Guest Interview: Juan Vasquez of Illusions Painting “Mindset Matters Most” Series: Episode 1

Published On: July 17, 2023

Categories: Podcast

In this series titled “Mindset Matters Most”, Juan Vasquez of Illusions Painting will be discussing his journey from being a day-to-day painting contractor to becoming a profitable business owner with a vision for his company.

In this episode, episode 1, Juan will be discussing his past life, how his business used to look.

In episode 2, Juan will share the experience that opened his eyes and changed his life, and what happened next.

In episode 3, Juan will dive into all the transitions necessary for his business after his mindset changed.

In episode 4, Juan will open up the hood and detail what Illusions Painting looks like today.

And in episode 5, the final episode, Juan will lay out his thoughts regarding lack of self-confidence and stereotypes, and the initiatives he is currently conducting to help left up other contractors.

If you want to ask Juan questions related to anything in this podcast series, you can do so in our exclusive Painter Marketing Mastermind Podcast Forum on facebook. Just search for “Painter Marketing Mastermind Podcast Forum” on facebook and request to join the group, or type in the URL There you can ask Juan questions directly by tagging him with your question, so you can see how anything discussed here applies to your particular painting company.

Video of Interview

Podcast Audio

Topics Discussed:

Episode 1
– The Old Life

Audio Transcript


Welcome to the Painter Marketing Mastermind Podcast. The show created to help painting company owners build a thriving painting business that does well over one million and annual revenue. I’m your host, Brandon Pierpont, founder of Painter Marketing Pros and creator of the popular PCA educational series, Learn, Do, Grow Marketing for Painters. In each episode, I’ll be sharing proven tips, strategies and processes from leading experts in the industry on how they found success in their painting business. We will be interviewing owners of the most successful painting companies in north America and learning from their experiences.

In this series titled “Mindset Matters Most” Juan Vasquez of illusions painting will be discussing his journey from being a day to day painting contractor to become a profitable business owner with a vision for his company. In episode one, this episode, Juan will be discussing his past life, how his business used to look in. Episode two, Juan will share the experience that opened his eyes and changed his life. And what happened next in episode three, Juan will deep dive into all the transitions necessary for his business. After his mindset changed. In episode four, Wang will open up the hood and detail what illusion’s painting looks like today.

And in episode five, the final episode, Wang will lay out his thoughts regarding lack of self-confidence and stereotypes and the initiatives he is currently conducting to help lift up other contractors. If you want to ask questions related to anything in this podcast series, you can do so on our exclusive painter marketing mastermind podcast form on Facebook. Just search for painter marketing, mastermind podcast form on Facebook and request to join the group or type in the URL facebook dot com forward slash groups forward slash painter. Marketing mastermind.

Again, that URL is facebook dot com forward slash groups forward slash painter. Marketing mastermind. There you can ask Juan questions directly by tagging him with your question. So you can see how anything discussed here applies to your particular painting company. Juan. Thanks for coming, man. Hey Brandon. Thank you for having me, man. Super excited to do this series with you brother. No, same here, man. I uh been waiting and getting everything going and I’m like, all right, let’s get into it. So, thank you for having me.

You’ve been uh you’ve been wondering how we’re gonna fill up five full episodes. Whereas I’ve been kind of wondering how we’re gonna actually keep it contained because you and I like to talk, man. That’s, that’s what we were saying. Just please uh just keep me, keep me under. Just please. Just now, man. I pull pull the pull the rope, please. Like the uh like the bugs bunny with the uh with like the little cane, pull him off the stage, right? You may need to do that. Yeah, I don’t think so.

I think we got it man. Let’s get into this. So this episode just a preface for everybody, you know, for, for a lot of people listening and maybe describing what you’re currently doing, for some people, maybe describing what you used to do. Um But this is gonna be the past life, right? It’s gonna be what it used to be. Yeah, I know. And we were discussing to see how many uh skeletons you wanted me to pull out and you said all of them, I’m like, I don’t know, man, I don’t know nothing, nothing that uh nothing that the FBI is interested in things like that we need those.

But the other side, I, I kind of sort them out already and put them to the side. So, yeah, we don’t, we don’t wanna, I don’t wanna have to be, yeah, I don’t have to, we have to go build the go fund me to get risk you want. OK. What? No, man. Uh Thank you so much for having me. You know, it’s just uh it’s such a um I don’t know, such a great pleasure to be able to show and, and share uh I mean, some of the things that I guess all us painters, we go through, um, and not just painters, I think everybody in their businesses um go through and, uh, you know, it’s really great when you’re having a business that’s probably being successful, but there’s a lot behind it.

And thank you so much because of this. I was kind of like reminiscing a little bit this last couple of days and kind of like going through things that happen. Sometimes we don’t do that. And it made me realize, you know, we’ve, we’ve come a long ways and it’s, it’s kind of cool. It’s almost an exercise in gratitude, right? When you, because you were so busy thinking about what’s still wrong in our businesses or what we still need to do and you look back and it’s like, holy God, like I, I used to do that.

I, that used to be my company. Uh You know, um, we talk about how, uh like there’s a point where you’re like, you just wanted a job and I just let me just get one job and that’ll get me through, pay my bills and then I’ll worry about the next one. Now. We’re thinking about years of annual planning and stuff and, um, but yeah, I guess it all comes down with that. So, um, no, I mean, you let me know how, um, what you wanna know, who wants to wanna know and uh we’re here, you know, open book, try to show my share some of my stories how I got to where we are now.

I love it, man. Yeah, let’s, I guess let’s back up prior to when you first started painting. Let’s kind of lead into, I guess how your journey started with painting. Uh So for those who don’t know me, um I said my, you mentioned my name is Juan Vasquez. I was born in Oaxaca, Mexico and a very beautiful state. Um I was, I was brought in here by my parents uh when I was 12 years old. So I like many other migrant uh kids from all over the the world.

We come to this country, you know, with um with an illusion. There we go. It’s just perfect. Um You know, with, with a dream, you know, everybody felt the American dream that you’re gonna have everything that you beautiful, the, the life is gonna be beautiful and from some of us, from our past and our co in our, you know, countries of um you know, birth, it was pretty tough. So I said I got here when I was 12 years old. Um I went to middle school in uh in Santa Cruz, California.

