It’s often said that an entrepreneur needs a killer instinct to succeed in the business world. However, for Devin Wills, the 24-year-old president of A&W Contracting, one of Georgia’s largest Roofing Companies says that a positive attitude, and lasting relationships, whether with clients or his team are more important.
Wills’ father, Andy Wills founded A&W Contracting from humble beginnings in 1992 and grew it into a thriving company that collaborates with the nation’s largest residential construction companies. On Labour Day in 2017, the elder Wills had a fatal heart attack and Wills, who was there when it happened, could not save him. This plunged Wills, who was only 20 at the time, into a spiral of alcohol and drug abuse to deal with this loss of the man who he considered his best friend. By sheer will and without going into rehab, Wills overcame his addiction and became sober, an achievement he declares to be his biggest success in life.
Now that Wills is stepping up to steer the business, he is determined to make up for the lost time.
“My father poured his heart and soul into the business for 25 years before unexpectedly passing away. In the first couple of years after that, I was caught up in depression and didn’t realize my potential,” he muses. “When I got sober and began to really apply myself, I started finding the drive I needed to start fulfilling the void his father left behind and I do this by working alongside my incredible board of directors each day.”
A solid team is an entrepreneur’s not-so-secret weapon and Wills speaks glowingly about his.
“I inherited a great opportunity, but also a ton of responsibilities that require me to be on top of my game at all times. My dad built a very strong company with great employees – many of which have been at the company for almost 20 years and are among some of the best in the business. They have helped me a lot to bridge the gap and cut the learning curve in half for me in this industry,” he says.
The conventional business practice would prioritize the bottom line but Wills places more importance on building great relationships over just making big profits. Since a company’s long term success is directly correlated to the strength of those relationships, he believes it’s perfectly justified to sacrifice some margin to foster a meaningful relationship with someone capable of taking your game to the next level.
“I’ve always had the long-held belief that if you go out of your way for people and overdeliver, it comes back tenfold one way or another,” he says. “The more you can overdeliver to not only yourself, but to others also, the higher quality your relationships will become.”
In addition to creating lasting connections, Devin Wills differentiates himself from the competition by caring the most about his customers and how they do business in his companies.
“I’ve always been a people person. I love to do things for other people even when I don’t get anything in return. It’s just who I am and that’s translated well into my business endeavors,” he enthuses. “When you genuinely care about the people you serve and work with, it shows. It’s led me to find success in a variety of different ways in business, but mostly with the relationships, I build because of how I treat people. It matters more than you might think.”
Indeed Wills’ optimistic outlook is what he relies on to get him through tough times and even though he’s had his fair share of rough patches in life, he knows that they will pass.
“You can find opportunities even in the chaos. If you train your mind to seek them, you will get good at finding them,” he says.
Apart from practicing this positive attitude in his daily life, Devin Wills also spreads his life-affirming message to his 300,000+ followers on his Instagram account @thedevinwills where he posts motivational content in the hope that they, like him, find their inner strength.
“You could be having the worst day ever or dreading a situation that has yet to happen. That’s normal, but when you realize that everything will be okay, that you will get through it and probably become better because of the obstacles in your life, then you have less fear of the unknown. You accept that things can and will get stressful and you know you will be stronger because of those challenges,” he says.
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