January 8th, 2019… North Central Wrestling is preparing for a duel with Elmhurst… the Battle for the Bird’s Nest… and Head Coach Joe Norton is taking to the Elmhurst’s Head Coach
Norton: He looked at me and said ‘I didn’t know Moe was that good’. So not only does Moe set his phone down and get on the scale, because he was on his conference call at 6 o’clock. Sets the phone down, gets on the scale, makes weight, picks up his phone and finish the conference call. Then he goes out there and beats the Elmhurst kid 22-8… right after their coach told me he didn’t think Moe was that good. It’s unreal, to have someone who can do that, it’s crazy. Yeah, I’m lucky.
If there’s a story that sums up Moe Mitchell well… it’s that one. Not only is the North Central junior a conference champion wrestler at 125 pounds, he owns his own business.
Moe: Originally in high school it was Pristine, but a lot of my friends, they used to make fun of me like Moe… mowing… Moe mows. So that’s when I thought the name would be genius… to go with Moe Mows.
You heard him right… high school. The company started with Mitchell mowing two lawns a week while at Neuqua Valley… before growing and adding sub-contractors in 2016, when he was just about to go into college.
Moe: It was really interesting to me, just to see the dynamics of it. My whole thing was like, I can’t do this in college and wrestling. We’re sub-contracted, so when I hired my first sub-contractor, it was super interesting to me. The fact that I could be somewhere but still making money.
Growing to 15 sub-contractors and servicing more than 200 houses weekly, Mitchell is planning for a pivoting of the business.
Moe: We’re turning in to a full software company, so no longer servicing houses after next year. What we’re going to focusing on is building out that technology. So what we have right now, it’s going to be sold as a subscription base for other lawn care companies so they can use our platform and have the value proposition that we have.
Mitchell can do this because Moe Mows… is now a full-fledged app. Automating the lawn care service was the next step and he developed while still running the business, going to school full-time and competing on the mats.
Joe: Every, what would be considered down time to someone else, is spent working or chasing something down. He’s constantly on the phone, if something is wrong, he’s fixing it.
Moe: There’s a lot of things going on in my life and I’d say my freshman year and sophomore year I really struggled with time management. So I would come into practice with two or three hours of sleep and I’m cutting weight as well. This year I’ve done a lot better with getting the sleep that I need in order to practice and train at the level that I need to be at.
Joe: It sets an example for other people where, I won’t take excuses. Because no matter how busy you are, I promise you that Moe Mitchell is busier than you are. And he’s still here every time.
Studying Entrepreneurship at North Central, Mitchell has come a long way in the class room, with his business, and especially on the matt.
Joe: When he got here, I could go 50% and just put it on him. On any given day now, two years later, I can’t step on that line across from Moe Mitchell unless I’m ready to go. Because I’m going to get my butt kicked.
Moe: I came in here not really having skills, I used to get beat up all the time. Just the program in general, all my teammates, all my coaches, but I have to thank Joe. Because all of the sacrifices from him… probably not wanting to come in, but always coming in with me to train over the summer.
These days, Moe has continued growing Moe Mows, bringing on a Chief Operating Officer into the fold to help with the workload. In addition to the lawn care service, Mitchell has worked exhaustively over the last year on a new mobile app called HubClick.
“It’s basically Moe Mows platform but we put it into a drag and drop app builder. Our focus is enabling any home service company to run their business off of a custom-branded app. When I built Moe Mows I spent a ton of money on building it. I’m still spending a ton of money on maintenance and new updates… rather than HubClick, which is more so software and service. So, by allowing a ton of companies to come on the system we can keep the costs really low on a monthly subscription base.”
While it’s an exciting time as Mitchell nears graduation from North Central and the launch of HubClick in two months, the current business climate is proving to be less than ideal.
“Investors are focusing on their portfolio companies – the companies they’ve already invested in. So it’s just trying to figure all of that out right now.”
But through the bad times and the good, Mitchell is pleased with the entrepreneur track he’s put himself on at just 22 years old.
“The fact that I can wake up every morning and just be super excited to work on my business, that was a big push for me to just say – I’m going to push away from the idea of having a salary to building my own company.
Reporting for Sports Story Sunday, I’m Kevin Jackman