In the dark days of November 2008, my wife Jennifer and I made a life changing decision.
The economy was tanking and Jennifer had lost her job working in the financial services industry. Living in the northeast, with winter approaching, it was an especially bleak outlook for the painting business.
One day in our local paint store I saw a flyer for a painters conference that was titled “Weathering the Storm: How to survive a recession in the painting business.”
This caught my attention. The conference was going to be held at a hotel in central Massachusetts by an organization called the PDCA. We had nothing to lose (except the $300.00 registration fee!) so we registered for the conference.
I had been painting on my own since 2000, I was a one man crew for the most part, aside from some occasional help from my wife. When Jenn lost her job we made the decision she would help with the painting business full time, she also began going to school for a business management degree at Eastern Nazarene College.
The PDCA conference was a huge turning point for us! They showed us how to create a business plan, how to differentiate our company, ways to network, how to market our business, how to track and read revenue, sales data, and profit margins most importantly they showed us how to take action.
The teachers and presenters, fellow painting company owners, were very sharp and encouraging to all the attendees, these guys really knew their stuff. By the time we left the conference we had joined the Boston chapter PDCA, and most important of all we had a renewed sense of hope.
It was not going to be easy but now we had a plan and we were taking action. We also had support, other painters in our group to share experiences with and to bounce ideas around with. We were not alone!
By 2010, we were officers in our chapter and running the meetings. The PDCA was generous enough to send us to a leadership conference in Baltimore where we met Steve Burnett.
The conference was great and we got to know more about Steve and his business in Venice, FL. We were impressed!! Not only with Steve’s intensely high level of energy and motivation, but with what he had accomplished as an entrepreneur.
He was not just a painter turned business owner, he had big ideas and did not waste time implementing them!
In 2013, we decided to move to Florida, our daughter who lives in the Tampa area gave birth to our grandson, and the decision was a no brainer.
Jenn had graduated with honors at Eastern Nazarene College and by that time our painting business was doing well in Boston, we had a crew of 5 and I was getting out of the bucket.
We worked very hard to build our business in MA and we were proud of our accomplishments but because we wanted to be part of our grandson’s life we decided to relocate our operation to Venice, basically we were starting over.
We kept in contact with Steve through the years through his involvement with the PDCA (Jenn loved the “Rolling with Steve” videos!) and when we decide to move to FL we reached out to ask advice and for support.
He was gracious enough to agree to show us the ropes when we got there. Even though he was super busy and had many things on his plate, he supported us, he said come on down!!
Jenn and I bought a House in Venice and moved here in Nov. 2014. I returned to Boston for a few weeks to finish up our previously scheduled workload and while I was there the opportunity came up for us to buy Burnett Painting.
Whoa! This was quite a turn of events. It did not take long for us to decide that this was too good to pass up and when I returned to Venice we had a verbal agreement to buy Burnett Painting.
I did not know the full extent of what Steve had been up to in the time leading up to our buying the business, or why on earth he wanted to sell his awesome company, but apparently he was up to a lot! He had written a book (which gave birth to our beloved DYB community!) and was starting his DYB Coaching business with big plans to help 9 million business owners throughout the country.
Taking over the day to day operations of Burnett Painting was like stepping on to a speeding train for Jenn and I. Everything was moving very fast, add in the fact we had just uprooted our lives and moved to a different state, we were pretty overwhelmed.
Steve and April supported us every step of the way. April spent hours, days, weeks with Jenn training her on the technological side of operations (she continues to be an inspiration to this day!!). Steve offered Jenn and I business consulting for the first six months (we continue to meet twice monthly!!). They want us to succeed, after all they had built Burnett Painting from the ground, this was their “baby”!
I cannot stress enough how important the DYB consulting/coaching was and is for us and our business. We began implementing the technology and the systems from the 30HWW, this was a huge help for us while trying to run several crews at once and getting acclimated to the environment, our target market (retired homeowners), and the different textures and products used here in FL.
Upon Steve’s coaching we began to read more and listen to audiobooks by the authors from the personal development world, Darren Hardy, Zig Ziglar, Brian Tracy, Jim Rohn etc.
Steve encouraged us to get out into the community right away so we joined the Chamber of Commerce, Venice Area Young Professionals, Sertoma, BNI, Toastmasters and Sassy Sisters (this is a businesswoman’s group Jenn attends monthly!!). The first six months were very challenging but we persevered and by the end of the year we had things running relatively smoothly.
One of the best things about taking over Burnett Painting is continuing with the Paint it Forward program (ABA with HEART!!). Steve is a huge proponent for serving the community.
We had some experience in doing painting charity projects from our time in the PDCA in Boston, we did several over the years and enjoyed them immensely. We have did 4 PIF projects in 2015 and are lining more up for 2016.
When living in an awesome community such as Venice, word gets around about good things you do and we have been written up in the local paper for two of our projects!! More importantly our guys love doing them, we have them choose which project to do and it is truly a win-win situation for everyone!
When we took over the business December 19, 2014, Steve helped us write out some sales and production goals, at the time those goals seemed totally unattainable, but with consistent coaching, feeding our mind with positive books and positive people, and lots of hard work we almost hit our goals, we came a lot closer than I thought we would!!
We closed out the year with our most profitable months and the sky’s the limit moving into 2016, although the challenges will be great, we could not be more excited!!