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A humble start

Janesky went from building houses at 18 years of old, making about $18,000 a year, to owning more than $1 billion in “blue collar” businesses, including one of the largest basement repair companies in the U.S.

He’s achieved this while working fewer hours than the average CEO. “I haven’t worked a weekend in 30 years,” he says. “If you have to work 70 hours a week, you’re doing it wrong.”

Janesky studied carpentry at a regional vocational technical high school, “so I wasn’t afraid to cut wood and nail it together.” In 1983, he put an ad in a local newspaper, offering his services for carpentry work, stating: “no job too small.”

Then someone called and asked him to build a house, so Janesky, at 18 years of age — along with a friend who was 17 and his younger brother who was 14 — spent the summer building a house. “You can’t make this up,” he says. When they were done, the guy next door also asked them to build a house, and it was “off to the races.”

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Small steps to big success

The secret to his success? “It’s been 40 years, okay? We didn’t make a big jump — we made a lot of little ones.” Some business people are looking for that “quick hit,” he says, so they can get rich and sel l— but that’s the wrong mindset.

For example, with his Dr Energy Saver business, Janesky went $5.5 million in the hole “with no end to the losses in sight.” Then, after it seemed he hit rock bottom, his business partner quit and sued him. “So what do I do? Do I quit? No, I kept going,” he says.

Today Dr Energy Saver is a profitable business. Not only that, but it’s based on making homes more energy-efficient and less expensive to own. “I’ve had a great positive environmental impact on the world because I didn’t quit.”

Along with his son, Janesky has also invented many key products used in basement and crawl space repair solutions, including a high-performance dehumidifier and “the world’s best” air purifier. To date, Janesky has 32 patents.

Building a loyal team

But Janesky has another “secret” to his success: a loyal team. “If you have continual turnover, nobody gets good at what they’re doing and then you’re constantly rebuilding your company,” he says.

He also pays his employees well. “Some of these guys make over $100,000 a year — because they earn it.” It’s hard work; they go into tiny crawl spaces with dead mice and snake skins and mud and bugs. When they leave at the end of the day, the customer could “crawl in there in their pajamas.”

In the beginning, you think it’s about making a lot of money, he adds. “I think that a lot of business owners don’t stick with it long enough to realize what it’s really about — and it’s not about the money.”

Janesky doesn’t get his self-esteem from how much money he makes. Rather, “it’s the relationships and the good that you’ve done,” he says. “Did you leave the world better than when you found it? That’s what it’s about.”

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About the Author

Vawn Himmelsbach

Vawn Himmelsbach

Freelance Contributor

Vawn Himmelsbach is a journalist who has been covering tech, business and travel for more than two decades. Her work has been published in a variety of publications, including The Globe and Mail, Toronto Star, National Post, CBC News, ITbusiness, CAA Magazine, Zoomer, BOLD Magazine and Travelweek, among others.

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