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Our guest Jenny Hoffman has a background in both architecture and construction, she founded her company, J. Hoffman Studio, in 2015 with a focus on designing and building custom modern dream homes.

Not only does she design and build some pretty cool homes and spaces, but this pro immerses herself in the industry. She currently serves as a national delegate on the NAHB Leadership Council and is an advocate for professional women in our industry.

Show highlights include:

  • Are you a woman in construction? Here’s how to get support and create connections with other professionals in the field (2:20) 
  • Get over the idea that we need to “appear” that we know what we are doing (4:22)
  • Turn sexism and mansplaining into an advantage as a woman working in construction (17:05) 
  • How to avoid feast or famine income when you’re spending all your time fulfilling current projects and can’t focus on generating new leads (21:56)
  • Let’s figure out what you’re really good at… (25:22)
  • Getting involved with a business coach was a game changer (28:44)
  • Why appearing foolish gives you a competitive advantage over everyone else in your industry (32:19)
  • How growing too quickly sacrifices your relationship with clients and can bankrupt your business (35:25) 

To get the most out of this podcast, head over to https://buildernuggets.com  and join our active community of like-minded builders and remodelers.

Read Full Transcript

Let's figure out what you're really good at and figure out how we can fill your 40 hours doing more of that and less of this other stuff.

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.

(00:27): Our guest today is the owner and principal designer behind Jay Hoffman studio design build with a background in architecture and construction. She founded the company. In 2015 with a focus on designing and building custom modern dream homes. Not only does she design and build some pretty cool homes and spaces, but this pro immerses herself in the industry, she currently serves as a national delegate on the national home builders leadership council, and is an advocate for professional women in our industry. It's my pleasure to welcome Jenny Hoffman from chapel Hill, North Carolina, to the builder nuggets community. So Jenny, I heard you were originally from Buffalo, New York. How did you end up in Tarheel country?

(01:04): I ended up at entire Hill country because my mother's youngest sister lived in North Carolina and I loved visiting her down here. And when my husband at the time was in his post-doctorate job search, we just got lucky and he got a position at Duke and it gave us a reason to live down here. Finally, was there any connection to the tar heels? Any, any fandom or watching a basketball

(01:31): That came later? No. Duke was Duke Duke pay the bills. So I started off as a Duke fan, but eventually moved to chapel Hill. We became a divided household when the kids started going to chapel Hill schools and rooting for UNC. And now, now I guess I go both ways. I love UNC when they're playing anybody, but Duke and I still might, I still have loyalty to Duke. I hate to say it. I'd probably just turn off a lot of listeners.

(02:01): Well, I'm sitting here in a Wolf pack, red shirt, so we're, we're definitely in college basketball country, but yeah, that's all, that's great. You know, you and I spoke several weeks ago and one of the things I was intrigued by was your involvement in professional women in building of the HBA. Tell everybody just a little bit about what that council is and your involvement with it.

(02:20): Okay. So the professional women in building is a national organization. That's a subset of the national home builders association, and there are local chapters of the professional women in building throughout the United States as part of the local HBA chapters. And it is, we have monthly meetings and it's a place for women in construction and design related fields to network trade partners who are in construction to network with builders and architects and share some of the issues that are specific to in the field support each other, tell stories. And it does become, I've found that it's become a jumping off place for women who are coming into the field, who are looking for support and inroads as women want to help other women get connected in this field. What are some of the issues that women face entering the field, or what are some of the stories that you've heard and how do you support each other?

(03:27): Sure. You know, I feel like one of the biggest obstacles for women entering the field of construction is feeling that they are not entitled to enter the world of construction. They didn't learn it from their dads growing up or they didn't start off when they were younger. I feel like a lot of women just believe that they're in there, they're not entitled and they don't have the intrinsic knowledge. So I think women get in their own way, a lot coming into the field. And that's one of the things that I really that's really important to me is to help support women feeling that they have a place here. I know that for me coming into it, I was intimidated because I anticipated, I anticipated in countering sexism. And when I came into it, of course I had a thousand questions. I had so much to learn.

