October 16, 2017

Greenbug's Hodges: The Greatest Challenge is Also the Greatest Opportunity

Ian Leslie  /  Beaufort Digital Corridor
Louis Hodges, Owner and Co-founder of GreenbugLouis Hodges, Owner and Co-founder of Greenbug

Louise Hodges is owner and co-founder of Greenbug, Inc. Founded in 2010 by Louise and her husband, Dan, Greenbug offers pest control solutions using an active ingredient of cedar. Greenbug products are food-grade and do not need a pesticide license to apply. Greenbug also offers the Greenbug System, which delivers the product directly into customers' irrigation lines.

Where did you grow up?

I'm originally from Charlotte, N.C., but grew up in Colorado. I absolutely love both places. They're full of wonderful friends and family.

How did you come to be in Beaufort?

My mom and step-father moved to Fripp Island in the early '80s, and my husband and I got married there in 1985. Whenever we would leave the area, we were sad. When our daughters were getting ready to change schools (one going into middle school and one going into high school), one of them suggested we move to Beaufort. So, our adventure began!

What was your first job, or most memorable early job? What did you learn from it?

I worked at The Limited all through high school, way back when it was still a privately held company. I wanted the job to get a discount on clothes but ended up doing well – I was on the Top 10 Sales List for the whole country and the vice president of the company came to our store to meet me. That was amazing and let me know I could accomplish whatever I wanted to!

Did you have an entrepreneurial drive early on, or did you acquire it through experiences?

Unlike many entrepreneurs, I can work well under others but have felt compelled to go it alone when I see an unmet need. I started a landscape design/build firm in Charlotte, which happily employed my husband and myself (plus dozens of others) before moving to Beaufort. While we had planned on continuing that in Beaufort, the economic nightmare of 2008 squashed that idea and we had to reinvent ourselves. After creating wonderful outdoor spaces for customers in Charlotte, we realized people didn't spend as much time in their yards in Beaufort and the reason was due to bugs. Instead of toxic, synthetic chemicals, we came up with Greenbug using cedar as the active ingredient. It was a no-brainer – effective pest control products that are safe and green.

In your own words, what does your company do?

We offer pest control solutions using alternatives to chemical pesticides.

What lessons have you learned from good bosses? Bad bosses?

I've had them all! Great bosses listen and encourage. Bad bosses cut corners and pass the buck. I have had the pleasure of working for some great people for which I am very grateful!

What's the hardest or most important lesson you've learned in business?

There are no short cuts, no quick fixes, no substitutions for effort.

What's the biggest misconception about being an entrepreneur?

That is an easy question ... that you don't really work. I have always worked so much more, longer hours, nights, weekends, etc. as an entrepreneur. Work doesn't stop because it is after 5 p.m.!

Do you have a morning routine? How do you start and end your day?

There is no such thing as a typical day! I like to exercise and must do it early in the day if it is going to happen. Night time is dinner and hopefully some Netflix or reading before going to bed. Unless there are emails to answer.

What obstacles have you faced building your business? How have you overcome them?

The greatest challenge with Greenbug is also the greatest opportunity. We offer pest control solutions that are natural, safe and effective. But if I had a nickel for every time someone said, "Well, if it is natural, I doubt it works." Wait, what? We are David vs. Goliath with huge chemical companies telling everyone that toxic chemicals are safe and absolutely fine.

What advice would you give aspiring entrepreneurs?

Go for it! Live your dream! And don't listen to the naysayers!

What do you see as the future of your company?

I see Greenbug becoming the go-to, standard solution for all bugs, kind of like Kleenex is the go-to for tissues. The Greenbug System is phenomenal for controlling all pests and will become standard for home construction and anywhere people gather.

How do you prevent burnout?

Practicing being grateful. Every order and every Greenbug System is a gift where I am helping others solve pest control without using poisons.

What one person has been the biggest influence on your business life? And why?

My wonderful husband, Dan. We have worked together for many years, which not all couples can do. I brainstorm all sorts of ideas and then he makes them happen, so I say he makes all my dreams come true!

What inspires you?

I am inspired by people who work really hard without any fanfare. If anyone knows me, they know I am a HUGE fan of college football (especially Clemson). Those guys work so hard for months on end just for a chance to play a game they love. They do most of the hard work away from spotlights and adoration to prepare for just a chance to shine.

Are you a Mac or a PC? iPhone or Android?

PC. Definitely Android – had an iPhone for a while and did not like it at all ... much to the chagrin of the rest of my family.

What's a book you always recommend?

"Animal Speak". It explains the wisdom and messages from all sorts of creatures in nature. I personally refer to it several times a week. We are always receiving insight if we are open to it.

What is your usual Starbucks (or other restaurant/pub) order?

Not a coffee drinker but sure love my Celestial Seasonings Bengal Spice Tea!

Outside of work what keeps you busy?

We have season tickets to Clemson football so that is a lot of our fall fun. Outside of that, I love to prune plants, cook, and go out in the boat.