A Woman to KNOW : Kelsey Vickers

From Aspiration to Actualization: Jana Martin’s Entrepreneurial Journey

By Myra Stacey

In the heart of Arizona, where the desert landscape merges with the bustling life of Phoenix, Jana Martin has created a life story with entrepreneurial spirit and dedication. Calling Arizona home for over two decades, Jana’s journey demonstrates the power of connection—not just to a place, but to a purpose. Eight years ago, she began entrepreneurship, founding her own commercial cleaning company. This decision was fueled by necessity, observation, and a lifelong dream of self-employment. KNOW delves into her insights, exploring the path that led her from aspiration to actualization, and the lessons she’s gathered along the way.

Can you tell us a bit about your ‘backstory’ and how you got started?
I have always wanted to be self-employed, but when I moved to Arizona after high school, I focused on working—the thought of starting a business felt impossible. Fast forward a few years, I found myself working in the banking industry with many small business owners, and I don’t know if there was ever a day that went by that I didn’t tell myself one day that would be me! I was always brainstorming different ideas and noticed our offices were never cleaned up to par, or the cleaners wouldn’t show at all, and the idea of The Cleaning Company was born!

What was the “Aha Moment” that led to the creation of your current company?
The idea of The Cleaning Company sat with me for a while before I did anything. I always thought “one day,” and slowly, that mindset transitioned into why one day, why not right now? I started exploring what it would look like to work a full-time job and start a small business, then I created a logo and an email, and everything just started to fall into place.

What do you think makes your company stand out?
In my industry, many companies focus on the big businesses setting minimums, making it hard for small to medium businesses to get service. At The Cleaning Company, we focus on small and medium-sized businesses; we tailor cleaning packages to fit each business’s needs. Sometimes, that means cleaning only once a week, doing more detailed cleans, or whatever it takes so a business is comfortable and productive in their space.

What has been your favorite moment in your career so far?
There is no one thing I can pinpoint as my favorite moment. With The Cleaning Company, I have had a lot of small wins along the way; each of them felt like a stepping stone in the right direction, which was always exciting. Today, I am excited that my business is established enough to take moments away from the day-to-day operations to join KNOW and be an active member. I remember I visited my first KNOW meeting years ago and told myself one day I’m going to be a member, and here we are! A win!

What measure do you use to determine success?
Success is doing business how you want with the people you want.

What piece of advice has impacted you the most?
It’s always going to be challenging! Focus on the success of each situation rather than the things that didn’t go according to plan.

What message would you like to give to anybody who has a plan of creating something of their own and making a living through it?
It’s sometimes about NOT having the perfect plan, the perfect email, or the perfect vacuum. Just start and be adaptable. Once you get started, you’ll see the things that work for you. If you have created a plan, be willing to look outside of it at times, and know that a plan is only for the moment.

It’s clear that Jana Martin’s story is more than just about building a successful business; it’s about crafting a life filled with passion, resilience, and the willingness to embrace imperfection. Just like the polished floors of the businesses she serves, Jana’s journey encapsulates the essence of entrepreneurial spirit: the courage to start, the strength to persist, and the wisdom to adapt. Her advice resonates with anyone standing on the precipice of their entrepreneurial leap—reminding us that perfection is not the goal but the continuous pursuit of growth and fulfillment. In the end, Jana’s story is for aspiring entrepreneurs, sharing her experiences, successes, and the undeniable impact of starting today with what you have and where you are.

Lynne Kimmich

More About Jana

Jana Martin has called Arizona her home for the past 20 years, a place she feels more connected to than her original hometown. Eight years ago, she embarked on an entrepreneurial journey by starting her own commercial cleaning company, dedicating herself full-time to the venture for the last five years. Residing in Phoenix, she shares her life with two beloved cocker spaniels, enjoying regular walks with them. Beyond her professional commitments, Jana is always engaged in various activities, whether it’s tending to her house and yard, diving into new hobbies like sewing, or finding reasons to gather her friends for memorable occasions. Currently, she’s entertaining the idea of hosting a Kentucky Derby party, showcasing her knack for bringing people together.