Part 3 of our Q&A series is here! If you’re new to the series, let’s catch you up.
Ever since we started doing Q&A on our Instagram Stories, we’ve been receiving lots of questions about getting started in design, construction, real estate investment, and vacation rentals. We’ve been logging all of our answers on Instagram in our “Q&A Highlight” here (click and hold each frame to read before it switches to the next) and love sharing whatever knowledge we can about it all, but wanted to take it a step further. Sometimes when you’re first starting out, the best thing you can do is talk to people & hear other peoples’ stories who are doing what you’d like to be doing. Not everyone has the same journey or the same experience, so we decided to interview five other couples around the country who are all in similar fields with similar goals so you can hear their stories, too.
Over the past few weeks, we’ve chatted with Cathy of The Grit & Polish and Sarah & Nick of Nestrs, and have left feeling inspired by each of their entrepreneurial journeys. This week, we’re super excited to be chatting with our friend Morgan from construction2Style. She and her husband, Jamie, own a residential remodeling & styling company based in Minnesota, and have been in business for over 5 years. They have lots of wisdom to share and we’re excited for you to learn more about them!
BITM: tell us about yourselves (as people!) Hobbies, interests? How did you meet?
C2S: Jamie and I met back in 2012, same year we started our blog, construction2style. We met at a bar, danced the night away, and basically have been inseparable since that day.
Hobbies… oh man, when you own your own business we both feel like our hobbies went right out the window. Haha! You can always find us though living outdoors adventuring with our family whether that’s watching Jamie and our littles ride dirt bike or BMX or just hanging in his shop with the garage doors open. Jamie and I are both golfers too, so we like to spend a lot of time in the summers out on the course together. And I’m also a total wine-o and we both love a good brewery. So we’re constantly meeting up with friends at all the great Minneapolis pubs.
BITM: Tell us about your business. How did you get started?
C2S: Construction2style is an interior residential remodeling company and home improvement resource blog. We currently renovating our 4th investment property, our 3rd home, and doing client work. Throughout any project, as much as we can, we blog about all the details and provide tutorials so that we can help our readers replicate the same project in their own.
While we were newly dating Jamie bought his first investment property with the intent to completely remodel and sell. I was quickly blown away by his talents and wanted to showcase them to the world so brought up the idea of starting a blog. Probably not knowing what a blog was, he was on board. We came up with the very clever name I know, construction2style. He provides the construction, there are 2 of us, and I do the style. Shortly after brands started reaching out to us to do collaborations and we quickly realized you can make money through a blog. Then we started getting calls from locals to come and remodel their home so Jamie got his contractors license and here we are.
Jamie always had the goal to be a builder and went to school for carpentry. But when he graduated it was during the recession and there were no jobs out there which is why he had the opportunity to buy his first investment property for next to nothing. It was a blessing in disguise because we definitely wouldn’t be where we are today if that didn’t happen.
I, Morgan, went to school for fashion merchandising out in LA with the goal of becoming an interior stylist. I always thought one day I’d be doing the displays that you see in the magazines for Pottery Barn. Little did I know that I’d move back to MN, find my hunk of a husband, and be in the situation that I am now. After moving back to MN, I worked corporate doing interior and fashion displays for big box retailers. Then once our blog started gaining momentum I went back to school, got my marketing degree, and went to work in the digital agency life. And then once Jamie gave me the green light, I jumped right alongside him and we’ve been working our booties off running our own business since.
BITM: What’s your favorite and not so favorite part about being a small business owner?
C2S: Being your own boss is priceless. There is not one morning we don’t wake up and thank GOD that we are controlling our own schedules. Managing your own time, your own scheduling and not having to report to anyone is one of the best feelings in the world. However, with that is that we never shut it off. We try, but sometimes you literally can’t. Because there are bills to be paid. We’re working nonstop and when we’re not working, we’re thinking, brainstorming, and dreaming together.
BITM: How has social media helped your business? Any tricks you can share with us that have helped you grow your following?
C2S: Social media, alongside our website, has been the absolute key to our success. Without it we truly wouldn’t be a business right now. construction2style started off as a DIY blog. And social media was the platform that we were able to use to leverage and promote our brand through.