(04:24): And I didn't like having to ask so many questions of men who already expected. I didn't know what I was doing. And over time I've really, that's really turned on its head. I feel like the trick for women coming into construction is to get over the idea that we need to appear, that we know what we're doing, that we need to appear that we're experts in our fields so that we feel that we're entitled to be there. And we're treated like we're entitled to be there. It's like any other field you'll have to come in curious and hungry and willing to ask 10,000 questions. And I think that there's tons of opportunity for women in this field. There's so much work well, know that there's a labor shortage in the trades. And I think women are uniquely suited for project management and construction, great at multitasking and juggling 10,000 things. So I think there's, there's a, there's a whole lot of room for women to come into this world.

(05:24): That was really a great segue. Cause it was one of the things that I had jotted down was tremendous opportunities. As you said at the workforce, we're, we're, we're struggling in this industry to develop a strong workforce. A lot of people have left the workforce. We all know it's not something that is necessarily promoted at an early age in in our school systems, but there is huge opportunity. It's a fantastic career path. So for women, especially young women out there looking at it, I think this is just great opportunity. Anything you could say maybe to them as far as accessing PWB resources or ways to just find out more.

(06:04): Yes, let's see. In terms of accessing PWB resources, I'm sure that through, you know, you can Google professional women in building national home builders association and connect with someone on the national level or at your state chapter and say, Hey, you know, I'm interested in coming into this and I'm looking for support. The PWB sponsors a scholarship every year as does the local building association, many building associations, sponsor scholarships for young people and women, for sure that are coming into the field and want to go to college for a construction related path. And there are, you know, there's a, in our area, there's a wonderful program that grew out of the passion of one particular woman who was in our local chapter to bring women into the field. And so she started hope renovations, which is a inspiring organization. They are funded by grants and local sponsors and they provide a six week trades training program for under employed women. They provide a stipend for them while they go through the program and they help connect them to jobs coming out of the program. And we have a graduate working for us as an expediter. And there's also a lot of funding out there for women and construction. There are grants available through the small business associations, through the home builders association to encourage women to come in.

(07:42): I can definitely vouch for it. I've got a extremely talented woman as a project manager in my company here in Charlotte, and she just knocks it out of the park. And with a lot of the other builders and remodelers that we work with Testament, that women are a force in the industry. So for any of the women out there that are listening, especially young women, I think exactly what Jenny said. Look at this as a huge opportunity, go into an open-minded learn all you can, and it can be exciting. You mentioned that the insight not feeling entitled was a barrier to you when you, when you first came in, tell us what is your background? Because you mentioned that, you know, lots of people are a multi-generational male driven business for a long time, but it's, it's becoming more and more that women are interested in the industry and contributing and are amazing additions to it. How did you get started? What, what was your path?

(08:36): Well, I was the only child of a single mom blue collar, and we were pretty self-sufficient. My mom raised me to be pretty self-sufficient. So I, you know, I think I felt that I had as much of a right to come a non-traditional field as anybody else. From that perspective, I was a Lego kid. Everybody told me I would be an architect and I didn't, I didn't take it seriously or think about it. I went to school and started as a fine arts major. And then I discovered physics and loved physics and eventually realized fine art and physics come together in architecture hall. There it is just like everybody said, so that led me towards architecture. But in between I college hopped quite a bit. And in between college hopping, when I was establishing residency in a new state and was working for a year, or I had a summer off, I worked in construction and I started off picking up the yellow pages and opening to construction companies.

(09:43): And I cold called construction companies and said, you know, I just want to learn. And I found a couple of companies that took me on as a laborer and taught me how to drive nails and install windows and do installation under houses and do sheet rock and sanding and build decks and begin to understand framing, framing, and all those things. So what led me into finally becoming a general contractor and opening my business was that, you know, I went to grad school for architecture, but then I stayed home with my kids for 12 years. And over the course of 12 years, I volunteered with habitat and I renovated most of the houses we ever lived in. So I kept my skills, you know, intact, but I wanted to try and figure out now, how do I reenter the workforce after 12 years at home with my kids?

