In 2015, Crystal Hervey, found herself in an unexpected place. She found herself recently divorced and without a job or a home. While that caused some serious fear, Hervey isn’t one to shy away from a challenge or hard work. She quickly remedied her home situation and began applying for any job possible, but she wasn’t getting any interviews or offers. Instead of waiting for something good to happen, Hervey accepted an offer to do what she thought might be a short-term solution: cleaning apartments.
“I was mentally defeated, but I received a call from a contact I had at a previous job, and we decided to meet for dinner. She offered me an opportunity to clean empty apartments. I worked for 16 hours straight and brought home $95 with my first cleaning job. It didn’t even cover my insurance costs,” said Hervey.
While this first job wasn’t exactly profitable, it was a way for her to bring in some income. With the help of food stamps and the assistance of her church family, she barely made ends meet. She recalls feeling discouraged, but determined to grow closer in her relationship with God.
Though she considered pursuing an opportunity to become a biblical counselor, life had other plans. She found herself pregnant with her daughter and again, unsure what her future would look like. Just a few days before she would give birth, fate intervened. One of her clients called her out of the blue with a shocking offer.
“A client I had spoken with briefly called me and asked if she and her husband could come visit me. They both came and brought some clothes for me and my children and then told me they were called to give me one of their cars. I was shocked. I had been having car troubles and the car they wanted to give me would be large enough for my children and me,” said Hervey.
But fate didn’t stop there. The same day she gave birth to her daughter, a home builder called her and offered her a $100,000 contract to clean homes. Without having a team or a plan in place, she accepted the offer and was determined to figure out how to develop her small business, Shine Bright, and make it happen.
Hervey decided to find a way to honor God and build her business around those beliefs. She began a program to employ reformed convicts and offer them an opportunity to learn job skills and gain experience. While that solution helped her grow her business, it wasn’t sustainable in the long run because of the type of business contracts she wanted to take on.
“Through lots of support, I began healing myself, setting professional boundaries, and shifting my hiring process. With a healthy mindset, I began to focus on business growth and my team,” said Hervey.
At this point, Hervey began to look for ways to manage her business growth. Her sales had tripled from the year before and she started to see the possibility to franchise her business as a reality. However, that meant making some decisions that she’d never considered.
“Leasing a building was a huge step for me, but it was an opportunity to have a central location to run the business. My team no longer has to store supplies in their own vehicles or wash their own rags. We can do all of that at our office now,” said Hervey.
Around this same time, ECG Insurance team member Charity Parker called Hervey and asked to meet her for coffee. “Charity and I had met at a WIBA event, but neither of us really knew what the other did. We just wanted a chance to get to know the other better,” said Hervey.
While the new office offers a meeting space for her team and an office for herself and her operations manager, she hadn’t considered an employee benefits package as something that would ever be possible. After meeting Parker, Hervey was curious to learn more about health insurance and other employee benefits that ECG Insurance could offer her small business team.
This is the point where Hervey will tell you that she really began to zero in on her business and employees. The ECG Insurance team presented options that made a health benefits package a reality for her team. She realized she would be able to afford to take care of her team by offering health insurance.
“ECG gathered information about my business and my employees and then presented several affordable health insurance options. They even presented life insurance options, which I thought would be out of my budget, but ended up being a very minimal cost,” said Hervey.
With a team of 15, Hervey now offers all of her team members health insurance and life insurance, even those who work for her part-time. Not only has this had a big impact on team morale, but Hervey has also been able to retain some of her best employees because she offers health insurance.
“Working with any growing small business is rewarding, but knowing Crystal like I do, and knowing the blood and sweat and tears she has poured into her business makes Shine Bright so special to me. I am excited for her growth, and I can’t wait to bring these same employee benefits opportunities to other small businesses,” said Parker.
Hervey sees a bright future ahead. She’s in the process of preparing the business for franchising and as it continues to grow, she plans to rely on ECG Insurance to offer a retirement plan for her employees in the future.