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A Moment With Our EDTP Graduate: Meet John Rigu

Posted on 7/28/2016 by EDTP Coordinator in LAEDA News
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John Rigu is the owner and operator of Fresh Start Moving Services, and a graduate of LAEDA’s Entrepreneurial Development Training Program. We had a chance to sit down with him to ask about his experience with entrepreneurship and LAEDA’s training program.

Entrepreneurship is a very challenging path to take, with many different possible directions. What made you decide to become an entrepreneur? Why did you choose the moving industry?

“To be secure, nothing more secure than knowing you have your destiny in your own hands. I would rather be in control of my own fate, than stick it in the hands of someone else that cannot appreciate me for my work, knowledge, and ideas. Ever since I was a young child I have always imagined myself having my own business and being the boss. That has always been in my heart so it has always been about when and what. For me at the age of 38, I’m not getting any younger and I didn’t want to be 70 years old one day and wondering “what if I and why didn’t I”. At that point it’s just too late, so I decided to live and go by this motto: “Destiny is not a matter of chance; it is a matter of choice. It is not a thing to be waited for, it is a thing to be achieved.” —William Jennings Bryan.”

"I chose the moving industry because to me it was a business I can startup with minimal costs and it would be easier to gain business right from the start. Due to the fact that when people hire a mover it will probably be the last time or if they are a repeat customer they will have forgotten who they used 15 years ago. As long as you know how to market your company and take advantage of the technology of today, that will make it much easier for you to find the right customer."

Tell me about your experience while attending EDTP. What have the major takeaways been from the program? Have you had any “Ah-hah!” moments? How did the program help you? 

“I got to meet many different people with the same mindset as myself from many different industries and ethnicities.  We were able to share some ideas that were not in the course or ideas that cannot be taught. The program was not there to take my money or to try and sell me something. It taught me that there are organizations out there that want to see you succeed and not cheat you in the process. LAEDA was one of those that showed me they cared.”

“One of my “ah-hah” moments was when I had to determine what was my target customer. I once thought that it was an age group from 21 to 70. Any age can hire me for my services but LAEDA taught me that if I had to pick a smaller window of individuals it would be more like 45 to 60.”

Tell me about your journey on the road to business startup. What have been some of the challenges, successes, failures, etc.?

“My road to business startup has not been an easy one. I’ve had to deal with individuals that have their own opinions and ideas that do not relate to my desires and goals. I have had to deal with vendors that have not been responsive, which takes time from other parts of the business process. I’ve had truck purchasing deals fall through the cracks simply because the lenders took too long to get back to me with interest rates. I have had to deal with my own doubts and fears and there have been times that I asked myself “why am I putting myself through this” I have to remind myself why and that is going back to what made me want to become an entrepreneur. I have also had success along the way with people that I have met. They have showed me things that I would have not been able to figure out on my own. I have been able to secure an interest free loan from a relative to purchase a truck. After looking up and down the coast, I have been able to find a truck that was less than what I expected to pay. I am confident that I will look back at this experience and say that it was a tough one, but it was all worth it.”

Could you tell me a little about where your business is today? 

“I recently bought a truck and purchased insurance for it. I will be conducting interviews next week to hire 3 employees. The other day I had my first in-home estimate for a 4-bedroom home that I quoted for $1325, and I have a few other contracts in place. As I get closer I can feel the heat and it’s exciting.”

Do you have any advice for future (or existing) entrepreneurs?

“Find what you love and don’t stop. For me it was being a self-made business owner. Do not let anything or anyone get in your way or try to discourage what you are chasing. You have thought and dreamed about this late at night in bed, in the shower, and in the car. You have surrendered all you have to this desire, dream, or purpose. Whether you fail or succeed; don’t go down without a fight. You tried and you tried hard to make something of yourself and have a better life for you and your family. That’s more than others have done.”

Congratulations to John Rigu for completing EDTP and recommitting to his journey on the path of entrepreneurship. If you’d like to learn more about John Rigu and his business, please visit him on www.freshstartmovingservices.com

The Entrepreneurial Development Training Program (EDTP) is a free, nine-week business skills training course offered in Camden, NJ in the Winter, Spring, and Fall each year. Qualified entrepreneurs receive 72+ hours of training from industry professionals, business planning, and one year of technical assistance. Apply online at www.LAEDA.com