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Entrepreneurship can be a lonely and difficult journey. But it doesn't have to be!

The Builder Nuggets community is composed of successful industry leaders like yourself. Award winning builders, remodelers, business coaches, industry experts, and fellow podcasters have come together to share their secrets of success. Our mission is to improve our businesses, our lifestyles, and to move the industry forward by focusing on collaboration over competition.

In this premiere episode of the Builder Nuggets podcast, we discuss the importance of creating a business that thrives using less of your time and why trying to do it all yourself may lead to fatigue and frustration.

Show highlights include:

  • The power of the mastermind and sharing with like minded peers
  • Negative elements steal your time and steal your focus (5:09)
  • How to achieve the breakthroughs that lead you to the business of your dreams (9:10)
  • A mission to help fellow builders (18:50)
  • We continue to discover and share new elements of success all the time (21:05)
  • It’s all here if your willing to put in the work (22:15)

To get the most out of this podcast, head over to buildernuggets.com and join our active community of successful builders and remodelers. 

Read Full Transcript

“Why wouldn't you spend 30 minutes with somebody who may be doing something incredible?”

Welcome to another episode of Builder Nuggets, the show where builders and remodelers discover how to build thriving businesses while working less. I'm Duane Johns and together with Dave Young, we share the elements of success that have helped hundreds of contractors like you build better lives. [00:20.7]

Duane: Well, the intro says welcome to another episode of Builder Nuggets, but this is actually our maiden voyage. So Dave, I think since this is our First episode, we should probably tell everybody how we came up with the name.

Dave: Yeah, Duane is it's pretty funny. We were just trying to figure out, Hey, what would be a cool name for this thing? And by accident in a lot of the training sessions we were in, we kept hearing that, you know, that was a really good nugget. That was a piece of gold, that was a great takeaway and nugget kept coming up over and over and over. One day it just dawned on me, what if we called the thing Builder Nuggets? And to this day we both still giggle whenever we hear Builder Nuggets and it kind of just stuck with us.

Duane: Yeah. We giggled, we debated the name for weeks and I think we realized that all these nuggets we talk about are actually quite valuable. And in a sense, if we take these nuggets and put them together, they become the building blocks of a successful business. And I know everyone out there has heard the term building science, well, this is the science of building successful business. So Builder Nuggets, the elements of success for builders and remodelers. [01:25.1]

Dave: Yeah, the whole point of what we're doing is to take these little nuggets that we learned from the collective wisdom of the group, compile them into the elements that you need to build a more valuable business that runs with less of your time. And we decided that we weren't going to make, we didn't want this show to just be the Dave and Duane show that there were thousands of builders out there. We collaborate with hundreds of them in our business coaching and business development for their businesses. But we wanted to get a group of the best of the best together so that we could learn from each other around things specific to building a business. The actual things that we need to work on to build more rewarding businesses, businesses that thrive with less of our time businesses that create more opportunity for other people, businesses that are saleable assets, that you would be proud to own. So that's the whole point of the show. [02:20.6]

Duane: It is. And you know, the name of this first episode is under construction and that's really, that's exactly what it is. This show. I think the community of builders that we're trying to pull together; it's a work in progress. It's a mastermind where we're, we plan to listen and learn together. We're going to have industry leaders are going to help guide us through some of these conversations and you know, who better to hear it from these folks that have implemented a lot of these elements and experienced some frankly life-changing results. [02:48.4]

Dave: Yeah, and if you're investing the time to listen to this podcast, there's a good chance that you're already a, a contractor, a builder or remodeler chances are also that you've had success in today's market. You have, you probably have awesome projects and wonderful clients and amazing team. But if you're here, you're probably here because you've wondered before, or you're open-minded to determine if there's a better way to run a construction business. You know, that there are things that there are elements of your business that you're not satisfied with. And your gut is telling you that you can achieve more. And to be honest, you know, when we talk to other builders, we hear so many times that, is good as it looks on the outside, inside there are times where you feel like your business is running you instead of the other way around. So for those of you that believe that you can create a more valuable and more rewarding business that thrives with less of your time, this community that we're creating is going to be really fun and enjoyable for you. [03:56.2]

Duane: And you don't have to be a builder or a modeler to benefit from the stuff we're going to talk about on the show. This really I think is for the folks that grind it out every day. You know, there's a lot of folks in this industry from builders, remodelers to architects, designers that spend a lot of time fulfilling the dreams of others, building beautiful homes, remodeling, beautiful spaces. The craftsmanship, what goes into it is, is phenomenal. And this here really is a place for us to share our successes or failures to learn together and to laugh together.

