That's me, Diane. Admittedly the picture is a couple years old ... but hey, I won't tell if you won't! ;o)
For about five years, 1995 thru about 2000, I helped my husband to run his construction company.
I had zero, zip, zilch experience in the construction industry - and yet I was responsible for the entire office operations. I even installed on the job sites a few times!
He'd been installing suspended ceilings for more years than he'd probably care for me to reveal ;o) but he didn't have much office experience - and that minimal office experience consisted of estimating and writing proposals.
Talk about learning by fire!!
My 'mentors' were the folks that worked at the supply house. They were absolutely incredible to me and they helped me and taught me so much. That definitely helped to squelch the fire a bit (and that's something I hope to do for you as well)...
We lived in an 835 sq. ft. house with a toddler and an infant. Our office was the small, round dinner table that was actually part of the living room (it was a small house), our stash of office supplies that were in the hall closet, and a small desk that was in our bedroom.
Quite cozy lol ...
I typed proposals on an old typewriter and I manually faxed them individually to every general/direct that we were bidding to.
Oh that typewriter! It was so old that we had difficulty even finding someone that would work on it for us! I'm not talking one of those 'word processor' kind of typewriters, I'm talking the old ones where you push down on a key and an arm swoops in and types the letter, the ones with the return bar on them.
Our phone and fax were the same line so some days there was no getting through to me because I kept the phone busy sending out faxes.
We had an Apple IIe computer but I didn't have proposal forms in it that I could fill in so we had to do it using that old typewriter.
I ran our finances on that computer for many years, using nothing more than an old, old Apple spreadsheet. I don't even know if I could figure that out again these days - not after using Quicken and Quickbooks for so many years!
Anyhow, we had some miserable experiences during the time that we were contractors, both business and personal. We made a lot of friends which was the great side of it but we had more than one contractor that attempted to rip us off, and one of them actually pulled it off - to the tune of about $98,000!
That's when I started my first website - in 1999. By that time I'd been through a couple computers, no longer using the Apple IIe, and I built that website without knowing anything about websites.
It worked when I jumped into construction not knowing anything so why not for website building?
Some of those friends that I mentioned above would ask me for help with things because somehow I either knew the answer or knew where to get it. Eventually I found myself fielding more questions from more construction company owners and operators who were wondering about this or that.
Because we'd been through so many hassles and had a lot of information to share they often told me that we should write a book.
I decided that a website would be better because it would be much more accessible to contractors, and up-to-date (the laws change so fast), than would a book sitting on a bookshelf in a bookstore.
Fast forward to today. We no longer live in California. We were smacking our heads against a wall trying to get the school to 'snap to' over the fact that our son has Autism and eventually we decided to sell the house and 'find Mayberry'.
We moved to Whidbey Island in Washington state sight-unseen. We even bought the house through the internet, email, a realtor, and a friend - without ever even seeing the house. BTW, not something I recommend...
I told the kids (they were still kids then) that we were modern-day pioneers. We packed up what didn't go on the moving truck, loaded up ourselves and our doggies, and off we headed.
Unfortunately interests change (a nice way of putting it) ;o) and the husband and I have now been divorced since July 2015.
He left in 2010 and I formed a corporation *Monk and DBug, LLC in 2011.
I currently have four construction-related websites but I'm in the process of condensing them down to two.
In addition I've written articles for other publications, such as:
And several of my website articles have been used and referenced in books, articles, and websites written by attorneys and other professionals.
There's 20+ years of hundreds of contractors' experiences detailed here with information as to how they dealt with the situation. In an effort to maintain confidentiality the experiences are turned into informational articles that everyone can learn from. If you know what can happen before it happens you might be able to keep it from happening. If you don't know what can happen then you might as well duck now. ;o)
Back on a personal note: Our daughter is 'out in the world' - she's a cosmetologist and managing her life on her own although thankfully she visits me every few weeks; I don't know what I'd do without her bright smile. She's got quite a few life experiences under her belt already (in my family 'if it can happen it *will* happen') and I am so proud of how she's negotiating life.
There are no plans for our son to live anywhere but with me. People point-blank do not believe that he has Autism when he meets them (he 'presents' very, very well) but those that spend a significant amount of time with him see little things here and there.
It's those small innocuous 'things' that add up and create the problems that keep so many of those on the spectrum from being able to live on their own.
I've done much in my life with plans to do more. My next goal is to take my business 'on the road' and do some country-hopping, visiting place to place. The world has never been smaller than it is today. I'd love the opportunity to give my 'kids' a glimpse of it (and see it myself as well). They both want to go with me so yay, I get to realize my next dream/goal!! :o)
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