Growing up as the child of a business owner, Edmir Sokoli has always known the value of working for yourself. As a result, it was a natural transition for him to follow in his father’s footsteps and enter the construction industry after college. After several years of working for someone else, he chose to open his own landscaping company. Through determination and hard work, he has built a portfolio based on the inspiration of his customers. Valuing customer satisfaction, Edmir works alongside clients to ensure their vision becomes a reality. His innovative approach has enabled him to acquire an excellent client base.
In his free time, Edmir has played football and trained in MMA. More recently, however, he spends most of his time building memories with his family.
Where did the idea for your career come from?
My father owns his own construction company. I grew up learning the background of the industry and was always drawn to it. My father always said it was great to be your own boss, to work for yourself. He would tell me to start something that you have a love for. Do something that when you wake up every morning, you’re determined to go to work and accomplish that day. Of course, he saw the benefits of being your own boss. You’re not dependent on someone else’s success for your paycheck.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
My day usually starts by stopping at Dunkin Donuts and getting my coffee, Without it, I can’t get my day started. Then I just go to work and talk with my crew. We use the early morning to plan out the day and figure out what needs to be prioritized. Once that meeting is finished, I will typically meet with customers or help where I am needed on active projects. I really enjoy that every day is different from the last. It’s one of my favorite things about this career. I’ve never been one for an office job. I love to be outside. I love to see projects when they’re done.
How do you bring ideas to life?
When I talk to my customers, I really listen to what they want. While they are explaining their vision, I am already formulating in my head how we can accomplish it. Then I will go to my computer and start getting things together. Of course, I will add my own ideas to it, so they can really see what we have to offer. We use a 3D design program, so it really lets us see the potential finished project really well before we even start. That has helped so much as I brainstorm with my clients. It is such a rush when the project is done and it is exactly what they were looking for.
What’s one trend that excites you?
In my field, we don’t run into too many trends. What clients are looking for is a beautifully created landscape that is appealing to look at. Their version of appealing is what changes from project to project. Some may need some new greenery, others want a more colorful arrangement. I do love to see my clients’ eyes light up when they see their vision come to life. Every project comes with its own unique challenges and working with the clients and my team to find solutions is something I enjoy.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
I have always been very driven. An entrepreneur has to be hard-working, willing to put in the work. I was fortunate to gain experience in this field when I was young, but that doesn’t automatically mean you can start a business and be successful right away. You still have to get down in the dirt to show that you know what you are doing. You have to build a reputation for yourself, and it has to be a good one.
What advice would you give your younger self?
To my younger self, I probably would just tell my younger self to take school more seriously. I definitely feel like I could have been more attentive when I was young and it would have helped me a lot when I was starting out. I still feel like this is the direction I would have gone in, though. That may be why I didn’t apply as much as I should have because I always just knew what I wanted to do. At the time, it didn’t seem like the most important thing. Now that I am older and I hope a little wiser, I understand the value of education.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
I believe that Albania produces the best football players.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Eat clean and healthy. That may seem like a strange answer, but it is honestly one of the most important things you can do for yourself as an entrepreneur. You want a healthy mind and body so you are able to focus more on the day-to-day of running a business. If your diet makes you feel tired or rundown, you’re not going to be as effective at what you do. Be healthy with your food choices and exercise when you can to keep your body healthy, too.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
I do a lot of direct marketing. I actually print out brochures using pictures of the work I have done and will drive around putting them into mailboxes. This has been a really helpful strategy for me and has brought me some great opportunities. People who are looking for a specific service are much more likely to reach out to someone they know will do good work. It’s better to have my information there when they need it than for them to go searching on Google.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
I think one of the toughest things I had to learn, and fairly early on, was that you don’t become successful overnight. You have to build up a decent portfolio in order to really get the attention of people looking for this service. You have to work hard and keep at it, even when it gets tough. Working through those harder times is how I overcame that expectation of myself. Learning how to keep at it has gotten me to a much better place and I am grateful for the lesson.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
I’ve been in this field pretty much my whole life. I can’t think of something off the top of my head. It seems like everything has been done already. Whatever you choose to do, I definitely encourage you to go out and promote yourself as much as you can. The goal is to reach as many people as possible with what you offer. Direct mail is still very much a great option to reach more people than you can imagine. Don’t rely on others to show how good you are at what you do.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
I bought a camera for the work truck. It is installed in the truck and set to record while we are driving. I think it is a good investment toward making sure we are covered in the event something happens. It even monitors speed, so should anything come up, that is all recorded for the record. My insurance company loves having this as an available tool, that’s for sure. It’s great to have something that is reasonably priced that gives you an extra feeling of security.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
Google. I’m always on Google looking stuff up or YouTube. They are really good resources for new ideas or to learn something new. Whether it is for business or just something I’m interested in, I can pretty much find anything there. It makes things so much easier.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
Mastery by Robert Greene. It’s a great book. It basically breaks down the amount of time you can put into a skill to master it. I think it was like 10,000 hours or something. You will master it. The whole point of the book is to show that if you dedicate enough time to something you’re going to be great at it. It ties into my hard-working nature. That is probably what attracts me to him as an author.
What is your favorite quote?
Treat others as you want to be treated. The Golden Rule really is the best and most effective way to be successful. It doesn’t have to be rocket science. Be honest with people and treat them with the same respect that you want for yourself.
- Work hard
- Do something you love
- Be healthy
Steve (Stefan) Junge hails from Germany and helps with the day-to-day publishing of interviews on IdeaMensch. While he and Mario don’t share a favorite soccer club, their enthusiasm to help entrepreneurs is a shared passion.