(10:35): And I, I felt like I was for sure at a professional disadvantage to just reenter the field of architecture as a, you know, I was in my late thirties and would essentially have been starting out from scratch at that point. And I didn't want to go and work for another architect in their office working full time while trying to juggle three kids in school, holidays and summer vacations at home and doctor's appointments and all those things. So it took me a while to try and figure out how am I going to find a place for myself in my field. And I networked a lot and I spoke to builders and designers and realtors, and I eventually decided to try to flip a house and that if I could flip a house, maybe that would be an inroad for me. So I partnered up with a friend of mine who was a general contractor, and I took out a home equity line on my house.

(11:30): And I bought a little dump of a house on a cheap lot in Durham, which was booming growing fast and thought I would flip the house and discovered quickly that it was a tear down and I could have walked away at that point. But because there was so much growth in the German real estate market, I crunched the numbers, sat down with my realtor who was also a small-scale developer and thought through the numbers and the, it still supported me building a new construction house. So I had this opportunity in front of me, Oh my God, this is scary right out of the gate. Am I going to design a house from scratch and build a house from scratch? But here it is. So this is what I've been waiting for. I'm just going to do it. So my friend, who was the contractor, pulled the permits for me, but then he stood back and gave me the opportunity to project manage the whole thing.

(12:19): And I really just had to teach myself from the ground up and think about, okay, what's the next best step all the way through. If I thought about the task of I'm going to build an entire house, it was terrifying to me. So I had to think about, well, the design part, I understood I could do the design part, but figuring out the construction aspect was hard. So, okay. We start with a foundation. How does that work? Okay. I have, at some point I have to get a permit who does permits, who do you call? And, you know, I'm the resourceful, I, I asked a thousand questions. I made a ton of phone calls, and eventually I got the project launched and asked a thousand questions and learned a ton and made mistakes all the way through. But it was really exciting. It was tons of fun. I for sure had moments of pulling up at that time in my minivan, to the job site and having to psych myself up to walk into a job site full of men who were gonna look at me like, what is she doing here?

(13:23): What was, what was the general reception and not just from the industry, but from your peers or friends or associates, when you said, Hey, this is what I, after after 12 years, I'm reentering. I want to, I want to go back in what was the response to the idea? I think people were excited for me and lots of women said to me, how on earth do you know how to do that? That sounds crazy. Who taught you how to do that? How do you know? And I, you know, and I would say to women that construction project management is like party planning for construction it's coordination. And women are good at that. And building science is not rocket science. It's, it's in many ways, it's intuitive. We've all lived in houses, all our lives. Our ancestors have all lived in houses. There's so much that we already understand intuitively about how buildings go together. And of course I stood there and I listened to a lot of the subcontractors on sites, say things like who's the architect who drew these drawings. And I'm like, that would be me. And so, you know, I learned, and I continue to learn things that I need to be including in my designs that are going to actually be helpful in the field. I'm always learning new lessons, but I, that's a point of pride for me to be a designer that understands how buildings go together. So I'm not an architect that the subcontractors are all cursing on. The job site,

(14:55): Necessity breeds innovation. So you were in a situation there where you had to make that happen. And that was, that was a great motivator. Yeah. And you know, once I figured out that I wanted to continue on this path, I could have continued as essentially a homeowner who would buy these investment projects that I would design and I would potentially hire a contractor or just hire somebody to do it for me. But I, you know, because I'm a woman in the field, I, I wanted to have my name on the permit. I wanted to be the boss of the job. It was hard enough to walk into job sites without also being thought of as she, the interior designer. And she, the realtor is she somebody's wife. So it motivated me to want to get my contractor's license.

(15:44): Do you have any major stereotype moments that stand out for you that we're all going to cringe when we hear about, wow, Here's, here's a well-meaning stereotype. Here's a well-meaning thing that I have had happened many times walking up to the contractor's desk to a new salesperson that I haven't met at a lumberyard. And discovering that the name on the account that they've been familiar with J Hoffman studio is attached to me, Jenny Hoffman. And they'll say, Oh, you're the J Oh, good for you. Good for you. How did you learn to do this? Did your dad teach you, you know, good for you? Did you take over for your brother?

