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Behind the Small Biz: Chestnut Electrical


Read a Q&A with Chesnut Electrical as we celebrate National Black Business Month. For more info, contact tavares.chestnut@gmail.com.

What inspired you to begin your business?
When I was still learning how to be an electrician, I met a man name Darrell Finch. He was my fourth year instructor. He pushed me to go as far as I could in my training. He even went as far as to challenge me to a contest. If I complete my apprenticeship, become a journeyman electrician, and achieve a particular set of certifications he guaranteed me a much better job after graduating and I would no longer have to rely on the construction side of electrical. He also said this would happen within six months of becoming a journeyman. It took six months but it happened on the last month, February 17th.
That little challenge showed me that anything was possible, if I want it bad enough. So I’m taking my career to the next step.

Who was your first client?
My first client came from my employer. It was a simple lighting job that was referred to me by my superintendent Shannon. It was a great experience, especially since the client was a friend of my boss – the ice was broken easily but the pressure to perform was very high.

Where did you begin your business?
I began in my living room. The beauty of my trade is that most of everything you need comes down to hand tools and a dependable vehicle to haul equipment and material. There’s a lot more to it than that but starting out you can really boot strap your business. That has not changed.

What piece of advice would you tell your self when you started out? Any success tips you want to share?
Do less talking and take more action. Sacrificing what you have now to take a risk that could lead to failure is the greatest reason so many people don’t even try to start a business. This leads to more conversations about what they could do, should do, and will do. However they never do it. It leaves a feeling of emptiness, later filled with lingering thoughts of “what could have been.” You don’t want to be that person. It’s better to try and fail then to never try at all. Just remember you only need to get it right once.

What are you most proud of?
I became a electrician. No profession has granted me as many opportunities or has been as stable. Electrical has been good to me so I want to share it with others.

Anything else interesting that you want to share?
One of my primary goals with my business is to share the benefits of being in the skill trades. The trades are not as valued socially as other professions considering our very infrastructure is carried on the backs of the men and women who put their lives on the line to do this work. I want to change that.


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