Recession Proofing Your Design Build Company - Designers Show #90

designers show Dec 05, 2022
Recession Proofing Your Design Build Company

Chris Pasch is our special guest in this Designers Show. Chris is the CEO of Avocet Design Build - a company specializing in kitchens & baths, luxury outdoor living, & additions in Wilmington, NC. Chris is proactive about positioning his company as the contractor of choice in his area. Watch as he shares some valuable tips on recession-proofing your design-build company.

Introduction & Upcoming Classes 00:01
Chris’ Marketing & Rebranding Experience in 2008 11:47
Book: Rock the Recession 19:02
Creating Income Streams 22:38
Having a Digital Footprint in the Changing Economy 27:19
Reaching Out to Your Clients 33:10
Promoting Yourself & Your Company 48:06
How Do You Decide Who Does Your Marketing? 53:36
The Grammarly Program 55:29
Collaborating 58:07
Dan’s 2023 Chief Experts Immersion Summit 1:01:22


gotta love it we are live hey everyone hi Dan here with Chief experts and welcome to the designer show this is show number 90 I believe so wow um it's amazing yeah we're keeping up to that hundred Mark it's kind of fun uh anyway welcome today and uh on with John and our guest Chris uh pot how do you pronounce your last name Pat cash okay cool and I think Robin and Ray Renee may be joining us Robin is trying to she's having a little technical difficulty um but today we've got a great show Chris is uh a long time client of mine is a contractor and he has some great information to share so I'm really excited about what he's got to say here today because it's got a lot of I don't know meat in it I guess you'd call it um and we had a great you know Chris and I were talking earlier this morning we had a great conversation about some things and he's got some really interesting information to share with you the bottom line the number one thing I think that is that we're going to talk about is um recession proofing your company is not just about the economy okay it goes way beyond that and that's part of what we're going to talk about today so uh we'll have some fun with that but before we get into that let me just do a quick commercial um or two so if you're on the show page and you're looking at that you will notice that um below here we've got a little information about Chris and you can click on the the link here to uh check out Chris's company can we talk a little bit about a book that Chris is recommending I'll rock the recession and this is a link to the Amazon thing uh where you could download the book if you want but uh I'm gonna get it I have it early yet this morning but I will looks like a really good book um our Summit coming up in February uh next year is selling out pretty fast so there's not I mean we're almost two-thirds sold out if you're considering coming to this thing um I wouldn't put it off too much longer if you want me to hold the spot for you let me know and I'd be happy to talk to you about doing that uh it's going to be a cool event and I'm really excited about the people that are coming I've been interviewing a lot of people I've been signing up and we've got some cool people coming with some great information so we're going to have a lot of sharing going on at this event so it's going to be fun um do you have a three-day intermediate class coming up in the Twin Cities here a week from Monday so it's at a local hotel here um you can find out about that we have 10 people signed up right now so there's room for about four more five more uh so if you're interested by all means again if you have questions feel free to give me a call my numbers uh on the website and uh one other thing I'll really want to make you aware of is this thing right here if your company has employees all right you do not want to miss this pay attention to this this thing that David and Jerry are going to talk about could net you about 26 Grand per employee this is a real deal um so Chris make sure you check this out next week because you have employees uh uh I've been actually hearing I've been seeing commercials on TV about this program so what Jerry runs a company that will he'll run through the how this program works and how they'll take you through the process you won't have to do anything they'll take you through the process you take a small commission it wasn't much you'll talk about that in the show to to handle everything for you and that you'll also learn right away if you qualify or not so you won't it won't cost you anything to check out um if you qualify or not so check out the show it should be interesting I've listened to it I wish I had employees but I don't it's just me and unfortunately as a business owner I don't qualify so that's one of the other caveats so if you're a sole employee don't bother because you won't you won't qualify anyway let's jump into our show here and um Robin I'm going to mute you a little bit oh you are muted okay good um and welcome Robin I see you finally got your audio working so how are you today you're good all right cool and uh let's let's go ahead and jump into this so Chris thank you for being here today um when um when um Jolene mentioned that we should have you on the show to talk about what we're going to talk about today I thought for a second and then she explained to me a little bit about what you guys are doing I was like God that's a great idea so I'm excited to talk about this but first of all Chris tell everyone a little bit about yourself you've been in business for a while tell us uh you know how you got started in the construction industry and uh how you arrived at this point well I got started a long time ago and as a Apprentice Carpenter when I was a young man and we lived in uh Colorado actually uh we I was my wife and I were uh Latter-Day hippies we lived in our VW bus and I was like oh cool traveling bum Carpenter we've lived all over the West I bet you wish you still had that VW don't you or maybe you do the shows rewards for it all the time well we went all over we have uh we have six children together and three of them were born while we were traveling around the West oh cool so we had I got a great experience early on working on some super high-end stuff because it was uh we worked in Aspen worked in Sedona Arizona worked in Bend Oregon wow so I've got to experience things like that really early as far as uh super high-end construction and really nice things and great design I had a fortunate to have a lot of good teachers cool out there that kind of brought me along and uh so now you were a carpenter starting out now because the Carpenters make way better money now and yeah yeah as they should I mean you know absolutely with what's going on in the world today a good Carpenter should make a really good living I've always believed that you know yeah I do too 100 yeah and that's