Greta Bajrami

Greta Bajrami is the CEO and founder of Golden Group Roofing located in Westborough and Lexington Massachusetts. Mrs. Bajrami is a “Rootless” Entrepreneur. Her fierce leadership and female representation in a male-dominated industry have gained her the respect and following of many upcoming entrepreneurs within her industry. Worcester Business Journal named Greta as 40 Under 40 Class of 2017. Remodelers Magazine recognized her innovation by awarding her the Big 50 award 2019, their most recent national award; the Bizz Award for 2020. Greta Bajrami has taken on a personal mission to change the face of construction and advocate for women within the construction industry.

Greta migrated to the USA at the age of 9 from Tirana, Albania. Greta’s family left her home country Albania at a time of war. For people like Greta who grew up in oppression, America is where she found the opportunity to apply herself. Greta Bajrami grew up in Worcester Massachusetts where she attended Worcester State University.

Greta Bajrami speaks, educates and inspires, on various topics such as; “Success is a state of mind”, “Getting over your forever failure mindset”. Greta Bajrami is the Massachusetts President and Chair of National Woman in Roofing Council, Executive Board of Director and Treasurer of the New England Roofing Contractor Association, and Foundation Board Member and Scholarship Committee of Worcester State University.

Find out more about Greta here:

Website: https://goldengrouproofing.com

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/greta-bajrami-970916140/

Click To Read The Transcript

Greta Bajrami Shares her Inspiring Rootless Journey and Breaking Barriers in the Construction Field

Pamela Bardhi
Hello everyone and welcome to another episode of underdog. Today I have an amazing guest here with me. And she’s so freakin amazing. I can’t wait for you guys to meet her Greta, how are you?

Greta Bajrami
I’m good, I’m excited for this.

Pamela Bardhi
Freaking jumping out of my seat excited, because I’m like she’s a young female in construction. And how the hell weren’t we connected before? I have no idea. But I’m so glad that you’re here and I’m so glad to meet you. So thank you so much for being here, so I’m pumped because I heard snippets of your story. And I was like, oh, man, she’s unreal. So you’ve got quite a background. Now you’re in the construction world, you’ve got your own company. You’re an entrepreneur doing all these amazing things. Now, what inspired you on your journey to really where you are today?

Greta Bajrami
Well, if we must be candid, I mean, getting out of poverty is what inspired me to be here today. I don’t think I’m very raw and honest with myself and my story. It’s not, like, I plan to be here and work. If you had told me that this was going to be my opportunity to get I probably would have told you you’re just silly.

But anything else I had this drive to better my life and better my finances for me and my daughter. I was a young mom, I had my daughter and my first year in college. So I wanted to better my life and her life, so what really inspired me to get here was just that, I mean, I just wanted to have financial freedom. And with that purpose in mind, I decided to apply some skills along the way. Which led me to the world of construction.

Pamela Bardhi
I love that. And so like I always ask this question, like. What did you want to be when you grew up? As a kid.

Greta Bajrami
I wanted to be a political advocate. And I wanted to like journals and go around the world helping and advocating for less than people. I think part of that was I grew up in a time of war, I witnessed the 9798, I witnessed the Kosovo tragedies. So being raised and seeing that as a child, I was like. I’m gonna go to America, I’m going to become like a big-time lawyer. And I’m going to go to, like, all these countries and like, represent diplomacy. That didn’t happen.

Pamela Bardhi
No, I mean, you are. I mean, we’ll get to that later. But like the mission that you’re working on, through your show, like. You’ve got a lot of amazing that’s happening. We’re not far from that, which is super exciting. Whoa. All right. So walk me through, so you grew up in Albania?

Greta Bajrami
Yes, I did. I grew up and I was born in Flora. But I grew up in Tirana, Albania because my mom was a doctor. So it was a great life growing up, but people always asked what being well was like. And I think being asked is an incredible place, where you are intellectually rich but financially poor. I don’t think intellectually we ever lacked anything. There’s always poetry, literature, theatre, math. Whatever you want, there’s always such a hunger for everything that life has to give. But financially, we reported it and we were okay with it. It was the norm, like ice cream just on the weekends. Not every day, like in your fridge. What that’s, but I mean, times have changed. It’s not like that in Albania today, but it was, like, that when I was growing up. That’s crazy.

Pamela Bardhi
So when did you leave Albania?