Um After that I went to, I was believe it or not, I was very uh very good in school. I really enjoyed school. Um I went into high school, parents were always working. Um uh I really always liked art. So art was my art and music was always my, you know, my to go things to do. And I always thought that we, me and my brother in law were gonna build a, um, a business, uh, painting cars. We were gonna make these low riders, you know, back in the days and we gonna build them and we’re gonna paint them and do all these things, which, you know, we got to realize that there’s not a lot of money in there.

I feel like, OK, that, um, I was 16 years old, uh when my girlfriend in high school told me that she was pregnant and I changed my life, you know, 16 years old, uh didn’t know what I was gonna do. Not a lot of support. I remember I worked at Burger King for a few months and, um, never thought I would paint, you know, I’m, I’m in painting what’s painting, you know. And, um, it’s funny how I started because, um, I had a neighbor and I found out that I was gonna have a boy that day and I had a neighbor and I’m sitting down outside my house, you know, 16 years old boy, 16 year old boy, not knowing what his life is gonna look like.

All his dreams are just humbling down, you know, and um gonna have a kid and you’re a kid yourself. So my neighbor saw me being all sad and then, um, he, uh, you know, we’re talking what’s going on and say, hey, you know, this is what’s going on. I have a kid and he starts laughing and making jokes and then um, you know, shit, but I remember that very clearly and I’m like, you’re screwed. I’m like, thank you, you know, you know, and um so, uh I’m like, he was like, you know, I, oh because I told him I was working at and I’m like, I don’t know, how am I gonna do it?

I mean, this is only like a fun job. I was like, hey, you know, would you ever thought about painting? I’m like, well, no, he was like, oh, I work at a company. He used to work at a company and then uh basically he was like, hey, you know, you’re um see, and so, you know, in, in construction, a lot of the Hispanics, you know, by the labor is done by the Hispanic community. And so here there’s no difference in California. So he goes, hey, um he was like, well, hey, you’re young, you speak English.

He was like, that is gonna be a big one if I can tell my, you know, my boss that, you know, I have you and you know, he’ll give you a job. So, you know, OK, fine. So I went in and asked, you know, his name is uh um he is from uh Italy tough guy. Um learned a lot of good and bad things from him, you know, but it’s good, you know, learned a lot. Oh, learned a lot, you know. So, um, I guess, um, you know, back and forth, started working with them.

Uh, I was 16 years old so I had just turned 43 years old. My son was born and, um, you know, that motivated me to work, you know, I got into a lot of issues before I had my son but after I had my son it really, it turned everything, you know, around and, uh, it kind of, um, I guess it was like, you know, now I have someone that relies on me and I have to be that person. And so, yeah, painting was my escape man. And, um, I started painting, um, by the time I was 18 years old I was running cruise all over the, not all over the country, but we used to travel quite a bit to do uh commercial jobs like Marriott and, um, I used to run crews of like 10, 16 people when I was 18 years old.

And the only reason why is because I knew how to speak English so I can communicate with the, uh, you know, generals and with whoever was running the job and with my boss directly. And so that kind of gives me a little push, you know, into the business. Um That’s how I started painting. Ok. Um God, there’s so much I don’t wanna, I don’t wanna bore you. They’re like, yeah, you’re not boring me. I love, this is story time, you know, and then so after, you know, I’ve learned, like I said, the good and the bad, I, I’ve learned that in some of these commercial jobs and it was very tough to make a living because you really, my boss didn’t have systems like we do now, right?

Um So it was more like the more you can push them and the more you can cut back on, on material. The, the though though, that’s the only way we can make money, profit because competitive, you know, was very competitive. And so I was like, ok, so, like, ride, ride the guys really hard and try to skimp. Exactly. And I, I never really, I never really liked that, you know, I was like, I, I can’t do that. And so because of that I moved on to, um, after doing that for four years, moved on to a company that did nothing but, um, uh, custom job, uh, custom homes.

So, moving to that, uh, company, I worked there for five years. So I’ve learned the proper way to do things, you know, the proper way to use the paint, the proper way to, I mean, go about the whole thing except the business, but just the whole painting aspect of the business. So I guess that, that really prepared me to going into the business myself because now I know what not to do and what to do. That’s what I thought. Right. So, um, a lot of challenges I think throughout these years, uh for me was the language barrier.

Um I was in school for four years. A total of four years. And um, so I was very shy. I wasn’t very like, um, I didn’t feel like that I belong in certain places, you know, I didn’t think that, um, like to me, I was like, I’m a painter so it was hard for me to walk into certain offices or, or talk to some other contractors that probably had some bigger jobs because I don’t know, I just didn’t feel the confidence at that moment and for that reason, you know, um I went on my own in 2006.

Um, this was after this was, you had been working for the custom, the, the painting company. I worked with custom home building for four years. So I worked there. Yes, for four years. And, um, I guess, you know, I, as painters and as professionals, we all have different unique talent talents, right? Um I was never the guy that the, I mean, I like to know what I’m applying, how things work, but I’m, but I’ve always thought that there was more to it and I remember I was talking to my boss about like, what can I do in your business?

You know, other than painting, I, till this day I still have this and I, I had this, this quote that I always used to say it was like, I don’t wanna be 60 pushing a brush. That, to me that was like, I don’t want to be 60 pushing a brush. Um, I saw a lot of people, a lot of the uh old timers, you know, the painters, they’re 50 60 they’re, you know, working out of the truck and they’re, you know, they’re surviving, but that’s all they have. They have a job that they’ve done their whole life.

And that’s something I didn’t wanted to do. And so with that mentality, I was always looking to for ways, but it was my lack of uh knowledge, my lack of awareness and back then, you know, I’m talking, we’re talking about what, 543 years ago, there wasn’t a lot of social media. I mean, I don’t really have a lot of pictures from back then because it’s not like now that you, everything you see, you pull out your phone, like picture, picture pictures that you can remember back then. It wasn’t like that.

So, um, so I was just always thought that by as long as I stay busy, as long as I, I was a good painter, I was gonna be ok, but it didn’t feel like enough, you know. And so, um I guess that’s always, it, it, it always kept me like, wondering, what else can I do? What else can I do? How can I do one? How can one person create something more than they just, well, myself, I can only do so much, right? How can I become that person?