one of my big missions is to train young men and hopefully women we don't get too many that sure want to join us but so now fast forward a little bit you were you you ended up in Maryland yes Michelle's from Maryland and we decided to settle down somewhat and we moved back to the Baltimore area okay and we started a design node business there actually at first it was just a deck building business okay did all the design work for it and we grew into a design build Remodeling Company which I started using Chief Architect in 2005. okay uh so we we were rolling along great and uh raising our family everything we thought everything would just keep going on exactly the way it was until 2008. um I wonder what happened in 2008 I don't remember that's one of the reasons I really have a somewhat of a passion about this topic because maybe us talking about it can help somebody not make some of the mistakes I made well that and plus we reinforce what we're working on today to help you know for ourselves too exactly to not well we all made such crazy mistakes during that I mean we saw it coming and we re I I know for me I reacted way too slow you saw it coming absolutely one of the things Peter and I were talking about earlier yeah well you know we're aware of it right but in 2008 when it started in October you just never thought it was going to be so deep but we I what I know for myself it's not like I'm pointing fingers to anybody but other than at me I didn't react anywhere near as fast as I should have and that's because I didn't have a plan in place for what to do that yeah oh you froze up a little bit there Robin I ended up losing my business so we ended up closing it was a bad thing you're probably the only person that happened to we did too Robin and that's what got us to North Carolina uh a family member of Michelle's got us a bunch of sub subcontractor work at uh the military bases here so we got came down here but it's been a great thing for us because we love it here so you started your new business but only about three years ago is that right that's right we were before then we were basically a trade contractor doing uh carpentry work for other contractors and yeah you were telling me this morning that um it's pretty tough to get a license there in North Carolina you have to have so many Assets in the bank yes you have to have a fair amount of money so it took us a while to get back to where we could get our license and start over or start new okay it's gone really well and uh the Chief Architect has been a huge asset for us yeah it was good that I had some experience with it but it took a good bit to get back up to speed because I think I'm not sure what I left off with in 2008 or it was like X 2008 would have been well 12 years ago yeah the next one maybe uh version 10 something like that possibly well I think that's maybe what it was yeah give or take I think it was actually before that version version 10 was like 2008. yeah yeah okay so I had a lot of learning to do which you're you're uh new courses really helped me a lot cool awesome all right fast you know again we'll fast forward a little bit more again so here we are today um last uh everyone was that that was this earlier in the year for January February something like that early spring when we took the marketing yeah Jolene who does a lot of my marketing things for me uh um she did a course on marketing that you attended um and you and your wife Michelle were always there um you were probably on some of our top students because you you're always there and you're raring to go you were pretty excited about the whole process of um marketing your company properly so so tell us a little bit about that that course and where it led you um to now well we were at the beginning of the year we were trying to decide really which direction we were going with our business okay and um we knew we needed marketing help we knew we needed to do more but you know we're we're analog people from you know other than Chief Architect I don't have a ton of good computer skills uh okay uh so we we thought it would help us to take that digital course and it did it opened our eyes up to the potential and also what what we would need to do yeah and that was I think that's a big part of course that's actually a big part even what I teach in Chief Architects is you get to see what's possible you get to understand the right process to go through to get somewhere and I think Jolene did a great job of pointing that up now the overwhelm Factor comes into play here because you're already wearing 25 hats every day and you're supervised correct and now you want to throw all this marketing stuff on top of that um but you took a different approach yeah well we floundered around for our few months after tried to do some of the thing implement the things that Jillian talked about and realized we weren't getting anywhere yeah so we reached out to Jolene and uh after that if she would take us on as a client yep and so she we came to an agreement and we at that time I was also starting to think about the economic recessions we're just starting to see signs of things that might well the inflation was starting to take off so yeah besides inflation what kind of things will you see in that caused concern uh it was the biggest thing that I was looking at was the rising interest rates yeah and I just had a panic moment of re you know flashback to 2008 yeah also because everyone was saying there's there's a housing shortage and there's there's no houses everybody has to buy a house that's exactly what we heard in 2007. and I was like oh no Chris again I think the biggest difference back in 2008 weren't the banks kind of like opening their Windows just throwing bags yeah I don't think they're quite doing that now but yeah so it was completely different but I just had a flashback all right and we had a an amount of money to invest in something for the business and we took the plunge and decided to invest it in the marketing okay so now um let's move to the next step then so you decided you're going to work with Julian on your marketing what happened well we looked at all our marketing assets that we have and realized none of them really made sense with each other okay yeah nothing nothing was really uh a cohesive whole so Jolene and her team helped us come up with a a better vision for what we wanted the company to look like yeah and the one thing we talked about this morning that was really interesting was that through the through this marketing we've changed our approach to the business all right it was 180 degrees which I never expected that I thought we were gonna you use the term what we were doing but we yeah you used the term rebranded you rebranded your business yes we rebranded in in that rebranding what kind of things happened what did you change well