Greta Bajrami
I left something out, I was 10, we moved right here in Massachusetts. We were in Worcester, we went to Worcester not because we knew anybody. But because it was one of the largest holdings in population. And my mom had heard through the grapevine that like well-being is going to Worcester and she’s like. We have to go somewhere where we know somebody and I was so hungry for everything America stood for and I still.

I remember growing up and watching TV, American movies, American shows. America stood for freedom, right, the opportunity and I remember setting foot in Logan Airport and just being so excited. I only knew three sentences. How are you? What is your name? How old are you? So I would ask you to everybody and I remember the Border Patrol. They were like, you don’t have to ask your age to an older ban. And I had no idea what he was saying. But I just knew he didn’t want to answer the question.

Pamela Bardhi
That’s why we have so many parallels. It’s crazy, so I was born in Tirana. I left there when I was six months old, so we moved to Rome. And from Rome, he came to the United States. So I’ve spent some time there in Seattle, but it’s crazy. It’s like knowing where you came from. And now you’re here like it’s just so amazing. So as you were talking about Logan Airport. I remember, like, coming here and just like freaking cuz people weren’t saying my name the right way. They’re like, my name is Pamela. Pamela or Pam and your five-year-old that’s like, I’m like screaming at my bawling. Dad, they’re not saying my name right, like I was losing my mind.

And then I didn’t know any English. I had all been in and then I had Italian and I was just like losing myself and I’m like. The first day of school and Albanians will understand this and I’m not going to translate it for x rated purposes. But I went home, the day after, like, the first day of first grade for me, because I was five. So they didn’t even put me in kindergarten. They’re like, no, you’re going to first grade, like and when I came home I was like Mom. Look at all the words that I learned today. And one of them was a car dad was like. What did you learn today? Like, Oh, my God, just like hilarious little memories that you just.

Greta Bajrami
I remember those times. My first day in school, I didn’t understand anything. I was in fifth grade. But I remember when they said, we were having pizza for lunch. Because I was an international word. So I was very excited for lunch, then that’s the only subject I liked.

Pamela Bardhi
You go back to your story, but like I have to say this because Nutella was not big. So I’m eating my Nutella sandwiches at lunch and everyone’s like, Wow, that looks like crap. I like it, it tastes so good and like now, I’m like, look at you people being obsessed with Nutella. But I brought it here first, I was the pilot. Before all of you. That’s so funny. All these little stories, right? But they stick with you throughout the year. You grew up in Worcester and went to high school in Worcester?

Greta Bajrami
Yes, I did, I was a big part of the helping community and foster, I mean, I was excited. And I was just like anybody else I focused most of my time in academia. I wanted to accelerate my studies, I had a dream of going to law school to continue that dream of political advocacy. And I always lined myself up. I was the girl that took the advanced placement classes, I was the girl that did the volunteering after school, I mean, I tried to do everything. That I knew was needed for that next step in my life, but life has a different idea.

Pamela Bardhi
Right? When you went off to college. What was your major at that time?

Greta Bajrami
I didn’t quite go off right away, because I was surprised and April with a baby inside of me. So all my dreams and all my hardship was paused. You know, it was a very depressing time in my life. I’m very open about that. I’d sound like I regretted my daughter. I don’t. Yeah, she’s part of my life today. But I regretted my mother’s choices. So I remember being this young girl who’s about to go to college, now finds out she’s pregnant in an Albanian household. Has to face not only her parents, not only her family but her community as the scarlet letter.

And how do you do that and how do you do that gracefully? So you don’t feel worthless every day when you face society. That was the hardest thing for me, so I remember I wanted to go to Suffolk and I had enrolled in Suffolk University. And then I had to unenroll because obviously, I couldn’t afford it. I knew very early on that I wouldn’t be able to afford going to school, paying for school, and then raising a child. So I enrolled and I looked for more affordable universities and the local university of Worcester was much less, so I decided to enroll into Worcester State University.

And I still went to college right away that same fall. But it was just a completely different path than the one that I had envisioned for myself. So I quickly had to adjust course and start to start a whole new chapter. And I decided that I wouldn’t pursue law at that point in time. Because it just seemed such a far-fetched dream and I went for something a little bit more subtle. So I was like, Oh, I’m gonna, you know. I’m going to be in business, so I majored in business at that time.

