By Dylan Deprey
As the COVID-19 pandemic sweeps across the world, small businesses are closing their doors left and right. However, Milwaukee’s entrepreneurial hero, Mike Scrill, continues to fight for the underdogs.
The last time the Milwaukee Courier caught up with the Happy Hustlin’ boss, he had set up his Happy Husltin’ clothing and custom print shop in-house. Along with promoting and networking for other small businesses, he trekked across the city in his reflective vest providing car lockouts for those stranded without their keys.
His Happy Hustlin’ mentality has always been about adapting and elevating.
As a single father and reformed offender, he found his passion for fashion. When he got a shot at a location in what was the Milwaukee Mall, he utilized the entire mall, and formed a family of small businesses.
Once the mall closed, he secured an opportunity with a city-based initiative for a month-long pop-up shop. When a store location wasn’t in the stars, he started cruising the city for those locked out of their vehicles. He did motivational speaking and reached out to those that were once in his shoes.
While non-essential businesses have been mandated to close up shop during the COVID-19 pandemic, Scrill has continued to live his motto and “strive for better ways to provide better days.”
“There’s a lot of people that are in situations, but don’t have what I call the ‘hustle muscle’ or that get-up-and-go mentality. So, I try to inspire people to not stop. Everybody is focusing on this situation as a bad thing, but I believe this could be a great thing for us. We’re so used to going through the struggle, so when we ride this wave, we’ll be on top or in a position for the next level,” Scrill said.
He said during the quarantine he has been preparing for the next level and thinking outside the box. Whether that means reaching out for the CARES Act small business, catching up on book-keeping or learning a new skill, he said it was not the time for small business owners to give up.
“If you’re not up on your paperwork, time to get your paperwork right, that’s what I’ve done. Just try to learn something towards your business, so when this over you’ll be in a nice position. I’ve been focused on creating, and not so much on somebody else’s creation because they can snatch it off the table at any minute. I just want to make sure I have something solid going on, and anything else is a blessing,” Scrill said.
Scrill has always made it a point to spread the Happy Hustlin’ message. Whether he was hosting events, speaking at conferences or doing Facebook Lives, he used his platform to uplift his community. It almost made too much sense for his next venture while on lockdown—a podcast.
“With a podcast, I can hit a lot of angles with this situation,” he said. “I want to be able to learn videography and editing. Why not practice with my own podcast? I could just sit down with my phone, but Happy Hustlin’ is about striving for better ways to provide better days.”
Along with building his business, he continues to strengthen the relationship with his two daughters. Normally, he teaches the girls small business lessons when they are around. Now that they are doing virtual schooling and are home 24/7, he has actually been learning from them.
“Parents really only get to see what’s on the report card and in the parent teacher conference, now we’re going through different curriculums, and I’m seeing the growth. I’m more in tune with it, but it’s a challenge,” Scrill said
He said parenting has almost been more challenging than running the businesses during the pandemic. He said it’s been hard
when the girls ask questions, he doesn’t always have the answer for.
“I get the questions. What’s this whole 5G thing? What’s this coronavirus? As a parent, you don’t want to mislead them. We’re all in a vulnerable state because we don’t know what’s going to happen, and that’s one of the main challenges for me because I don’t know. You want to tell them that everything is going to be alright, but if you don’t know what’s going on than you’re damn near lying to them,” he said.
He said the best thing to do was look past the uncertainty and continue to focus on the present.
“Focus on what you can do right now, keep preparing for the next level,” he said.
For more information on Mike Scrill and Happy Hustlin’ visit https://www.facebook.com/mike.scrill2