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How Going From Owner to Employee Made This Entrepreneur a Better Leader Rik Nonelle founded Window Genie, grew it for 22 years and then sold it -- but stayed on as president.

By Nina Zipkin

This story appears in the March 2018 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Courtesy of Window Genie

Rik Nonelle is used to being the boss. In 1994, he founded Window Genie in Cincinnati, and spent more than two decades growing it, with 120 franchisees across 30 states. But in 2016, Nonelle changed paths: He sold the company to the Dwyer Group, a Waco, Tex.-based corporation that owns 17 franchise brands, including Molly Maid and Mr. Rooter, and oversees 2,800 franchise owners across nine countries. But Nonelle wasn't just after a payday. He stayed on as the president, working out of the same Cincinnati office he occupied before the sale. And while he may not be top dog on the org chart anymore, he believes the sale helped him be a better leader -- and helped every franchisee he has brought in.

Related: 22 Qualities That Make a Great Leader

Why did you decide to sell Window Genie?

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