Right. It’s like Jason, uh, Jason Phillips says hard work isn’t scalable. You know, the labor that you’re thinking about with the, with the painting, you can only do so much, you can only get so good you’re gonna cap out. Well, it’s true, you know, I mean, there’s, there’s only so much you can do. Um, and I think that, um, the biggest thing when I, what really got me to grow was understanding that, um, there are ways, there’s, um, I’ve always been very involved in, in things, so I like to volunteer a lot.

So I used to volunteer back then and one of the things I’ve always been around is older people. And so it’s always interesting to hear their stories and, and how they regretted not doing certain things that they wanted to do. And, um, and I guess at a young age you kind of get frustrated because you’re like, I know I want to do this. I just don’t know how, and then those limitations kind of get you more down just like you want to and you just feel that the more you do just, just doesn’t come out there, you know, and I was there, there’s a book that I read just with you talking about how you volunteered, um, with some elderly, elderly people and kind of what they would tell you.

So there’s this book uh by someone named Brony Ware. I’m very big into also learning from, you know, people who, who know more than me. Yeah. There’s this book that the top five regrets of the dying, the top five, the dying. I would definitely anyone listening, who, who likes to learn from elders. It was someone who worked in a hospice. So as people who were facing death, you know, they were going to pass away and, and they, she got to just hear a whole lot about regrets and I, I forget exactly what they were but it definitely, it was more regretting, not doing things.

You know, that was a really big thing, not going through things, not being true to, true to yourself, worrying about what society thinks, allowing fear to really impede your progress or what you want to do. There was basically no. Well, I wish I hadn’t gone for it or I wish I had played it safer. That didn’t really play a part. Yeah. You know, I mean, it, it, you hit, you hit the nail, man. I’m serious. I think we all go through those stages right in our lives where we just think that we have to be doing this, that we have to be doing that.

And then you realize that, I mean, I’m reading, I’m reading a book right now. It’s called the Mountain is you. And, um, same thing, same principle, you know, it just talks about how we just, we are one of the worst enemies, you know, and, and that’s very true for me. So if we go back to talking about um how I got into painting, uh I think that a lot of us don’t get into painting and say, hey, you know what, when I grew up a mobile painter, a house painter, by the way, and I’m not a fancy like a mark, you know, Michelangelo painter, but a house painter, I don’t think we all go through that.

I mean, I think most of us do. I mean, I don’t think anyone thinks about being like a sports, you know, like, like an athlete or a celebrity or yeah, I think most people are like, I wanna, I wanna paint houses. That’s right. Not, not like a police officer, you know, those are, those are things that Children don’t always think about. Hey, I wanna paint houses when I’m older. Hey, after this whole movement that’s going on, man. I wouldn’t be surprised the next generation. It, it is, man, people are waking up to the opportunity, right?

I’m like, if I can be all over the place and be a painter and show how to do this and you know, put on my 18 roller, 18, 20 inch roller and paint something cool. But um but you know, I think there’s a lot of people that can relate and, and, and um on how we get into the painting business. I think that a lot of us is more of a necessity. And um but we don’t realize that at, at that young age, you know, I didn’t realize that, you know, that you can do that, you can grow and then you can continue learning.

We at that. So Juan, in his twenties was the guy was the kid that thought that he knew everything. You know, Juan got a check. I, I remember this is a funny thing. You know, the first big check I got it was a $5000 check. Top of the world. God, I guess I can tell to you. It was one of those times. I’m like, I felt invincible. I’m like, God, I got $5000. I didn’t realize later that from those $5000 you gotta pay taxes, you’re gonna pay everything else that comes involved and you’re like, um, I get 500.

What revenue versus net income? Is there a difference? Oh, turns out big difference. Yeah. Well, you know, growing up, I, I guess a lot of people get into issues because we don’t inform ourselves. I got into issues because I had a, I mean, you know what a tax LA means, right? I do. Yes. So, unfortunately, uh, like a 20 year old, 20 year old Juan, that, that he didn’t need to pay his, uh, taxes. And he’s like, oh, I don’t know. I just, if I forget about it. They will forget about it. Yeah.

Guess what? You know, I heart awakening, I remember having, uh, having to pay my taxes and every time I pay my taxes, well, one day actually they just opened my account, they took everything I had out of my account, you know. IRS just, oh, wow. Uh, it wasn’t even 603 because I didn’t have 5000. It was like they took the 500 they took the everything that was there and it just left us there, you know, and, and those are tough. Um uh They teach us a good lesson. They teach us to, to learn to educate ourselves back then.

I, I mean, like I said, we’re talking about all these times that I’m, you just making me remember all these things. I’m like, how is it that I be became this far? How come the I just didn’t throw the towel, did you? Um I mean, this went through before COVID, you know, I think that um not, not before COVID, but we had a crash in 2000 2007, 2008, 2008. Yeah, like the housing recession and everything. So, you know, I know that we’re gonna cover this into the next one, but it was so like, you know, it was so great.

We were all busy. Um I remember having I was the guy who will go find a job. Um I will go ahead and uh set the job. So this is how I used to run my business right really quick and a lot of people can, can uh relate. Um I will get the call, make the sale. Um You should be, I got to the point where I had two crews and in California, um subcontracting is not very big. So it’s me and, and, and four other guys or three other guys.

What I would do is I will have two jobs going most of the times and there will be um, they will do all the preparation. I will go from one place. I will do the spraying the painting. Then half of my day will run into the next job and do the, you know, the finishes on that job in the morning, go sell more jobs at night, come home and do your paperwork or, or you know, whatever it is just, um, I, I stopped working with my boss for two years prior to having my license and at that time I was 23 years old, so I thought they were rebels.

So I was like, I don’t need a license. I can do this, I can do that. You knew everything, man, I knew everything, you know. Of course I knew more than I do now. Yeah, it’s amazing. I don’t know how you lost all that knowledge. Like so, um man, there’s so much to remember um thinking how we, I mean, we go day to day. Um We got to many times where so um I’m maybe skipping a little bit here. Um But I’m just trying to stay within the context of this, of this era, right?