Pamela Bardhi
That’s amazing. Thank you for sharing that about your story. And I always mentioned this, because you just never know who’s listening, right? Like, how did you get through those moments where like, you felt like you were the scarlet letter. Everything feels like caving in? How did you navigate past that?

Greta Bajrami
Yeah, it’s important for anybody listening that everybody has a shameful past. Everybody has something behind closed doors, whether you know it or not and maybe yours is just outside. And I’ve seen you know, it’s publicly faced in society and you must help yourself. Either with your own stress reliever and coping methods. Or you must seek help, it’s really important to do it and you can seek help sometimes. And what I found out is that you can see helping strangers. That was something very new to me being an Albanian girl, very traditional. Growing up, I thought that I had to seek help and assistance from my immediate family and my cousins.

And it wasn’t the case for me, because they didn’t understand that. But it wasn’t that I was so wrong, that I was this person that was just so bad. I was seeking advice in the wrong circle, I had to go a little bit further out of my circle. And find other strangers that were willing to listen to my story. Whether it was a school or whether it was in a networking group. Whatever it be, it was somebody in the library, they struck up a conversation that said, you know what, no, you’re worthy. Like, don’t let something that happened, just be all that you are. You’re so much more, you’re still the same graph.

I remember people saying that you’re still on the same graph. Like what does that mean? And then I started to believe that I’m still the same person. Sure, I may have made a decision that was maybe ill-timed, but I’m still the same person. All the wood that came before and after didn’t change who I was as a person. And I think that’s the important message to remember that everybody has some sort of flaw. But we don’t have to let it define, who we were prior or who we are after.

Pamela Bardhi
I love that seeking solace with strangers and just surrounding yourself with different people. There’s support out there, the universe loves you, I tell people that all the time. There are so much more people rooting for you than you can ever imagine. Yeah, exactly. Which is, thank you so much for sharing that grid. Like seriously because like you just never know in those moments, people get so stuck. And so like, oh, how do I get out of this and like to know that is super important. So thank you so much for sharing that, so walk me through like after college. That’s after you had your beautiful daughter?

Greta Bajrami
Yes, I went to college with my daughter, I was the craziest student. I would take my daughter, like, everywhere I went on campus, whatever library and I was in an entrepreneurship class. And I found that I had a calling towards that. Like I really enjoyed it, I really enjoyed putting business plans together and coming up with outlines. So I had this perfect business plan. Of course, I’m obeying and so guess what? I had to have a coffee shop, I just had to. So I was like, I’m gonna call it tiramisu cafe because tiramisu means pick me up. And it’s picked me up coffee, so dear Mr. cafe, I was like, it’s gonna be in Boston. I’m not sure where exactly, but it’s gonna be super cool, so I remember sketching.

I remember doing the business plan, it was just so cool and my professors loved it so much. They’re like this wins like you won, you created the perfect business is so great. And then I put that on the back burner and then that summer, I really needed a job. But not many people were hiring because it was 2011. And later, the companies are still coming out post-recession. So I remember going online and people were saying construction foreman to 200 to $300 a day and my eyes are like thinking, like. If you remember yourself post-college, all you see is dollar bills. You’re like, oh, I don’t even ask like what are the hours requirements? I’m seeing, like 300, I could work seven days a week.

This is pretty awesome. I can work 12 months a year, like yes, I took that job ad I applied. And I got hired, I think I got hired not because I knew anything because I didn’t. It’s just because I was different. I was like a girl in a construction office, asking to be a sales agent not to be a marketer. But to be a construction foreman and they literally threw me into the job, the next day and I had a roofing job. And I remember, like, it was yesterday where the crew was screaming ice and water shield and I think they wanted me to go buy more. That’s a leak barrier roofing. But I didn’t know that I just thought it was like ice and water because it happened to be also June.

I remember going to the supermarket to get them ice and water and not the ice and water sealed. So I think the guys thought it was cute to have a girl on site until I became a newsstands. And we didn’t end up finishing the roof that day. So then I realized that if I had to earn money, I had to become part of the crew. I had to go in at nighttime and train and educate myself in the industry. Coming to this site each day is like owning it so they can respect me. And I realized that like the glow of having a girl and so I was very quick when I made my first mistake. You know it’s construction, you gotta have thick skin, there’s profanity at times.

