Melissa Rulli – How to go from Restaurateur, to Roofer, to Property Manager, to Franchisor

In this episode, we interview Melissa Rulli, founder, and President, of Eye On Your Home and Eye On Your Home Franchise.

In this episode, she discusses what has kept her going as she has gone from a restaurant owner to a roofing company owner, to a property management company owner, to a franchise company.  She talks about her business philosophies and how she has overcome the adversity which has shown up along the way. 

If you have an interest in learning more about Eye On Your Home you can contact Melissa by calling her at: 828-707-1116 or you can visit her website at:

If you would like to learn more franchising your business you can schedule your free, no obligation, franchise consultation by visiting: 

Tom DuFore – Big Sky Franchise Team: 0:03

You’ve worked hard to build your business. And now it’s time to grow. Welcome to the multiply your success podcast. I’m your host, Tom DuFore CEO of big sky franchise team and a serial entrepreneur. Join me each week. As I interview leading entrepreneurs, executives and experts who share their misses makes and multipliers. If you are a growth minded entrepreneur investor or franchise company, then this podcast is for you. If there’s one thing I’ve learned in business and in life it’s that you can always learn something new to make things better. Our purpose for this podcast is for you to glean some wisdom and practical ideas to implement on your expansion journey. We look forward to being your guide, to multiply your success. Welcome to the latest edition of the multiply your success podcast. Thanks for joining us. And I wanted to pose a question to you or something to ponder about as we get started here. Tom DuFore – Big Sky Franchise Team: 1:01

If I were to tell you, we were to be talking today about a restaurant business, a roofing company, a property management company, and a franchise company. What would you think about, well, chances are you probably wouldn’t think that it would be one person doing all of these different things. And yet, in fact, that’s just what we have in store for you today on our podcast interview we have the honor and privilege to be interviewing Melissa Rulli, who is the president and founder of ion your home, which is a second home property management company. And that that’s growing nationally. And she’s been a someone that I’ve worked with and that, that our company has worked with here for several years now. She’s wonderful. She’s a great person and just has a great outlook on how she views the world. And I’m excited for you to hear her story and what’s even more impressive on all of this is she’s been, this, had this amazing career all the, while being a great mom and being a single mom for a lot of this raising her children. So without further ado, here’s my interview with Melissa Rulli. Melissa, thank you for joining us. Melissa Rulli – Eye On Your Home: 2:19

Well, thank you for having me. I’m really excited to be on the phone with you. Tom DuFore – Big Sky Franchise Team: 2:22

Yeah, yeah. Thank you. So Melissa you know, why don’t we to get things started? Why don’t you share with the listeners? I always like to ask about your background, you know, where are you from? Tell us a little bit about you and your story here. Melissa Rulli – Eye On Your Home: 2:38

Sure. Okay. Well, I don’t know how much time we have, but I have a very big story. Like a lot of people the snippets are, I am originally a Jersey girl born in New York city and raised in Jersey. And I have been living in the mountains of North Carolina for about 26 years. I live in Asheville. I absolutely love it here. I play as hard as I work. I started out back in 1983. I actually owned restaurants. I went to school for hotel restaurant management. I did that for about three years, loved it for the first year. And then after that I lost that love and made everything from scratch, worked really hard and realized that I was not going to be able to come a mom working like that in a restaurant. So sold the restaurant. I was married at the time and we started a roofing company. Melissa Rulli – Eye On Your Home: 3:31

We did that together for about 12 years and got to stay home and have my kids and run the business from my home office and life was good. And really enjoyed that. And then I am a half Bailey divorcee and I got divorced and there are left with no job and no no nothing. I had been running a business from home, so I had to reinvent myself and I decided I really just did some introspective work and thought about what, what is it I want to do? What would suit all my talents and my strengths. And also I wanted to try to find something that was somewhat flexible to say that mom I was, and I decided to become a real estate agent. And I really loved it. Actually. I worked for Hubble banker here in Asheville for about a year and a half. And but unfortunately at that time, the market crashed and there I was a newbie on the block and single mother with two kids and it just, obviously wasn’t a safe place to stay. Tom DuFore – Big Sky Franchise Team: 4:39

That’s wild and Melissa, when was that? Was that around the Oh eight Oh nine time period. Melissa Rulli – Eye On Your Home: 4:45