Of and so uh where, where will we want to touch on more? What do you think that will be more to touch before we got, before we got into the, the contractor? I mean, this is still me being the painter, maybe some challenges that I had as a painter. Yeah, let’s, let’s kind of talk about, I guess how you started it, right? So you, you know, you wanted to do something more. You were, you were painting, you were working with the, the company that works for the custom home builds, um really seems like it wasn’t really going to be more opportunity for you there than painting.

And so you knew you wanted to do something more. So you, you had it off and let’s kind of talk about, I guess what that, what that looked like. Well, if we look at that era, um I think that um I had, I had a, I had a choice to make um with my, with my boss and I can say his name, I love the guy. We still stay in contact. His name is Greg. Um He actually was a very, he still is a very great guy.

We still stay in contact, we still, you know, talk to each other. Um, he treated me pretty good, you know, like, honestly I had to make a choice because with him I, I had a very comfortable place to work. I made my own hours. Yeah, it is very hard to leave that, you know. So, um, I mean, if, if I was to be pleased with that, I mean, I wouldn’t go anywhere else because I was very happy. I mean, he paid me enough. I can make my own hours.

Um, but then I guess it was the, the little person inside of you, you know, like saying, what else can you do? Can you go and, and move on? And I think, um, I’ve always been very ahead of myself. Like I always think ahead. And so one day, uh, we go back to the same thing. Now I talked to him and I, I said, hey, Greg, um, let’s have a talk and he was like, yeah, um, I’m like, hey, yeah, well, you know what I’m like, uh, is there anything else I can do in your company other than pain?

And he goes, um, no, um, what do you say? I’m like, I don’t know, I’m like, can I do maybe some office work and I maybe start training with you to sell more work? I don’t know, do something. I’m like, I don’t want, I have something again, white against whites. Ok. Like my pants, like I always say, like, I’m like, this is getting weird man. Oops. Let me, I, I gotta clarify that. OK. Yeah. Oh God. So for me wearing my, you know, my, my, my painter whites.

Um It was like to me it was like, I feel like a painter skill. I don’t know, I don’t know how to explain that and some people might be. Yeah, you’re crazy, man. I, I know Nick probably sleeps in his whites, right? But um but I didn’t wanna have him, you know, I, I didn’t want to use him. I think for me, it was more of the, what it represented. You know, I think at the moment for me, it represented that if I was in my wife, I was that painter and the minute I can walk out of those whites, I would be a painter without whites.

But I don’t know. But uh but that was kind of like the thing I told him that um I, I talked to him and I said, hey Greg, you know, I wanna um I wanna do something else in the company and he basically didn’t give me the opportunity and we do big homes. We um we used to work on homes that were there for a year or so painting. And so um um he said, oh, you know, no, there’s nothing I can offer you and say, you know what, let me finish this project for you.

And then I move on to my, you know, to do something else. And he’s like, yeah, no problem. A month goes by and then I give him a call and say, hey Greg um um this uh sorry, so I go talk to him and say, hey Greg, I’m, I’m getting close to the job to be done. Um, can you send someone so I can train him and tell him where everything’s at? Because I’m gonna be moving, moving on. I was like, what do you mean? I’m like, yeah, you know, I, we have this talk and I’m like, I’m leaving.

Yeah, he’s like, do you want more money? I can give you more money. What do you need? I can get you a truck. And so he’s like I said, but it wasn’t about that. It was more the, you know, new horizons, you know, trying to new benchmarks, I guess for me. And, um, so he goes like, ok, you know, so I left, um, I finished training the guy and, you know, the funny thing is that he is the one who actually gave me my, one of my biggest jobs in the beginning.

So he was the guy who, um, uh, actually called me. He’s like, hey, you know what? I have a good client. Uh, I didn’t tell him you don’t have a license but, uh, he’s looking for someone to do this. You want to do it. It’s like, yeah, so, you know, he kind of helped me to go on my own. Even if he didn’t want to, we talked for about six months and he will call and he needed some help and I will help and stuff and then he calls me about six months later and he was like, you know what, you ain’t coming back.

I’m like, no, you know, but I’m like, but hey, well, we can work together. I’ve always been about that, that I can maybe help you and you can help me. So we started working together, you know, there was jobs that he didn’t want to take on and I would be like, I’ll take him for you. And, um, for me it was great because I didn’t have to go look at the job. I wasn’t making maybe as much money, but I had a consistency in, in my workflow.

So he would refer jobs that weren’t a good fit for him. He’d refer them to you. Exactly. Or exactly. Or he would just basically will call the contractor and say, hey, you know what? I, I can’t do them but one is the guy and he would do it for you and he worked for me and that was it, you know, the job was sold. And so, um, I guess, you know, learning to have a good, uh, a good communication and actually providing value to other people. Is it, it, it’s very, um, it’s very powerful, that’s not the end in life.

You should always make time for that. Yeah, but you have to, you have to be, and I think that something as human beings and, and as professionals need to have that person that there’s always sometimes what you give, you’re gonna, you’re gonna get a lot more in return. And so that’s, that’s been a model for me. Um you know, in the painting business. Um So basically that’s how this whole thing started, you know, that’s how I got to get my license. Um, I mean, we can talk about a lot of, yeah, I don’t know.

I don’t know if there’s so many personal issues involved, you know, kids, family and stuff. I don’t know if that’s something we wanna touch on, but I think we should, I think we should. So let’s say, you know, you left the, the home builder and it’s ok. I mean, this, this episode is just about what happened, right? It’s just about what, what the, what the business used to look like if the episode is maybe a tiny bit messy, good because this was too. So the, you know, you started the, um, your, your company, right?

I know, I know it wasn’t officially yet. I’m gonna let you kind of get into what that looked like, but you started the company 66 months, you were still sort of helping with the previous owner and, and company a little bit and then you stopped and then he was referring you. So let’s get into, I guess what that now look like for you. So, it’s, it’s post six months after you left the other company you’re full time on, on yours. Let’s get into maybe the, the day to day, um, kind of what your weeks and your months look like and maybe where your headspace was at, how you were thinking about things.