we changed our website first of all but we also changed our message of what we were about and really Dove deep into what our our strengths were which is one of our strengths is our our team so we were trying to promote that yeah yeah it's a and for everybody that's listening I'm sure they know it's it's difficult to have a team yeah it takes a lot of work it's a big commitment it really is and to keep to keep everybody working and training it's it's a lot uh I think profitability it may be better to not have a team and do everything subcontractor-wise but we really love the people that work with us and yeah our clients are they that's what they Rave about really like they you know they're not they may not be in love with me as the guy that's always asked in them for another check but they really love the guys that are there every day and you know taking care of their dogs and yeah you know making sure their cats are okay and so part of your roots things like that so part of your rebranding I know one thing specifically you um Joleen was telling me about is you did a lot of decks yes all right I mean you don't do decks anymore well it was interesting because we decided one of the things we decided was to not stay in that market I mean like I said I've done decks since uh as a business it's the 90s everybody knows decks but there's a lot of people doing them and yeah we have the capability to do super high-end work uh so he's focused on our kitchens baths additions we took Robin's baths design class with you guys also which was oh yeah a big help for me as designing bathrooms and uh but uh the one thing we realized just recently is that while we can't compete with the uh the standard guy in a truck building a deck price wise yeah they can't compete with us on the on the sort of higher end luxury outdoor stuff yeah so part of your rebranding you realize that oh if you don't just build decks we really do build outdoor living environments exactly yeah so great way to refocus on that uh I could say anybody can build a deck not a lot of people can do that do the Outdoor Living environment that you guys do um all right that was cool so um so so as you're going through this change of marketing okay so were you guys I mean your website looks great by the way so you've done some really nice things that your images your pictures everything is fabulous you've got a Blog going you got testimonials I mean when people land here they're gonna you know see what you do you do great stuff you've crossed that hurdle you've you've clarified what you do okay you clarified how you do it some of your golden rules you know if you kept it simple so one of the things that you mentioned that you're using to help so again so part of the recession recession proofing your business is to Rebrand your business focus in what you are really really good at and that's what you're going for yes that's right okay now let's talk before we go further here let's talk a little bit about that book that I mentioned earlier that book called yes tell me about that why why is the economy not the only thing we have to worry about in a recession well the one thing that do that to me in that book is they spoke about how the our businesses can face that the same impact of an economic recession for a number of reasons we could lose a key employee or a project we were counting on to say was in the design phase and we had it in our books to do and it's going to be a six month long job uh the the people backed out of the construction phase that's that's a possibility we're in Michelle and I were in the store a little bit ago and the lady that was a clerk told us she had a a really thriving Auto Repair business with her husband but her husband passed away and they had no no type of systems for anybody else to run it so they basically had to shut down the business and she had to go to work as a grocery store clip yeah so anything can happen to throw us into a tailspin about our business that yeah is the same impact as the economy going down right and now usually it's something you'd never expect the economy at least we can kind of forecast it a little bit but yeah those things that are integral to your business that if they go down it shuts you down so that's that internal uh part of you know the recession of your business so I guess another way to look at it if you leave if you walk away from your business right now to go take a week at a summit or something you know your business will run smoothly without you and in fact I've talked to many business owners that are doing what you're doing in their business when they leave their business runs better than when they're there so uh you know I'm a one-person operation so if I leave my business my business goes with me pretty much so I have to you know I constantly in thinking about that how can I position my business so if I leave you know someone else could run it um you know I think what you've got going you've got a team in place already so just doing those things that will help with that I think that's really cool so so anything else in that book that um that comes to mind that can help you Recession Proof your business you know what kind of things can are you doing you know are you handing over more uh control to your employees are you systematizing more are you attempting to to get systems out of out of here into a structure that people can follow yeah so that's one of the things that we're trying to do uh the other thing is trying to do diversify or have multiple income streams because so let's talk about those income streams for a second so you've got your designs that you do that's an income stream um of course you've got your kitchen remodeling your bathroom remodeling your outdoor living environments that you sell um and you know everything that goes with those projects that you sell um what else we got here that that's part of those aren't different streams but that's not different those aren't different streams because those are still remodeling right so what are you where where are those other things coming from the repair maintenance yes we've just started as like a we're calling it concierge Home Services uh so it is more like repair and maintenance of homes but Dan and I were talking earlier and I thought this because I was trying to think well it's easy for me to think of different streams if you will for building things but as far as design ideas like as a design business which we are a design business how else can you use the Your Design knowledge and Chief Architect to make multiple income streams right Dan had a few good ideas that I actually want to start thinking about yeah I mean again it's like with everything you do they're all products on a shelf okay so every project to do is a new product um but your Design Services you know you've got that down you