremendous results because their leader, Kristen Hadeed, is a fearless brand.
Fearless Brands pursue what interests them and learn from failure
Kristen Hadeed – through her vision, drive, leadership and hard work – has created a tremendously successful business by all standard metrics. What’s even more important is that Student Maid is a company comprised exclusively of ‘millennials’. Validating the value of an entire generation and the contribution that they will make in business was not what Kristen set out to do.
However, as a millennial herself, Kristen has unique insight into the strengths – and weaknesses – of her age group. In business, Kristen incorporates many of the traits she learned from her parents. The millennials in her company learn decision making, responsibility, a strong work ethic and like Kristen, they are not afraid to fail. As the saying goes, it’s not a failure if you’ve learned the lesson.
Kristen and a friend combined to create an app – MaidSuite – which creates a schedule in 10 minutes – a task that used to take a full day. It incorporates details such as listing employee’s pet allergies to avoid sending anyone into an unhealthy situation. Kristen speaks nationally about business and millennials. Her book is also in the works.
There’s so much to learn about business and building a brand from this not yet 30-year-old.
Pursue what excites you – Call it your why, your passion, your purpose, your drivers – the name doesn’t matter – pursuing your interests is a definite key to achieving success. Kristen could easily have accepted that Wall St. position but realized how fulfilling it was for her to be creating Student Maid and developing productive employees. Her parents were right – listen to them! 🙂
Failure leads to great lessons – Sitting in the clubhouse and rushing to incorporate without researching a name are but two examples of how failures led to greater success for Kristen and her businesses. This doesn’t mean to seek failure. It means to make the very best decision possible given the knowledge and experience available while knowing there’s no guarantee of success. If something fails, learn from it – grow. That’s two for Kristen’s parents.
Avoid contempt prior to investigation – There are too many incorrect perceptions about millennials in today’s work place. Kristen is proving the value that her generation brings to business. A key to her success is that she understands the millennial mindset and the culture in which they were raised. Her approach is simple – leverage their strengths and manage their shortcomings. Seeking to understand and being slow to dismiss out of hand creates an environment for success – with personnel and all aspects of business and life.
Don’t let her relatively young age fool you – Kristen Hadeed is a tremendous leader, a talented business-woman and a powerful voice for the millennial generation. Kristen Hadeed is the consummate fearless brand. Regardless of your age, Kristen Hadeed can help you learn how to achieve phenomenal results from your brand. Stay excited. Take a chance on your ideas – on yourself. Not pursuing your dreams, not taking a chance yields nothing. By trying, you have the chance to succeed or to learn from a failure.