Today it became real. I reached out to my managers with the solar company I’ve been working with for just over three-years now and have officially put in my resignation. While I love the industry of solar itself and the money that can be made from working hard (I’m leaving a lot on the table) I’ve realized that I wasn’t fulfilled.
I love creating! There’s something about building something from the ground up that inspires me. Processes and systems. Linking things together. Fiddling with what works and what doesn’t work. Improving. Failing. Everything about creation fascinates me.
While I made the decision officially today, I’ve been thinking about this for the last 24-months. It just goes to show that you’ve got to take action on bringing the life you want to reality. Thinking about it isn’t enough. Putting verbal skin in the game was the first step. So what’s the next step?
In all honesty, I have no idea. I’ve never created a startup before and have no idea what the heck I’m doing. For me however, I love the uncertainty. I love the process of discovery. Figure it all out along the way really gets me excited.
For example: I was recently at the grocery store on a late night cookie run with a friend. Ever since I decided to go on a 90 day no alcohol challenge, I’ve been craving sweets. Unfortunately, I’ve been grubbing down on some super high sugar cookies.
So being the health conscious person that I am (sometimes) I decided to opt for some vegan cookies with no sugar. As we’re in the grocery store searching for the cookie, we can’t find them. Every turn around each aisle was a new adventure, which abruptly came to a halt when the girl I was with simply asked the store clerk if they had the brand I was looking for.
She then comes back to me and says, “they don’t have them.” I was devastated. How could she spoil my adventure by asking the store clerk if they had the brand of cookies I was looking for. My adventure had come to a halt. Buzz kill, no beer.
As you can tell, I love adventure. Something as simple as searching for cookies got the best out of me. When something becomes served to me on a platter, take it back and bring me a clue instead.
I’ve recently been reading the book by Paul Jarvis titled, Company of One: Why Staying Small Is The Next Big Thing For Business. Let me tell you, it’s absolutely incredible. Have you ever felt like the author was speaking directly to you? That’s exactly how I’ve felt. It was as if Paul wrote the entire book specifically for me. If you’ve ever thought of starting your own company, I suggest you order the book right now.
The Startup I’m Creating
Ironically, while I’m leaving the solar industry from a sales perspective, I’m staying within it. The startup I’m creating is going to be focused around the solar industry and for good reason. I don’t have insane scientific data or peer reviewed studies and metrics, but what I do know is that it’s been getting hotter than ever and the air quality is going to shit. Changes need to be made immediately before we reach the tipping point of no return.
While capitalism and companies competing for industrial, commercial, and residential solar business is thriving, creating tons of jobs, the amount of solar being pushed out could be done faster and in a consumer friendly way. But in order to create the ideal go-to-market strategy, you first have to understand your client. This is something, that after being in the solar industry for 3-years, I’ve noticed has not been identified or at least hasn’t been addressed.
How People Shop For Solar
If you’re reading this, chances are you’re on desktop, tablet, or mobile. How you found this is an entirely different story. Maybe you found this article through social media—Facebook, Instagram, Twitter—somehow you’re here. You’re reading this through the internet.
You didn’t pick up the phone book, didn’t listen to a radio commercial, didn’t find this article through the television. You found it online because that’s where you are most of the time.
People have already established their buying habits long before your product has come along. Read that again. People’s buying habits have long been established before your product or service has come along.
The solar companies available today focus on direct marketing strategies through strategic partnerships, in-store kiosks, or direct sales avenues. Whereas the arena of online is wide open.
And it makes sense why they’re doing this. You want to turn profits today, not tomorrow! Unfortunately, what companies forget to think about is the next wave of homeowners. In 2017, the average median age for homeowners was 32-years old.
The company I was working with is a major direct sales company (door-to-door) affiliated with one of the top residential solar companies in the United States. Out of all my installs, 98% were over 45-years old. I knocked on the door, scheduled an appointment, ran an energy analysis, presented the options, and helped the homeowners go solar.
Now, I’ve created hundreds of opportunities, and I can’t tell you how many times I’ve walked down the street while after canvassing an area for well over 6-months, and the appointment I didn’t signed now has solar. At least 15-20x’s.
I always returned to those homes and congratulated them on making the smart decision to go solar. Respectfully, I’d then ask how (not who) they decided to go solar because I wanted to figure out their buying habits. 99% of the time the homeowners said, “we went online and scheduled an appointment.” Only once did a homeowner I wasn’t able to sign or sit down with go solar by way of a radio advertisement (they got ripped off and didn’t get enough panels).
So what’s the point?
The point is the homeowners who can afford solar don’t want to buy it because they’re 60+ years old and have reached a quality of life that they’re comfortable with. They like things just the way they are and don’t need or want solar. Savings at that point in their lives isn’t the most important thing. They’re also looking to sell their homes and downsize since the once useful 4 bedroom home no longer serves the couple. It’s simply a lot of space.
Homeowners between the ages of 35-45 want solar but because they’re working to make ends meet for their families, they simply “don’t have the time” to sit down. But when you circle back around, they have solar because they went online and scheduled it at their convenience.
What I’m getting at is convenience. It’s never a matter of if these homeowners want solar, they do want solar. They just want to go solar on their time. At their convenience. Which is exactly why I walked by and saw the many homeowners I talked to later go solar by going online, finding a company through Google, Yelp, or another avenue, scheduling an appointment, and signing up right then and there.
These habits are exactly why shopping malls and commercial office spaces are taking a huge hit in the real estate market. I’m sure wherever you are reading this article, you can find a once prominent store now looking like a hurricane hit it. This is due to e-commerce putting these stores out of business. If anything, consumers use store fronts as show rooms and then later on go online to find the best price/option for their budget.
The Next Homeowner
My little sister is 17-years young. On a small scale study (basically a convo I had with her) I asked her if she wanted to buy a home some day. She said, yes and also said she wanted solar on it.
Not only does the next generation of home owners (our youth) want a home base, they also want solar along with it. They also want to be able to work remotely, travel, and enjoy their lives. Our current reality has been created by disrupting the status quo and we’re living through another disruption within the solar and real estate industry.
We will see housing prices drop and become more affordable. We will also see the cost of college drop significantly, more trade skill based jobs be created, and entire industries become destroyed and created all at the same time.
The Solution of the Future
I’m creating a fun, easy, simple way for millenials to go solar. No more people knocking on your door. You already shop online, order food through apps, and watch TV through your internet service provider (bye bye cable). So why not find the best solar solution for your home while getting educated on the in’s and out’s of how it all works in the first place?
I have an idea of how it will all come together, now it’s time to execute. Let’s do this.