It’s high anxiety, high pressure, so if you’re a girl, you’re already at a disadvantage, so to say if you’re too emotional. So I realized that I had to check the emotion at the door and I had to be one of the gods, like, when we were on site. I was one of the gods, it didn’t matter if I was a girl or boy, like. We were all crewmen and or crew people I should say. And we did our thing and that went on for three years. It wasn’t until a little later on that I realized that hey, what if I created something different? What if I took that tiramisu cafe proposal and turned it into a roofing company?

Like that’d be really cool, right? Because I could bring customer service hospitality like once. They entered my home and I could serve them. You know that being in hospitality is a trademark. And I said, Oh, that’s what I’m gonna do. So I remember in December, sitting down in my mom’s house and like crossing tiramisu cafe out and I put golden group roofing. The reason I chose the golden group is because the golden group is what built a lot of the Abu Dhabi islands and Dubai. So I wanted to be like, make something that wasn’t there.

Pamela Bardhi
So funny that your first business plan was a coffee shop. Because that’s what I owned first. Like, by the time I was 21, I had my first baby was Ria cafe. Which was like a coffee shop with gelato and all that stuff. It’s awesome.

Greta Bajrami
Maybe I’ll retire from coffee. I’ll do the reverse.

Pamela Bardhi
That’s so funny. So first off, because a lot of people ask me this question too. But I am a developer, so I haven’t liked working on site. So what was that like?

Greta Bajrami
At first, when I opened this podcast, I was just excited because I was like. I don’t want to lose this job, like, this is good money I want to keep this job. So I was like, I have to earn and I have to work hard. And there were days, where I would question everything. Days where I would say, maybe this isn’t for me like I need to really go back into the job market and look for a real job. I know I’m saying that it’s a real job. But you have to understand I was coming out of college, I had this perception that a real job was like an office with a suit. And of course, it’s very different now and I advocate against it.

But that’s a state of mind I was in and there were days, where I hated my job. There were days when I would look at my hands, I was really dirty. We had no cleaner sometimes on-site and I was the roofing cleaner. I was hauling this debris in a wheelbarrow right into the dumpster, I mean. It’s four tonnes of the real day, that you’re pushing into a dumpster. So it was heavy manual labor, my back hurt, I was aching. It was hot, I looked horrible. I couldn’t even recognize myself as I was eating out of a gas station. Anybody that’s listening to this that’s been in construction knows what that’s like. It’s like the 711 diets, you know, the banana nut muffin, with a drink from the cooler and then at night time the ramen noodle.

Because they let you use the hot water at the coffee machine. I mean, it was a horrible lifestyle. But I was so much into it that I was confused, I didn’t know what to do, like, I prove to people that I’m not worthy again. And I quite something, I’ve already started, or do I make something of myself because a lot of people were like, Oh. There she goes again, like another failure again. She wasn’t able to do what her friends did or what others did. Or what society expects me to do again, I was a failure in the eyes of society. First, because I was on traditional, second because, again, I was on traditional, I picked a non traditional career path. I invested time in roofing, particularly something that was very frowned upon.

Because if you see a growth in roofing, it’s usually in marketing. It’s not on a construction site, covered in asphalt and street marks in her cheeks. So there were definitely really bad days, there were days that were very low for me. And I remember some of the crewmen became my best friend. That’s why I say roofing saved my life. Because a lot of the guys would say, look, we’re at a year already in this. You can either make something of yourself here, like. Use the time already here to build from that or you can just go back. And going back doesn’t guarantee success.

I put this metaphorically for people, it’s like being a surfer. And riding a wave. If you give up in the middle of that wave, you have no control of where that wave takes you. It could either take you to shore or take you to sea. But you don’t have control over it. If you ride the wave, you know that the outcome will be that sunshine. That’s the mindset that a friend of mine told me metaphorically and I’ve always thought of everything. I’ve been doing it since that day. That way, like, I’m riding the wave, I’ve already committed to this. And I only see myself coming out of it and seeing sunshine and maybe a few people cheering.

Pamela Bardhi
I love that. That’s similar to what I always used to think, I still do. It’s like after every thunderstorm is a rainbow. But you gotta get through the thunderstorm first. And then at the end of the day, that’s amazing and like also to find that like on construction sites. If you respect them, they respect you. Like, if you hold your end of the wait, they’re not going to question you, If you’re like, Ah, no, this and this. And then they’re like, Oh, she knows what she’s talking about? It’s the key because you need to walk confidently and know your ish. Because they will call you out on it.