Dave: It doesn't have to be a grind. I think that's the thing, so many of us have succumbed to the fact that that the industry can be a grind or can seem like a grind. That's because we're stuck. It's going to take working together to get ourselves unstuck. And even if you don't feel totally stuck, there's got to be stuff that you want to work on, where you optimize your business and strategically work towards something that frees you up to live your dream. [04:52.6]

Duane: And we all spend a ton of time working to fulfill these dreams of others. And the problem is that leaves little to no time for us to pursue our own passions. Very limited amount of time for us to even set and achieve goals for ourselves.

Dave: And over the years, we've discovered that there are lots of pitfalls that keep you from reaching your potential. Some of them we repeat over and over again in our businesses because we can't break the cycle. These are the daily issues that steal your time and steal your focus. We call them the negative elements that combined to form things like the chaos that you have to constantly fight from creeping into your business. But there's one thing that we've realized for sure, in our experiences through collaborating with hundreds of builders is that you can't handle this chaos all by yourself. [05:42.6]

Duane: And the chaos is everywhere. It's all around us and it'll, it'll consume your business. It distracts you from focusing on the things that are really gonna move the needle. I mean, I've seen it in my own business. I see it in the businesses that we work with, the other builders, remodelers that we work with on a regular basis, trying to help them improve their businesses. It's chaos. You can call it a whirlwind, putting out fires, whatever you want to call it. It comes in all kinds of shapes and sizes.

Dave: Yeah, they are the traditional struggles and, and we hear these things. There's that won't work in my market, I'm not getting paid for my time, I'm getting stuck, doing free estimates.

Duane: I don't have the time.

Dave: Yeah, I don't have, I don't have.

Duane: I don't have the time. And the things that that can cause chaos are endless. The things like risk being stuck in the weeds, as you said, spending time, estimating. poor communication, not having training, lack of systems. It goes on and on. [06:38.0]

Dave: Lack of talent, how do I attract top project managers to my team? How do I crack architects? So many different things are holding you back. The good news is that all of this stuff individually has been solved. You know, there's workarounds for this stuff already. And the overwhelming part is trying to put it all together. You're going to hear from people who have been in your shoes and every week we're going to share their new stories, their breakthroughs with you, so that you can have your own breakthroughs. You can discover your own true potential. So when we think about Duane, some of the things that were, you know, some of the guests that we've, we've already spoken with, we've got a builder who takes 16 weeks of vacation every year and comes back to a business that's running great. [07:28.9]

We've, 70% of the owners that we're working with and that we coach intended on opening another location within the next 18 to 36 months. For a lot of builders you know, when we talk with them, the notion of opening another location, you know, I got all I can handle right here. Thanks. We don't need to, I don't need to look at that. We're fortunate that we're in this position where we hear about builders, who are scaling their businesses, growing their businesses, buying businesses, and opening up in the other markets or the converse of that is exiting their business. We're helping them set the business up so that it can be sold. And we have parties and we have builders that are interested in acquiring those things. These are pretty exciting things to be installing into your business. [08:14.9]

Duane: And it's remarkable to think of some of the builders that we work with when we first talked with them, we're not necessarily in a great place now. Yes, they had successful businesses, well known in their communities. But again, this industry can be brutal. It can be difficult. We've had folks that have gotten to the point after 15 years, 20 years of business, really second guessing. Do they want to continue? Do they want to stay in this business? And we've seen folks like that that have had a mind shift taken on some of these, these elements that we talk about and implementing them into their business. And the change has been remarkable. Not only have they decided to stay in this business, but they've gotten, as you said to the point where now they're talking about their business opening multiple locations, you know, really starting to have the business they've always dreamed of. [09:00.7]