(16:25): We talk about the elements of construction. That's the element of surprise. You've just discovered there, you know, that they're, that they're surprised that they weren't expecting it, but you've been working pretty hard. So that, that goes away. And

(16:39): I mean, at this point I love being in the construction world and I've gotten to the point where I really enjoy my visits at the lumberyard. I love talking to all the guys. I love being on the job sites as the company has grown and I'm less and less in the field. I miss that.

(16:54): Yeah. And it is fun. It's got its own dynamic in the field. There's no doubt about it. Levels of building respect among whoever's on the job site. Whoever's walking to the job site from new guy, the new gal all the way up to the experience folks. So

(17:07): The tips that I would offer to women who maybe feel really angry, frustrated, discouraged by sexism in the field or mansplaining on the job sites, is that in some ways you can use it to your advantage. I have found that, you know, some of the old school folks in the building community don't necessarily think of me as competition or a threat and might be more forthcoming with some sort of insider information that they would keep closer to the chest otherwise. And, you know, if someone launches into a description of something, assuming I don't understand if I just sit back and listen, sometimes I pick up some things that, you know, I don't know. I, I try not to. I try to think about what can I get out of this situation? How can it benefit me that I am not necessarily thought of as an equal all the time? Doesn't it doesn't always have to be a fight,

(18:06): 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@buildernuggets.com and follow along on Facebook and Instagram. So you, you go from leading a project, how did that project turn out? It went great. I, you know, the long, long story short is that it's sold for a wonderful profit. It was very encouraging. There were some mistakes along the way, but not nothing major, you know, like learning egress window code and bedrooms. We had, we had built the window too tall. So we had to pull the window frame down. Do you know, there were things like that that came along, that that were code oriented. But it overall, it went really well. And I think asking 10,000 questions and really, and saying to people, have you heard, have I omitted a question that you think I should have thought to ask? Do you anticipate roadblocks that I'm not anticipating? Can you offer any, you know, insight into what forms I haven't filled out from my permit?

(19:18): Who do I still need to talk to about zoning? And, you know, instead of thinking of the whole thing as an incomprehensible puzzle, I thought of it as a chess game. It's it's a lot of strategic maneuvering and it just takes time and patience to figure out how to play the game. Absolutely. So you go from a successful project to, at what point had you already committed at the beginning that I'm going to make a whole business out of this or was this no, you're about to transition from, Hey, I'm going to do a one-off and see how it goes to, Hey, I think I can do this. I feel like you got wind in your sails. Yeah. I, you know, as I was working on that first house, friends and friends of friends were intrigued and started saying things to me like, Hey, my sister-in-law's redoing her kitchen.

(20:08): Would you be up for talking to her about it? I was encouraged by the process enough that I, it, it made me sure that I wanted to get my general contractors license and go through the steps of becoming, you know, registering with the state to become an LLC and start my business. And, you know, for the first couple of years, investment projects were my mainstay. That was what I, where I felt most comfortable. And that's an, honestly the fact that I started out building for myself, investment projects for myself was a comfort because I didn't have a client that I was going to let down. So it was a, it gave me some room to learn and grow without making mistakes on someone else's house. And I, yeah, I, I worked my way into small client projects and I took advice from the guys in the field about how to handle contracts and markups and margins.

