You Are Not Alone
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I did get to a point where I just felt incredibly lonely, I felt like I was the only one.
Builders and the Art of Conversation
Something that’s really obvious in the work that we do with builders, at Live Life Build Duayne, is that it can be really lonely being a business owner in the building industry.
I think too, that because it’s such a male dominated industry, you have builders working on their own, who don’t talk with each other, who keep things bottled up, who feel that they have to just handle what’s going on.
They don’t share things with their partners potentially, because they are worried about bringing home the stress of what they’re experiencing in their business, they want to ensure that from the outside, everything looks like it’s all taken care of, and that they’ve got it all under control, and everything’s in hand.
And yet meanwhile, things could be very different for them. And we see time and time again, just what is possible when builders change their ideas about that. In terms of that, do you think it’s important that builders talk to other builders in this industry? And why do you think it’s so important that builders have conversations with others about what they’re experiencing in this industry?
It’s the most important thing.
Back in the day, when I got to a point where I was struggling, I knew I had to do something. And I did get to a point where I just felt incredibly lonely. I felt like I was the only one. I almost got to a point where you start second guessing everything you’re doing.
Am I capable of running a business?
Why is this happening to me?
Am I not a good carpenter?
Am I not a good builder?
Do I not understand?
You just question everything. And what made it worse is I clearly remember going to the hardware store to pick some gear up , or going to an industry event and talking to members at an Association and saying to them, “these are the problems that I’m having”. Or “far out, man, I’ve had a bad month, this is what I’m dealing with, surely things will get better.”
And the amount of times that I got a slap on the back, and told: “harden up, mate. This is the industry, deal with it.”
And that was heartbreaking for me, because it’s an industry that I’d wanted to be in since I was a little toddler. So it can be a hard gig. But I’ve got past that now, and I guess persistence paid off.
I kept asking that same question. I kept having conversations with other builders. Until I started to find some builders, and it did at the time tend to be some of the younger ones. There ended up being a few builders that I ended up catching up with quite regularly.
Not All Building Business Coaches Are The Same
It actually wasn’t until I started getting some coaching and mentoring, that things really turned around and probably really lit the fire for my passion. And I remember going to some coaching and mentoring sessions and sitting around with all the other business owners and some of the coaching I did was with all different types of businesses, but just knowing that people were dealing with the same things.
Then as it grew, I got into some more specific builders coaching. There was a fire got lit for me because I got to a point where this was specific builders coaching and it still can’t help me. Back in the day my wife would turn the computer on, and I would sit there and type at night and then she’d spellcheck and everything, and I started putting my own things in place.
And the first one I did, I actually put together a seminar, because I’d had this incredible, industry changing moment. It was all the client’s fault. It was up to me to educate them and make them understand me as a builder and what I do, and so I built this course called ‘Build Your knowledge before you build your Dreams’. And they went incredibly well. We had them at the Build and Design Centre, we had them at my sister’s cafe, and I think we had five or six of them, and we started charging for them.
And it was during the fifth or sixth one. And I can remember being in my sister’s cafe and talking to these homeowners and thinking:
It’s not them. It’s all me.
I’m the one to blame here. That then changed around, and I ended up teaming up with another coach in the industry and I put together some courses which I called ‘Rules of the Game’ because I then had this theory that building a house is no different to a game of football. The builder is one team, the client is the other team. And if each team is on a different page and they don’t understand the rules, it’s always going to be a disaster. And the very first one we did was at the Build and Design Centre in Brisbane. It taught me a lot of things. I was incredibly nervous. It was the first time I’d ever spoken, at the time my business still wasn’t very good. And I literally was standing in front of 42 builders. And the entire day, my wife was there, some of our staff members were there. And I just kept asking them, “is this going alright?”. I feel like these guys are staring at me like who the hell is this guy? He doesn’t know anything? What’s he talking about? And it wasn’t until the end of the day that we ended up basically getting kicked out of there, they wanted to shut up and go home. It was 7:30/8 o’clock at night, and every builder bar a handful, hung around. There were builders in tears, there were builders hugging each other.
