Shifting Goals as a Residential Builder

Shifting Goals as a Residential Builder title on white background with photo of Amelia Lee and Duayne Pearce on and Live Life Build Logo

Do you take the easy road as a builder?

Do you have the guts to make changes to grow your business?

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The Easy Road as a Builder


So Duayne, this is a big one. I’m going to talk to you about regrets.


When you look back at how you struggled for so long, because I know you struggled for a while, didn’t you? And you tell me stories about how your wife said things to you, and your accountant said things to you, and it kept falling on deaf ears. And it could be very easy for you to go, gosh, you know, all of that time I could have been making change. 

What is the regret, though? What is the regret that you really look back now and wish that you’d done differently?


That I just didn’t have the guts. I didn’t have the guts to step up, own it, take responsibility, because it was too easy not to.

I just kept taking the easy road.

And all the easy road did was just keep getting me in a bigger and bigger hole that I really struggled to get out of.


The thing is too, when you say ‘easy’, it wouldn’t have actually been easy because you were struggling, you were not in a good place mentally, you were dealing with phone calls from people wanting money from you, you were stressed about your finances. So that’s not an easy road. But what I think is interesting, is that we want predictability. We want certainty from our lives.

Having the Guts to Make Change


And so even though we know the outcome might be terrible, with doing what we’re doing, at least we know what the outcome is. So, to make a change on something that we might end up failing at, or that might create results we can’t predict, that can be really, really hard to do, can’t it?


Yeah, and look, you think it’s easy because you feel again, that you have no time, and that change is going to be difficult. And so what you think is easy is actually, it is hard. There is a big struggle there. 

I constantly hear builders all the time and like it’s funny because I get so frustrated about hearing them whinge, but I used to do the same thing. 

And I think to myself what’s it going to take to make you understand that what you’re whinging about is quite easy to change. 

But you’ve got to put in the effort. And like it’s everything. It’s builders whinging about their clients. It’s builders whinging about the industry. It’s builders whinging about contracts. And the actual reality is, that it’s up to you to make the change to become better.


Yeah. And I think that’s the hard thing, isn’t it? Because you can sort of sit on this side, knowing that you hit that point, took responsibility, created that change. And then you just want to bring everybody with you, and say, hey, it’s not as hard as you think it is, come on, come over here, this is better. 

And yet, everybody still has to go through that personal journey of making the decision to take responsibility, and then taking those next steps. Which can be heartbreaking, because you feel like you just want to actually drag them through, but ultimately, that won’t achieve the results.

Getting Help When You Need It


Yeah, I think it’s really important. It isn’t all me. So it’s not just about me doing all this on my own. There is a lot to implement, and a lot to do. And it’s all about getting help when you need help getting help. 

I was definitely in this basket. And most builders we talk to are. They see doing client projects as a stepping stone to getting their own projects because they think all of a sudden, that is going to solve all their problems. 

And look, I can honestly sit here and say now from experience, we’ve done multiple projects for ourselves. And those projects have been quite rewarding. But it’s like anything, it’s no different to doing client jobs. 

We’ve had projects for ourselves where we’ve lost money, and we’ve had projects where we’ve done incredibly well. But the thing is, now that we own things, we take responsibility. I get help on implementing things into my business, so the business can run really well. 

Doing client projects is actually far more sustainable, successful and profitable than it is to do your own projects. And when I look around, I see all these builders on social media, pumping that they’re doing these multimillion dollar homes for themselves and making huge profits. So much of the time, if they actually ran those jobs for themselves as a proper job, and pay themselves a salary and covered all the business overheads, they actually wouldn’t be making what they’re sprucing about. They’re actually making the profit of the sale of the project. And it’s very misleading. 

For all builders out there who are in that position are thinking that’s the ‘Holy Grail’. They’re thinking that when I get to my own projects it’s going to solve all my issues. But the reality is, it could actually get you in a worse position because all of a sudden, you’re in control of all the finances. You have to make money during that job to fund the repayment. So a lot of the time, the banks might be really harsh with the lending on it, you’ll be paying a lot higher interest rates, because you become a developer.

Shifting Goals

So for me it’s been a huge shift in my mindset. A huge shift in my goals. I had some pretty high personal goals around the number of projects I wanted to do for myself. And for me now the business runs really well. 

We understand our costs. We understand our profit margins. We understand how to manage our clients. Projects for clients are fantastic. I don’t get up anymore in the morning and think, Oh my God, what am I going to have to deal with with these clients? 

I love every job that we do.


I think that’s great that you brought up that point about not looking for your own developments as being the thing that’s going to solve everything, because we do see lots of builders get themselves into trouble because they haven’t got their business right in the first place. And then they end up just digging themselves a bigger hole there where all of the financial risk is on their own back and it hasn’t solved all the problems that they thought it would because they didn’t get that sorted first.


They just end up in a worse spot.

If this video has you thinking about how you can take charge of your business, you may also want to have a read of ‘Creating Systems for a Successful Building Business’ and ‘Five Tips for Goal Setting’ (

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