(21:11): And I made a lot of mistakes around how to charge correctly for things, how not to lose your shirt, how to keep track of change orders, Holy cow, how to keep track of the paper trail of all the decisions clients make. So I feel like I've learned a ton. I've learned a ton, and I got to a point where I couldn't do it on my own anymore and continue to grow the business to a point where it was truly going to sustain me. I was going through a divorce as my business was coming together, and I really needed to create a sustainable income for myself and my kids and doing investment projects and picking up client work here and there. I had this sort of feast or famine income because I would bury myself in project management, as projects would get rolling and wouldn't have time or bandwidth to reply to all the emails and try to follow leads and take that time to get in the zone, to design something new or scope out new properties for a new investment project. So I hired a part-time assistant who helped me keep up with some of that, keep up with invoicing and bookkeeping. And after finally, after about four years, I hired my first project manager so that I could launch projects and then hand them over to him. And we've just grown since then, we have got two project managers now, a design assistant and office manager, and we've got a bookkeeper and I have a wishlist of who I'd like to add to the team over time

(22:54): When we spoke prior to, to today as well. Something we talked a lot about was the team building aspect. And I think you had said something about, you really liked the team building aspect of building a business. So what does that look like? And you know, what, what do you mean by that, with, with your group?

(23:10): Yeah, it wasn't something that I ever thought I would enjoy doing. I thought that it would be uncomfortable and difficult to be someone's employer be somebody's boss. I was stressed out about the responsibility of having to make sure that somebody was feeding their family and keeping their lights on. And I also, you know, who does love conflict, I don't enjoy conflict. And I thought this could be really awkward and uncomfortable, but communication is really important to me. And what I've discovered as we've into this is that if I look at it from a strength based approach, we're all so much happier doing what we're doing. So I think the best way for me to sum up how that plays out is in our evaluation process, we do six month evaluations and one year evaluations, or if someone's just come on, we'll do a six week evaluation and we'll take their job description and drop all the line items of the job description into a spreadsheet.

(24:21): And I have them rate themselves from one to five, all of the bullet points on their job description, and I do the same thing. And then we sit down together and we talk about where they rate themselves and where I rate them. And most of the time it's about the same, which is, which is helpful because, you know, it's, it's helpful to say, not only do you feel like you're falling down on the job in this department, you know, like we're, we both are kind of on the same page about that. And instead of it being a punitive process, I look at it as let's figure out what you're really good at and figure out how we can fill your 40 hours doing more of that and less of this other stuff. And let's figure out who else on the team is great at the things that you don't enjoy and that you suck at.

(25:08): We all have those things and let's reallocate those things to that person. So are my two project managers there, their job descriptions, couldn't be more different. One is essentially a site supervision, ordering materials, dealing with the suppliers. And the other project manager is almost all administration, operations systems and structures. And they, you know, at this point now one of them is on paternity leave. He just had his very first baby late last night. So yeah, we are all having fun, joking about how essential he is in the office. And that somehow we're going to get through these couple of weeks that he's on paternity leave. We're going to keep all the balls in the air

(25:56): Sounded like the Habu episode there, Dave, that's the, we did an episode highest and best use, but that is exactly what you're doing. I would commend you for doing that so important to have people doing the things they love. And they, you know, the feedback that I get when we have our team meetings every week I get emotional about it. I feel so proud that the team is, is enjoying so much being part of this process. And we're a close knit little group and it feels really good to have built that,

(26:27): Not such a little group anymore. When you consider that you started how you started out and this, you know, then it's a reentry into the marketplace and now you've got a team of six and, you know, growing families it's, it's happening. And that's, that's really awesome to see. And you can tell that you're having a good time with it. How do you collaborate? Are you collaborating with other builders now? Because that's one of the things Dwayne and I have found is one of the most successful traits. You know, there's, there's great communication, but collaboration, you've seen a lot now coming, going to different paths within your business. How are you getting involved? We mentioned some of the things off, off the top, but do you have any role models? Are there people you're getting together with, on a regular basis? How are you staying ahead?

(27:15): That's a good question. Well as I was getting started, as I got to know some builders in the community that were generous and didn't feel particularly competitive because there's plenty of work to go around. We're lucky in the triangle that there's plenty of work to go around. I would just text them or call them out of the blue. When I was stuck with a question of, you know, Oh, something I forgot to put in the scope of work that now I have to figure out how do I work this in after the fact, or, you know, there's a contract, there's a bit in my contract that I don't know how to handle this, or should I do fixed price or cost plus. So I had a lot of casual conversations and eventually one of the builders that I leaned on a lot said, you know, I'm just going to let you know that I had all these same questions.