Um, so it all started really great. Um, but at that, at that time, you know, um if we go back to, um, back in time I um I had separated with my son’s mom thought I was going through a divorce and so imagine um starting your business, going through a divorce in your early twenties with a child not knowing what to expect out of life. It, it’s a big one. You’re stressing me out, man. You’re right. That’s what I’m like, God, I don’t wanna imagine that man.

So that’s usually how the business started. You know, I was in that mentality and uh as much as I want to make it very nice and, oh my God, it was just all these great help. I had a lot of flies and rainbows, man. Oh, yeah. You know, we had um, I had a lot of those kinds were, um, it just wasn’t clear, you know, your mind is so fog and you’re trying to raise a, you know, a, a son. My son was about six years old, um trying to find a place in life.

You know, at 23 60 years old, um, left, you know, the company that you feel comfortable that paid your bills and now you have to go hustle and, and, and find new jobs, you know. So, like I said, I left in 2006, so 2006. Um I got divorced. Uh I started the business. Um, it, it was really, it was good and not good. I used to be called the kid. So there was a project that I did um that I’ve always liked to create something unique and um I had a challenge to do these doors that there were fiberglass and to uh make him look like walnut.

So I did all the graining and I, you know, made them beautiful. So the guy who saw the doors comes to the job and he’s like, he’s like, hey, where did you? He has the contract. He was like, where did you get your doors from? He was like, I got it from you. He’s like, no, like, I don’t sell those doors. And I said, yes, they’re your doors and like, and he’s touching them. It’s like the fiberglass and like, yeah. Oh, it’s like, I don’t know. But that’s, but that’s what we get, right.

I’m not even there yet. I’m sorry. No. So they was like, oh, no, I know this kid and he is good. So for a long time, I was the kid, the kid who can do finishes the kid, the kid. So the kid that right? Yeah, so, so he goes um he was like, oh I got this kid. You gotta meet him. His name is Juan. I was like, cool. So that guy goes and tells the other contractor like man, it’s like I found this kid and he is good and he’s building his son’s uh house, right?

So he wants all these fancy finishes and uh I came over there, he’s like, hey, um I don’t know what you did, but this guy is telling you and blah, blah, blah, and uh you wanna come pain for me. And I’m like, yeah, so we did his son’s house to this day, I still work for his sons for his son, uh the Serrano Construction. He, when he retired and his son took over the company. So to this day, we do big projects with them and this is the first project that I did with him, you know, in 2006, 21.1.

So what I’m gonna, what I was referring to is like, I went from being the kid and to Juan and to the painter and to, you know, illusions, you know, and it’s like, it’s, it’s all those little things that you don’t realize. And now that I’m here talking to you, I’m like, how did I do that nowadays? I’m like, man, I was probably, I was more, I think I was looking at it I think we’re more brave back then than we are now. Yeah. I don’t know about you but I feel that way.

Yeah, I feel that way. You get a little more risk, averse, you fall down a couple more times. You’re like, you know, what actually kind of hurts a lot. I don’t wanna keep falling down. Right. Like, right now it’s like, you know? Yeah. Like, I don’t, I take chances, I take chances every day. But, um but I think I would uh uh these are more calculated risks back then was like, I remember it’s like jump, I’m like they say jump and I’m already down there, you know, it’s like they’re like, hold on.

I don’t know if, if brave is the right word, but we’ll just say brave. That sounds good. That’s a good word that we can use today’s word. Yeah. So, um and, and, you know, I think there’s a lot of people and, you know, uh we’ll get to this later on in the series. Um But I’ve been able to talk to a lot of painters in that situation and it, it lets me relieve re leave everything again. And I’m like, man, like, um like we made this, you know, I, I gotta tell you, I, I, for a long time, I had a lot of issues.

Um I, I mentioned in the beginning I really didn’t feel com I didn’t feel comfortable. Um I didn’t really feel that I probably was the guy, uh, that everyone should be, like, paying all this money to paint their homes. I’m like, how is one, you know, what’s one, you know, who’s one to be like? Oh, this is what you gotta do. So, I was always a little more timid, more afraid of, like, speaking my mind, you know. Um, did you say it, it was like an imposter syndrome of sorts.

You felt you didn’t? Uh No, not like that. I think it’s, it’s more of our culture, you know, it’s like um II I, it’s um uh in, in our culture, a lot of uh a lot of times like when we, when I was starting to work on my own people would be like, what are you doing? Like, you’re not gonna make it, you’re not gonna do this and you’re not gonna do that and, and I guess in the back of your mind, you know, you’re like, they’re probably right, you know, like, because you were an immigrant from Mexico, that’s how you felt and that’s how other people, that’s basically what they were saying to you. Yeah.

You know, and um I think in, in my younger years, my, I still have a big accent but, but when I was younger I had, it was even more so for me, it was kind of like, uh it was nerve wracking, talking to a client, you know, and then why should you hire me? You know, and, but I was trying to sell this immigrant kid, you know, and I guess at that moment, um that’s where I’ve kind of like, got, you know, and now I think about it, I’m like, that’s great because I, that was, for me that was, that was um for quite some time.

I really didn’t feel good in my skin and, um and, and, and it had to do a lot with the being a migrant kid, you know, being a minority, a minority, uh a high school dropout uh drop out um like, you know, your own family, your own friends say like, man, I, I remember like most of our, most of my friends in their early twenties, they’re going to college and attending parties and doing all these things and here I am working uh with my hands full of paint.

I had a really beat up truck and, and all these kids are driving around in my car and clean clothes and I guess it’s just kind of, it dawns on you, you know, you’re like, am I really doing something or am I really just another loser? You know, and uh you know, it, it, it messes with you and that’s why, you know, mentality is so big, you know, at that point, having that mentality is what’s holding you down. It is, man, it’s, and, and I haven’t obviously experienced it in the way that you have.

But in terms of, of comparing myself to other people. Right. When you choose the, when you choose the entrepreneurial path, there’s usually a dip would be probably a, a, uh, a euphemism here. Right. There’s like, kind of a nosedive in terms of your life. Oh, yeah, that you sort of have to go through and you compare it with people who are maybe pursuing more traditional routes, you know, going to school, uh, getting jobs, you know, it’s quote unquote safe, right? To see that route. Uh It can, you can start to entrepreneurship.

