- July 24, 2020
That last point is a straight line to OnPlace: Onstad says the firm’s success in year one has come, in some part, from knowing what works in some communities, demographics per each neighborhood and other intricate details.
One other significant lesson? Overcoming rejection. “I don’t let the nos get me down,” she says. “Just because it didn’t work out one way, you have to keep going to figure it out. If you work hard and are diligent, then good things will happen.”
Current role: Executive director of the Gulf Coast CEO Forum, a business leadership organization in the Sarasota-Bradenton region focusing on relationships, ideas and solutions to common business issues. Manooshian has also worked in health care and senior living, in marketing and sales, and event planning.
Childhood startup: When Manooshian was in ninth grade, growing up in the Richmond, Virginia area, she made and sold barrettes to other teenage girls at school. Her original goal in launching the business, in the mid 1980s, was simply to be able to buy Jordache jeans — the ones with the ankle zippers. “The fact that I made enough money to afford those,” she says, “was a really big thing back then.”
Lessons for today: Manooshian quickly recalls how starting a business targeting what was then, to her at least, an elite customer base —cheerleaders — was a big deal. She later sold her homemade barrettes to other students in the school, changing colors and designs. “I was a very shy kid,” she says, “but all of a sudden I had something all the kids wanted.”
Overcoming shyness led to something Manooshian utilizes often in her current role with the CEO Forum, a membership-based group that aims to bring in national, high-level speakers. That teenage business, she says, “taught me how to open up to people and have a conversation. You never know what’s going to come out of it. Even if you put your foot in your mouth that’s OK.”
Current role: A Business Observer 40 under 40 winner in 2020, Pajevic is the CEO of Sarasota-based Crystal Clean Green Cleaning and Cleanlio Inc. The former is a home cleaning business with clients in Sarasota and Bradenton he founded in early 2013. The latter is a company Pajevic launched in 2021 to serve as a consulting business for others who run or are starting a cleaning company. He recently started a home watch business as well.
Childhood startup: Growing up in Lakewood Ohio, Pajevic’s first business was a classic kid and teen startup: mowing lawns. First, when he was as young as eight-years-old, he knocked on the doors of neighbors’ homes, offering his lawn care services. By the time he was 12 and 13, Pajevic had expanded both his geography in the neighborhood and went seasonal — offering snow shovel services in the winter.
Lessons for today: One important lesson Pajevic, 41, picked up early on was the power of marketing when a business sells a product or service, like mowing lawns and shoveling driveways, many others provide. Pajevic actually sort of did some guerilla marketing before it was cool, making his own flyers to put in mailboxes without permission from the neighborhood associations or post office. When he was 14, Pajevic got his own phone line, to handle the influx of business. “I even had a pager, which I never used,” he says, “but it was pretty cool.”
Pajevic learned from mistakes, too, such as when he sometimes overspent on marketing, which cut into his margins. Seeing other businesses in the field operate, sometimes in not always the best ways, also helped teach Pajevic a core part of what’s now his entrepreneurial mindset, to “always lead from the heart.”