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I Ditched Middle Management to Be My Own Boss

At 35 years old, Lee Cagle was tired of middle management. He’d been working as a property manager for 8 years, but wasn’t getting ahead. He had a lot of responsibility but little authority and finally, he’d had enough.

With a wife and daughter, going back to school and starting from scratch wasn’t an option. So he took matters into his own hands and found an opportunity that would change his life. Here, Lee tells O2E Brands how franchise ownership with Shack Shine gave him the time, freedom and reward he’d always been looking for.

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O2E: Why did you decide you wanted to start a business?

LC: In a middle management position, you get flack from both sides. In my case, from the residents of the building I managed, as well as upper management. I liked the people and the company but there wasn’t any room to advance. I’d reached the pinnacle of my career in property management and didn’t see the potential for upward progression. It wasn’t fulfilling and frankly, it was a dead end.

I had a brief career as a real estate agent in my early 20s, so I always had the drive to run a business. I decided it was time to pursue it.

O2E: How did you hear about Shack Shine?

LC: I came across Shack Shine online while researching franchise and business opportunities. I loved the brand and thought the idea had great potential. As a property manager, I had hired window washers and power washers countless times. I knew there was a need for a business like Shack Shine because I had used these services before.

I had money saved from a house I’d sold during my real estate days, and I’d also been living rent free at the building I managed. I took that money and bought Shack Shine St. Louis.

O2E: Why did you decide to join a franchise instead of striking out on your own?

LC: I didn’t have experience owning a business, but I had the motivation to do it. I’m systems-oriented and when I found out more about Shack Shine, I realized how easy it can be. Everything is laid out step-by-step and you have the support of a network behind you. Franchising is a perfect option for someone who wants to start a business but doesn’t know where to start.

O2E: Tell me about the experience so far. How has your life changed?

LC: We’re five months in and we hit the ground running. Starting up in the spring meant work took off really quickly. In fact, my wife was able to quit her job at Whole Foods and join the business as marketing manager.

It’s been challenging to learn how to manage our time and balance the multiple hats you have to wear as a business owner. You take on a lot of responsibility and it’s all on you to hold yourself accountable. I’ve learned quickly that time is money.

We put in a lot of hours but we also get to set our own schedule. When you own a business, you get the satisfaction of building something for yourself. It hasn’t been easy but we’ve come out of the gate strong and it’s been rewarding. You get out what you put in, so working hard and acquiring new customers is like winning the lottery!

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