Takes a bit, right? Takes, it takes a, takes a second to click. Uh So you can be going on and going on and then you’re looking in the mirror one day, you’re like, am I an idiot? Like, am I just playing a joke on myself? Like, am I totally delusional with my life right now or are we actually getting somewhere? No, that, that God, that, that’s very true. I mean, and I’m pretty sure, have you felt that? Yeah, I have. But yeah, you had, you had challenges on top that I did not have, you know, especially when you’re having to interact with, with homeowners with really nice, nice homes.

I mean, I gotta imagine that was, uh, challenging to say the least, you know. Um, there was a very big stereotype, uh, at least for me growing up. Um I have, uh, you know, I, I remember that and maybe it’s not Ivan but this is part of me. I like, I love tattoos. Right. And so I remember that’s why I have that really nice face tattoo. Right. I cover this one. I can’t do it there yet. Yeah, I was gonna do my neck at one point and I, I am so glad I did it.

Oh my God. I was like, I would choke myself now. But, you know, but it sounded like a good idea at the time the 21.4 year old would get it done, man. Come on. And I’m not using a couple of things. Ok. Ya was bullhead, big old baggy clothes thinking he’s bad ass and then driving a little low rider car and, yeah, you know, ends up in, in county and ends up in jail or twice sometimes. And, uh, I go through a lot of those, uh, very harsh steps, you know, as a, as a teenager and I get out of there and I remember that when I started painting them, I had a, um, oh, I had an, um, an eyebrow piercing and, yeah, I was just foolish, you know, I remember one day I had a really nice high and super nice elderly.

Um, I’ve been doing work for her for a couple of years. One day I show up to her house and I don’t have the piercing and she comes up to me and I, I can never remember re re, I can never forget that she was she goes oh my God. And I can, can I say something to you? And I’m like, ok, it’s like, um don’t take it back, but I am so glad you took the thing out. I was like um, ok, she’s like, I’m sorry, but you’re such a lovely man.

And with that you looked, you looked scary and I’m like, oops, it was like um OK, so never mind, never put on any type of earrings anymore. Um Tattoos. I always had tattoos but it had to be covered. II I didn’t wanna be, I didn’t wanna be pursued as this guy tattooed Mexican that I wanted an inspired. Um God, I know I want to inspire trust in my clients and when I’m walking into these, you know, million dollar homes and, and, and I’m gonna be in charge of the job.

I wanted to be presentable, you know, whatever I did on my own time. If I can cover it, then I’m fine, you know. And so for the longest, I think I didn’t put a tattoo anywhere, lower my sleeve until it was way in my thirties because that, that’s when I got my confidence, you know, but back then it was like I can’t do it, you know, and it was, it was um I guess it was the fear of not being, being looked different. I didn’t, you know, so I grew up with a lot of that stuff.

I don’t know, some a lot of people don’t and, um, I never really talked about it because it doesn’t bother me at all now. But at some point it was big in my life, you know. Yeah. No, I think I’m glad you are talking about it. One, I think it’s, it’s, uh, a thing, a lot of people struggle with, you know, whether in some, some way, shape or form. I think people, almost all people struggle with this in some capacity or have struggled with it, especially entrepreneurs, business owners, um, you know, won’t all be the same things that you’ve gone through but it, it might be something else, I guess in the painting, in the construction industry.

Um, you see a lot more of that, you see a lot of more people, I think in the, in the past it has been more seen as like the a, not a dirty industry, but an industry that is not well educated that it’s more like, oh, if you don’t make it or if you don’t have a traditional job, you’re gonna end up there, you know. Um At least it’s, that’s how it’s been in our, in our culture and in our area for a lot of reasons. You know, like I said, at that point, I used to see that my friends were going to college and they’re, you know, they’re getting their traditional jobs and, and, and stuff and here you are like painting and, and having to walk around with dirty hands and um in that scene, I guess the, the big picture that’s a big business.

But at the point we didn’t see it. You know, I think for, you know, obviously most of the people who listen to this podcast, own painting companies or work at painting companies, right? They’re usually in the industry. Thank God. Thank God. That’s the perception and has been the perception of the painting industry. Thank God because it presents such a remarkable opportunity. You want to be in an industry that’s been overlooked. You certainly don’t want to be in the the hot sexy industry. You better be really, really smart and really good.

If you want to win in the hot sexy industry, I would rather compete in the industry that’s been overlooked. That’s not, not good enough, man. I’ll compete there all day long. Thank God. Well, I like the way you put it because this, it’s true. You know, now you can actually make it sexy. Yeah. Yeah, 24.5%. I don’t, you make it sexy. So you, so for people who are listening, you know, most people, most people listen, most people don’t stream the video. We do record the video and you can look at our, our beautiful mugs if you do that.

But Juan has the coolest, the absolute coolest color wall behind him in his home office. What’s it? What is it? What color is this? God, I gotta, I should have been prepared. OK? If you, if you guys bring it, bring in episode two, that’s what I’m saying, please. You gotta listen to episode two and I’ll, I’ll have the color, the show room in color, but it is cool. So hopefully next time I order the frame that’s gonna go behind me. So you see, we gotta stay tuned so we can see that what it’s gonna look like.

So it’s like it’s like a vortex. Like I thought it was, I thought it was a filter of some kind. It is a very neat gray that just you kind of get lost in, believe it or not, it’s green. Are you serious? Yeah. To me at all it um so it has this green kind of oh kind of grayish tone to it. So depending on that day. So I like it because at night and at night it’s beautiful in here. I just like to come in here.

Um I live out in the country so we have, I can see my cow cows. We got strawberry fields. So I’m right on the corner of the house. This was my mom’s room so I’m in, I’m in the corner of the house with the only balcony in the house. So um I like it. It’s beautiful, you know, it’s beautiful. You go out there and, and, and enjoy it. Uh You know, um I guess um when we’re young, we have goals of things that we want to have and, and whatnot.

Um, for me as a place where I can, I, I say a hiding place and I, I always see a place where I can find where I can go. Not, I, I say hide but where you can just go and you feel comfortable where you can center yourself. Um, and this is what I’m trying to build here from the, for episode five. You’ll, you’ll be like logging on to the computer. I was knocking on your front door and be like, well, we’re doing this one in person, man.