systematize that you you know we do this this and this and we this is how we get compensated for that so what else can you offer in that realm you know when we were talking about matterport you go and scan people's houses and you know for insurance companies or for insurance purposes or for the before during and after process of a project um there's different ways that you can use that to create more Revenue and then you know that kind of goes along with your concierge Home Services um where there again now you're the Home Service of things I think a lot of people go huh I don't want to do that you know it's all that pity little work stuff but I tell you what the companies I know that do this man it's that one of their best marketing streams in their business okay because now you're back in your clients homes that know like and trust you anyway and you're always there reminding that you're still you're still here to help and oh by the way I want you to come and help me do my new exterior living environment and the other thing I was thinking about that that helps your business is your trades people that are work doing the repairs actually get better at their job because they see what works and what doesn't work oh that's a good idea so that's a very good point because our our the people that work with us have we have on the coast here in Wilmington we have a lot of uh exterior rot because of the coastal environment yep so our guys have seen a lot of so they see what's failing uh yeah we've seen a lot of failing things yeah and again we discussed this morning you know a little bit of well some of that could be insurance work insurance work can be extremely profitable um if you do it right you have to know how to work with adjusters and insurance companies so that's a whole kind of different business it is a whole different business it's the difference between New Home Building Remodeling and you know Home Services this is now insurance work would be a whole new Avenue so do you you know focus on that or you just make that part of your home service business so right anyway I like what uh GMP Builder just said cash flow because that's the other thing about the recession proofing yeah is making sure you have cash flow can't crash our business and run out of cash that's just King I think yeah that's a huge point about it like I really like that that's a good point yeah and I like what Marnie says here um she's a sole owner designer how do we continue to move forward with the changing economy all right and money you've arrived a little late you had mentioned um so you missed a little bit of the beginning of this where we talked about how um uh Chris is rebranding his business and you know they don't build decks anymore they build outdoor living environments um and everything they do they're putting a new new package around it and that's how they talk to people now so either setting themselves themselves up at a new level in the design world and I just had a call with a client the other day that is new home design business is down 70 percent and he called me says I'm kind of concerned about this what can I do and and you know we had a long conversation and same thing branding marketing he does no marketing he's relied on work from past clients or you know word of mouth is you know for forever and it it can come back to bite you if you do that so what can you do to put what can you do to build a digital footprint um so that people can find you when the services are needed and uh you know you have to be proactive at that at doing that and that's exactly what you're doing Chris you're being proactive to make sure that when the economy tightens when there's more competition out there that you've built a base of clients that um you can call on that know I can trust you and they're not going to call anybody else and you that'll help and then you can start asking them for a referral now we also talked this morning about you're building your email list yeah I bet you I I talked to so many contractors and designers okay they don't build an email list of their clients and they don't stay in touch with them yeah that's extra work but I mean how hard is it you know you're using MailChimp simple program to use you can add people's names you can put forms on if you can sign up for something that you give them um and you're doing it now you're putting out a what a weekly email yeah weekly and we give Jolene what she calls the breadcrumbs or the for the email and she puts together some things but just yesterday I think it went out yesterday in Jolene uh put on that we were having this conversation today representative contacted me and said oh I see you're gonna be a podcast yeah I told you I was up to the fame and fortune section yeah yeah in the big leagues now all right okay now we're just having fun sharing information so that's really why we do this um you know here so you're on Instagram and Facebook yes that's it yes perfect perfect you're building a nice footprint on a good platform that people go to especially in our age group okay the kids are Instagram the olders like us are more Facebook um older Elders whatever you want to call us but anyway you're doing it and you know and you've got Julian helping you with all of this some people are really good at just posting things and I'm not one of them I I don't do a lot on Facebook um Julian does all of that for me too so she's my she does my stuff too it's not cheap but it's massively out my business in a big way and it's helped me too to Rebrand myself so that rebranding is I think that is one of the most important things you've done I would agree 100 about that and how it made us think differently about our business yeah and then our person yeah and then backing that up with the digital um assets to match that brand that you've set yourself on so so as a designer okay you know think about some of the things that you can do as a designer um because a lot of people here are independent designers uh that don't build you know if you're running if you're running short on work go find people like Chris and promote your services to them you know but have a little bit of a digital footprint at least have a Facebook page or something like that people think Facebook is all this online you know I don't want to do all that Social Media stuff Facebook allows you to build a website okay that's what your business website page is it's a Facebook web page that you can add stuff to it all day long it's no different than going to your website and adding articles to your blog okay so you can do the same thing on Facebook for free you don't have to have a website um get you get a really good LinkedIn profile up there get you know make sure your LinkedIn profile is up to date you can have testimonials there you can have all lots of things and someone searches