Dave: Well, if they're strategically reducing their risk, increasing their profit. And I think of one builder that calls me about every month and says, I have never been happier in my life. I have more freedom, more family time, I'm doing what I love. In fact, he, he spent much of the last month on three separate hunting trips. So it's been inspiring to work with the builders who have had these breakthroughs. Their teams are empowered. They've got, we've got project managers that are becoming owners. We're seeing these people come together. One thing we hear from builders an awful lot is they want to be able to use their businesses to give back and have impact in their communities. And when the community starts to give back, that's amazing. You're going to hear stories from every level and layer of your business. You're going to learn how to attract some of this stuff. You're going to learn what to do with it all we're going to, gonna help you figure it out. [09:52.9]

Duane: Yeah. And a lot of the reason behind this, this whole thing, builder nuggets to podcast is, it's daunting to think of trying to put all of these things together, trying to figure it out all on your own. And the beauty here is that we were bringing on folks, industry experts, builders, remodelers, that have gone through tremendous success and they're bringing it here to share it with us. Some leading folks in the industry, we're going to, also folks that are outside of the industry. I mean, we've got conversations with professional athletes, Olympians. These are winners at every level, industry pioneers, folks that have elevated in groups like NARI, HBA, Builder 20 groups, Remodeler's Advantage and mastermind groups. We've got a business coach, we talked to Scott Beebe - Attraction and EOS implementer for anybody out there that's familiar with the entrepreneurial operating system. We're going to hear from some award winning influencers, folk like Matt Risinger of the Build Show Network. He's doing just some phenomenal stuff in building science and is gracious enough to share what he's learned. Nick Schiffer, many of you know, of course, he's well known on Instagram and also has the modern craftsman podcast. There's someone from the conversations we've had with him that truly understands the value of collaboration and sharing this knowledge with others. I mean, these are folks that are, you know, they're, they're very successful. They're very knowledgeable. They're, they're willing to come on here and share the things that it takes to have a successful business. And you're going to hear lots more of it on the show. [11:20.2]

A quick reminder that the best way to get the most out of this podcast is to engage with the Builder Nuggets community, visit our website at BuilderNuggets.com and follow along on Facebook and Instagram. [11:34.3]

Dave: We are focusing around strategically growing a better business. And for that, we're going to be bringing into the show process experts, business analysts, you know, business model specialists, tech professionals, team motivators, all of the different elements that you need to really optimize and help you do achieve your full potential as a business owner and to create opportunity and an environment that will inspire and empower others. And I think the other aspect of the show is it, you, the listeners, the participants, we call this a community. It's a community for a reason. We want your, we want your input. We value you and your stories. This thing is evolving quickly. [12:25.3]

Duane: And Dave and I have the unique perspective of seeing this from both sides. I'm a builder myself, been doing it for many years, close to 30 years, have done every facet of it started out as you know, it was a summer job and then I had some family that owned a cabinet business and got into framing and trim work and painting and everything. Realized that, man, this is I, it was a passion. I could work with my hands. Man that quickly evolved into becoming a trade contractor and that evolved into becoming opening my own business. And so I started a business here in Charlotte, back in 1997 with my business partner, Roger Ketchum and we developed a very successful custom contracting business. Great reputation, great clients, made a good living, but I was always saying, there's gotta be a better way. There's gotta be a better way. It's, you know, it's, it's a difficult industry. There's a lot of work to it. There's a lot of hours put in. I don't think things move nearly as fast as you, as you think they're going to move. And then after the downturn in 2008, we, we hunkered down and it was time for reflection. And that's when we started to think about different business models. And what are the things that might, might propel us forward? [13:40.6]