(28:05): And I finally, somebody told me to hire a business coach. And here's the name of my business coach. I called her and got started with her. And that was a game changer. It was hugely helpful to have someone coach me to take time away from the day-to-day running of the business to stand back and take the, you know, the sky high view of the business and figure out the long-term planning that led me to a second business coach that was more construction oriented. And that led me to a point where again, I just found myself thinking, you know, what I need is I need a council of builders so that we can bounce ideas off of each other and figure out best practices together. And the home builders association does offer that in the form of builder 20 groups or builder 10 groups, where they pair builders with other builders around the country who are in noncompeting markets to open your books together, you become each other's coaches and mentors.

(29:05): And I have been trying to get myself into a builder 20 group for over a year and COVID, hasn't helped. So at this point I am, I, you know, I have just said it, our annual agenda with the local home builders association that one of my goals is that we can create that in our community. And we're sort of humorously right now, talking it, talking about it as counselor council of elders. I'd like to seek out the successful business owners in the construction community that are great role models that have great business models that have retired and still really want to have a hand in helping younger builders come up and share their wisdom. Cause I just think that we can learn so much from each other and we don't all have to be reinventing the wheel, you know? And one of the things that I appreciate on the architecture side of things, but still not enough in architecture and construction, there's so much sort of behind the scenes people don't like, we don't understand each other's business practices, everyone's doing it differently.

(30:16): Everyone's pricing things differently. So it would be so nice if at least in our marketplaces, in our regions, we could start to have a little bit more continuity so that I think it would build homeowner confidence in builders. And it would help builders feel less competitive with each other because we don't all have to wonder what each other is thinking and how, you know, how do I keep a competitive edge if like, I don't know if my business practices make any sense in the context of what other people are doing, because we're not talking about that.

(30:49): The thing is bits of everybody's businesses are the same. And we, you know, we look at different Dwayne and I've talked about different business models all the time, but there's, it's all over the map and it would be great. You know, people talk about disruptive models and things like that. What our industry really needs is some harmonization where we get together, we share the best practices. We figure out what works, what humans respond to because ultimately that's what we're dealing with humans and their homes and the decisions that they make, but getting everybody on the same page that takes a lot of communication. The thing that I, I come back to, it's a word that you mentioned early on in our discussion here, it's almost like advice was that you were curious and to be curious and have the courage to be curious and ask, like, I think it sounds like a lot of your success came from your quest for knowledge.

(31:48): You want it to learn you weren't enthusiastic about it. People wanted to help you when you're genuine. And you're curious, and you're full of positive energy. People will want to help you. And it also makes you more open as well. So, and, and vulnerable, and people will help you to protect that and foster that too. So I'm sure there were people who tried to take advantage of it, but for the most part, you're, you're probably not going to affiliate with them for very long. I bet you have more stories of people helping you than people trying to suppress you.

(32:18): Yeah, absolutely. The curiosity thing I think is really key and trying to get over the idea of appearing foolish, forget it. Who cares if you appear foolish, ask a lot of questions and I find that people find it, it brings people's barriers down. When you admit vulnerability. Essentially I have a thousand questions I would really love to learn from you instead of being intimidated by all the experts in your field, around you. That's a resource take advantage

(32:51): Where the industry is known a little bit as having some of that bravado and not, not being comfortable, making mistakes or sharing our, our misfortunes or however, however you want to look at it, but it's really, it's going to be one of the ways that we, we change and help each other is through when Dwayne and harsh training or coaching, those that are sharing the bad stuff that happened to them that really protect the rest of the group and help everyone to, to learn and to accelerate and amplify their success. So, yeah. Thanks for sharing all your wisdom here with us. And it's really the core of this podcast. It's, you know, one of the fundamental reasons Dave and I started it was that just to try to fill that void of, of a place where people can come together, we can talk from different aspects from builders, remodelers, contractors, suppliers, architects, designers, at the end of the day it's business.

