Success Story of the Month – Ryan O’Neil Knight
What do you do?
Entrepreneur – Founder of Detailing Knights and Knighthood Academy. The Detailing Knights provides a mobile car cleaning service in the GTA with the aspirations to be World Wide within 5 years. Cars Cleaned Anywhere is our motto and we are able to clean a car without using any water. We are the only car detailing company in the world to become a certified B corporation.
The Knighthood Academy is a division of the Detailing Knights that works with high school and college students that face barriers to employment such as being marginalized, at risk of poverty or dealing with mental illness. It is a 6-month leadership program that uses a combination of in class education and real world business operation to build career skills. Speaker on using Entrepreneurship in High School to build Leadership Skills. Coach / Mentor to infant entrepreneurs of any age that have decided to starting their own business.
The greatest success story of your career?
I want to say this is to be determined but if I had to pick one from the past it was landing the Zipcar cleaning contract in Toronto. Since they are a world renowned company we have been able to position ourselves to grow into any city that Zipcar operates in and also have begun to execute a pivot into more fleet sales and setting up satellite car cleaning locations in parking garages around the world.
Before that it would have been when we won the Toronto Board of Trade yearly award to Entrepreneur of the Year in 2013. It was amazing to be able to really step out of the operations of the company for a day and look back at what we had accomplished and then to be awarded was a fantastic and humbling experience. When you are cloaked in the trees you sometimes miss the actual impact you are having in the world.
What’s your motivation?
It used to be money when I first started the company but as I reached a certain level of income I realized that I could do more good in the community by helping those who have the potential to start a business but something is standing in their way. Instead of just hiring employees we bring on people that can start anywhere in the company and progress into a Franchisee with unlimited earning potential.
Advice for other Hip Hausers?
When I have been giving advice for the past couple years it has always been to get help as fast as possible. Figure out what you are good at focus on it and surround yourself with people around you that are good at your weaknesses. A big addition I will add to that advice is that as the entrepreneur you need to identify WHAT the smart people around you are DOING. Michael Gerber in the E-myth drills it home nicely saying that you need to delegate not abdicate which simply means that you can’t give a person work to do with no direction and just pray it gets done how you want it done. Duties and responsibilities of each position in the organizational chart needs to be identified and clearly stated so it can be tracked.
Favourite motivational/success quote?
The one that I always tell myself is “progress is progress” which stems from the Confucius saying that says “it doesn’t matter how slowly you are going as long a you do not stop”. For myself I feel that any progress you are making is very important and a lot of times we feel that we are not becoming a success fast enough. Being able to tell yourself to keep going even when a lot of obstacles are being thrown your way is vital.