Seeking Some Inspiration? 3 Books for Women in the Trades


Jessica Brant
September 24, 2019
minutes to read

Home service industry expert and Women in HVACR Board Member Colleen Keyworth is always on the go. Her HVAC marketing projects take her across the country to interesting trade shows and events. And as Keyworth’s career has grown, she’s grateful to have had the opportunity to exchange knowledge and resources with some of her mentors in Women in HVACR. She takes pride in passing those points along to the next generation. 

With Women in HVACR’s 16th Annual Conference approaching, we thought we’d share a couple of Keyworth’s favorite books for women in HVAC, electrical and plumbing looking to build their careers and confidence levels. 

Nice Girls Just Don’t Get It
by Dr. Lois Frankel

New York Times bestselling author and executive coach Dr. Lois Frankel has toured the globe as a public speaker discussing thought leadership with corporate and nonprofit audiences. This week, she’ll be addressing over 200 women at the sold-out Women in HVACR Conference as the keynote speaker. In Nice Girls Just Don’t Get It, Dr. Frankel helps women win respect in their professional and personal relationships. The biggest reward? Empowerment. 

Sharpen Your Positive Edge by Tina Hallis

If you’re an HVACR, electrical or plumbing technician, your duties are already stressful enough. 

With few idle work hours, there couldn’t possibly be time to worry about the small things, right? Wrong. You’re always having to think ahead. Whether about family matters or job-related issues, a disruptive thought could throw you off at any given moment. Luckily, there’s a read  that can ease the tension. “The exercises in Sharpen Your Positive Edge have really helped me reset my focus,” Keyworth says. “Sometimes it’s easy to allow a single moment to bring down your day, and Tina really helps with finding your balance so you’re not hyper-focusing on the things that could go wrong.”

Girl, Stop Apologizing
by Rachel Hollis

How many times a day do you say “sorry” for things that aren’t your fault? It could be one too many, and it’s a habit that’s hard to break. In this motivational book, business owner of The Chic Site and mom of four Rachel Hollis helps women concentrate on their powers and not their problems by drilling the belief that hope is a plan that must be set in motion. “Rachel writes about things you hear a million times, but she has a way of delivering them that connects with my own story, and that is pretty special,” Keyworth says.

Dive into any of these reads lately? Have a question about the conference or keynote speaker? We want to hear from you on Twitter! Tweet us with your questions and we’ll try to answer it!

Look at Pricing

The start of the year is a great time to look at pricing. Usually, you have an idea of how your company fared the year prior, and you want to ensure you will continue to grow in the months to come. Many of us make New Year’s resolutions with respect to spending or saving in our personal lives, and it’s no different for business owners. Making sure your pricing is in line with where it should be is one of the strongest ways to start the year the right way.

Part of looking at your price book is finding where the issues are, and that can take time. An HVAC company in January is going to be very busy, so it’s a difficult time for a close look. However, a plumbing company might not be as busy. Whenever you tackle this job, your best bet is to look at what your labor rates are. Start there, and let it trickle down across the board. Ask yourself, “Are my labor rates helping my business stay profitable?”

Remember, there are many different services out there and many different groups or communities that you can engage. Never hesitate to say, “Hey, I’m a business owner in Florida. What should my labor rates be?” You can build your price from there. There are also some great billable hour calculators available.

Set Goals

There is no better time of year for looking inward than January. Set your personal goals and company goals for the following 12 months. If you can break those down into departmental goals, even better! Perhaps that means a CSR booking closing rates a little better, or a truck doing 250,000 a year rather than 200,000.

Many companies have found that using an Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) goal-setting system pays off. Looking for a guidebook when it comes to OKRs? Check out Measure What Matters: How Google, Bono, and the Gates Foundation Rock the World with OKRs by John Doerr. 

One key question is the best way to handle setting goals: Is it smarter for business owners to handle this solo, together with staff, or to delegate completely? 

The best approach is to set goals at the department level. As an owner, you need to take the time to understand what the goals are in each department, and make sure they are in line with your goals for the company. No one likes to set unattainable goals for themselves, so make sure you push your departments to set goals that are lofty, rather than simple ones to feel good about hitting. Entrust your staff to aim higher, and watch how they respond.

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