The two that really drove me to continue to do what I’m doing in the industry. There was one older guy there that day that basically said to me, Duayne, if I hadn’t come to this today, I’m about to lose it all. You’ve actually ignited me. You’ve given me some passion. And this guy was in his mid 50s. He’s saying, I probably got five or six years to try and rebuild and get some money back in the bank and make something of myself. But he’d lost his family, he didn’t talk to his kids, he’d lost his wife, they’d lost their family home, he’d gone bankrupt. And he was trying to rebuild.
But the big one was about two weeks later, I’m pretty sure it was a Wednesday night. And my phone just kept ringing. It was a private number. I finally answered after my wife said to me, something’s wrong, you have to answer it. And there’s this guy sobbing on the phone. And I’m thinking, hey, what’s going on, what’s happening here?
And it was a guy that said to me, you’ve saved my life. If I hadn’t come to that seminar, I was ready to hang myself. And it was through that period of a few weeks that I realised, it’s not just me. I honestly thought it was just me.
I thought I was the only one that couldn’t run my business.
That was having difficulties with my relationship. We couldn’t pay bills, I was getting harassed by banks, I was having issues with clients. And I was questioning everything, not just about my business, but about me.
Building A Community of Builders
Having those sessions and getting that feedback from builders, it just started taking off. And we went on our own paths for different reasons. And then you and I started conversations, and together with my passion as a builder’s point of view and your passion as an architect’s point of view. And probably more importantly, your passion for helping homeowners has just inspired what Live Life Build is today. To get to a position that we’re in, where we are now helping builders not only turn their business around, but the important part for me is their lives.
To be able to have conversations with builders, and help them through all different aspects of their business. For me, it’s overwhelming. I love it. It honestly brings tears to my eyes.
I agree. And something our members frequently say to us when they first join is, ‘oh my gosh, I had no idea that there were others that felt like this’, ‘I had no idea that there were others that I could connect with’. And they’re blown away by the ability that they can have open conversations with other builders who are going through similar challenges and experiences to them, because the industry has always positioned itself as, well you can’t talk to other builders because you’re in competition with each other. And they’ll use it against you, or they’ll undercut you and they’ll just make things worse.
Instead what we see is that rising tide floats all boats concept of collaboration over competition, and how much more powerful we are when we work together when we share what we’re going through. And we help each other rise and what that does for everybody involved and for the industry overall.
And it’s such a privilege to be able to do this through Live Life Build. To be able to see builders really change and shift and grow, and to provide a safe place where they can come talk about what they’re experiencing and get the help that they need not just from us but from others in their group as well. We have builders that connect with each other and see each other regularly,
We started a little community.
Yes, through ELEVATE, and it’s just it’s so exciting because you can see that as builders do start to talk to each other, start to share what they’re going through, start to open up what that then enables them to work through and to then move forward on in their businesses and in their projects and in their lives and what that’s doing for their relationships with their partners, with their kids, with their friends with how they’re spending their time. It’s just been extraordinary.
Something that you and I are both very, I guess, honoured that we’ve been able to achieve is that we’ve actually created a platform where builders and not just our builders, also their wives and partners, they feel really comfortable. There’s no judging. There’s no ‘trying to keep up with the Joneses’. Everyone is able to just speak what they feel, talk through their problems. And for us to be in a position to be able to do that and help all you guys out is just incredible. I love it.
Yeah, me too. The thing is that there’s enough work to go around for everyone. We are much better as an industry when we all work together. And for us, it’s so exciting to be able to do this work through Live Life Build, and ultimately to give builders the opportunity to talk with each other. If you’re not talking with other builders, take that step, open up, come to Live Life Build, really share what you’re going through, because there’s no need for you to do this on your own. There are others that are going through similar experiences to you that can help and support you that may be able to show you a way that you haven’t thought about, and be able to provide a pathway through whatever you’re going through. Reach out for help. Don’t do this on your own. It doesn’t have to be lonely. There is a better way.
Don’t bottle up like I did for a long time. Don’t be afraid to talk to other builders. At the end of the day our industry is really, really difficult and you’ll do yourself so much good by just having conversations with builders in your area and get a conversation started.
If you are keen to find out more, you want to have a look Want to Change the Residential Construction Industry with us or read about our ELEVATE mastermind here.