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Applying Self-Employment

Russel Edwards is the owner of Major Appliance HQ, a family owned and operated appliance business for 40 years located in Chuckey, Tennessee. Major Appliance HQ serves the local community not just as a place where customers can purchase appliances for their homes but also rely on to install and service their appliances properly.

What inspired you to enter the field you are in? 
My family owned and operated an appliance store in Miami, FL since the 1950’s. With my background and experience, it was a natural fit for me to become involved in the appliance industry.

What led you to starting your business? 
This business was started after the sale of my last store. Our family decided to move to Tennessee for a change of scenery and upon moving here, I found that there was a great need for an appliance store in the community. With our history in the business, this was an easy decision for us.

What challenges have you faced in your business? 
The initial challenge was finding products that were up to our standards. We had to focus on providing quality service to our customers until we finally came across a distributer who could provide the service and product lines we needed. It was difficult in the beginning but we knew that rushing in and selling products that were not to our satisfaction would hurt us in the long run.

How do you market your business? 
Since we are not in a large market, we don’t necessarily market our business in the traditional sense of big advertisements. Our online efforts cost us more time rather than dollars, we use Facebook, Google Plus and Craigslist. We are currently working on a website which we think will help. We get a lot of referrals by word of mouth from good customer service, which is key in this area. We sometimes will run radio advertisements as well.

Do you have any employees? 
Yes, we currently have two employees and we stay quite busy. I have started looking into adding two more and hope to do that by the end of this year. 
What's your schedule like, what's a typical day for you? 
Currently I leave home by 7:00AM and head to the store to make sure that it is ready to be open for the day. Once I am satisfied that it is ready for opening, I go out on the road and am either installing customer orders, or making repairs for the rest of the day. Typically, I will get home around 7:00PM.

What’s the best thing about being self-employed? 
The flexibility in my schedule is something that I value greatly. I can book all my appointments around events that I have in my life. I also enjoy not being required to sit in an office if I don’t have work to do, I work when I need to.

Which NASE member benefit is most important to you?
The insurance is how I got introduced to the NASE and I am thankful that I did, so I would say that is pretty important because it led me to this great organization. Besides that, I also think the support the NASE shows its members is wonderful.

What’s the most important piece of advice you would give to someone starting their own business? 
Starting up is always difficult, but if you provide good service and fair prices and find a market that is needed in your area, you should be just fine. Treat people fairly and they will respond by continuing to be a loyal customer.

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