Guest Interview: Matt & Maggie Kuyper “The Commercial Couple” Series: Episode 5 – Who Does What?

Published On: January 29, 2024

Categories: Podcast

Matt and Maggie Kuyper - Painter Marketing Mastermind Podcast

In this series titled “The Commercial Couple”, Maggie & Matt Kuyper of Harpeth Painting will be discussing how they built a successful commercial painting company together, advice they have regarding married couples working together, and finally specific thoughts on female entrepreneurship and empowerment within the trades.

In episode 5, Maggie & Matt will be lay out how to identify the superpowers of each partner, and how to effectively work together.

If you want to ask Maggie or Matt 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 facebook.com/groups/paintermarketingmastermind. There you can ask Maggie or Matt questions directly by tagging them with your question, so you can see how anything discussed here applies to your particular painting company.

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Episode 5

– Who Does What?

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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 The Commercial Couple, Maggie and Matt Kiper of Harpeth painting will be discussing how they built a successful commercial painting company together advice they have regarding married couples working together and finally specific thoughts on female entrepreneurship and empowerment within the traits.

In episode one, Maggie Matt discussed the different kinds of commercial work and how to choose your niche. In episode two, they talked about how to break into commercial painting now that you know your niche. In episode three, Maggie and Matt dived into completing the work successfully after you have landed your first commercial painting project. In episode four, they discuss how to decide whether or not working together with your partner is a good fit for your life. In episode five, this episode, Maggie and Matt will be laying out who, how to identify the superpowers of each partner and how to effectively work together.

And in episode six, the final episode, Maggie will be discussing female entrepreneurship and empowerment within the traits. If you wanna ask mag your Mac 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 Pain and marketing mastermind podcast form on Facebook and request to join the group or type in the URL facebook. com/groups/painter marketing mastermind. Again that URL is facebook. com/groups/painter marketing mastermind. There, you can ask Mag your Mac questions directly by tagging them with your question as you can see how anything discussed here applies to your particular painting company.

What’s up guys? Welcome back. No, wait, you’re supposed to say that. Welcome back. Here we go. Welcome back. Yeah, I feel like it’s a welcome back for me after I’m done reading the intro. It’s like, where was I? Oh, here we are. That’s right. Yeah. Well, so Matt, this will be, this will be your last episode with us. We’re kicking you out next time. Yeah, this is it. Thanks for sticking around for Z. Happy to be here. So you guys last episode, we talked about figuring out, you know, how do you figure out whether or not you can work together with your partner?

There are a lot of great thoughts. I think. Ultimately, you guys mostly came to the conclusion. You kind of know if you can have a sensitive discussions, if you can sit down and talk about operating agreements and, and, you know, prenups whether or not you want one, if you can have a conversation that weird and be comfortable with each other, then maybe it’s a sign that you can work together if you naturally talk about work business together, money. If those are all comfortable subjects and your values align for what you want in the company, maybe you can work together some people, it’s fit some people.

It’s not now that we’ve decided, OK, you guys can work together and you do work together. How’d you figure out who does what we love in the beginning? It was, everybody does everything. Yeah. Right. Everyone’s Jack and Jack of all trades. Was it? I mean, I think in the beginning if you’re savvy, which most entrepreneurs are and if you’re committed to bootstrapping, which is what we were, it was what do you have time for? And what can you do better or faster than me? Right. So like, um we can move up a hierarchy of complication where, yeah, everyone does everything.

But at the same time, um you were, we were pretty quick to delineate based on natural gifts and talents, right? So when we were a, a million dollar company in the start up phase, and Matt was out doing all the bidding, all the sales, all the project management because that is where he had experience. Then it was really easy for me to be like, ok, well, I’ll do some back end work and I’ll do job costing and I’ll make sure, you know, things are or like we just kind of landed where we could get things done the fastest.

So, basically Matt had very applicable experience. You were coming from a different background. So it was essentially, hey, Matt, you’ve already done these kinds of things. He felt comfortable going out and doing those and performing well and you essentially filled in the gaps, at least to start with what he wasn’t doing. How can I help? Yeah, I love it. Did you find? Oh, go ahead. Oh, no, I, I don’t wanna interrupt you. If you were adding something there as, as the company grew, we could kind of develop into the roles we really wanted.

It wasn’t just what can you do or what do you have to do? It’s what should you be doing? And we probably just figured that out in the last two years. Yeah, a year, year and a half. Yeah. Oh, wow. So six years in was when you guys sat down and became far more intentional with it. Well, when you put it that way I mean, I’m sure there’s been iterations but this was six years in, it’s like, ok, we’re gonna really formalize this. Yeah. Yeah. So, Maggie, when you were filling in the gaps, basically, how can I help?

