It’s 2016, more than twenty years since I finished my electrical apprenticeship, and more than seven years since I started my business as a sole trader installing solar. I pinch myself sometimes – I now own and operate a thriving Solar and electrical contracting business with 20 staff. It’s a business I’m really proud of. How did I get from there to here?
In 1992, straight out of school, I went to college to study to become an Electrician. The following year I started my apprenticeship with SEQEB (now Energex). Four years later I left in search of a wider experience.
I worked with two small Brisbane-based contractors, Genesis, and Dimix, then larger contractors, Brandons and Fallons. Somewhere in between, I squeezed in a degree in Theology, because it somewhat matters.
I never wanted to be ‘just a sparky’ – there had to be something more rewarding. I wanted to do something meaningful with my time and also incorporate the skills I had learnt in my trade.
In 2007, the year I married my wife, I realised the huge future potential of solar. So I left my job in 2008 to start an Electrical Contracting business.
2009 was an eventful year! I had my first child who we aptly named Hope, and I formed MC Solar & Electrical. With attention to quality and customer satisfaction we grew rapidly – in fact, we grew too fast. I found myself subcontracting for solar sales companies that didn’t hold my ethics. So in 2012, we scaled back and decided we would focus on designing and selling solar, and only installing the jobs we sold.
This was a huge challenge and a huge risk. I was naturally good at designing and installing solar and building teams of quality tradesmen, but I knew nothing about selling. I somewhat naively figured a good product would sell itself.
I employed Shawn, an architect who loved solar and honesty but who also knew nothing about solar sales. The theory worked; if you believe in the product you sell, then you can easily sell it – solar done right will sell itself!
For a Solar business owner, I’m unusually passionate about new and emerging solar technology. As my business developed and I found myself able to hand over daily responsibilities, I’ve had time to follow my passion of researching new products. However, I found the lack of educated, non-biased solar product information on the internet frustrating. Getting a true picture of new solar products is hard work. Then it occurred to me: why should it not be me that publishes helpful solar material? So began my blogging obsession. The discipline of blogging comes with the benefit of making sure my research on any given product is thorough. It allows my sales staff to feel confident that the product that they offer is genuinely well thought through. And it gives us credibility in an industry where credibility is scarce.
Since we began in 2009, we have grown rapidly to become one of the most competitive and reputable solar companies in the South East Queensland Solar market. More importantly, I love my girl Hope, and my main dude Caleb. I adore my beautiful wife Wendy, who I so supportive of my work, and patient with me as I sit up late at night trying to express in writing my latest Solar learnings. I’m looking forward to the next seven years!