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What is Live Life Build all about?

To learn more about Duayne Pearce and Amelia Lee, and why they started Live Life Build, read on.

We often receive questions from others about why we started Live Life Build.

Many builders wonder how we’ve found the time, or why we’re interested in working with builders in this way.

And, interestingly, we’ve also had builders ask us if this is all just a big money grab.

So, we thought it would be great to share some more info about what Live Life Build is all about, why we started it, and who we help (and how).

We know lots of builders are looking for better results, more support and education to help them in their businesses and lives.

We’d love to hear from you if this resonates with you. And also if the goals we have are similar to your goals for this industry we all work in (and love!)

We’re really excited about Live Life Build, the builders we’re helping, and what’s ahead.

5. ABOUT LIVE LIFE BUILD CO-FOUNDER: DUAYNE PEARCE, BUILDER (AND OWNER OF D PEARCE CONSTRUCTION)

I’ve had over 20 years experience in the construction industry, starting from a truss plant and a pre-nailed frame manufacturer, right through to my carpentry apprenticeship, working as a contractor on the tools, where I built up a very successful carpentry business and contracting business.

Once I had enough experience, I moved on and got my low-rise builder’s licence, and that was pretty much where the problems started.

So I was like most builders out there: I didn’t understand the industry.

When I got my builder’s licence, there was very little education about actually running a successful building business, and all the other hats that a builder has to wear to be able to run a good business.

And for the first four to five years of having my own construction business, we had a lot of extremely difficult and very expensive times and a lot of challenges.

This reached a head in 2012 / 2013, where I didn’t want to do it anymore, I was over it, I wanted out, and I got to a position where I just wanted to go and work for someone else, or more than that, I just wanted to get out of the industry.

I got to a point where I almost hated it.

But we turned things around.

I’ve never really been a quitter on things, and we had a lot of work in the pipeline, and over Christmas 2013, we had some really good jobs come in.

So we sat down as a team after the Christmas break of 2013, and basically said that our team didn’t know the position we’re in, and how dire it was. We explained to them what had been happening, where we were, and we just said, “Look, we want to keep going, but we never want to be in this position again.”

At that point, we started talking to a few business coaches and mentors and that type of thing, and we quickly realised that there’s very few people out there that are helping the industry that have actually ever been in the industry.

They’ve never been a builder, or been a contractor.

They may have family members that have been, but they don’t know what a builder has to deal with on a daily basis.

There’s even builders out there that have gone into liquidation on their own building businesses, and are now coaching other builders.

It really frustrated me – because we and other builders were investing huge amounts of money in these coaches. And they really didn’t have first-hand experience in the industry. Some were simply teaching what they saw their builder members have success in. They’d get us in a room to talk about what was working, what was helping us grow and be profitable, and then they’d package it up as their own content to teach other builders!

So I started putting together my own content and my own seminars. I started sharing more about the business and my passion for improving the industry on social media. And I started connecting with others doing the same.

This is how I met Amelia, through her business Undercover Architect. We connected over social media. Shortly after, she had me as a guest on her podcast, and then we started collaborating further, both for her business and for mine. Live Life Build grew from those early collaborations.

We’re extremely passionate about the industry, we’ve both had some ups and downs, and we’ve got experience, strategies, systems and processes in place that actually work.

As a builder myself, I’ve tried them, tested them, and improved them in our own business, and I’ve seen the enormous improvements it’s made. Not only to my business and career, but also in my relationship with my wife, my family and our lifestyle.

I want every other builder out there to have the same experience and lifestyle that we’ve now got, and I want them to all be as successful as we are.

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4. ABOUT LIVE LIFE BUILD CO-FOUNDER: AMELIA LEE, ARCHITECT (AND OWNER OF UNDERCOVER ARCHITECT)

I’m a registered architect, and I’ve worked in the industry for over 25 years now, on over 250 projects, mainly residential.

My husband and I, we’ve also renovated three homes of our own, so over a period of about 12 years we renovated these three homes.

Each project got bigger than the last one. There was a baby born per renovation. We lived in these houses whilst they were under construction. All of our kids learned to climb ladders before they walked, and my husband and I had lots of builder / architect arguments on these projects. My husband did the bulk of the construction work on these renovations, and I was doing all of the design.

So, I like to think I have both professional and personal insight and experience into building and renovating!

I’ve worked inside architectural practices since I was 20. My work has ranged from individual renovations and new builds for families, through to large scale work on the Sydney Olympic Site and in the Sydney CBD. It includes working overseas, and also being part of the senior design team for Mirvac Queensland, where I was Project Architect on large scale residential projects such as Waterline, Bulimba and Tennyson.

In 2009, I co-founded the architectural practice, DC8 Studio, with 5 business partners. We quickly grew that business to 20 staff with studios in Brisbane and Sydney, and were Telstra Business Awards State Finalists and on the BRW Fast Starters List.

After some personally challenging times in early 2013, I decided to enrol in a leadership and immersion program being run by not-for-profit, The Hunger Project, and Business Chicks. This involved fundraising $10,000 and then travelling to Uganda in late 2013, to see the work of The Hunger Project in-person. That trip pretty much picked up my life and shook it about, made me really question what I was doing with my time, and what my goals really were.