Greta Bajrami
I was gonna say that’s the conclusion. Like, if you don’t actually know what you’re talking about, doesn’t matter if you’re male or female. Eventually, people start to call your bluff. And there’s nothing I always tell myself and any person that asks me, there’s nothing more sexy than confident people. And confident people are only people that know their worth. You don’t know your worth unless you have it backed up by something.

It doesn’t really have to be traditional methods. And it could be you because you’re the Craftsman you’ve been doing for so long. It doesn’t need to be a certification. You don’t need to be a coach or to be great at it. But you do have to have some sort of life skill that backs it up and proves to people that you are indeed worthy. And you are indeed confident of that task or craft or talent.

Pamela Bardhi
Absolutely. Because I’m like, listen if you walk in there confident and if you’re like, no and this, and you respect people, you pay them on time. Like you’re never gonna have an issue. But if you sit there or if you nitpick, dealing with guys on sites, I know how it is like. No, it’s just good. I’m like no. But when you have that mutual respect for each other male or female, it really doesn’t matter.

But you’re also compassionate because now you have your own company. So now you’re dealing with them like as their boss. That’s a whole another thing. So what was it like transitioning into your own business? I think it takes some serious balls to do that. Like first off starting it and be in it for a while and then to go out and saying I want to start my own construction business. Putting my own roofing company like that’s badass like what?

Greta Bajrami
I remember being a dreamer. I remember saying to myself that I actually wanted to franchise my boss’s company. When he gave me such a bad shark offer that couldn’t take it. So I had to give it up. And I remember telling him that I’m going to give you my four-week notice. I’m going to clear out all my production board, and I’m going to go try this on my own. Because I think I can do it. And I remember him saying, well, you don’t have siblings, because I’m an only child. You’re a first-generation immigrant, how are you going to get business? Like, nobody knows you. You don’t exist. Like, how are people gonna give you business?

And I told him, Well, I wouldn’t be a good person to either you or myself if I didn’t try because it wasn’t just for him. It wasn’t just about me. I knew working for him, I would have become miserable. So I was doing him a favor too. I said I want you to remember Gretta is like this bubbly girl showed up the construction at 630. Talk too much that the guys would be like somebody next shut her up. Because we talk a lot. We talk with our hands, and we talk loud and we want people to talk loud with us. Yeah, I told him I want you to remember it means that like get out. And I don’t want you to remember me somebody that was didn’t like what they did every single day. So I said I’m just gonna try it.

And I remember having $15,000 for marketing and my own websites, my own logos. Like the usual startup kit of an intrapreneur at 15 grand and I gave 15 grand at that time to Angie’s List and Yelp because they were big. And I’m just kind of waiting by the phone. I know somebody 15 grand, a lot of money for me. I remember no one calls for like 20 days. 20 days now a single soul called, here’s 20 days of zero money. I’m like, What have I done? I need to go back, ask for my job. Like, I could ask, I need to go back like, please hire me. But then like a day later, I’ll never forget a gentleman called and he had just moved into the city.

He didn’t really know many companies, which was in my favor, because my name just popped up. And he just called and we hit it off. And from that first person in October, by December, we had already had 15 clients. Whoa, that’s insane, I was very excited about that. These were my 15 babies. I made all these 15 people. Like reviews on every single channel. Like can I please videotape you? Can I videotape your own like, please be on my referral. Because the next year I had 15 References, 15 testimonials, 15 reviews. I was like, Yes, we are ready to go.

Greta’s Mantra In Life

Pamela Bardhi
That’s amazing. You went zero to 100. Like real quick, in that first year. And you made that investment in yourself. Which I think is so powerful, because so many people just like excuses upon as to why they don’t execute on their dreams. But you were just like, I’m just gonna do this. Like, I know, I got it. And it’s not like it was easy. I mean, you had your daughter and then you don’t have a security income at the time, but you still did it. You invested that. You built your own website, you did your thing. In your mind, like what was inspiring you throughout this whole process, like your mantra?

Greta Bajrami
I think it’s important to note that because a lot of people don’t realize, what do you have to lose? I know people say that. But in any state in your life, if you got a lot of losing, maybe think about it. But like, there’s a lot of us who don’t have anything to lose. Because maybe we’re miserable in what we’re doing. Or maybe because we already have financial steady income coming elsewhere. So again, what do you have to lose? And that’s what I kept telling myself, like, how much worse could have gotten? It was already pretty bad.