Exactly, exactly. Yeah. And there, I was little scared, a little insecure and I am a really big advocate in taking a really deep breath and just trusting the unknown and realizing that, you know, what this is happening for a reason. And I have to again, tap into my introspective of what am I going to do? And so I said to myself in a role looking way, and I kind of have a lot of mind chatter with myself and giggle all the time. And I said, alright, well, I’m going to take this license. I worked really hard with and I’m going to go find myself a job. That’s when the paycheck, and of course I laughed at myself and said, no, you’re not. That’s what real estate is full commission. It’s not out there. And I’m like, no, it’s gotta be something, gotta be something. Melissa Rulli – Eye On Your Home: 5:38

So I quickly did some research and I came to find out that to become a life, to become a residential property manager in the state of North Carolina, meaning you work for a company, you support owners and full-term leasing. I need to have a license. And that came with a paycheck. So I quickly called every company all around and said, hello, I’m Melissa really have a license. And I needed a job, which you got. And I wound up getting a position at a local company, literally five minutes down the road. And I didn’t know anything about it. I thought, well, I guess I’ll figure it out and learn it. And I did. And I did that for about another 18 months, I had 130 owners and all their tenants and all the drama that brought to my life and this small minded company. Melissa Rulli – Eye On Your Home: 6:30

And another breath and time I thought, Hmm, I am not a fan of the company, not a fan of the negativity as a tenant. And I don’t want to have a big people in case their rent down, but I do love my grateful owners. I do love making everything happen for their home, from fixing something, to finding them a new tenant and so forth. And I thought, huh, I don’t know if anybody knows much about love languages, but is mine. I like words of affirmation. And I like them telling me how wonderful I am for them. And so I sat one night and I thought, that’s what I want to do. I want to start a company that works for grateful owners all day long. And it tells me how wonderful I am and I will make everything happen yesterday. And that’s when I sat and I realized, Oh my goodness, I live in Western North Carolina, which is the nice location in America for second homeowners. Melissa Rulli – Eye On Your Home: 7:22

People who do not rent their home in any company half a day, they come and play when they can either six months straight or all through the year. In our location, most majority of them would be from Florida and South Carolina. Some Georgia and some Yankees and some, a little bit West Midwest and Texas. And that’s about what we’ve got here in this grouping. But who’s taking care of those is kind of where my mind went. They need a Melissa don’t, they, they just need somebody to give them peace of mind. Overseas, a home maybe facility take maintenance and emergency. And I just started brainstorming on that. And I then went into research mode again and thought, well, who is doing this? Like, what is this, what is this? This is opportunity look like, are there people making money at this? Melissa Rulli – Eye On Your Home: 8:14

And I found a few companies locally, but not much definitely nothing compared to what the the abundance of clients out there that need support. So I just sat in another moment of trust in that. Alright, can you do this? And I thought very long and hard about it. I am a woman who kind of stands on the edge of the cliff and look ahead and look and make sure it was no rock then. And then I looked for my path and then I take a deep breath and I jumped. I’m just that woman and it’s not an easy thing to do. It’s very scary. I know a lot of people out there who can do that but you have to trust yourself and I’ve always trusted myself all these years. I feel Tom DuFore – Big Sky Franchise Team: 9:05

So, Melissa, that, that’s a pretty big, that’s a pretty bold statement. I think that with what you said, you know, you, you look, you do your research, you look, and then, you know, you jump, you hold your breath in and you jump. So so, so yeah, so, so what’s going through your mind when, what, when you’re at that moment at those crossroads Melissa Rulli – Eye On Your Home: 9:31

What’s going through my mind, is this isn’t happening for no reason? What’s going through my mind is that I know I’ve always known that I actually get out of bed every day for love for myself and for my family. And with love as my foundation, I can’t, I can’t fail. I feel confident in that. And I, I just do, and I have always worked very, very hard. You know, nothing comes easy. Hard work will prevail is definitely a strong mantra responsibility for my actions. So yeah, I’m making sure there’s no rocks and I’m going to jump on them, but I know that I can jump and, and I will be successful because I’m trusting that I got it. Tom DuFore – Big Sky Franchise Team: 10:32

Well, that’s beautiful. It really is a beautiful statement there and, you know, really ties into our kind of these three questions we’d like to run through or, or topics you’d like to talk about about the, the idea of misses, Makes and multipliers. And so you know, would you mind talking a little bit about mrs. Maybe one time you jumped and it didn’t go as planned or it didn’t go the direction you were looking to take it. Can, can you talk about some time that that may have happened? Melissa Rulli – Eye On Your Home: 11:10

