YJ Cleaning and Maintenance LLC Founder Willie Jones shares about his Hartford-based business and the importance of networking.

Why did you join the Hartford Chamber of Commerce? 

WILLIE JONES: I became a member for the exposure and because it’s a good way to network and meet other local business. That was the main thing, networking with other business owners. And I’ve met some good people.

Why Hartford? How did you decide the location for your business?

WILLIE: I grew up in Hartford and I wanted to establish a business where I could help other people by providing jobs.

Our business is located in the South End of Hartford, but we work all over Hartford. The South End is a versatile community of people and workers. I’ve found it’s easier to find people looking for work or those who need a hand finding work.

When did you open your business and how has it evolved?

WILLIE: I opened May 16, 2016. It was just me in the beginning, I basically started the business out of the trunk of my car with a little bit of cleaning equipment. Now, I have four trucks and 15 employees. Also, I started by cleaning small mom-and-pop businesses. Expanding my network made it easier to grow.

What’s the best thing about living and working in Hartford?

WILLIE: I love Hartford. I grew up here and I lived here all my life. I’ve watched the city prosper during the Whalers time then I watched it slow down and now I’m watching it spark back up. Hartford is a great city. I love living here. Everything’s here, food, fun, sports.

Any advice for others who want to start a business in the Hartford Region?

WILLIE: Just do it. You’ve got to start, you can’t procrastinate. Don’t be afraid to fail because you never fail. You just go onto the next thing and then you learn from your mistakes.

One of the fears that holds people back is thinking they have to know everything. You don’t have to know everything. And you can always find somebody to help with the things you don’t know. Network and learn from others. That’s how I really grew, by meeting people and learning from them.

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