It wasn’t gonna get any worse than that. So I was like I have to do it, I have to try it. Because I’m working here for three years, my boss doesn’t want to give me a pay increase, doesn’t want me to front. Doesn’t want to really elevate me, what am I gonna lose? I’m either gonna stay here stale. And I felt like dying at the time, but it was being dramatic. Or I can try and if I don’t grow here, it’s okay. Because both places I wouldn’t have grown.

But I have to try, right? Like I have to at least try because what do I have to lose? And I think that’s the biggest thing in life. I think if you sit with that mindset of what do I have to lose? Then you’ll always leap further than anybody else. But I think if you do have a lot to lose, then maybe for you, it’s something that you have to think. I don’t think everybody’s an intrapreneur. Like there’s a lot of people that do really well working within startup companies and being intrapreneurs.

Pamela Bardhi
Absolutely. I totally agree with that. I always say this and like regret is far worse than fear. What scares the shit out of me is to think 20 years from now, and look back and be like, Oh, I wish I did this. Because you can’t get time back. That is the one thing you can never get back. So I’m like, you would rather sit there 10 15, five, three years from now. A year from now and be like, Oh, I wish I did that. Like to know that you don’t have that opportunity twice. And it’s like when people do tell me like, Oh, Pamela I got this and I’m like, well, there’s ways to mitigate your risk.

If you really want to build your dream, a lot of people started off as a side hustle, to begin with. And then their way up. There’s ways to do this in a smart way when you’re just not dropping your entire life. And saying, like, I’m gonna go do this but it might not be like that. But I also had blankets behind me. Because I was still living with my parents at the time when I first became an entrepreneur. So it was like, I really don’t have anything to lose except for like my time and maybe my soul throughout the process.

Greta Bajrami
It’s important to note that a lot of people say don’t work for free. I’m not. I don’t know what your thoughts are. But I am a big believer that I don’t think you’re ever working for free. Because you’re still gaining something, right? I always tell even my daughter, like if your brain is on, which I hope it is, you’re still gaining something out of it. Like regardless, if it is really free. No, I don’t think it is.

And I think that’s a notion that sometimes, like the Hallmark image of intrapreneurship puts like. No, of course, you have to work for free. But it’s not really free. Because you’re getting knowledge, you’re getting experience, you’re building yourself. So I’m a big believer that like, sure, you can work, you can start a side hustle. And if it’s free financially, then it’s going to make you rich, and a lot of other areas that you probably don’t even know or account for.

Pamela Bardhi
That’s amazing. When did you start up your company? Exactly what year was it?

Greta Bajrami
Yeah, so I actually started in 2012. But I wasn’t direct to consumers until 2015. I’ve only been direct to consumers since 2015. So this is our sixth season. So to say 56 seasons direct to consumer.

Pamela Bardhi
Amazing, and how’s everything going for you?

Greta Bajrami
It’s going great. We’ve done a very different approach. I knew from the very early start that you’re never going to gain a competitive advantage over your competition if there are 100 years in business. But you can be unique and different. And that’s something that I always struck a chord with me. I think a lot of people mistake is they try to come on to the scene, whether it’s roofing, construction, whatever it is, and they were like, oh, I’m gonna beat this guy. Or I want to become better than the guy. But chances are no because that guy’s been around for 100 years for a reason.

There’s something he’s doing. And I think that’s an arrogant state of mind to come into the marketplace with that concept, that mindset. So I said to myself, I’m never going to get a competitive edge over them. Because I’ve been here 100 years back and unique and different and open a whole new market right for myself. Like a whole new pool where I can like, fish out if it’s gonna be much smaller. Maybe like a mini pond, but I’m just gonna work. Work with what I can get, feed myself as much with the fish that I can catch. So that was the mindset that I had. And with that mindset is what led to the substantial growth because we tried different strategies.

We knew that we couldn’t really do mailers, we didn’t really have brand awareness. But we knew that we could start a blog and have a voice and start educating people differently on the web. And maybe focus more on that online presence. And then we knew that we could start with the social media and focus on that because obviously, we’re a younger group of people. Then we started to think differently. We’re like, well, what if people like us are buying homes. What if we can just tap into this market? You know, the 30 to 40-year-olds right now? So that’s what we did.

And we came into the market very different knowing that we were just going to have we were going to be different and unique. We weren’t necessarily going to go direct heads on with the competition that had been around hundred years. Certainly not. We respect them very much. And we just wanted to build a different category for ourselves that was unique and different. And with that process, I think, is why we’ve had such an incredible growth in such a short period of time.