Let’s go, let’s do it. Hey, I’m gonna be in Florida for a few weeks for what, three or four times this year. So I, I wanna come visit you. I, I’m in Florida, man. We’ll be hanging out there. Yeah. Yeah, we’re gonna set it up. So, um, all right. No, no, I just, I wanna, we’re, we got about 24 minutes left so I wanna get into, um, I guess a little bit later on in your journey. So you’ve been running. I know you and I talked about this previous, you know, before we started the episode.

I think you ran it basically how you ran it for around 254 years, right? Yeah. Um, 260 years. Um, so from 203 220, uh to two thou 210, basically 21. Um I ran the business with the mentality of just being busy, you know. Um, stay busy. Exactly. Um, you know, the day to day painter, you know, we, we go to work, uh, we get a job. Um, you know, nowadays you hear about like job costing and all these things that back then for me, those work. Um, I mean, back then you just, basically you work.

Uh, I remember we used to get, uh, you know, I’ll get a job, I’ll get, let’s say I have two weeks to do this job. I’m already counting that. Uh For this job, I have to go, I have to get my guys set up for one day, the next day I come and do my work. And then it was very hard to stay ahead of myself because I had to do a lot of this myself. So, um I couldn’t get so ahead of myself. I couldn’t book so much more because the only booking time I had was like either early in the morning or in the afternoons and you’re out there managing the project painting, you know, I would do, I was the finisher.

And um so, um from day one, I’ve always wanted to do something unique. Some, something that no one else can do. I wanted to be the guy who can do something, you know, unique. And so I will always set up myself to do. So a lot of my guys wouldn’t get that, you know, they would be like, uh why, why do you wanna do it like that. I’m like, because this is what I want, you know, like, but that’s not how you do it. And I hear a funny one.

I had, I used to paint with, I used to work with uh with my old painter and with my old boss and there was a painter. His name is Rodrigo. And so uh we always argue on how we painted a door jam. That was our argument. He goes, he will start from the top and start and, and start paying down. And I’ll be the one like, no, I gotta start from the bottom and I’m gonna like pain up. And so he would be like, and I can’t really say the way he used to say it.

He goes, listen, buddy, I like when you go to the restroom, how does that happen? That goes down? It doesn’t go up, does it. We’re like, no, but I don’t care till this day. My biggest issue that, that’s how I paint. We were at the painted forward event and I was painting from the bottom up and I was getting crap about it, you know, but that’s how I’ve learned how to pay. You know, I’m just so there was a lot of that. There was a lot of me, uh I always work with older people.

So imagine me being uh you know, a business owner when I was 24 25 years old and most of my painters are well into their forties, you know, close to fifties and I would tell them to do something. They look at me like, like you’re gonna tell me like, you know, you could be my kid. I’m like, and it was kind of like that struggle, but I had to let him know, you know, but I didn’t wanna have kids working with me, you know, I didn’t wanna, I wanted people who was responsible.

And so they, and so that set the standard for me because I had a like, like, know what I had to be sharp, you know, I cannot tell these guys like this is how you do something and they’re like, oh show me, you know, and so, uh so interested in um how to do the job. So interesting and, and you just get the job. Never. I thought about like, oh, maybe you should have a system in your business, so maybe you should do. It’s just at that time, Juan wasn’t into that, you know, Juan was into like, uh painting houses, um managing the job, uh from the hiring, you know, like who doesn’t hire who, you know, know, a lot of guys that still do that will hire a guy, a guy show up to their house.

I mean, to their, you know, I used my shop was my house was my shop, my office, my storage, my place of, of, you know, of residence, everything. It was just my tiny little house. And so, um, I remember having painters coming into my house and looking for a job and I was like, um, oh, hi. Hi. My name is. And so I’m like, oh, good. I was like, oh, who sent you this guy? Ok. Can you start tomorrow? Yes. Ok. Perfect. Two days later you’re like, you’re not a painter, you’re not this and now you have to get rid of them and start all over you and then they just no processes and that I did that for so many years and I know a lot of guys can, can relate because uh it was just, it was just like come in and go, come and go and uh there’s no structure.

So I ran the, our business. I, I ran the business for over 10 years. No structure. Just pure hard work. And um it worked. I’m not gonna lie but it, you don’t see a future. I, I never saw like by the time I’m 60 I’m not gonna, I’m not gonna be painting. I felt that I wasn’t gonna be painting, but I was still gonna be at least um running all these guys by then. Sure. So you were, yeah, it was, it was a day to day grind basically. And you’re kind of just keeping the wheels turning, making sure you get the next job, making sure the rat race, taking care, making sure you, you know how to paint everything that, that no one’s gonna show you up and, and you’re just gonna keep this cycle for 10 years with, without a clear plan or operations or, or like sops or anything like that.

You’re just, you’re just in this rat race. Yeah, Jason, what, what is Jason? Jason called it the contractor prison. There we go. That is so true. You know. Uh, and I think when we’re, yeah, Jason felt when we’re in that position, we’re inside this little box and all we can see is inside those, you know, if you have a square box, all you can see is those square walls and that’s all you see. And, um, and it took me to get out of that box and I know we’re gonna talk about this more to realize that, oh, my God.

You know, there is more out there. Yeah. It’s like, it’s like the Truman show or something. Yeah. Yeah. Shit. And it just hits the wall, you know, opens the door. It’s like, oh, my goodness. I’ve been living in this little alternate reality box. So that was a lot of, I guess that was a lot of the, you know, with, with a lot more things, you know, family. Um, when, um, when I was brought here, um, I, I am the oldest of four, kids. And so, um, I have three younger sisters.

So me being the oldest and my parents always working, I was kind of like the kind of like the father figure in the house. So um at a young age, you know, for me, it wasn’t, I felt that looking for alternatives and stuff was, was really not an option because my job was to work and provide, you know, and so you, you have that mentality of just, just you just work. You don’t have to question things. Why question things. Like don’t, I always say this, don’t reinvent the, the wheels, the wheels round.