Hmm, interesting. I have to say that I don’t believe I’ve had misses. I don’t know if I believe in the word misses Per se. That’s like the word failure to me. I know, I don’t believe in those words. I think everything is put in front of you every, every paver for your own particular brick road is put in front of you. And you just don’t realize that you can just keep stepping along and that everything happens in that order for, for education, for connection to where at, like, for example, I’m sitting here right now, I own I and your home business. And I created a franchise system out of it, but had I not been exactly on my path prior to this, then I wouldn’t be as successful in what I’m doing now. So had I not become a restaurant owner, which is completely irrelevant and not tied to what I do now, as far as the actual business model, but it is the same, it’s a business. Melissa Rulli – Eye On Your Home: 12:26

So at 27 years old, I bought a restaurant and I owned it and I operated it. So I am now owning an operating, buying your home. So it is relevant, is tied together and all the experiences that come underneath that of ownership. And had I not owned my roofing company with my husband, of course I wasn’t putting a roof shingles on the roof, but I was running the internal business, the operation, I do that now. And dealing with clients, clients, and so forth and had I not become a real estate agent and had I not become a property, man. It’s like, it’s all, all tied together. My working life experience has brought me to where I am now. Do I know at all? Am I like the top business woman of the world? Absolutely not. I’m constantly learning and evolving. I’m 52 years old right now. And I’m of the mindset that I will never stop learning. And if I do, I will be in a jar. So I don’t believe in that’s it, I believe in I just believe in those opportunities that evolve us through the next step. Does that make sense? Tom DuFore – Big Sky Franchise Team: 13:37

Yeah, it does. I think that’s, I think that’s wonderful. So, and that’s a great perspective and it’s a great perspective, really taking every, every situation that’s come your way and interpreting it cause it’s really your interpretation, interpreting it as a learning opportunity or a catalyst for the something else that comes something else that comes next in your life or some other opportunity that presents itself to you. Melissa Rulli – Eye On Your Home: 14:07

Yeah. It’s all connected and makes us who we are. Like, it builds our own individual capabilities and, you know, it’s all tied together and I can use my experiences of those other businesses constantly in what I do now. Sometimes I used past stories in my businesses to current clients. Like if it’s yeah. We’re, if I think what happens is I feel a lot of people in business change careers or change businesses, and they have a negative connotation to that. They feel like, Oh, I failed. I felt blah, blah. I closed. Or I started this instead or I started a new I went back to college to try a new career. Like it’s not negative, it’s actually very positive. And later down the road they’ll realize how that decision tied into where they were and now where they are, you know what I mean? Tom DuFore – Big Sky Franchise Team: 15:12

Yeah, I do. I do. And, and you know that this is a great springboard into, you know, looking at some, some one on one or some of the makes that you had where you, you shot for something and it, and it happened or you were able to get make it happen. Can you share some, something like that that’s, that’s gone on? Melissa Rulli – Eye On Your Home: 15:36

No. Well, my thing is my, I think in my, my most recent makes over the last 10 years has been I was five years into basically my company, I on your home in my local vicinity handling small portfolio and feeding the concept of the business because there’s really not that much competitors here to begin with. And I was spreading myself irresponsibly in radius. And I had a moment, one night I was just sitting and I said to myself, Hmm, what are you doing? Like, I talked to myself all the time. All right, really? What are you doing? Melissa Rulli – Eye On Your Home: 16:20

You’re, you’re from a flat rock and North Asheville’s a black mountains bars and it’s completely irresponsible and lots of ways. That’s not how it supports this particular client. I was basically just feeding the company and I wasn’t focused on my portfolio, which it has focused on my intimate portfolio. I could be blowing that out of the water, but I wasn’t. And I thought to myself, what are you doing? Like, how long are you going to continue this? And I had done obviously enough research to know that Western North Carolina, I, I really needed 16 locations just right here. Like I need 16. Melissa does handling, handling individual portfolios. And how do I do that? And I thought, well, I could open up satellite offices of iron your home and have managers. I mean, I could pull that off. But my dad just kept saying, man, that’s really not enough because what happens to, what about Miami client? Melissa Rulli – Eye On Your Home: 17:29

Like I have a Miami client in a really lovely community here in Paul Biltmore park. And one day we were chatting and she’s like, Oh my God, Melissa. I wish I had my Melissa in Miami. And at that moment I was like, huh, 16 locations. Yeah, that would be great. But the reality is I want her, I want my Miami client to have her in Miami. So I want in Miami I and your home helping her there. And I want here and Belmore park. I want I at home helping her here. I want her Melissa on both sides of the fence. Now the reality is it’s not actually me. I need a Melissa and I and home franchisee for that side of the fence. And as we all know, we can’t clone ourselves as much as we’d like to, but we can attempt through this possible venue. Melissa Rulli – Eye On Your Home: 18:20

