Alumni Spotlight: Melissa Maker (BBA ’05)

Melissa Maker is host of the CleanMySpace YouTube channel and founder of the housekeeping service Clean My Space. Maker provides useful, time-saving cleaning tips, tricks and recommendations to her YouTube following of 1.33 million subscribers. She shared her success since her time at York with us.

Q: Why did you choose to study at the Schulich School of Business?
A: From an early age I had been entrepreneurial and always wanted to start my own business. I knew that I needed a well-rounded education to be successful, and the Schulich School of Business provided a multidisciplinary approach that resonated with me. My mother attended York and many of my friends also studied at Schulich, but aside from the personal connection, Schulich had a great reputation. The name carried a lot of weight and respect, which was something I wanted to affiliate myself with. It felt like a true achievement when I was accepted into the program!

Q: What did you enjoy during your undergrad?
A: As an undergrad, Schulich also gave me opportunities to learn lessons both personally and professionally. These really helped me think ahead in life, in the workforce and as an entrepreneur. It was a fantastic feeling being among peers who enjoyed business in the same ways and to celebrate each other's successes. I also had the opportunity to connect with incredible York alumni who came back to meet with the undergrads and share their expertise.

Q: During your studies, were there any important lessons that helped you with your career?
A: Being in business school, I learned how to take information and apply frameworks when making decisions.  It showed me that everyone has different aptitudes, so you must learn to leverage those strengths and weaknesses to make things work. My heavy course loads gave me great practice in time management and the entrepreneurship and marketing classes taught me lessons that I still find useful today.

Q: How did you end up starting your own business and where did YouTube come into play?
A: After graduating from Schulich, I landed a corporate job that made me quite unhappy. I was 24 years old and felt that I was still able to take risks and try new opportunities. So, I quit my job and decided to develop a cleaning service company. I took all that I learned from Schulich and put together a solid business plan. After three months, I had my business up and running! It wasn’t until five years later that I started making YouTube videos. With no prior experience with cameras or lighting, my passion for marketing allowed me to target my audience, stay on the cutting edge and use SEO to drive traffic. Now Clean My Space is one of the top YouTube channels in the country! I’ve also had the opportunity to come out with a book called Clean My Space: The Secret to Cleaning Better, Faster, and Loving Your Home Everyday and my own product line of premium microfiber cloths called ‘Makers Clean’.

Q: What would you like accomplish in the future?
A: Growing my cleaning service is the priority but balancing that while also being the spokesperson can be difficult. I teamed up with a Schulich MBA alum who will be helping to strategically expand the business. I have also scheduled a staff retreat to help plan for 2020 and make sure we are growing sustainably. I’m excited to see what the next year holds for us.

Q: What advice would you give to York students?
A: When you are in University, you can feel old, because it is the oldest you have ever been. However, you are quite young in comparison to your entire life. It can be overwhelming to feel that your degree will dictate your future, but that does not have to be the case. Your education will be a platform to help launch you into the next stage of your professional life! While learning the fundamentals in school, keep an open mind and an eye out for new opportunities.  To quote from my professor, “Chance favors the prepared mind”.

I’d also say to push yourself outside of your comfort zone and to make new friends in university. Sharing the same interests can cultivate lifelong friendships. I personally met two of my best friends during my time at Schulich which I’m very grateful for.

To learn more about Melissa visit cleanmyspace.com or follow @cleanmyspace.