In 2008, Jamie Myatt was working in the oil patch as an electrician when the economy took a downturn.
When he came back home to Dartmouth, he found a job as a journeyman for a local company.
But it wasn’t long before he felt unfulfilled in his role and decided to make the leap into running his own business.
“I felt there was more I could offer to my family and myself, and the public at large,” Myatt says.
He launched Home Style Electric in 2009 on a shoestring budget.
Myatt started off with small jobs – adding a plug or two, changing a light fixture or an electrical panel.
Over the years he built relationships with good general contractors, and today they tackle renovations of all sizes.
“The entrepreneurial spirit runs strong in my family, as my father was also a contractor many years ago,” Myatt says. “I guess running my own business was inevitable.”
Home Style Electric recently completed their largest job – the rewire of a 26-unit apartment building that was built almost a century ago!
Myatt is always on the hunt for bigger jobs, especially now that he’s hired two employees: “We have had thousands of satisfied customers over the years, and we are fortunate they keep calling us back as needed and referring us to their friends and family. Word of mouth is our greatest advertising and we are very proud of that.”
Today he has a better work-life balance thanks to his employees, but when Myatt first started his company, he was working on the tools from 8 am to 4 pm, coming home for supper, and going out again in the evenings and weekends to quote jobs.
He kept busy as much as he could to provide for his family.
“Running a business has been one of the most challenging and rewarding things I have done in my life"
“When you are a business owner, you can look to no one else for your living. Other business owners reading this will know exactly what I am talking about. Vacations have been infrequent and short. Electrical is highly competitive, and if you want to exist in this marketplace, you must be willing to do what it takes.”
Myatt credits Fiona, his wife, with keeping both their family and business on the right track.
They have three active daughters, ages 14, 17 and 19, and Myatt says Fiona does the “behind the scenes” work that keeps a business running, from keeping the books to paying the bills on time.
“She is the reason I am able to be in business at all and I give her all the credit for our continued success,” he says.
Aside from continuing to grow his electrical business, he has his eye on building his real estate portfolio to aid in his retirement.
He’s proud to help his employees reach their own goals, support his family with his business and provide people with an honest opinion and quality work.
His “small business win” is sticking it through the tough years of a new business when workdays are long and finances are tight.
“Starting your own business is always a risk so surviving the first 3 years of our business was a huge ‘win’ for us,” Myatt says. “We knew we were doing something right and this gave us the confidence to keep going. Knowing the failure rates of new businesses was not encouraging and we tried hard to push through the first crucial years.”
His biggest challenge is standing out in a highly competitive and small marketplace, but there are plans in the works for marketing initiatives to reach more customers.
His biggest piece of advice to other business owners is to be frugal: “Sometimes it takes money to make money and if you don’t have any, all the opportunities in the world will pass you by. The money in your bank account is only yours after all the bills have been paid! Retained earnings are a huge benefit and can be used to fund other projects that make money as well.”
He urges new business owners to be careful with their purchases.
“You should not get too big too fast,” Myatt says. “In the world of construction, even in my limited time in business, I have seen many new businesses start up, with all brand-new vehicles, seem to be doing great, then they are gone. You have to crawl before you can walk and you have to walk before you can run.”
Myatt relies on his Local Tax Consultant Clement Forest-Leblanc to answer his questions after hours – at a time and place that works for him: “Switching to FBC was one of the best decisions I could have made. They are my ‘ace in the hole’ in so many ways. When we have questions now, they are always answered quickly and accurately, and I have learned so much from Clem. I love the fact that Clem will stop by after hours to see us if we need his help. He genuinely seems to love what he does, and I would encourage anyone getting into business, to make FBC a “partner” in their business.”