At the time, as I said, I was co-owner of an architectural practice. I also had 3 kids aged 6 and under. We had just completed our third renovation, where we’d turned a 100m2 home into one that was over 400m2 (with a pool as well), and then sold it, achieving the top price in the suburb for that year. And I realised that I wasn’t living the life that I’d wanted to really create for myself.

My family and I had always wanted to live in the Byron Hinterland, and so after returning from Uganda, I told my business partners at DC8 Studio that I wanted to exit the business.

Six months later, we moved to the Byron Hinterland, and as part of that move, I started Undercover Architect.

I found that, in all of my years as an architect, I would be having conversations with people at BBQs, at the school gate with other parents, and once they found out I’m an architect, I would invariably hear some horror story, some disaster story of a project going wrong.

Every time it was because this poor homeowner had not got the information, the support and guidance they needed, when they needed it.

And so Undercover Architect really began as an education resource.

Now it’s grown into a business that operates online to teach and help homeowners how to get it right when designing, building, and renovating their homes.

We have thousands of homeowners that tune into our podcasts, read our website, join the online courses, and get themselves educated to run their projects better, and to ultimately be able to create the homes that they’re dreaming of.

For me, Live Life Build and my passion about the industry is really driven by knowing there are so many good builders out there.

And yet there are dodgy cowboys, operators who really take advantage of their clients. I want to see this industry having a much better reputation amongst homeowners that I deal with and speak with every day.

I know, personally, the difference that a great builder can make on a project.

I’ve been fortunate to work with builders who are fantastic, who’ve taught me a lot about being a much better architect.

And I’ve found that in the last seven years of running Undercover Architect, I have learned things about the homeowner that completely outstripped what I knew about them being their architect.

It’s mostly women in my Undercover Architect community. And they share very deep, personal secrets with me about their sense of overwhelm, their sense of confusion, their stress, and their concerns that they’re not going to get the house that they want, they’re going to be taken advantage of.

Many of them tell me they feel like they’re walking around with a target on their forehead, just waiting to be ripped off.

They feel out of their depth, they feel like they’re dealing with a raft of terminology they don’t understand.

And I want them to know and find the great builders out there, and I want to help builders understand how to work with their clients better so that they can ultimately do what they’re great at, deliver projects that are fantastic and help their clients have an enjoyable experience throughout.

Live Life Build is delivering on my dream to build an army of builders that run successful, sustainable businesses, whilst building quality homes and understanding how to care for their clients.

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3. HOW DID LIVE LIFE BUILD BEGIN?

As you can see, both of us are incredibly passionate about the industry we both love working in. 

Both of us have also benefited from the value of having coaches and mentors who have made a difference in our businesses and lives – even those who we’ve not agreed with, been frustrated by, or have taught us what not to do!

After collaborating together for a few years through various avenues such as the Undercover Architect podcast, or D Pearce Constructions workshop, we continued to talk about how much we wanted to help builders improve their businesses and lifestyles.

We’re very like-minded in our desire to improve the industry, and elevate the professionalism of residential construction.

And then, in late 2019, James Hardie and Bretts Timber and Hardware approached us to present a workshop together. Given we’d been talking for some time about joining forces to help builders, this was our opportunity to start Live Life Build.

There can often be a fair amount of animosity between architects and builders. 

However, we’ve always had a shared passion for improving this industry, and knowing the value of what our individual professions both bring to the process of designing, building and renovating family homes.

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2. WHAT ARE OUR GOALS FOR LIVE LIFE BUILD?

Aren’t you sick of hearing all the terrible stories about builders and the residential construction industry? 

We are.

Those heartbreaking and frustrating stories on shows like A Current Affair where homeowners have been left with half-finished homes as a builder has done a dodgy job, or gone bankrupt in the middle of a project. Only to move interstate and set up their license and building business again under a different name.

We dream of the day we no longer hear horror stories about building and renovating. Imagine going to a BBQ and telling someone you’re a builder, and they only have great things to say about their project?! 

We want to see a residential construction industry that’s respected and highly regarded for its professionalism, where all involved in building and renovating enjoy the process.

We’ve co-founded Live Life Build, where we provide holistic, comprehensive education to change the way residential builders do projects, business and life.

It’s been interesting to see what others in the industry have said when they’ve seen Live Life Build. 

There are those who love it, and are on board, and as excited as we are about improving this industry. We’ve had and continue to have fantastic conversations about opportunities and our plans for the future with industry leaders and collaborators.

There are those who are suspicious, wondering whether we’re just in it for the money. (Quote: “Why are Amelia and Duayne doing this? Is it just a money grab?”)

We both run successful, profitable businesses independently of each other. Live Life Build has never been (and will never be) about the money. 

We understand the suspicion though. Because there’s lots of other coaches out there where it really is about the money. 

Both of us can see – and believe in – an industry that is exciting and enjoyable to work in, where builders are respected and highly regarded, and are delivering brilliant experiences and homes for the clients they work with.