your name typically the first thing that comes up is LinkedIn if you have a good profile I see a lot of profiles that don't have anything on them LinkedIn it's a free advertisement for you and your services take advantage of it go ahead um so let's see here um hey Dan yeah one thing that I'd as I was trying to think about this from the design point of view that I came across was that as the economy goes tightens up more people will be doing DIY stuff yeah and as a designer if you're making a presence on Instagram of giving people tidbits of advice on how to DUI you can really build your presence during this time because people will be searching for that stuff exactly you know but actually there's a I kind of take exception with the giving free advice you know um I think there's things that you can kind of advice you can give but I'm not out there to really support especially as a contractor I'm not out there to support I'm not a contractor now but I'm not out there to support the diy-er right um a long time ago when I was a GC I used to sell my design independently of my remodeling project and I realized I was losing a lot of work right I was doing that and they take it to other places I'm not going to do that anymore right so one of the things that as an independent designer that I have done in the past and I'm not so focused on doing that now is going back and talking to my clients about maintenance so I do a lot of sub-zeros um in their people's homes and I will call them and say hey when was the last time you cleaned your refrigerator not cleaning out the left overs and that kind of thing but like really got in there and flushed out the um water lines and vacuumed out the um the filter and done the things that you're supposed to do to a high-end refrigerator to make it last so um when the economy was kind of tough I called a few people up and I said hey I'd like to come over with a bottle of wine and talk to you about your refrigerator and talk to you about your dishwasher like you know why you really wanted to go over there drink the wine but um you know that kind of thing helped because then clients went oh Robin's thinking about me and thinking about how to maintain my stuff but I'm you know we were just talking about that earlier today with a business group that I'm involved in about giving away free advice and you know you want advice for me you're going to pay for it I'm not giving away free advice if what kind of advice can I give away if you're the person the company that does go out to a client's home to look at the project before you you know to to sell your Design Services to get your client happily involved with your Design Services you don't use the word sell um you will offer a complimentary visit well that's but see that no hold on hold on hold on Robin all I'm doing is clarifying never use the word free if you're okay doing a complimentary visit which a lot of people are call it that but give it a value it's normally 200 another another idea another idea with that is to is to charge something for it but say it this money's going to go to your favorite charity well oh that's actually a really smart idea but I do charge for initial consultations like you go out to the project you're not getting it for free that's not what I'm talking about I'm talking about like Instagram giving away I see a lot of designers who talk about who say oh I'm going to do an Instagram thing and give them advice on like how to you know like oh you should have four drawers in this area or something like that that I'm not doing I'm not going to give that away to somebody who's going to potentially be because any advice that I put out on Instagram or on Facebook or any of that kind of stuff has to be I'm not going to give away free advice so they can go incorporate that onto their own design and do it themselves it always has to be of why I'm I have value why you need to hire me and that these are the things that we do but it's not free advice on social media I'm not I Dan I don't go into anybody's home unless they're paying me I'm not leaving my office and going to somebody's home and that you and for anybody who is doing that you might want to reconsider options right you might want to reconsider different opportunities but it's about giving free advice online and that's what I was talking about sure I get it yeah well you know I could say the same thing and I actually am there too where I don't you know I can sit on Chief I could sit on things all day long talk about Chief Architect and give away free information I give away a lot of free information we do on these shows all the time and they're free I mean Chris you're volunteering I mean everybody here is volunteering their time and it's a ball love doing these things I learned more from this kind of stuff than I do from anything else plus I get to meet a lot of great people and we get to help a lot of people so that's what's really fun and it does result in getting business so just like Robin's saying just be what's the right word uh prudent or whatever you want to call it with the free things you give away just whatever you're comfortable with whatever you're comfortable with well and this is the deal again this right what the Facebook user is saying this is exactly the same thing when you give away your free like tip your free um Chief tip when you personally give away a free Chief tip which is always amazing who knew that you could do that shortcut right what it does is it elevates you exactly what that Facebook user was saying it elevates you to a point of damn this guy really knows his stuff I need to take a class with him because I didn't know that right but it's different sometime in the world of design because so many people look at design I mean I get this all the time oh my God it must be so much fun I designed a kitchen you want to come over and look at it it's like yeah it's a nightmare oh my God you didn't even think this thing through right there's a difference between that and what you're does that does that make sense I hope I'm making sense when I'm saying this it does yeah it does and it's kind of a it's a hard point to there because I think that's one of the things uh everybody says you're supposed to give away massive value when you're doing your online stuff yeah well yeah and it's you have to play value you have to determine what you're comfortable with there so yeah you know if it helps build your credibility no like and Trust um that's important if it if all you do is spend all your time giving away free information is you know that well nobody can do that so just like what the Facebook user says is don't give away the secret sauce right which I think is so brilliant yeah yeah can have all the taste testers that are going God this stuff is great okay and then the secret sauce is well yeah come