1051 – The Truth Behind Owning a Trade Business with Mike Malatesta

In this episode of the Thoughtful Entrepreneur, your host Josh Elledge speaks with Mike Malatesta.

Mike is an entrepreneur, author, and coach and has seen great success in the waste management industry. He got into space accidentally, and it began when he drove a garbage truck in college. Not only did he enjoy the work, but he really liked the industry. He trained and became a manager at a large waste management company and went on to become the company’s youngest divisional vice president. This all came to a shocking end when he was let go suddenly. He didn’t have a network or large support group. This led him to start his own business with an old coworker. Six months later, he owned a waste management company himself that he successfully ran and operated. 

Josh and Mike explore the opportunity in working in these trade industries. There’s an abundance of opportunities for entrepreneurs because these spaces aren’t celebrated or recognized enough. Mike shares that there is glitziness in waste management. He didn’t want to work in a space dominated by big players – there is space for start-ups in trades and it can be a good move if you have a good lay of the industry. If you’re able to differentiate yourself and offer new solutions in a space such as this, you can see some great success. 

Mike also shares how he started building his client base in this space. One of their first clients was a metal processing facility. He shared his story honestly and explained the solutions and differentiating factors their company addressed – and the facility took a chance on them. Sometimes, it takes a leap of faith, honesty and transparency, and a genuine authenticity in approaching your first set of customers. It can be difficult building your client base starting out, but be resilient, take advantage of your whole network, and continue building it even when you get discouraged. A humble grassroots beginning takes time, but if you’re consistent and don’t give up, you’ll see the fruits of your labor.  

Mike shares that the combination of his business’s grit, his dedication to making it work, and his authenticity when approaching leads are the steps to how he grew his business. Josh also explores company culture in trades, and Mike shares that the waste management space is very people-centric. Don’t just look at an industry for what it is – look at it for what it does. This industry keeps things clean and orderly and it’s a noble, service-based pursuit. This is how trades should be considered, especially by business owners. 

Check out Mike’s book, Owner Shift at

Listen to Mike’s podcast, How’d It Happen?

Check out Mike Malatesta’s website at

Check out Mike Malatesta on LinkedIn at  

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