Self Made: NASE's Blog

Featured Member: Ellen Bruseau Of Handy Human, LLC

Friday, October 19, 2012
Ellen Bruseau has been an NASE Member since 2008. She is also part of the NASE's 2012 Member Council. She owns Handy Human LLC in Manassas, Va.

Tell us about your business.

Handy Human LLC is a fully licensed and insured company offering exceptional service in painting, tile and flooring for residential properties. After leaving academe, I started doing things in my own home. Soon neighbors and friends began asking me to paint, tile, build things and lay flooring for them as well. The business grew out of those grass roots. Besides basic home improvements, I also reupholster and refinish furniture and do basic handy human-type jobs.


Do you have a favorite type of work?

I love clients that want to do creative things in their homes, whether it’s a cool paint and molding job on a ceiling, custom built-in solutions for storage, or a fancy tile job.


What’s the most effective way you've found to market your business?

Word-of-mouth from happy clients. Referral work most often lands me the contract. Angie’s List is a decent source of jobs as well.



What’s your biggest success as a business owner?

Remodeling a small master bath for a client, which I took down to the structural bones and rebuilt to her specifications with a barrier-free shower, very modern fixtures and unusual materials.


How has the NASE helped your business?

The advice and motivation in the magazine are reassuring and helpful, especially concerning the steps necessary to start up and negotiating less fun tasks, like bookkeeping.


What’s the greatest reward you get from your work?

Happy clients who can't wait to tell their friends about me because I've kept them informed about their home, completed the job down to the last details, helped them find solutions to problems and left their home cleaner than I found it.


Any advice for your fellow NASE Members?

Pay attention to what is going on in Washington. We need advocacy to protect our ability to remain a vital sector of the American economy.


What’s the best compliment you've received from a customer?

That I would make the perfect husbannd!

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Self Made

A blog on the self-employed and micro-business

Meet the NASE Staff Bloggers


Katie Vlietstra - As Vice President for Government Relations and Public Affairs, I work to explain how actions on Capitol Hill can impact the self-employed. I love D.C. and have made my home in Capitol Hill, where I live with my husband and black Labrador, Coltrane. We love playing volleyball and softball on the National Mall. 

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