over here and write me a check and I'll give you the rest okay so exactly um so everybody has to determine where that line is that you won't cross to giving away free stuff exactly you're not going to go out to a client's home and do these wonderful sketches and hand them to them and say hey call me if you're interested um that's not nobody's doing that um because our value everything that we've learned over the years everything that people are here learning things today taking the time to learn things like this um that's that brings value to your client base but we need to keep moving here now um so so the marketing that you've been doing you've been doing uh your uh you've created you've updated your website you've you're doing Facebook you're doing um you're doing uh um Instagram there's only two social platforms you're on which are the two I would highly recommend today um let me just show you something real quick I did a search for Chris's name Look what comes up Facebook profile and LinkedIn top three items for Chris's name okay so be there and do those things well okay you come up under Twitter too um and you don't even have that on your website you don't have to all you need is one good social Channel I do recommend Instagram and Facebook for the reason that older people are on Facebook younger people aren't on on Instagram and they're both owned by the same company and you can buy programs that will um you can subscribe so when you post it on morning post on the other and I see it looks like you've done a few videos too that as you move forward Maybe YouTube becomes a good channel for you as well anyway um okay so so what else can we bring to the table here that okay so we've talked about Brandon we talked about marketing uh getting out in front of people making your uh making sure that you are the um you're out there and I've always you know I tell a lot of designers um if they're you know slowing down the first thing you're going to do is start calling some of your past clients just pick up the phone and start calling people and people forget about you as much as you think they want they do yeah or they or they don't know that you you do something yeah I've had I've had past clients hire somebody to do something that we do you know exactly told me later told me later if I would have only known I would have had you do it exactly hey Renee hey you made it come on it's going well how are you good are you out in the world soaking up sun in some exotic island exactly all working no play right all working no play I think that's the other way all right cool I'm glad you could make it you missed a great conversation here but we're just talking about uh um how you can stay busy when the economy kind of slows down a little bit and even if it doesn't how do you improve your how you you stand out to your client base out to the world out there so that you can uh have your better projects that are higher profit margin and not necessarily hot you know just have better projects the things that you like to do yeah I'm sorry uh I was just going to say I mean I missed a lot of the show apologies guys um but uh right we're so glad first thing that comes to mind when you say that is diversify or collaborate yes I like the collaborate thing we haven't really talked about that too much yet um in fact I'm glad you brought up because I didn't even have it on my list to talk about well I think the idea of keeping in contact with your clients I um you know so designer all I do is design and I will like bring flowers to a client you know um plants like in the hot during the summer the springtime during planting season buy a plot a flat of plants and just say hey I'm in your neighborhood can I just stop by right and that has gotten you know I've I've done it a lot more with seriously I've done a lot more with like a really nice wine like a rose summertime right Springtime everybody loves roses it's the time so I'd buy like a case of wine and call people up and say hey I'm in your neighborhood I'd like to stop by and just bring you a little something and honestly one case of wine will easily net me one or two jobs and I'm not spending lots of money you know I'm not going crazy with it but um it's getting or even I've done the plant thing and just said hey I brought the I I would like to stop by with a little something I'm not spending a lot of money on plans it's not just a pansy you guys it's something that's nice right but stop by and bring them something and put your card on it you know tie your card on it it's an inexpensive way to get work because people say oh you know what we have a little job we want to do and that worked during the recession um when when my work is slow I'll do something like that and I get at least I get something right at least you get something it's just a way to stay in contact with those clients yep I agree and when you're face to face it's different than an email and it's different than a phone call never forget my client prank call back when my brother and I started remodeling back in the early late 70s um we did we did a fire job for him and then we did a bunch of other work in this house and then a couple years later I was driving by and I noticed he put a new deck on and I stopped by and said oh I'll give me a call I didn't know you guys did decks right exactly like what were you saying exactly keep in touch with him so another thing that I I think is important and Renee kind of alluded to that is being willing to move outside your comfort zone you know if if all you've done is decks and you see that that Market's drying up you need to be willing to go and do something else yeah absolutely or do what Chris has done and Rebrand your deck service right exactly well that's brilliant that was brilliant yeah and someone's asking it here who was that that asked that if they could borrow your terminology for that yeah um can I steal luxury outdoor living in concierge Home Services um GMP yeah I like what you said earlier yeah squaresies that's a good one I love it I don't think you've copyrighted those terms so I would have to say it probably that's okay are we asked a number of people about uh how to name the concierge Home Services every Jolene had us try it out on different people different versions of it one that included handyman some liquid concierge service that we came out yeah everybody seemed to like that one the best for what we're offering which is a little higher end touch I'm not I'm not sure here in the Midwest or at least in the market that I would be in that that would be the right term to use but yeah um Farmers out there that would love they love the service but I'm not sure sure that that name would yeah they might not would be the right terms True Food form or something yeah exactly yeah that's true you betcha we do homework we do home