Pamela Bardhi
That’s so exciting. Oh, my God, I love it. Because now business is booming. Yeah, I mean, how many? Right now roughly?

Greta Bajrami
In a given year, we’ll have 400 different unique clients. So right now we’ve done over 4000 something clients, it’s been great. I mean, it’s a great time for me to sit and watch it all. Because I remember wanting to just hit a million that was like my dream. I was like, I just want to hit a million dollars in sales. And then I kept doubling that number and seeing if I could push myself further and further. And I took a lot of risks along the way.

I think that’s why paid off. I’m a big believer in marketing. I’m a big believer in brand awareness. I think a lot of people, particularly in the construction industry are not as bold when it comes to this. And that’s something where I would say I would take like all my profit for the year. I’d say no, no, let’s reinvest it back and golden Grove. Let’s just try this because I think this works. And I remember even some of my mentors saying, Are you sure you want to do that?

That’s a lot of money, you give me a chance to give to a media agency or to give to Google? And I remember saying no, no, no, we have to do it. Because that’s the only way we’re going to grow brand awareness. That’s the only way we’re going to grow. And that’s my biggest tip to anyone. If you focus on just profit and loss and balance sheets, you’re short-sighted of the growth and the potential of your own business. You’re more invested in the yearly net income than you are in the growth that what it is that you’re trying to build.

Pamela Bardhi
I love that so much so because branding is everything. It’s everything. Why do you buy Tylenol instead of like the CVS brand. Even if it’s the same exact way like people will gravitate towards a brand more. And I love that you reinvested your capital there and just continue to build that brand awareness because that’s what it’s all about. That’s your differentiator. And I agree with you and construction. Oh, my God, I’m like, do you guys have a logo? It’s like, they literally on their cars, just like, the phone number, the name, it’s like, Okay, well, what do you do? What’s the company name? Where are you based out of? Do you have a website?

Greta Bajrami
Yeah, exactly. So very early on, I was okay with making a traditional salary as a CEO. I’m more concerned of the growth of the company like. Doesn’t matter about what I’m taking home today, because I’m not an attorney. I’m not here just for today. I’m here for the next 2030 years, whatever God has planned for me, I’m not here for just today. And that’s what I tell my team and myself. If we can add more equipment if we can add more office if we can add more staff, let’s do that.

Because my time will come. I think any intrapreneur listening, your time will come and it will be sweet. When it does. I guarantee you as long as you’re not short-sighted because if you’re short-sighted, you might lose that branding aspect. Or you might lose that team aspect. I mean, people tend to leave quickly, Millennials Gen Z’s and not gonna stick around. If you were being selfish with your growth financially.

Pamela Bardhi
That makes total sense. And like with everything and your experiences. Now at this point in time, what would your older self tell your younger self based on what you know, now?

Greta Bajrami
I would tell myself to not doubt yourself that it can be done. I think if somebody else have an equal opportunity to do it, I remember my younger self saying, I took three years to even try it. There was a lot of times in the golden group, took a long time hiring people because I was afraid of their paycheck. Every time I’d hire somebody, I do the math. I’d be like, Oh, that’s $500,000 that I have to come up with. But it didn’t work like that. Or that’s how many 1000 is gonna come out of profit. Where we’re going to find that money to pay these people, that didn’t work like that.

And that’s, I would tell myself that, no, you’re looking at it completely the wrong way. Every time you add a person, they’re not necessarily taking that money from you. Or you’re not from the company directly. If anything, they’re taking that money because you’re out there working. And you’re bringing in more, they’re bringing in more too. Because they’re expanding the network to their friends and family and to people they care about. So I remember I wouldn’t hire fast enough, because I was so worried of the financial responsibility of payroll on the company.

I was looking at it so wrong, I would just literally take like all the wages of all the people and be like. Oh, if we have this much money in the bank, we have to subtract this much. And that’s how much I can’t do that. I can’t Oh my god, what if these people don’t have money to pay? Like, I don’t want to be responsible for these people’s like the money. And I remember telling myself one day, like, why am I so afraid to hire people? Like, I can’t think like that, I have to think of like, no, they’re gonna come on.