I mean, we would sit down a lot of times at our, we call them our beer therapy sessions to say, okay, well, what are we going to do when we grow up? Or, you know, are we just going to keep doing this on and on for, for X amount of years to come you know, at some point where we would like to be set up for an exit strategy, possible retirement, possibly hand the business over to somebody. And that was one of the big challenges for us. And again, back to that, there's gotta be a better way, was just trying to absorb everything. I was involved with industry groups, HBA, Builders 20, NARI, Remodelers Advantage, entrepreneur groups, Vistage, just immersing myself in everything and came to that conclusion that there is a better way to do this stuff. And, but it's going to take a lot of work and you've got to put these pieces together and there are avenues out there to find, to put them together. So as I started to put on paper all the different ways that we might be able to attack this or implement this, I was contacted by Dave and we began having some conversations around this new and innovative business model that have been gaining some traction all across the USA and Canada. [14:40.4]

I think it was early 2016 at the time. And since I was already in that research mode, looking for better ways to do things, I decided to dig in and have some more conversations. And as I started to get involved and realize that this was a group of builders and remodelers that are, are sharing the good and the bad, a tremendous amount of knowledge, collaboration like I had never seen and that was something to me I think that was, it was very eye-opening. It was refreshing in the industry. So we had some great conversations back and forth. I started my Alair journey and it has allowed me to implement a lot of the things we're going to talk about on this show. I've implemented into my own business. And I now have a business that is very successful. I'm not really involved with the day-to-day. It's allowed me to act as a regional partner for Alair and also get involved with some other consulting and coaching opportunities. So I'm excited for where it's led. And I think proof that if you do implement some of these things and just really take the time to work on your business, the sky's the limit. [15:45.4]

Dave: So what you're saying is this stuff works Duane. There's no doubt. My background is quite different from Duane’s. I wasn't a builder. I do have a background in real estate investments and have had my own technology company. So I've always been interested in business development, innovation and being a part of new things. And one day I was minding my own business; this was back in early 2013. I got a call out of the blue from a sales rep, a franchise sales rep who told me that he had something that I just had to be involved in and was excited, worked up to tell me about this brand new opportunity in the franchise world. Never been done before coming to my area. I could be a part of it and get in early. And I said, okay, well, what is it said, it's a construction franchise. And I sucked in my breath and I'm like, I am out because it's a big joke in my house I don't have the patience for a little intricate work details. I am not a craftsman at all. People joke around that the best tool in the toolbox for me is the checkbook. [16:49.0]

So I immediately said, Hey, there's, you know, there's no way I, you know, I love real estate. I love business development. I love homes, but it's not a passion for me to build a construction business. And they said, well, Hey, it's a business development role. There's the opportunity to, to acquire the rights to this. And I can, I've already told the CEO about you. Would you agree to a 30 minute call? So I reluctantly agreed to a 30 minute call, but I remember thinking, well, you know, why wouldn't, I was trying to look at the next thing that I could be involved in. And there wasn't a level of excitement there. And I just thought, why wouldn't you have a conversation? Why wouldn't you spend 30 minutes with somebody who may be doing something incredible? That call with Blair McDaniel, who's the CEO and founder of Alair homes, that 30-minute call lasted two hours and 45 minutes. And in that call, I heard about one guy's passion and vision for where he thought the construction industry could go for the custom home builder and remodeler. [17:48.6]

And we're going to explore a whole bunch of those things. We're going to share some of the things that we've learned through our coaching with Alair. And we're going to interview Blair at a later episode, I don't want to make this the Alair show. In that one phone call I knew that this was something that I wanted to do, and I thought that'll work. That will absolutely work. We've seen those principles work across all kinds of other businesses and they haven't come to the construction industry yet. Why is it? So it got me thinking and it got me excited about taking on the challenge of the things that you're going to hear about on this show. It was scary for me because part of this was I had to, I had to start my own construction company. I had to manage my first project. That's a completely different story. I ended up opening two locations and have since sold those to other business partners who are doing a fantastic job and running amazing businesses and creating amazing teams. But that freed me up and exiting those businesses, freed me up to focus on the mission of helping builders to really create something that would run better with less of their time. That would be a more rewarding business, more structured business that other people could be involved in that would help create long-term legacy value for these builders who had been working their whole lives, but didn't necessarily have the most valuable asset to show for it and were getting stuck in the weeds. And that's when I met you, when I had the opportunity to open up the Carolinas, you were one of my first calls Duane, and it was fortunate that I caught you at a time when well probably, this probably applies to you just about anytime, but you were in a time where you were looking for a better way to do things. Timing just worked out for us. [19:38.6]

Duane: Yeah. You know, there's no such thing as coincidences. Sometimes the construction industry gets lumped into this its own little category like it's all, it's, there's nothing like this industry or it's difficult because we're in construction. When the fact is we just haven't, we haven't put all of the pieces together. And I think that's what, what excited me was that we had the opportunity to start collaborating with folks that are really willing to share that true mastermind concept. I have the time to focus on some other things, working with world-class builders and remodelers all across North America and sharing the knowledge to just continue to improve each and every one of our businesses.