repair um so Dana I don't I don't I haven't really thought this I would have him put this together in a comprehensive thought but I think one of the like a core belief in your own company comes from just thinking about the passion that that once drove you and even starting that company and then and then doing something that's going to make you passionate in a way that somehow that gives you confidence to go out and speak about what you do in Social settings yeah a lot of people are uncomfortable about talking about what they do when they're amongst friends when they're amongst new peers Etc um but let me that's a great point and I'm going to bring up a website I mentioned to Chris earlier um this is a friend of mine in Twin Cities uh Lauren runs this company Lauren um Sherbert and uh he's got a great website and they do a lot of work to educate their client base I mean they have you know sessions where they uh you know how to install Windows how to remodel a kitchen how to remodel bathroom I mean hell if you if you you know yeah Dan you're not sharing your screen oh there it is well John you're supposed to do that I know I couldn't figure out where to go thank you there we go yeah uh and uh I haven't seen anybody do it better than castle and they're always holding different events and these guys do a lot of business but even as a designer um to hold uh you know go rent a community center uh conference room for nothing or a few bucks and put out there in your community that you're going to do a session on how do you do how do you do a remodeling plan um and show people Chief Architect and talk about how you do that and the things they should look out for and things like that I think that's a great way to get in front of people so Renee talking about you know just suck it in and do it best way to to learn best way to get noticed is to teach and the more you can do that you don't have to have it done a big big formal thing you could get half dozen people you know Castle does it in their showroom and they bring in they used to bring in wine and cheese and stuff and I don't know if they still do that but um but the other thing I want to show you here on Castle's website and I want you to go here and get this because Lauren is all all about educating this the industry is the process flow chart that he has right here so Castle BR I go to our process process flowchart and study this and you can even download it in a PDF and then set up your own if you want to but Lauren does a great job of running you through the process of a complete construction project and the first part of this oops I just over there where'd he go close the website the first part of this process flowchart is all about the design process okay you know how you meet with a client how you go through that and then right here doing the design doing the estimating and all of the paperwork that gets involved with it so when you scroll through this and you look at the parts that are involved at just before even Pawn the first nail there's a lot that goes into this so um there's going to be some things here that you can use in your business the other thing I like about his website is he has that cost area where he breaks down breaks down and shows why your bathroom got to cost 75 000 or 55 50 000 yeah something like that and Lauren also does um he's got some great videos that he's produced um this guy's got more energy than ever any battery funny thing um but he does let's see what is his YouTube channel I would think he's got those on here somewhere um how come he doesn't have a link to their YouTube channel education center Maybe uh uh oh yeah as not as seen on TV yes I love what he's done here he gives you a he takes these through some different projects and tells you why the crap you see on TV is totally ridiculous okay oh I love that yeah I love that yeah so he he does a really good job with these and just runs you through a process of how these projects work so that's brilliant study his website he they've nailed it man so when you talk about recession-proofing your business and rebranding and all of the things that go with that um this is a really good example of things that can that work well he's been doing this a long time his father started this business a long long time ago probably back in the 70s and Lauren took it over from his father and it's just growing it like crazy so very good company that's amazing you're reminding me of um one of the guys that frequents our show Chad holgerson yeah said that he's been getting a ton of work calls from blogs that he's starting to produce on his website cool and one of them was a you know HGTV don't Focus blog as well oh really okay how do you decide who to go with to upgrade your marketing oh that's a tough question I have no idea call Julian um there's a lot has to be it has to be someone you can talk to and somebody that you can trust um exactly you know what I wouldn't look for is someone that's going to be a magic fix for your marketing what I would look for is someone that you're going to build a relationship with on a regular basis and that you're going to meet with regularly that's going to do your do your work for you and if anybody's got any recommendations by all means let me know I know Jolene she said she's good for a few more clients before she runs out um oh you know who would be a good one I wonder Janet um you know if I can I I do know a couple of names I will post those on the blog page I don't know if I can think of them yeah I'll have to look into that MZ but great question so but again look for someone that you can build a relationship don't go with some big marketing company that they're going to sub it off to some guy in the back room and they'll keep bugging you for more you know build your logo type stuff you want someone that's good at this that you can meet with regularly again I meet with Julian once a week Jolene are fantastic yeah it helps us to it's helped us to foreign yeah Chad okay so that's cool there's Chad cool yeah Chad Chad will be at the summit by the way um one thing I will mention though because a lot of people have trouble writing uh one of the best things I've ever done to for my writing is I use a program called grammarly okay if you go to you can download the free app on your computer so it'll check your writing as you do it but when you go here and um here Chris I was just showing you this earlier where I took one of Chris's blog posts and I posted it here Chris's brother writes all these wonderful blog posts inside our side call your son okay cool um and it does a great job but now you run it into grammarly and it's going to help you fix any of your grammatical errors it'll help make your sentences read a little better great app I just can't recommend this enough for your writing and for everything your email yeah it