Danielle Webster, Mess to Fresh Cleaning

Toowoomba QLD | March 2019

What is your business? How long has the business been operating?

I run a cleaning business called Mess to Fresh Cleaning Service. It’s been operating for about a year now. So far it’s been pretty wonderful. I jumped in without much experience. My father has had experience in the cleaning business, he’s been a big inspiration. Just over a year and a half ago he got pancreatic cancer. Even though he can’t help physically, he is still a big part. He is very proud and sharing this with him really brightens my life. At the moment I have 7 regular clients, but I have had more previously.

What were you doing before you made contact with Many Rivers? What was your previous work experience?
Previously I was a support worker, a mental health and disability support worker. I was working under disorganised management so I left and after that experience I didn’t want to work for anyone else.

Who referred you to Many Rivers? When?
I found out about Many Rivers through the NEIS  program. My coordinator gave me a flyer one day and said “contact these guys” It was a surprise to meet Many Rivers. They’re there with you for the long run, not just to help with one thing.

Why did you want to go into business?
One thing that motivated me to do it was the name. I’m the type of person that needs a good name! I like playing with words and coming up with slogans and names. I was studying psychology previously and I needed a way to make money. Cleaning seemed like a cheap business to get started. I wanted a good name because if it wasn’t great I wouldn’t stick with it.

Then I came up with the name Mess to Fresh (in around 2016). I tried to launch it but it didn’t work. Then I went to tafe. Worked in support work. For a while I was unemployed and decided I’m going to do it again and stick to this. I found all the tools online to teach me how to be an effective cleaner, what to do,  found people online who had a lot of experience and learned from them.  I took on this job and the woman said “why don’t you get some experience from a bigger company?” I worked for another business company for a short while but didn’t like how they operated and this is something I wanted to do myself. Within a few days I did up a flyer and got lots of calls. I got a few commercial businesses. Maybe too many too quickly. Then things settled down and I gave up a few, to manage the business better.

What services did you receive from Many Rivers? How did it help?
The one thing I needed help with…at the time I was doing all of this without a car. That was the difficult part. Most of my money was going back into Ubers and taxis. At the end of the day I wouldn’t have much. $40 to get there and back. That’s a huge chunk. 2 days in from starting my business my car broke down and it had too many problems to fix. I thought ‘nup, I’m gonna do it regardless’

I’m the type of person where once I start doing something I won’t give up.

Nothing within me said give up, so I just made it work. After about 9 months Jamie came along. I was pretty overwhelmed. He could tell my biggest problem was not having a car. Not good for my physical or mental health.

He also provided me with motivation. Knowing someone cares and there’s someone I can speak to. The fact that he’s an ex banker is excellent. He has all this experience and knowledge. It took me a while to realise I’m not alone.  I want to start opening up and showing him more of my plans. He’s been there for me.

What did you find the most useful about the assistance from Many Rivers?
The loan definitely. But also the realisation that I’m not alone. I’ve got someone with a lot of experience and he’s there to help me.

Did you get a loan from MR? How did you use the loan?
Yes Jamie helped me get a loan for my car. As soon as I got that loan I went to the dealership and got the car. I had to put down another $500 to get the car. My whole life changed that day. I’m saving money now.

Do you have any current employees?
Not yet. I grew big quickly, but quickly isn’t necessarily a good thing. So not yet.

What has been the biggest challenge to date?
Dealing with myself. When you step up and start a business you need to develop, learn to budget, Ive got to learn to sticking to a budget, saving money

What has been the biggest success to date?
It’s great getting clients that are already well off in life and have their own company. I can learn a lot from my clients and I’m applying what they tell me.

What do you hope to achieve in the future?
I intend on expanding out to different QLD cities. I plan on growing the business and to provide more services. I want to go into window cleaning, car washing etc. Short term getting the website up and uniform together.