Meet our CEO

Tiimis CEO

Chris Schwab

Founder & CEO

Hometown: London & Tokyo

Education: BA in Psychology & Computer Science from American University

Interests: Traveling, Bouldering, Reading, Teaching People To Build Their Own Local Business

Chris

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About Chris

I graduated from American University (Washington, D.C.) in 2016 with a degree in Psychology and a minor in Computer Science. Just to get this out of the way, I can’t code at all. Nor do I remember a single thing about Algorithms or Data Structures. During the break before my final semester of University, I made the decision to start a house cleaning business. I knew I wanted to be a business owner, and felt that most local services (whether cleaning, painting, or lawn care) were stuck in the 1980s. They had almost no online presence, and frankly, were subpar on the business side of things. It struck me that if I could master the marketing and operations, I could convince great local cleaners to come onboard with us.

Think Maids was born. We quickly grew from $0 to $20,000 per month in less than 90 days. Since then, we have experienced significant growth using this same model of handling everything for the cleaners, leaving the expert cleaning to them. We have been featured as a million-dollar side hustle in a bestselling book by Chris Guillebeau called 100 Side Hustles, featured in TIME Magazine and The Penny Hoarder.

While Scaling up Think Maids, I reached a point where we were growing too quickly and at one point, it became overwhelming. I remember sitting at my desk with a dozen angry phone calls coming through…because I had been overworked and screwed up our teams’ schedules. On Halloween day. When everyone had planned their cleaning weeks in advance with us.

It was at this point I realized something. There are two big shifts we must make as cleaning business owners (and business owners in general). The first, is when you transition out of doing the work yourself, in this case house cleaning. And the second is when we transition out of managing the day- to-day in our business and truly become a CEO by hiring a management team.

Or in my case, a virtual assistant.

The truth is, there is something called the ‘cleaning business valley of despair’ where you are growing and get incredibly busy. Unfortunately, you aren’t yet earning enough to hire an office manager, so you begin to drown in the work. I knew I couldn’t keep doing everything myself, and I stumbled on the idea of training a virtual assistant to by my remote office manager. For a cleaning business this was unheard of and a first of its kind, but I knew I had something special here. Over the next few months I trained two great VAs to handle the daily operations for me – phones, scheduling, customers and teams. It worked so well I quickly went from working 10 hours a day to working 1 hour a day. It was this surreal experience and word quickly spread.

Cleaners, painters, pressure washers and handymen all started asking to me to train a VA for them. So entirely by accident I found myself with my second business Inova Local (link to inovalocal.com). We provide virtual assistants for local business owners exclusively, trained and ready handle their daily operations. It has proven to be a huge hit and at our peak we have had a team of over 30 VAs.

Inova Local has grown to serve businesses globally – in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom and even Australia.

As we grew however, we struggled to manage our own daily operations (talk about ironic!) because of software limitations. We found ourselves paying for a dozen different tools just to run our VA agency. Everything from expensive time trackers, to contract signing and calendar software. It became so expensive that we ended up paying thousands every year just to run things somewhat smoothly. I kept thinking there had to be an all-in-one solution, but it simply has not existed until now.

When I met my co-founder Ivana and saw her side project Tiimis, which at the time was designed to be a local business project management CRM, we discussed the difficulties my company and the VA industry has in general. We decided we would take what we know and build the first ever all-in-one software for the virtual assistant industry. We rebuilt the entire software on the principle that running a VA company shouldn’t be expensive or hard. It should be a pleasure you can experience with just one tool. From time-tracking, to automatic reports and billing we have included everything you need to sail your ship smoothly.

Tiimis was reborn 💜.

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