And so I sat there that night. I went, well, I’m going to franchise my company. That’s what I’m going to do. And of course, again, I always giggle in my head. I thought, well, how am I going to possibly do that? I am still a single mother, a entrepreneur with her business. How am I possibly going to get into that arena? That honestly I absolutely know nothing about, and again, this is probably my biggest breath of going, huh? I can do that. And of course me laughing at myself, well, how are you going to afford that? How are we going to fund it? How is that going to happen? Who are you going to find to help you? And it was really, really, really big, like bigger than anything ever in my whole entire life. And I literally crazy, crazy as it sounds thought. I don’t know. Melissa Rulli – Eye On Your Home: 19:18

I honestly do not know, but I’m going to figure it out. And I looked for the rock and I still in the end and I jumped and I wound up and I’m really, I, you know, don’t know how many people believe in manifestation, but I do. And I sat and I really meant it manifested thinking to myself constantly. I need a professional in that arena to evolve and show up in my life who can open the door that I could trust to help me. And ironically, the business connection that I knew on LinkedIn, and then we had just chatted. He was in the franchising world. He reached out to me and they said, you know, Melissa, I know about your concept and your business. And I just happened to be in my own world and in my, in my town. And I thought to myself, huh? Melissa Rulli – Eye On Your Home: 20:16

Yeah, my last second homeowners around here never really thought about that. Market. Don’t know anything about it. I’m not in real estate. He goes, Oh, I know this woman, this is what she’s doing in Asheville. I should just shoot her a message. And so he shot me an email that said, you know what? You do have an awesome business model. And I see how it’s really needed. I don’t know if anybody is doing what you’re doing. And I have a vision that I’m going to, to become the first, second home property management company in our country that has a national trademark brand, as crazy as my mind knows. It sounds. Tom DuFore – Big Sky Franchise Team: 20:49

Wow. Wow. Well, and it sounds like that really, that, that really spills right into our next you know, kind of topic we like to talk about about multiplying your business. And it sounds like, you know, franchising really was that multiplier that you looked at as a way to duplicate yourself. Is that how you viewed it? Melissa Rulli – Eye On Your Home: 21:13

Yeah. I mean, I am, I’m a woman with a lot of common sense. And I know that like I’ve mentioned before, I can’t clone myself. Honestly I don’t know if many people can handle that anyway. Ha ha. Melissa Rulli – Eye On Your Home: 21:30

But I know the poor who I need. I know who that person needs to be. I know the foundation of the kind of human that can replicate myself to the degree that offers the core value of what I in your home is. And so I know what I’m looking for and I understand Dan I’ve been live on the market for five years. I could have sold many, many more franchises at this point, but I’ve turned down quite a handful. Because I know, and I knew enough, I didn’t know enough about franchising, but I knew enough in my gut that it’s kind of like I have laughed and giggled and acquainted franchising to dating. Like I get it. Like you basically have to kiss a lot of frauds and be okay with it into you commit. Because once you sell to that franchisee or you know, that person you’re kind of stuck with them. Melissa Rulli – Eye On Your Home: 22:33

So my reality is I am home has its challenges. I am the first in America, super exciting. Yay. But the reality is there is not a Dropbox for me in America to advertise iron. Your home is totally a gorilla strategic, constant change and lesson brainstorming to try to find people who even will know I exist. And the opportunity is that and of course I don’t have deep pockets as I’ve said many times. So I think that the reality is though, but I don’t care. I’m 52 years old. I could die tomorrow. I can live till 96. I’m going to sell as many I and your home properly with the right people that multiply my vision as successfully as I can. You know, can I sell more maybe if I don’t think if I must’ve sat in that? Yeah. Maybe it doesn’t matter to me. Melissa Rulli – Eye On Your Home: 23:37

That’s not my goal. My goal is to have I in your home grow in the vision. I want to grow with the right people running territory. Will I make a mistake and sell it to the wrong person once in a while? Probably I’m sure. I mean, as much as we check our guts and I have a pretty strong gut, you know I can be snowed or I can think more highly about somebody than maybe the reality is, but you know what, that’s why and that’ll be a learning tool and stuff, and I’m prepared for that. Tom DuFore – Big Sky Franchise Team: 24:11