Because we’re gonna keep growing or kind of getting better, and everybody’s gonna love it. We’re gonna keep going forward. So I don’t know if anybody has similar experience. But that was my biggest fear to my young self. I was afraid to hire people because I always viewed it as a liability on me. Like it drowned me so much. But once I got rid of that fear, it was easier to hire people. I was like, oh, would you want to come work for me? If you want to come to work? Do you want to like, would you like to join the team?

Pamela Bardhi
That’s awesome. I had to break through that like, this past year, because I was just like, do it all like no, I got it. Like, I have agents on my team and stuff like that. Bring people on the payroll and like that. Scared, like the living crap. Because you’re like, I’m their source of income. Like what happens if you get all this anxiety? You just feel like such a liability when truthfully they really just propel you forward. So thank you for sharing. But I feel exactly what you’re saying. Because it’s it took me a while to break through that too. And I’m sure every entrepreneur, it’s the same thing delegation. That I think that’s part of the reason why delegation is the hardest thing to do for that exact reason. People are terrified.

Greta Bajrami
Don’t be afraid. Just bring in one person at a time and see what it does too. And see a child do it because I think it’s not going to only grow you personally but grow your finances, even more, your whole brand is going to grow.

Pamela Bardhi
I love it. And now like what are you up to in your world these days?

Greta Bajrami
Ever since two years ago, everybody wanted to hear the greatest story because it’s a little unique and different, not as traditional as most. And with that came an opportunity to mine where I was sitting in a room and I was looking at the audience. And I said, Man, there’s not too many stories like mine being told on stage. But there’s definitely a lot of stories like mine and the audience. I just remember looking at people’s eyes and saying there’s so many people like me out there.

And that felt powerful and I remember I said to myself like what are people like me and I remember being at a coffee shop. Sitting in September 2019, and having coffee and I said, I’m rootless, I don’t have roots. I’m rootless and I’m free. Because I’m not tied to the stigmas of my culture. I’m not tied to the stereotypes of being a young parent, to the traditional ways of construction, I’m really rootless. I go where I want to go, and I make routes there.

Where I think I’m meant to be right now our society tells me that I should be but rather where I’m meant to be. Because sometimes society tells us that we’re meant to stay in this place based on our previous experience. Or how we culturally grew up. But then I said, No, I’m gonna uproot and route where I’m meant to be. So that’s where rootless came to mind. And I sat on this big journey to create a platform that would be with serve as an educational platform. Where people would be able to download blueprints of successful entrepreneurs, and the industry research paired together. And use that as a startup guide into a similar business model or industry.

And with that purpose in mind, rootless me came to life. It’s a platform that’s launching in July 2021. And you’ll be able to download blueprints and to get your own startup going. Or you can hire rootless experts, we call them rootless experts because that’s what they really are. I mean, they’re experts from all walks of life, different faces, different ethnicities. Just different, and I’m really excited about it. I think this is going to be a very special project that’s gonna impact a lot of lives. As they too will identify as rootless citizens of the world.

Pamela Bardhi
I love that rootless. Oh my god, it’s so amazing. I’ve seen your advocacy that you wanted to be as a kid is right here through this.

Greta Bajrami
I know. It’s like a little. They always say so I have this thing. This my the last thing that I’ll say. Skill will often lead me to passion. So I was skillful. I took that job, I love roofing, but essentially that passion as a child, I found that along the way. Maybe they don’t come to me right away. But it’s funny how life brought me exactly where I was meant to be.

And I think sometimes in life, use a skill that will lead you to your passion. And don’t look back just start right. If you sit there waiting too long for a passion to hit you. For some of us, it may never come. Time is of the essence. You got to just start with a skill if you have a skill out there today. Start and you never know where it might lead you.

Pamela Bardhi
Amen, girl. I love it so much. I love it so much. Now everyone’s got to know where to find you and your amazing this. And your company, of course.

Greta Bajrami
Yeah, I mean golden group roofing on Instagram, Facebook, but rootlessme.com for the rootless project that’s starting July 2021. And of course on Instagram and Facebook word lists me as well. But if you always want to tap chat or network greyed out by Romy on LinkedIn, that’s the best place to just start a conversation and then we’ll go from there.

Pamela Bardhi
Oh my god, you’re such a rock star. Thank you so much for being here today. Gretta, you are unreal and amazing. And I’m so honored to meet you and your story.

Greta Bajrami
I as well I’m so happy.

 

Tune in to the episode to hear the rest of my incredible interview with the amazing Greta Bajrami.