Personal Brand Interview: Advice from a private service entrepreneur

Domestic Estate Management

When I see a 30,000 square foot private estate with half million-dollar cars parked out front, I used to think of the celebrities who lived there. Now I think of Peter Colt Van Ryder, Private Service Professional and owner of Estate Management Solutions.

Peter’s company does many things for his principals and their private estates, including staffing solutions, construction management, on-going staff management, implementing HR procedures and many more. In addition, Peter spends a lot of his efforts dedicated to the development and forward progress of the Private Service Industry.

I had the opportunity to chat with Peter about his business and how he has built a reputable company as a service professional in such a unique industry – an industry more extensive than I had anticipated.  His advice is extremely valuable for entrepreneurs catering to high net-worth individuals or in the luxury industry, but also any service-provider looking to build their credibility.

Read our interview below:

Shauna:  How does a service provider build credibility at the beginning stages of the entrepreneurial career, especially in a low barrier to entry industry?

Peter: First and foremost through the demonstration of honesty, integrity, respect and discretion.  Second, develop industry related knowledge and/or training.  This is a difficult profession to break into, but with the right guidance and a lot of patience, it can be hugely rewarding.


Shauna: Was it difficult to take the leap into self-employment and starting your company?

Peter: Scary? Absolutely!!! But there are few things that I would label as difficult when you are doing something that you have a true love for.


Shauna: What is one thing you wish you knew at the beginning of your entrepreneurial career?
Peter: Just one? There have been so many things in my career that I have looked back on that I wish I had known earlier, but my passion and drive for the industry and fellow professionals have kept me on the right path.  I think one of the difficulties I have faced is to know whose advice to listen to, and keep true to my focus when you have so many people telling you what you “should be” doing. Everybody has an opinion of how you should run your business.


Shauna: What is the one piece of advice you can give to any service provider – regardless of the clientele they work with?

Peter: There are many frustrations in our industry, one of the keys to remember is, “whose agenda are you on?”  If you get upset because your clients don’t like your idea, it’s nothing personal; it simply doesn’t fit with their agenda.


Shauna: Are there any drawbacks or challenges to working in the private service industry and with high net-worth individuals?

Peter: We work in a very intimate environment; establishing and maintaining boundaries can be difficult in our profession.  Our office is their home. We see all the dirty secrets and the many moments of joy that families go through on a regular basis.  The lines between professionalism and personal can blur easily if it’s not kept at the forefront of our minds.


Shauna: There’s a difference between being in it for the money and being in it for the industry – a true passion for what you do. What separates the two?

Peter: I have seen an alarming amount of people who bring frivolous lawsuits against their employers (some are valid), writing “tell-all” books or being a part of a TV program that does not represent the true nature of our industry. These people do a great disservice to our industry.  It shows a complete lack of integrity and an absence of discretion.  The only benefit of these actions is monetary.  While we all need to earn a living, a true professional’s motivations stem from a desire to maintain the integrity of the industry, and helping those who are struggling with similar issues.


Shauna: And finally, what’s your definition of a personal brand?

Peter: To me, a personal brand is the images and thoughts that are conjured when people see you or your logo. I just hope that mine conjures the virtues I preach.

I tried to squeeze out a good story or two from Peter about his job. He said he’s done/seen many things most people would be envious of – flying on private jets, driving expensive cars, and working in mansions, but one of the key qualities that defines a professional in his industry is discretion. Peter is indeed a true professional.

When I become a billionaire, I now know who to call.

About Peter:  Based in Dallas, Texas he is working for the positive growth of the Private Service Profession.  In 2009 he established Estate Management Solutions, which is dedicated to educating the public and professional about the high standards of the private service industry.  In 2010 he established the Dallas Chapter of the Domestic Estate Managers Institute and currently serves as Chapter President.

Read more about Peter’s background on his website.

Tweet with Peter on Twitter.