Jonathan Citsay was born in Rahway, New Jersey and later relocated to Reno, Nevada. In his early years, he quickly identified and subsequently developed his passions for both carpentry as well as business. Possessing a strong drive, fueled by exceptional leadership skills, Jonathan’s path towards success began with his admission into the University of Nevada. Soon after, he earned his degree in Business Administration, and it was the keystone in what would soon be his career.
Combining his passions of carpentry and business, Jonathan, along with Ryan, his older brother, founded CB Carpentry. The company, founded in 2018, quickly developed a reputation for strong customer satisfaction as well as exceptional products. Serving Nevada and the immediate area, CB Carpentry’s success, according to Jonathan, can be attributed to a few critical elements: An emphasis on customer service, the near-exclusive utilization of eco-friendly materials, and a deliberate effort towards the reduction of its carbon footprint.
1. Why did you decide to create your own business, CB Carpentry?
More than anything, I felt that with everything I had at the time, my degree, my skills, and my experience, I wanted to make my own career path, completely by my own efforts. My brother shared this mindset, so we set off to create CB Carpentry, and it is arguably one of the best, if not the best things that have happened in my life.
2. What do you love most about the industry you are in?
To be honest, I really enjoy the simplicity. There’s something about the simple nature of carpentry, from the materials used to the work done; this is not to say that it is both an intricate and sometimes even demanding process, but rather that it is simply good old fashioned, honest work, and I enjoy how simple it is to make our customers happy, as well.
3. What does a typical day consist of for you?
Every day, I begin very early in the morning: I head out to the office, and immediately begin checking on our clients, both those with works-in-progress as well as any new ones. I take a hands-on approach with everything I do.
But, getting to the heart of the matter, it really is about being hands-on, taking on the needs of clients as well as the fulfillment of those needs with the utmost of care. This means that I am physically present in all customer-related proceedings throughout my entire workday, to the best of my ability, whether it’s a meeting, a phone call, or an in-person interaction.
4. What keeps you motivated?
In my earlier years, before the company, I would have said that it was my drive for success, my natural inclination to both run a business as well as lead others. Nowadays, I feel much more motivated from customer satisfaction, and I think about what things I can do to make them happy on a near-constant basis.
5. How do you motivate others?
Obviously, a large part of it is helping others understand the importance of putting the customer first and being 100% committed to their satisfaction; in addition, it’s extremely important to practice what you preach. When you are able to lead by example, and publicly do everything that you say you intend to do, I’d argue that this is even more effective as a motivational tool.
6. How has your company grown from its early days to now?
I can say with confidence that this is largely attributed to our customer base. Like any company, we started small, but ultimately, because we were so committed to customer satisfaction, even back then, word-of-mouth quickly established CB Carpentry as a company with an amicable reputation. Little by little, more and more people were recommending our company, and before we knew it, we were where we are today; all the while, we’ve maintained our commitment to customers regardless of the size of our company.
7. How do you maintain a solid work-life balance?
I know from my own friends in the business world that this is easier said than done, but for me personally, I’ve found that giving yourself credit, where credit is due, can be one of the biggest helping factors towards spending the appropriate amount of time between home and work. It may sound indulgent from the outset, but what I really mean is that for many people, especially those in administrative positions, there can be a tendency to sell yourself short for the work you have done, and a subsequent desire to over-work as some form of compensation. Simply put, give yourself credit for a job well done. When you do, you are more inclined to be willing to take a well-deserved break.
8. What traits do you possess that make a successful leader?
Although I would otherwise be quick to mention my degree, or my experience, I feel that as I get older, the more and more I believe that the best leaders are the ones who are willing to put others first, whether it’s employees or customers. The best leaders are the individuals who empower others to achieve success in addition to themselves.
9. What has been the hardest obstacle you’ve overcome?
Personally, it was a huge challenge establishing a system oriented around sustainability for CB Carpentry. Changing working methods, materials, and procedures when the gears have already been turning was the biggest challenge of my career. There is no doubt in my mind that it was worth it though; it’s long-term planning at its most essential.
10. What is the biggest life lesson you have learned?
I would say that if you’re like me, and you’ve always had a hunger for success, learn to share it. Share it with your customers and give them the absolute highest satisfaction. Share it with your employees, so that they can feel valued and foster a strong sense of loyalty. When you share, it really does become a cycle that goes around and around.