Becoming the Boss: How a Classroom
Assignment Turned into a Life-Changing Career
It’s not every day that an individual enters college as a
student with a dream and leaves a budding entrepreneur. College is a time for
learning and building upon skills and foundational knowledge that can be used
to build a career, start a business or advance within the field. It took one
business course for Michelle Spitzer to draft a plan for her future business,
which led to a life-changing experience.
“Dr. Gene Landrum became one of my first mentors,” Spitzer
said. “He was an excellent professor and wanted you to learn from real life
Spitzer enrolled in Hodges University’s (then known as
International College) Bachelor of Science in management degree
program in 1995. While taking a business course with Landrum, who was the
founder of Chuck E. Cheese, she was given the assignment of writing a business
“He [Landrum] taught us to think big and to think outside
the box,” she said. This type of thinking led Spitzer to use her independent
cleaning job as inspiration to create a plan for a much larger business,
saying, “During this time, I was cleaning homes independently to make some
extra cash while going to school. I decided to write my business plan on
creating a cleaning company. While going through this exercise, I decided I
might be onto something and decided to implement it.”
Today, Hodges’ management program is designed to benefit not
only individuals who seek to advance their careers but entrepreneurs and those
seeking to be self-employed, much like Spitzer. Hodges’ management program
emphasizes the importance of human resources, organizational productivity,
quality and success.
On track to becoming her own boss, this new venture was a drastic
change from Spitzer’s previous career as a Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS)
account representative in Champaign, Illinois. After her position at BCBS was
eliminated, she moved to Naples, Florida, to be closer to her parents in 1993.
Possessing an associate degree from a local community college, she received
encouragement from her mother to go back to school and earn a bachelor’s
“My mom encouraged me to complete my education. She highly
recommended Hodges University because she had obtained her paralegal degree
from the school,” Spitzer explained.
The flexibility of the courses and
ability to start her own business while still in school left a lasting
impression on Spitzer, who graduated with her bachelor’s degree in 1997.
Founding Michelle’s Classy Cleaning Services while in school, Spitzer received
an opportunity to become a franchisee with MaidPro in 1999.
As the owner of MaidPro of Southwest Florida, Spitzer admits
running a company isn’t easy, but it is rewarding, saying, “I see my business
as a platform to ‘Improve the Quality of People’s Lives.’ I hear stories every
day of how we make a difference by taking care of their [our customers’]
Since converting her business and joining multi-million
dollar MaidPro, Spitzer’s company has consistently been the number one revenue
producing franchise out of 250 locations with more than 109 employees and five
locations throughout Collier, Lee, Charlotte, Sarasota and Manatee counties.
Reflecting on her experience at Hodges, she encourages
others to not let fear get in the way of pursuing a goal, offering the words,
“My education inspired me to start my own business. It changed my life. You
have nothing to lose, only everything to gain.”