Well, that’s, that’s a beautiful story. And, and you know, it, it, one of the questions we always like to ask every guest that comes on is what does success mean to you? And I, you know, I kind of heard some snippets in there kind of some, you know, sounded like you were talking about that. So maybe you could share with us, Melissa, what, what does success mean to you? Melissa Rulli – Eye On Your Home: 24:39

Yeah, well, my version of success is I think a little different sometimes than other people I see out there in the business world. I’m not striving for anything number any financial number, any franchises sold number that honestly doesn’t matter to me. I am successful. I’ve always been successful. I’m very proud of who I am and how hard I work and getting a very every day and doing what I love. I love what I do. But I love myself. I love my family. I like my hobby. I play really hard. As part as I work success to me is being able to have a career and a company that allows me all the flexibility I want. I literally, you know, start my day. You know, when I want obviously I have a really responsible routine, but I’m a nine to five kind of girl, maybe nine to three. Melissa Rulli – Eye On Your Home: 25:52

It depends. You know, I am a Monday through Friday person. I will not be doing any business tomorrow or Sunday unless there was an emergency. And guess what? My company is not geared towards emergencies. That’s why I have no tenants. Nobody knows what happens in pretty much all my homes. Most of the time, occasionally, you know, occasionally we’ve got some serious sensors that might alert us to something, but for the most part, I only address serious emergencies on my time that I basically have closed for business. That for me is enjoying my life for me. It’s about, I think I have to throw in there. I learned a long time ago and I see a lot of people that do this and I think it’s very unhealthy. I think taking care of myself and nurturing myself is critical. Whether that be me going on a yoga retreat for a week or more to just having a bath for a half an hour, to getting a full eight hours of sleep and eating healthy I’m that woman those things are crucial important. Melissa Rulli – Eye On Your Home: 27:03

These things, how it, my family you know, I want to be remembered for someone who was present in all the people around me live as well as being of course, very hardworking and driven to making this successful. But I can’t be that one if I don’t nurture myself. And unfortunately I think a lot of people deplete their emotional and physical bank account I refer to and they forget to keep adding deposits. And so the bottom line is I could sell 50 franchises by now, but would I be as physically fit and healthy and happy and present for the people that love me? No. so success for me is getting up every day and being the best me I can and then let the success of if you want to label it with the business evolve from that. Tom DuFore – Big Sky Franchise Team: 28:05

And that’s why our interview today with Melissa Rulli. Melissa, thank you for joining us. You know, I think a couple of things really stand out from what she said. Number one she doesn’t believe in misses. There, you know, she thinks that it, you know, as you go through this, certainly things are going to happen. Happen. Events are going to happen. Things that maybe you didn’t expect are going to happen. But the position you are in today is because of those other things that happened. So keep that perspective in mind as you’re going through this. She said, you know, that love, eh, she’s built this with love as a foundation. She cannot fail. I thought that was really a really great mindset to have as she’s going through this, but you have to also have hard work and perseverance as you’re going through it. Tom DuFore – Big Sky Franchise Team: 28:54

And one other thing I thought was really exciting or interesting was when she said, you know, when you’re, when you’re looking to do something, you know, she researches as she goes, she went into, as she said her research mode unquote. And I thought that was really interesting. And when you get up to the edge of the cliff, you look and you make sure there aren’t any jagged rocks. You know, hopefully that’s what the research mode is gonna help uncover and you jump and you go for it. So I think that those were some really, really great takeaways for us today. And Melissa, thanks for joining us information on Melissa’s on her company is in the show notes here, and you can check out our website as well and I, and your And and today’s when, when let’s jump into that and talk about today’s win-win and what came out of today’s interview that I’m taking out as a win win is to do something you love. Tom DuFore – Big Sky Franchise Team: 29:57

And I think what we found from Melissa here is that she fell in love with the business that she’s in and when you love what you do it’s a win for you. But I, I promise it is also going to be a win for those people that are around you, because when you love what you do, it will spill into the other relationships in your life with your family, with your friends, with those that are around you, they will see that love and that it will become contagious. And, and they will understand that if you do work long hours or you do work do when you’re, when you are going through those hard times, they know that that, that you love what you do. And they in turn will hopefully look at you as an inspiration to find something that they love to pursue in their life as a career or a calling that they have. So find something that you love or find that calling and pursue it and go after it. And so that’s today’s episode, thanks for tuning in, join us next week on the next edition of the multiply, your success podcast.

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