Dave: Yeah. That's the point that we're at now, exactly is that we have the ability to share this with all of you and for you to share it with your, with your team or anybody that where you wield influence, or you want to have impact. [20:30.1]

Duane: And we've built this table of elements on our website, BuilderNuggets.com. It was the idea, again, sorta like coming up with the Builder Nuggets name, it was back and forth conversations. We're deciding that we're going to launch a podcast. What, what is this thing going to look like? And then started to realize that these, these nuggets really little elements that Dave had this great idea. I think he saw a bottle of wine with a, with a logo on it. You know, it was just man that looks really cool. It almost looks like one of the symbols on the table of elements. It's interesting because all the topics we're gonna talk about relate to these elements. We've created kind of a, a baseline on the website. Some of the fundamental elements that we think are needed to have a successful business. And it's really, that's just a starting point for what we're trying to do here. And the cool thing is that we're going to discover new elements all along the way as listeners come on new guests. And we want you guys to engage and share your stories with us, cause there's going to be room on this table of elements for new discoveries. [21:28.1]

Dave: Yeah, just like the scientific, the periodic table of elements. It will never end. It's a work in progress or you could say under construction. Whether this stuff resonates with you or not, you know, one thing is certain, and this is through our own experience, hard knocks and really listening to those that we're working with is if you do nothing, nothing will change. And it's one thing our industry gets accused of, of not changing, just accepting the status quo. If you're willing to accept it. And we hear this a lot that won't work in my market. If you are stuck on the way you're doing it now and believe that there is no other way to do it, then you're probably, probably right. If you're willing to put in the work, if you want to learn, if you want to challenge the good news is that it's pretty easy to get started. It's called nuggets for a reason, because you're going to be absorbing these things in small pieces. You don't have to try and do it all at once. We know that running your business can sometimes feel like you're trying to raise frogs in a wheelbarrow. This is one frog at a time, one nugget at a time, one little piece. And each week there's a takeaway that leads to a breakthrough. That's a great place to start. [22:47.5]

Duane: Yeah. And you nailed it Dave, when you said that doing nothing means that nothing will change and we're trying to make it pretty easy here. You can get started right away. Just subscribe to the podcast. We plan to have episodes weekly, go to our website. There's more information on there. There'll be show notes for all the podcasts, the table of the elements as we've discussed, and also follow us on social media, spread the word, get it out there so we can help build this community and make it stronger episode after episode. And really the big thing is to commit, commit, to taking some action, take one of these nuggets, one of these elements implement it into your business and you're guaranteed to see some improvement. [23:26.6]

Dave: Yeah. We also invite you to connect directly with us. We mean it, when we say this is a community we want to hear from you firsthand about either, you know, a challenge that you're facing or an obstacle that you've overcome, or if you want to call BS on us, there's something that you want to debate with us or challenge us on, we want to learn from you so that we can share that with the audience. And we also have the ability through our connections to directly connect you with other resources specific to something that may be happening with your team or on your mission. So feel free. This is an open invitation to reach out to us. [24:01.9]

Duane: So that's a wrap on episode one of Builder Nuggets. Be sure to join us next week, cause we talk with Business coach Scott Beebee to learn why you can't scale chaos.

Do you have what it takes to transform your business? It's time to take action. Join the Builder Nuggets community to experience the life changing breakthroughs that the most successful builders and remodelers have already discovered.

Subscribe to the podcast now and follow along on Facebook and Instagram. Got elements of success to share with other builders, let us know at BuilderNuggets.com so we can amplify your story. [24:35.7]

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