makes you look smarter it makes you look smarter than you are well yeah not the goal here so you still have to say that because that's what I do you still have to come up with a good idea is to write but just it'll help you as you write so as I'm writing a sentence I'll just type in what I'm doing and then it's going to give me uh suggestions and or if it doesn't then it means I nailed it um great program so check it out I can't recommend this enough it's 150 bucks a year or something like that the best money you'll ever spend or just at least it'll get your punctuation and stuff but it won't tell you how to rephrase something well I'll get you that and it gets you the whole you know every everything I write um it's it lives on that website now our son Travis has a a writing service and that's what he does is write blogs to that on your blog too Dan yeah he's yeah Chris send me that and share your web guy's looking forward this is on construction and uh MMA Jiu Jitsu stuff okay so if anybody here has any recommendations send it to me and I'll post it with this video post some of those links to those people and that'd be great there's this Jasper one that's an AI writing assistant see I've seen a lot of advertisements for it but I've never yeah I would use those with caution um really the things you write should come from you and your heart right I think you and uh so you know that's my take on it you say something Robin well Renee made a comment about collaborating can you elaborate on that a little bit more uh it's funny you just brought up Jasper because someone I collaborate with uses Jasper and caused great success with it yeah kind of a funny thing um about collaborating yeah when you I think it's I think it's important to know what the industry on the whole is doing and in order to do that you need to become friends with people you know there's no reason that everybody in this chat right now and everybody on the show doesn't know any each other on an intimate level and there's no reason that we can't be working with each other right there's there's plenty of ways we can kind of construct a business model where that makes sense so just know that that should be open to you and people are open to talking about that yeah I've been doing can um join our um if you go to my website you can join our website um we have a I mean our Facebook group you can join there and you can post things you can even go in there and post hey you guys know any good marketing people yeah there's probably a four or five other Chief Architect website groups that you can join or Facebook groups you can join you can join the chief talk group um and collaborate with people and share your information I think it's really a lot of fun from and Robin from you know from the design perspective there's no way we're hitting every design we ever put together 100 you know it's it's nice to have that that second set of eyes and it's it's not just about sharing information either it's my basically my whole business is based on collaboration where I go on and I help in another business fill in the gaps where they they can't well they don't have the resources to do it whether it's knowing people enough or too much work coming in that's basically all I do yeah yeah so we're about out of time here you guys thanks for your info again check out our Summit we've got coming up in 2023 um Dan John Robin and Renee will be there there's Mike the gang that will be taking care of everybody my sister Linda and Mary and my brother hang on don't change it yet okay thank you um yeah I was just telling Chris this morning that John takes care of this for me uh so there we are and uh here's the gang Linda and Mary my sisters and my brother Doug and then Doug's wife Avis and then John's wife Patty they'll cook all the food and then you know it's they'll come for the food stay for the training it holds true here nice but you can check out some testimonials we've got pictures from past events here um it's a two-week event it's two one week events is what it is we're just doing back-to-back events and uh so you sign up for the week and got a little bit of a summary of what we'll be covering each day and here's where it's going to be at the Black Stallion it's a 24 bedroom event house um I think it's 20 000 square feet but that's where we'll be doing our training uh here's the layout of the building we have these you know the ones in red are already sold so I don't have it you know we're selling out quickly guys so once it's sold they're it's sold so if you're interested check it out um it's gonna be great it's going to be amazing I mean I'm really excited about this just to have you know Robin and Renee there with us too I mean um yeah we're gonna kick some butt in the Chief Architect World um can we say that uh yeah you did yeah okay laughs so anyway so check it out and love to have you here and then we still have room in our uh Bloomington or Minneapolis event coming up uh uh next a week from Monday so that's gonna be a three-day you know hotel conference room event so if you're kind of a beginner intermediate user um we'll share it John and I will share a ton of information with you in that event so check it out um thank you everybody for being here uh send me your contacts or people that can help others with their website stuff I would love to build a list of those kind of resources I think that would be awesome and uh whatever you can do to or even writing blogs yeah somebody's doing good writers finding a good writer that's important sometimes I personally would love to know anybody that's selling stock homes um I love that as a show at some point be great to have some someone guess guess stock plans you mean stock plans yeah okay yeah I do have a few contacts there so let me know I'll put you in touch with them um cool simply about the given guidance not just around the design components you get SEO and you get someone following you and when they need what you sell well then I didn't read that very well but we get that thank you um all right everyone thank you we'll see you in a couple of weeks um well actually actually we'll see you next Tuesday if you have employees in your business okay so uh be sure to check out and see it's on our home page here so you go to the home page and you'll get an email this afternoon but check out down on the home page here um this one right here if you have employees you can qualify for some serious leftover Cola Coba dollars I don't know how long this program runs but I know there's still a lot of money there and uh you can qualify for up to twenty six thousand dollars per employee in your business and there are people getting that and that's they're gonna Jerry Packard runs a company that will help you through the process of doing that you don't have to do anything so see you guys thank you