Why reinvent it? You know? And uh, uh, yeah, I grew up to say, ok, it’s wrong. How can I make it faster? You know? And so, but back then it was like, no, you don’t question, uh, you don’t look for other options. You, you paint, you paint and I’m not saying there wasn’t any other options. Just for me. There wasn’t, you know, for me, it was just like you work, you take care of your kid, you take care of your family and, uh, and that’s that, you know, you don’t, you don’t go out there and try to see what kind of training you can take.

You don’t do that, you know, there’s, there’s no time for that head down. Stay in the grind. Yes, sir. And that’s, and I know that there’s still, I mean, there’s a big, a very large, uh, percentage of painting contractors out there in the whole country that are still doing that. And I am thankful for, you know, people like you for a lot of the guys out there in the industry who are really putting a word out and saying, you know what? There’s a lot to do, you know, you know, open your phone, open everything else and, and you can get there, you know.

So, um, but you still work hard, you can still work, but you’re gonna, you’re gonna work hard at a task that is ultimately gonna make you a whole lot more money. We don’t want to jump to a lot. But let me tell you one thing that I’ve learned, I’ve learned, I guess before. I always used to say this, I want to free myself from work. I don’t wanna work as much. I’ve learned that I work more now than a cow did a few years back. Um, I used to get up late.

I used to be out of my house by like 7 103. I’m rushing to work and stuff. My alarm goes up at five in the morning and I’m already, you know, I’m already, my alarm is like, ready to go off. I’m like, looking at it like, ok, click, you know. And so, yeah. Yeah. Come on. You know, and you’re actually, but, but, but you actually enjoy it, you know. It don’t, don’t be fooled that you. Oh, no, no. II I don’t, I’m gonna need work less now. There’s, I guess there’s, there’s more, the more you, you go into your business.

The more like when we were going, when we, when I started the business, the only way I grew was like putting more hours into the business. There’s no magic. Uh There’s no magic wand that says uh there’s only Juan but no magic. But um there’s not, it’s just simply hard work, you know, just um I guess the difference is the education and the preparation you, you start looking for. You know. So at that time, we didn’t have that. Well, Juan, when, before we wrap this up, I should have done it in the beginning.

Can you just give us a brief um overview, I guess of your company if you want to discuss revenue or the kinds of projects you work on whether you subcontract um or not W-2 independent contractors. Let’s just get a brief overview of your company before we wrap this one up overview company. Um So we are in beautiful Pebble Beach, California. So if you guys are not uh people who do not know where that’s at, it’s in central California and it’s a golf uh heaven and there’s a lot of uh big homes for people who travel from, from all over the country.

So we have a very unique niche and then we’re next to uh Silicon Valley, which is where all the tech people started. And there’s, there’s a lot of money here. So we um we really focus into get into that niche of the um uh the industry. Uh, we’ve created a, um, a great relationship and a reputation now for those homes. So most of our homes, uh, will be a paint job for us. Can be, uh, a very small repaint can be about 10 grand. Um, just wrapped up last year.

Uh, no, we wrapped this job this year. Uh, it was a about 13 month project that was $1.1 million paint job for a residential home, uh residential home, residential home people and, and, and it’s not there and it’s not their uh primary home. They’re from England. Wow. Yes. $1.4 million house painting project. Paint project. Yes, that was just the painting. That’s how much it cost. We estimated the job uh for about 4.5, 4 54 60 when we first got in there. And then we really specialized in um high end finishes. Um Our model is like, you know, give us a challenge, you know, we want a challenge, you have a challenge, we wanna take it on.

Like what I mean, a challenge. We want to, anything that’s a unique finish or anything that is like a uh specialty finish, uh fine paints of Europe, uh any type of uh Patina job. Um We, we love to take on those projects. Um It is tough. I really love how the guys do the repaints because it’s a lot more manageable and quicker return with this. You have to have a lot of skill um personnel, you know, you have to have a very skilled um group. And as you know, nowadays, it’s very hard to do that.

Um There’s less and less of those skilled guys out on the field. So, um that’s kind of, that’s what we do in our business. We uh we now operate with uh in our office. We have six members in our office, including us and we oversee production management, uh you know, uh admin and then um out on the field right now, we have about 24 no, about 20 guys, our guys and then we work with uh other two companies, sister companies that um that kind of bring about 10 people into our business as needed.

Um We run a um uh finishing shop as well. So this uh July 1st, we’re moving into our new facility. I mean, we’re renting a new facility where it’s much bigger than the one we had. We had grew our like uh grew our first one, like within the first few months we got in there and uh we’re just keep moving into that direction. Yeah, I appreciate you sharing all that man. I appreciate this um trip down memory lane. Even if you made me think about some things I didn’t want to think about.

That’s ok. Uh Yeah, thanks for sharing it, being vulnerable man. You really, you gave a lot and you, you shared a lot and I do really appreciate that. And I know the next episode we’re leaving a cliffhanger. We’re gonna get into what changed your life, man. Yeah. No, I’m very, very excited to talk about that, you know. Uh uh it’s, it’s, it’s, it’s amazing how, how things can just flip and, um, you never saw things the way you see them now and uh just as great as it is, it, it creates a brand new challenge And uh but I guess that’s what really keeps us going. Right?

That challenge, the everyday challenge, even if we, if we didn’t have those challenges, it will be hard for us to get up in the mornings. I think it’d be boring. Yeah. Yeah. No, we don’t. As painters don’t like to be boring. Yeah, sir, brother, I appreciate you, Juan. We’ll uh look forward to seeing the episode two, man. Thank you, brother, man. Thank you so much, man. We’ll see you guys soon. Bye bye.

If you want to learn more about the topics we discussed in this podcast and how you can use them to grow your painting business, visit painter marketing pros dot com forward slash podcast for free training, as well as the ability to schedule a personalized strategy session for your painting company. Again that URL is

Hey there, painting company owners. If you enjoyed today’s episode, make sure you go ahead and hit that subscribe button, give us your feedback, let us know how we did. And also, if you’re interested in taking your painting business to the next level, make sure you visit the Painter Marketing Pros website at Painter Marketing Pros dot com to learn more about our services. You can also reach out to me directly by emailing me at and I can give you personalized advice on growing your painting business until next time.

Keep growing

Brandon Pierpont

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