Emily Kil is the owner of Eco Bear Biohazard Cleaning Company – a company that provides biohazard, unattended death, suicide, crime scene, and homeless encampment cleaning services in Southern California. She operates the business with her husband Raymond Magno, a veteran of the Coast Guard and commercial Alaskan salmon fisherman. They met while she was on vacation in Alaska and have been together ever since. They now live in Los Angeles along with their baby boy and two dogs.Entrepreneur Interview Q & A
1. What is the name of your business? What does your business do?
I am the co-owner of Eco Bear Biohazard Cleaning Company. Eco Bear is a family-owned business that provides our clients with comprehensive, compassionate, safe cleanup or remediation services to home and business owners in challenging circumstances. We provide professional biohazard remediation in situations that include the cleanup of crime scenes, suicide scenes, unattended death scenes, rodent droppings situations, and other circumstances that require our specialized assistance. We are at the side of our clients assisting them during some of the most difficult moments in their lives.
2. Why did you get into this field? What opportunities did you see?
I’ve always had an interest in launching a business that provided important assistance to people facing challenges that could present themselves during the course of a lifetime. Little else presents more seemingly insurmountable challenges than does having to address and rectify the aftermath of a tragic incident like a violent crime or a suicide.
Oftentimes, traumatic events occur in a residential setting. Survivors of suicide loss or family members of a person who died in a violent crime face overwhelming grief and other intense, even debilitating, emotions. The last thing that should happen in these types of situations is for family members of a person who traumatically loses a loved one to face cleaning up the aftermath. That’s where our business comes in.
Our business, Eco Bear, takes care of all aspects of remediating something like a crime or suicide scene. In the final analysis, I could think of no other way in which I could provide more important professional assistance to people in a true time of need.
I did see a number of opportunities in this industry. I felt I could build a business on not only a keen understanding of the technical aspects biohazard remediation, but I could fill a void by providing compassionate care and assistance for people who need these services. Oftentimes, firms in this industry are more clinical than caring. I wanted to change that prevailing attitude in the industry. I think my company has accomplished precisely that – providing our clients comprehensive, safe, and compassionate remediation and cleanup services in terribly challenging situations.
3. What have been your biggest challenges?
The biggest challenges my team and I face in my business are two-fold. First, biohazard remediation in and of itself is a challenging task. As I’ve mentioned before, this work by definition occurs in the worst of situations. Our remediation goal is restoring a home to a fully livable condition. Moreover, we always have to undertake these complicated tasks with an eye to safety. We use best practices, equipment, and products that are designed to protect against dangerous pathogens that can be present at a cleanup scene.
The second challenge is working compassionately with families who have a need for biohazard cleanup in their homes. They are already burdened with tremendous grief and other emotions. I see part of my job as helping ease their emotional load through the services my company provides.
4. What has been your greatest reward?
There is no doubt that I’m in a tough business. With that said, I find my work terribly rewarding. I can’t say that I’ve had one big reward through my time running Eco Bear. Rather, I experience a true, meaningful reward for my work every time I bring a family into their home after a remediation or cleanup is completed. Presenting families with a fully restored, completely livable, home in the aftermath of a profound tragedy is highly rewarding. In the grand scheme of things, this is the reason I am in this business.
5. If you could change something, what would it be?
In regard to the overall operations of the business, I can’t say that there is any significant change I would make right now. Keep in mind, however, that during the early days of my business I was always open to the idea of change – and made more adjustments and changes that I can count. I’ve learned that when launching and building a business, you must be open to change and to suggestions from other people. In fact, I know I found that I received amazing suggestions that significantly improved the business from more than a few unexpected sources.
6. What advice would you give to a new entrepreneur?
As I just mentioned, when it comes to advice for a new entrepreneur, I absolutely and unequivocally state: keep your mind open to advice and suggestions from people you trust. And, keep in mind that valuable suggestions can come from sources that might surprise you. For example, I’ve trusted friend and family members who know next to nothing about my business. Yet, when I was launching Eco Bear, they came up with interesting ideas from time to time.
I would also advise a new entrepreneur to keep focused. Focus on one endeavor that you do well. Don’t spread yourself out so thinly you become unproductive.
Finally, I oftentimes tell people new to the business world that I hope they find at least some level of joy in what they do. I most definitely am not in a joyful business. However, I find a great sense of satisfaction and even a sort of joy because I am able to help people at the most difficult moments of their lives through my business.
7. Social Media. Yay or Nay?
Yes, take advantage of social media. But, having said that, you cannot use social media in a haphazard fashion. You must develop a comprehensive, coordinated social media marketing plan. That process begins with selecting specific social media platforms that make the most sense for the type of business you are in. Additionally, what you do on social media must coordinate with all of your other marketing, advertising, and promotional efforts.
8. How do you market your products or services?
We rely heavily on digital marketing to promote the services we offer to the community. This includes taking advantage of all of the primary types of digital marketing availabilities that are used in this day and age.
As part of Eco Bear marketing efforts, I spent a good deal of my own time writing and speaking about dealing with the aftermath of a traumatic incident. I find that my own personal efforts in this regard not only educates and supports people, but it provides helpful information about what my business offers the community.
Even in this digital age, word of mouth cannot be overlooked. Support, reviews, and endorsements from prior clients continues to be a valuable way of raising public awareness about the services available from Eco Bear.
9. If your business sells products, how do you handle production?
10. What is unique about your business?
Eco Bear is in a rather unique industry. We provide comprehensive biohazard remediation services in a comprehensive, thorough, safe manner. Eco Bear is unique in the industry because we undertake this complicated work with an eye to compassionately assisting our clients at an extremely challenging, traumatic moment in their lives. This personal commitment to the people we serve makes Eco Bear a standout in the biohazard remediation industry.
11. Sell me your product/service.
In many ways, selling the services of Eco Bear depends on the unique circumstances of a specific situation. With that noted, I think the best way of selling our services is to share with you the introduction I’ve selected for the Eco Bear website – it brings together our professional services and our personal commitment to each individual client:
“Home is the nicest word there is.” – Laura Ingalls Wilder
Your home, your family are intrinsically united. Some people are able to make it through life without a significant tragedy visiting their home and family. Most are not.
Tragedy can take many forms. And tragedy can viciously strike without the slightest warning.
If you have experienced a traumatic event at your home that requires professional cleanup or biohazard remediation, the professionals at Eco Bear Biohazard Cleaning Company stand ready and able to work for you. Eco Bear Biohazard Cleaning Company is a local, family owned business. We care deeply about the people in the Southern California communities we serve.