Tips? Collaboration and engagement through social have been the biggest driving forces for growing our brand. I am a collaborator at heart. I’ve never been a competitor (hence why I didn’t play competitive sports) so this comes natural for me.
Building a community, engaging and collaborating is exactly how I met you 2 beautiful souls! We help one another, we feature one another, we support, like, comment, read our actual blog posts, drive page views, share the story (which sometimes goes viral) on Facebook or Pinterest. Those little acts of kindness are what lead to the big picture. For us, that’s more features, that leads to either page-views (which helps with brand sponsorships) or clients reaching out to hire us. It’s a win, win.
Pinterest has also been vital for us. That is the biggest platform that drives our page views. We pin 75-100 pins per day using Tailwinds. Sounds like a lot but if you use their chrome extension cast you can do it pretty quickly. Joining tribes with large following is also huge for growth. They pin your stuff from your blog, you pin theirs. Which again is all about support and collaboration.
BITM: We just read your social media marketing blog post! we’ve been focusing a lot on instagram & have been wanting to up our pinterest game, so we’re happy you posted it.
BITM: What goals are you working toward? Any big dreams or aspirations that you’d love to achieve in the future?
C2S: Sky’s the limit, right?
Scaling is what we’re focused on right now. Everyday we’re trying to think smarter not harder. We’re constantly thinking strategically about things we can hand off to our team so that we can continue to work towards our growth.
Big dreams we’ve talked about working towards is definitely have our own product line. A brick and mortar store is another long term dream of mine too. Jamie, not so much.
We also want to say, we wouldn’t have dreamed even 2 years ago we’d be where we are at right now. To think we weren’t hardly a business 5 years ago. So we try to remember that and keep our head down and focused on our daily and weekly goals and say HELL YES! to almost every opportunity that comes our way because we know it could open a door to the next.
BITM: this is so true. i love your perspective, and it totally is working for you!
BITM: What do you like most about living IN MINNESOTA?
C2S: I absolutely love where we live! We live in a suburb of Minneapolis, out in the country off Elk River. We bought our home because it has a lot of land and a large shop for Jamie to work out of. Being the boys are moto-heads, we love that we can get the dirt bikes out and not have to worry about a neighbor telling us to shut them off.
Our office is old downtown Elk River, right on main street. It’s the cutest little main street there is. Olde Main Eatery is our favorite mom and pop breakfast spot. And we love going to the local brewery Aegir for an afternoon brew.
When we go into Minneapolis, we love to go to the lakes, thrift shopping, there’s good live music, art shows, flea markets and so much more. I always tell my CA friends that Minneapolis is truly a hidden gem. If you ever get the chance, make sure to hit up Townhall Brewery.
BITM: Favorite place you’ve traveled to?
C2S: When we travel, we like to go and just relax! Which means laying on a beach and drinking margaritas and doing absolutely nothing. Jamie also likes to get to our destinations within one travel day. St. John is still on the top of our list of beaches we’ve been. The Beloved resort in Playa Mujures is a close second. St. Lucia is where we want to go to next…
BITM: What are some of your favorite design & real estate books?
C2S: Crush it by Gary Vaynerchuk is hands down my favorite book. That book is what pushed us to start construction2style. Contrarian Playbook by Manny Khoshbin. Jamie looooves Manny’s book, podcasts, IG. He’s all about real estate and knows his stuff and really pushes you to take the jump.
BITM: Biggest lesson learned / advice to people just starting out?
C2S: Know your worth. Walk away from the dumbest red flag there is. Learn from bad experiences and make changes fast. Luckily, we’ve only had two crummy experiences. And we’ll never forget them. Still makes me sick to think back to write this. Both experiences, we saw red flags day one, two and three. Both experiences we were treated super disrespectfully. And both experiences we bent over backwards to try to make it right. We lost sleep for months, we raised our tone with one another, we took family time away from our boys, and all for nothing. But we also learned and made some extreme changes to our business fast.
BITM: Love this. we’ve had two bad experiences as well and it’s really made us hone in on finding our ideal client, and sticking to that. the gut never lies!
BITM: last one: favorite white paint color?
C2S: Snowbound, by Sherwin Williams.
You can find out more about Morgan & Jamie Molitor at construction2style.com, and follow them on social here!