If you’re like most builders we know, you got your building license, and were thrown in the deep end, with very little instruction on how to run your own business. And yet, running a building business requires so many additional skills in marketing, financial management, communication, client management, strategic planning, human resources, and risk management. 

The construction industry is plagued by mental health issues, disproportionate rates of bankruptcy, suicide, and other significant challenges. 

Most builders we know and work with are the major or sole breadwinner. Their building businesses are leveraged on personal finances including the family home. Often their partner is involved in the business too, with it being a family affair. 

There’s simply too much at stake for it to be the risky roller-coaster ride it is for so many.

Building or renovating homes is also the long-held dream of so many – with builders being critical and necessary to that process. And the industry contributes significantly to the financial performance of our economies. 

This industry builds wealth for others. If you’re building homes, you’re building wealth for others.

This industry has to do better than what we’re currently doing. It’s not enough to ‘get by’, or to be treading water as the cowboys and shonky operators around us continue to rip off the home-building community, and perpetuate the negative impression of our industry.

Builders can build smarter, live better and enjoy life.

Our vision in Live Life Build is to elevate home building and renovation professionals (that’s you – the builder!) to build thriving businesses, deliver quality projects and innovate their life – for us all to live sustainably.

These are big goals (they’re our Big Hairy Audacious Goals). We know they’re achievable though. And we’re seeing them becoming reality with the members we have inside our Live Life Build programs right now. It’s super exciting.

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1. WHO DOES LIVE LIFE BUILD HELP – AND HOW?

We help builders through our online programs and memberships to do three things:

  1. Learn from proven knowledge, experience, systems and processes to improve their projects, businesses and lives
  2. Share their journey with a community of builders like them, who collaborate and support each other
  3. Access accountability to take action and achieve the goals they have, not only in their businesses but in their personal lives as well.

The builders we work with are at all different stages of their careers. Some are just starting out, through to builders who’ve had their own businesses for decades.

These builders have a few things in common:

  • They have a family-run business, generally working with families creating their own new homes or renovation projects
  • They’re passionate about improving the lives of their own families, their team and the clients they serve
  • They’re also passionate about improving the residential construction industry
  • They have a collaborative mindset, and see the value of working together to help and support each other, and tap into the collective wisdom and experience of builders on a similar journey
  • They’re busy, and want to streamline the action they take. They don’t have time to stuff around with things that don’t work – and we love seeing the results they achieve from putting into practice what they’re learning through Live Life Build!

And, for the builders who are working with their partners in their business, we love working with both of them. 

We know that there’s wives and partners out there who are the driving force behind their builder’s business success. Many of you have no experience in the industry, but you’re jumping in to help out the family business and doing your best to learn and improve.

We see you – and love helping you too!

If this sounds like you (as a builder, or as a partner), then a great start is to check out our PAC Challenge, which teaches the PAC Process.

This DIY online course teaches builders how to use the PAC Process, or Paid As Consultant Process, with their clients. This is where you, as a builder, are paid as a consultant to be involved in the design phase of a project, and work collaboratively with the designer and client as the design develops. 

As a builder, this means you can provide input on cost and buildability, whilst the design is still being created. It also means you can get to know your client prior to signing a contract, be more accurate in your costing of projects, manage risk through learning more about the site or existing home (if renovating), and develop a pipeline of projects, which gives your business stability overall.

There is a huge range of benefits in the PAC Process. We have builders using this successfully in their businesses, and clients and designers loving working in this way with these builders too.

The PAC Challenge packages up the tools, templates and information you need to learn about the PAC Process, and then to start using it in your business straight away. It’s self-paced and self-study, so you can dive in and move through it at your own pace.

Or stay tuned for the next time we open ELEVATE: Our group coaching and mastermind program. This is for builders who want to totally uplevel their business and lives through education, collaboration and personal growth.

All of our education is shaped around our 6P Methodology, which we see as the foundation for a sustainable business and thriving lifestyle. Our 6Ps are:

  1. Personal – you, your mindset and how you care for yourself, your health and well-being (because if you’re not in good shape physically, emotionally and mentally, nothing else works).
  2. Projects – and how to build quality projects that are profitable for your business
  3. People – and working effectively with your team, your suppliers and subcontractors
  4. Partnerships – to collaborate and grow your business through working well with your clients, designers and other consultants
  5. Processes – which enable you to systemise and streamline your business, and maintain consistency and quality as well
  6. Professional – to ensure your business structure and performance elevates your reputation and lifestyle overall

Each week, we also publish blogs that share tips and strategies on these 6Ps, so be sure to spend some time checking out the website for more information!

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So, here’s our 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 to identify your ideal project.

5. Have you asked your team what their goals are?

4. How can you help and facilitate your team’s goals?

3. What are your goals as a team?

2. Holding people accountable.

1. Celebrate the wins and create a good work environment.

Live Life Build’s 6P Methodology unlocks the 6 ways to elevate your building business: 

PERSONAL | PROJECTS | PEOPLE | PARTNERSHIPS | PROCESSES | PROFESSIONAL

Do you dream of being respected and highly regarded as a building professional? And want to build smarter, live better and enjoy life?

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