Can someone be born to be an entrepreneur? In Stephen Dury’s case, the answer is a resounding yes.
“I’ve been an entrepreneur my entire life, starting with mowing lawns and shoveling snow from driveways when I was 8 years old,” explained Dury. “I’ve always been working for myself in one way or another for as long as I can remember.”
Living on the southern shore of Lake Erie, boating has been an ever-present aspect of Dury’s life as well.
“I come from a family of boaters and the boating community is a group that I’ve always known. I’ve grown up on the water and have always been infatuated with boating and the culture,” explained Dury. “My full-time job was working as a boat mechanic. Then one day, I had a neighbor ask me if I could clean his boat up for him and, while I was working on his boat, I was offered three other boats to clean. That’s how my boat detailing business, Hook & Switch, all started.”
The name “Hook & Switch” came from old nicknames given to Dury by his family while doing water sports on Lake Erie.
“Using the names as my business name just made sense to me,” he said.
While Dury understood the mechanics of boats, detailing was new to him. “I’m almost completely self-taught when referring to the visual aspects of a boat,” he explained. “I prefer doing the artistic side of detailing and I learned my skills mostly through trial and error, asking family members and information off of the internet.”
Most of Dury’s business comes from word-of-mouth referrals.
“I get my leads through finding anyone I can in a marina and striking up a conversation with them. Others call me from seeing my flyers posted around the county and I also have a new Facebook business page,” he explained. “I am constantly offering new promotions to keep things fresh for current clients and prospects alike.”
Although the majority of Dury’s clients come from the Lorain area, he is willing to travel for business. “It’s hard to quantify how many boats I detail in my busy season, although I can tell you I’m operating right now to achieve 100 boats this year. No job is the same and the scope of work varies greatly,” according to Dury. “I have a team of four people operating throughout the season.”
The most challenging aspect of Dury’s work is managing his time. As a general business student at LCCC, Dury is stretched thin.
“I’m going to school full time while running a business and time management is the hardest thing right now,” he said. “When the semester is still going and the busy season starts, it is always a 12-16 hour day. I manage my time by waking up before the sun comes up and working late after the sun has gone down.”
Dury learned of NEO LaunchNET through his professor Becky Abraham, who is also NEO LaunchNET’s program developer and coordinator of experiential education. “The entire staff has helped me with taking my business to the next level,” he explained. “I also participated in their Idea Labs business competition and was proud to come in third place.”
As for the future, Dury has specific goals. “I am transferring to Cleveland State University in the fall to pursue my bachelor’s degree in International Business Management with a minor in International Finance,” he said. “I can’t really speculate as to what I will do with Hook & Switch Boat Detailing after I graduate college as of right now, but whatever it is, I’m sure it will be exciting.”
To learn more about NEO LaunchNET, visit www.lccclaunch.com.