As vice president of operations for a healthcare business, thirty-year-old Drew Eaton was already quite successful in his career, but he couldn’t help but feel that his career was not completely fulfilling his purpose. With a new baby on the way, this first-time father began to picture what he wanted the next chapter of his life to look like. He realized he really wanted to build something of his own, something he could grow as he grew his family, and something that would allow him to define the terms of his work/life balance.
Landscaping had always been a passion and a gift of Eaton’s, an avid golfer who enjoys being outdoors. He says, “I knew one day I wanted to get into the landscaping industry. It has always felt like a creative outlet for me.” Before college, Eaton even briefly considered going into landscape architecture. He opted, however, for college degrees in business and healthcare administration, allowing him the opportunity to grow his business knowledge in other fields.
Eaton goes on to say, “Working in the healthcare industry taught me a lot. I gained operational and people management skills. I also saw what it takes to grow a business. It really comes down to investing in people.”
At the end of 2018, a U.S. Lawns territory in Eaton’s hometown of Memphis, Tennessee became available. “It really felt like it was meant to be. After numerous discussions, validations and prayer, I felt good about the feedback I received. I felt confident about the brand and in the level of support provided to franchisees,” he says.
Eaton also compared U.S Lawns’ offering with that of another lawn care brand. “U.S. Lawns came out ahead, especially when it comes to their values and support. The U.S. Lawns Open House really affirmed my feelings. It felt like home. They treat people like family. The culture is inclusive and personable. If the culture, opportunity and business model didn’t make sense, we would not have made the decision we did.”
Joining the U.S. Lawns franchisee network has been a positive experience for Eaton. He immediately forged a strong bond with another new franchisee in the Memphis area, who coincidentally attended the same Open House he did. “Travis Alexander and I got started at about the same time and already have a great relationship. We swap ideas and are a sounding board for each other. It helps to have someone who is in the same situation as I am to bounce ideas off.” The two are now working side by side to develop contacts and build their respective books of business in the Memphis market.
As of May, Eaton is up and running with eleven contracts. “I look forward to developing relationships with my crew and clients and providing quality service,” he continues, “I couldn’t do all this by myself. My wife, Carrie, has been so supportive and encouraging. She even manages the marketing side of things, in addition to her own career.”
Eaton is now building a business of his own. He concludes, “I am very fortunate to have the opportunity to invest in this dream at this point in my life. As with most things, I have set some aggressive goals. This business model is flexible enough that I can still create a good work life balance, and that is really important to me, especially with a newborn at home!”
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