Not all of us were born knowing what we wanted to do for our careers. And Todd Thomas sure wasn’t either. He grew up just like most people, and simply continued in the path of his father and mother.
As you listen to his story today, you will be very inspired with how he followed his passion to get to where he is today…And the success he’s enjoying because of it.
In this powerful episode you’ll learn:
- An early mistake he made trying to be and do everything for everybody.
- WHY he chose a unique name for his company
- How his website WORKS like a showroom BEFORE people ever call him in person.
- The SPECIFIC items he leaves in a gift basket for EVERY client when they are finished.
- The TOP 3 places online where they are seeing a POSITIVE ROI.
- The marketing method that is GIVING him $150,000 remodel jobs.
- The software he uses for ALL of his kitchen designs and what that DOES for his customers.
- The UNIQUE way he is hiring new employees.
- …and SO much more!!!
This episode is one that will motivate you to keep going, and inspire you to truly make a difference in your communities.
Listen today, and as always… please share it with your friends and leave us a review on iTunes. Your support means so much to us!
(Here are the extensive show notes:)
How It All Started…
Todd Thomas was born in a small town outside of Minneapolis, Minnesota to his father and mother, who were both professional artists. His mother was a dancer and dance instructor while his father was a musician, which led Todd to pursue music as a hobby and eventually as a means of making money. Todd played several instruments, but his favorites were the saxophone and the bass guitar, which has father pushed him to learn in order to earn money in a band. Todd’s growing interest in rock music encouraged his aspirations of a music career in Minneapolis, so instead of attending college or a trade school, Todd spent a few years pursuing music. However, after three years, Todd and his wife were expecting their first child, thus compelling Todd to make a living in a more sustainable career. Todd considers himself to be an entrepreneur with little interested in traditional work.
Todd first started a company that assembled computers for businesses. But, after a few years, that industry shifted and led Todd to close the plant. Needing to put food on the table for his growing family, Todd decided to take a job as an insurance agent. This work didn’t really fulfill Todd or make him happy, and he realized this after having volunteered to help renovate a church building. Todd did this work for free, which allowed him the freedom to learn new skills in construction while also having some creative freedom from the Church clients. New to the real estate market but itching to do more construction work, Todd jumped head first into flipping houses. He closed his insurance business and began to flip houses full time, still learning more and more with every job, as someone who did not attend school for any trade or skill. Because of this, Todd certainly gained experience in unconventional ways. For instance, Todd says that he loves to scour the internet for websites of other professionals like Sean Van Dyke. He loves to see what other contractors are doing, how he can take what they are doing and improve upon it, if possible.
The Importance of Marketing & Client Satisfaction
One of the most time consuming and crucial aspects of Todd’s job involves marketing his business. Todd wanted his renovation business to focus on more than the common “beige walls” and monotonous design of newly renovated homes. Instead, Todd wanted to put effort into creating unique, tasteful flips, especially of homes built in the 1940s. These houses needed a lot of attention and dedication during the renovations, but the payoff was big. People began to notice that Todd’s work separates him from others in his field, and he would even receive calls from real estate agents in regards to what projects he was working on. In the beginning, much of Todd’s marketing efforts involved setting himself apart from the competition as someone who values hard work and good design.
“It’s hard to make money if you don’t focus,” Todd says. He especially regrets “trying to be everything for everybody” in this business by taking random jobs instead of having a specific niche. Soon enough, Todd would find that his passion was woodworking and cabinetry, eventually naming his business Sticks and Stones. A memorable name is important, Todd says, and he is always finding ways to make his clients remember him. Todd consistently goes the extra mile with his clients, which includes anything from leaving them with pastries from a local bakery, giving them t-shirts with his logo, or simply maintaining an extremely clean workspace after every workday. Todd admits that his line of work is messy and disruptive, and being in a client’s home intensifies that. He believes that his team’s neatness and respect for the client’s home distinguishes his business from others. Really, Todd is doing more than just selling his work- he dedicates himself to crafting an above ordinary renovation experience for clients. When working with clients, Todd meticulously plans, working in CAD in order to create plenty of preliminary designs so that the client has the best possible idea of what the finished product will be. Todd says he wants to give clients that “new car smell” when it comes to renovating their home, and that he will go along with whatever a client wants, as long as he can do it his way.
Using Social Media To Grow a Business
Of all the social media platforms available, Todd says that Instagram has by far been the most useful and effective for growing his business and expanding his clientele. Todd is very diligent when it comes to posting content on their page, and his perfectionist attitude leads him to publish only the best photos, oftentimes even hiring a professional photographer to capture intricate details of Todd’s work. Todd’s Instagram posts reflect his work, which is both detail oriented and focused. By diligently gaining followers and consistently posting unique content, Todd has attracted some of his biggest leads on Instagram. Along with Instagram, Houzz and Todd’s website are what bring him the biggest jobs. In addition, Todd says that he is currently trying to gather more google reviews, which appear whenever a user enters a business on the search engine.
On Partnerships and Employees
During his time in construction, Todd says that he has preferred to do everything in house in order to maintain control, but has often had to rely on the work of a subcontractor. These types of relationships can be difficult, he says, and they usually fail due to animosity, or the feeling that someone is working harder than another. The way that Todd has tried to avoid these issues involve discussing every detail of the working relationship upfront and putting it in writing so no misunderstandings occur along the way.
Finding and retaining good employees, however, has not been as straightforward for Todd. Now having hired his 34th employee in just fourteen years, Todd says that it’s hard to find people who want to put in an honest day’s work. On top of that, in Todd’s experience, hiring advertisements rarely attract the right people for the job. Instead, Todd has found that a successful way of finding people is through referrals, either from clients or friends. After working with a variety of employees, Todd says that it’s far more beneficial to hire someone on the basis of personal and professional ethics rather than skill.
“The important thing is to find someone who really wants to work,” Todd says, “We’d rather make habits, not break habits.”
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