Roofing entrepreneur Sara Klindtworth of Solid Roofing NW in Salem, Ore., said mistakes can and will happen during the process of starting your own business, and will continue while running your business. 

“It’s how we recognize and handle the mistakes that make the world of difference,” she said. “Simple mistakes to large ones, they’re going to happen. But owning up to them – whether it be with your customer, supplier, vendor, coworker, boss, or even as the boss with your employees – no matter how well you plan or think things through, we will all make some sort of mistake along the way. The key is how you handle it at the time.” 

Klindtworth said it comes down to growing and learning from the experience because it’s the mistakes people go through that shape and develop their futures. By learning from your past, when a similar situation comes up again you’ll be able to handle it better the next time around. 

As the boss, she said owning up to your mistakes with your employees – and even your customers and homeowners – will create a better work environment. 

“You can earn or destroy their respect for you based on how you handle the situation,” Klindtworth explained. “If we’re all able to learn and grow, it brings on more unity within the crew and within your daily interactions.”

Working in any male-dominated field as a female includes hurdles. 

“Some days I’m still trying to figure this out. It’s an ongoing learning process,” Klindtworth acknowledged. “You must have persistence to follow your own path. Be a problem solver, not a barrier to the solution. Shake off the negative and turn it into a positive situation. Be prepared to be a hard worker. And be able and willing to prove yourself in all situations.”

Unfortunately, Klindtworth has had to shake off more than a few situations that happened because she was a female roofing contractor. 

“About a year ago while doing an estimate for a new roof, the homeowner followed me to my truck to offer to help me setting up my ladder I was going to use to do the roof and attic inspection,” she recalled, initially thinking he was just genuinely being kind. “But then he asked if I needed help reading my tape measure when I was measuring his roof. I don’t think that would have happened with a male contractor. I just blew it off and laughed it off.”