Moses Yoon began working as a landscaper as a summer job to pay for school. He’s always liked making things and being outdoors. Yoon combined these interests and experience to create Waterfall Now, a specialty landscaping business that builds custom rock waterfalls for residential and commercial clients. He recently shared with us his impressions as a new business owner.
How did you get started with your business?
I was a landscaper for many years as a summer job. I decided I wanted to start my own business, so I bought the necessary supplies and tools and just started making rocks at home. I eventually scaled it up and started making larger projects. Now I have a business making rock waterfall projects for other people.
How did you fund your business in the beginning?
I used personal savings to get started. I considered applying for a small business loan program, but I started to make my business plan and realized I didn’t need the money. We have too much business as it is, and I didn’t feel it would be smart to pay interest on the loan at this point.
In the future, I want to add more crews. If we scale up, then it would make sense to take out a loan and do some more advertising.
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Running the Business
How did you learn to run your business?
I didn’t! I’m learning as I go.
Who was your first customer?
My first customer was a landscaping client who asked if I could do a water feature. It worked out for us because we had been experimenting with waterfalls and they let us experiment in their backyard. It was a free project that we did in exchange for a demo, so that’s how we started to get experience.
What’s the smartest thing you did in the first year?
Keeping 100 percent of the company and not bringing investors in. I spent a few months looking for an investor, but I ended up not going that route. I think it’s actually helped quite a bit. If I had an investor, it would have probably been a headache and made the business more complicated.
What was the biggest mistake you made in the first year?
I haven’t really made any. Maybe underbidding on projects at first, though it isn’t really too big of an issue because it’s paid off for us. In this industry, when you don’t have a background or reputation, that’s just what you have to do.
What’s the most rewarding thing about running your own business?
I like that you can make your own schedule and dictate how much you want to make. You can devote your own work ethic. I know when I was working at a job, no matter how hard I was working, I always felt limited. This way, I can make more while doing something I’m passionate about.
What’s the most challenging thing about running your own business?
This is my first brick and mortar business, so it’s difficult not having much experience. But I make up for that by meeting other business owners who mentor me.
What business owner or entrepreneur do you admire most? Who is your role model?
There are a lot. I read a lot of materials and books on personal development. As far as online business, I admire Tim Ferriss. I read his book “The 4-Hour Workweek.” And I read books by a lot of other entrepreneurial people.
What I’ve Learned
What do you wish you had known before you had started your business?
The hardest part is just figuring out what you want to do. I always keep my mind open to other opportunities. I’m always thinking, “Oh, I should be doing that too!” But I found that I should just focus on one thing. If you focus on one thing, there’s no limit to what you can do.
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About the Author — Ashley Sweren is a freelance marketing writer and editor. She owns her own small business, Firework Writing, located in San Jose, California.