chris harris athens gaChris Harris is CEO and resident visionary of Lift It Moving & Storage, formerly College Moving Company, where he works toward improving business development and innovating the industry as a whole.

That Side Hustle

Chris will tell you that he didn’t start out as an entrepreneur, but get him talking about how he made money in school, and you’ll know he was already on his way.

As a teenager, Chris went from mowing lawns to assembling an entire lawn care outfit. Although he understood the value in sweat equity, working hard, and thinking independently, he never thought of his endeavors as more than a way to get himself through college. He assumed his principles would someday apply to a “real job.”

During his senior year at UGA, some of Chris’ neighbors were moving out of his building. He knew that his high rise was a tough place to move in and out of, so he jumped in to help, and received a large tip — in 45 minutes, he’d made as much as the typical college student would earn in a shift. The leasing manager at Broad 909 took notice and hired him, and he ended up moving 30 people out of the building that summer.

Cash is King, but Credit is Critical

After the summer boom, Chris considered starting an independent moving company, but he didn’t pursue the idea after graduation. Becoming a mover didn’t seem glamorous, and he wanted more status from his first job out of school, so he went into sales.

Chris was a sales rep for straight commission, making 5%. He had to sell a lot, and the work wasn’t adding up: he was home in Georgia only two days one month. He was driven to succeed, but knew that his new lifestyle wasn’t sustainable.

His college mentor had a mantra that kept ringing true: “Cash is king, but credit is critical.” By credit he meant relationships with people. It was another way of thinking about business, and entrepreneurship started to feel like a real possibility. Chris has an innate ability to make connections with people, and he started pursuing leads — even when they were freezing cold — to find new partners.

It was a pivotal time for me. I found my faith and changed my perspective. I no longer cared about titles. I just wanted to do what I was meant to do. To me that meant being an entrepreneur, taking an idea from scratch, and making it real. I quit my job and started Lift It Moving Company, and now we’re going strong!

The Cockroach Approach

Chris is relentless, an attribute that separates he and his fellow entrepreneurs from the rest. Not everyone is willing to endure 22-hour drives, red eye flights, and sleepless nights, but Chris is all in until the job is done. He does whatever it takes to fulfill a commitment, no matter what the circumstances.

To him, personal growth follows business growth, and he focuses on finding balance to stay in sight of the bigger picture.

“I think 99.9% of people would have quit, but I didn’t. I call it the cockroach approach: never dying. I want to pass along all of the things I’ve gone through. It’s easy to find information, but hard to find valid information, which is why someday I’d like to focus on being a business coach, to help people avoid some of my mistakes.”