Serving Others: An Interview with Jeff Anderson

faithcoop  •  February 20, 2024

The Series

Continuing in our series of faithfulness in the workplace – an interview series highlighting stories of men and women living out their Christian identity in their vocations across Chattanooga – we sat down with Jeff Anderson, Owner and Operating Partner of Crawlspace Medic, to talk about his heart for service and solving problems for clients. Below is our conversation.

(For a full backstory on the blog series, view our first post here.)

The Interview

An Introduction to Jeff

Faith Co-Op (FC): What do you do for work and how did you get started?

Jeff Anderson (Jeff): I am an owner/operating partner of Crawlspace Medic, a franchise in Chattanooga. I was looking for an opportunity to have my own business, and was recruited by some friends of mine. Before that, I worked at SharpTop Cove, a Young Life Camp, directly out of college in the maintenance department and worked on a lot of different hands-on projects on the property. I have a business degree from UGA and knew I wanted to go out on my own in business but didn’t feel confident enough to do that without some support. Going into business with friends I trust and having the franchise model were a big part of equipping me to feel confident enough to step out on my own. My wife and I moved to Chattanooga in 2021 and started this branch of Crawlspace Medic.

In running my own business I wanted to create a place that I would enjoy working for myself, that would support my family, and that would be an enjoyable place to work for my employees. I was leaning on my previous experience working with my hands, which I enjoyed, and getting to know people and helping them, which is what we do at the core of Crawlspace Medic – we help people solve problems. Taking care of people is a huge reason I’m in the service business.

Opening this franchise was definitely a prayer of mine. I had a hunger for something different than what I was doing, but I didn’t quite know what it was. So I prayed, “Lord, give me an opportunity and also help me to not miss whatever opportunity that might be.”

The Joys and Challenges of Being a Business Owner

FC: What do you enjoy about your work and what are some challenges that you face?

Jeff: I really enjoy interacting with and meeting people, trying to understand their problem, and then offering solutions. I truly find joy in solving people’s problems. I think I get a lot of my satisfaction from the work that we do that’s done well, and then from the guys that are working with me being proud of their work and enjoying what they do. One of my favorite questions to ask is, “Are we proud of what we did?”

The challenges are things like remembering the reason why we are doing what we do and defining success. It’s easy to get on a roll and focus only on hitting certain goals. At the end of the day, it could all end and the business could fail and yet we could still be successful because of the impact we had on people. As a business owner, there’s added pressure of having employees that are counting on the success of the business to provide for their families. There’s always a list of things you can do better to be more successful financially. As an employee, I enjoyed the task of being given a project and doing it really well, so operating a business has been an adjustment. The first year that I was doing this it was much harder because I just wasn’t used to carrying so much weight on my shoulders and my natural level of stress elevated significantly. It took me a year to be okay with knowing that I was going to be operating at that new level and that was okay and I could be healthy there.

“At the end of the day, it could all end and the business could fail and yet we could still be successful because of the impact we had on people.“

FC: How did you make such a big transition in your career?

Jeff: That is the beauty of my business partners. I was on the phone with them very regularly in the beginning. I read a couple of business books but I also took notes of how other business owners did things. I asked myself “If I started a business, what would it be? How would I want to run it?” I’m also a part of BNI, Business Networking International. I’ve met with a group every week for a couple of years now and getting to be in the room with other business owners has been super helpful to meet and learn from people in different places and different stages of business.

The Golden Rule

FC: How does your faith inform your work?

Jeff: The Golden Rule is the focus of every interaction I have with a customer. I’m constantly thinking, “How would I want to be treated in this situation?” or, “If this were my house, how would I do this?” Treating people the way I would like to be treated informs the way I work. I show up to work deeply believing that people matter. Something my wife and I try to tell our kids often is that people are the most important thing. At work, we have to care for the eternal beings and remember that those relationships will last much longer than the house that we’re repairing.

My tagline is that I want to interact with people like I’m going to run into them at church that Sunday. I want to be honest and fair. I appreciate Crawlspace Medic’s mission statement. The company was founded by believers and the mission statement refers to us existing to bring glory to God and to care for people on a spiritual level. That’s part of the reason I liked the franchise and wanted to be a part of it.

FC: Do you have a book or set of verses that have shaped the way that you approach your work?

Jeff: I’m reading a book with some friends that’s reminding me that Jesus came not to be served but to serve. I’ve always been passionate about leading by example, seeking to be like Jesus in serving and washing the feet of the people you’re with, which describes the work that I’ve done the most – a lot of the behind-the-scenes work and the dirty stuff that people don’t necessarily see as pretty but is serving and loving.

Wisdom for New Business Owners and Entrepreneurs

FC: What advice or encouragement would you give for people in your position as entrepreneurs or business owners?

Jeff: You need a community of people and mentors. You’ve got to talk about things and share with others that believe the same things you do. The wisdom that I always come back to is what I learned as a volunteer Young Life leader: most of the battle is fought by showing up and being present and reliable, taking it one day at a time. Things aren’t going to stay the same. For better or worse, they’re going to change.

I remember the early days of getting in my truck in the morning and really dreading what I had to do. But I had to remember that it’s just one day and this is just one week – things will change. That was powerful for my relationship with the Lord and with my wife. Taking a leap of faith and starting this business was good for us. It was hard, but we’re doing it. We had to lean on and rely on the Lord and each other, which made our relationship that much stronger.

Also, you have to know why you are doing what you’re doing. When I was leading volunteers while working at SharpTop Cove, I would always tell them “If I ask you to do something that’s not connected or doesn’t feel like it serves our purpose for being here, tell me, and we won’t do it if it doesn’t lead towards our mission.” Leaning on those deeper questions of purpose are important, especially when it’s tough.

Read the previous story in the series of faithfulness here.