(33:43): Yes, we might be focused on the construction industry, but to get out there and tell stories and share it, it's, it's exactly what you said is there is no reason to feel foolish or, or, or ashamed to talk about any of this stuff. That's how all of us learn whether we want to admit it or not. And that council of elders, as you said, if you talk to some of the most successful and, and seasoned folks, you're going to find out that they did the same thing. At some point, there was a point where they reached out, they collaborated, they wanted to talk, certainly commend you for what you've done and, and, you know, kind of pushing that, that initiative.

(34:18): Thank you. Thank you. I'm excited for the opportunity to be on your podcast because I hope that at some point people will reach out to me and say, Hey, I would like to talk shop with you. I'd like to talk about contracts and client relations and communication all the way across your whole team. And I mean anything. And of course, to connect with other women and anyone who is coming into the field of construction that has not traditionally been welcomed into the field. I'd love to talk to any of those folks

(34:55): As you're continuing to learn here. And as you said, whether it's builder 20 or you find a different Avenue of what's, what does the future look like? I mean, why, why expand? Why continue to grow? Where, where are you trying to go with your business?

(35:07): I think my goal is to continue to grow enough so that I can delegate enough out that I get back to doing the essential things that I really love to do. I also feel like, you know, when I transitioned into working more for clients, I'm a people pleaser and that's an uncomfortable place to be when you don't feel like you're well equipped to take good care and to be, to be good at customer service because you are spread too thin. So I'm finding that to feel like I'm providing better service. So I feel more confident and comfortable with my clients that I want to grow the team so that we can provide excellent customer service. I'll just, I just know I'll feel better. I'll feel like we're running a tighter ship. The clients are going to be happier. I'm going to be happier. So when I think about where growth, you know, growth is motivated by wanting to build a team that provides excellent customer service.

(36:15): And right now, one of the things that that means for us is that we're partnering with interior designers because I don't have the bandwidth anymore to help clients with fixtures and finish selections. So we're bringing people in that we collaborate with. We build them into our percentage cost of construction on design services, and that's, you know, a whole new thing to try and figure out and how we're going to work together. I would love to either partner with a finished trim carpentry team, a dedicated partnership, or I'd love to bring in-house carpenters onto the team because we're always, you know, how that goes, where there are always custom carpentry projects that come up over the course of construction that aren't built in. And then you've got to scramble to find somebody that can get in there on your schedule. You know, I really do love investment projects. I'd love to be doing more of that. So sometimes I think about, I want to, I want to bring someone else onto the team that will take on more of the design workload for homeowners to free me up, to get back to working with private investors and banks, to build my capacity, to build more at a time. It just takes time. I mean, I could go on there's so much

(37:33): You're on the path to making it happen. You're you're asking the right questions. You're collaborating, you're sharing your story. It's going to continue to happen. Happen for you. Your team sounds like they're having a great time going on this mission with you. Was it a boy or girl? Yeah, my project manager, Gary just had a baby boy named Lincoln. Hey, shout out to Lincoln. Shout out to Lincoln. How long before you run out and buy a Lincoln, his first set of Lego. Now that you mentioned it, I have to get on that. So tell us we out there, somebody wants to connect with you or find out a little bit more about you. Where can they find you?

(38:12): Well, we, you know, our website is Jay Hoffman, studio.com. We're on Instagram and it's J Hoffman, J period Hoffman, studio design on Instagram. We would welcome people reaching out to us. I mean, you have built something from the beginning. I think I said at one point, you know, it was out of some necessity, which was great. You know, you've continued to learn. Yes. It's just

(38:36): A great story. Thank you. Thank you. I I'm, I'm proud of what I've accomplished and it's really exciting to have my kids go along for the ride with me and have them see that their mom went from a stay at home mom who was baking cookies and picking them up from school, which I was privileged to do. And I'm so glad I got to do and also transitioned into being a business owner, running the show. That's pretty cool. Thanks, Jenny. I appreciate you taking the time. Alrighty. Yeah, bye-bye

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