Did you ever find yourself doing things that maybe you didn’t feel well suited for or that were uncomfortable for you? But it just because Matt was doing these other things, it fell to you. Not necessarily early on. Um, I think I felt probably, I probably was a little bit more of a, of a task rabbit than anything. Um, which was also helpful to just get my footing. I don’t come from the construction industry. I still don’t know how to turn on a paint sprayer or use a drill.

Um, I, it’s just, I think you could probably figure that one out, you say that, but I don’t have, I don’t speak the language. I don’t come from a place where it’s comfortable, natural and, um, something that I’ve experienced. And so it was very nice to be almost more in a role where I could observe and learn that way. And so doing all those things filling in the gaps, helping support, asking questions was a great way for me to learn the industry without all the pressure of, hey, go to this job and make sure they’re doing well.

I mean, I know what I know what straight paint lines look like and I know what paint spilled on the floor looks like, but I don’t know the in betweens or I didn’t at the time. So that’s really interesting because we go into this conversation and we’ll get there how to identify the superpowers. And it’s like, ok, in the beginning, it’s kind of like Mike, Mike Tyson’s quote, everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face or punch in the mouth. Right. It is, you just got to kind of make it work in the beginning.

But the this idea that maybe there, there could be intentionality if you’re working with your partner. Odds are that one of you has more experience with, with construction or painting with something that would maybe mean that they could, they could sort of sort of uh be on the forefront of this and the other person could use the opportunity kind of filling in the back office type stuff to actually learn the lingo, learn what’s actually happening in, I guess more of a kind of like a safer environment or a lower risk environment where they’re not gonna maybe embarrass the company or lose a sale or something like that because they don’t really understand it.

That’s part of being an entrepreneur and having a small business is you need to be at least competent at every role or task in your business, especially in the beginning. Uh Because it’s your business, you need to be able to know how to run payroll and quick books, you need to be able to know how to bid a job. Maybe you’re not doing it every day. You know, there’s somebody that can do it better than you, but being able to do it, I think is important. Yeah, I, I agree with that.

And there is this, who not how write that book, it, it, it’s a great book and, and the, uh, the idea of really hiring experts and I think that comes into play a little bit later in a business journey because if you do just say, hey, I’m, I’m so smart as a business owner, I’m gonna delegate right from day one and I have absolutely no idea how to do this thing, but I’m gonna find someone to do it. How do you know if they’re doing a good job?

You could maybe bring in a friend or a consultant or someone who you, you do trust to hire that person to monitor, to sort of set up the structure in the Kpis. But there needs to be some now know how coming from somebody, not just bring in somebody and just sort of hope that, that they’re going to be perfect and it’s all gonna work out. And I mean, we didn’t do it perfectly. I don’t even know if you remember this. But when we started our company, Matt had a day job, um, we, we did it on the side for the first, almost two years and he was super busy at his day job and one of our neighbors wanted a quote for her exterior and he was like, you can do it.

Like all you have to do is measure, write everything down and look cute and you’ll be fine. That’s what that’s his process smile and look cute. So he’s passing it off to you. So, you know, I’m I’m pretty good at, at fake it till you make it. So I was like I got this. I said but hey, babe, we have one problem. Uh What about the kids? And he was like, well, just, just leave him in the car. It’s just an exterior. It’s our neighbor. It’s no big deal.

So I edit this part out. Matt. Don’t worry, pregnant with our third with two kids in the car and I roll up to this house and she was delightful but about halfway through the kids come piling out of the car. Mom, mom, mom, you know, like as they do, no matter what I bribed them with to stay put in this estimate. Yeah. Um you know, I probably looked bad in the first place, leaving my car running with kids in it because we’re outside. She could see him.

I mean the whole thing was just set up for, well, then I run all the, put the window down a little bit, put a bowl of water in there, they’ll be fine. So then I run all the numbers and it’s like a $9000 job. I mean, it’s not small and of course, we didn’t get it. Of course, we didn’t because she asked me questions about product and I was like, we use Sherwin Williams. I don’t know, it’s the closest paint store. Um, but I still drive by that house every day and it makes my tummy hurt.

But then some days it makes me laugh because I’m just, you know, how far I’ve come, how far we’ve come. But, you know, that was just one of those moments where like we had to just try, I had to try, we had to, we had to show up to the bed, we had to do what we said we would. And in, in retrospect, I don’t think there was a better option, but we learned from it. It wasn’t perfect all along. We didn’t just magically fall into our roles and everything just evolved beautifully.

There were a lot of hiccups. Sure. I think the trial by fire is naturally gonna happen, especially when you’re bootstrapping and you maybe haven’t done this business before or worked in it before. And I think it’s hard. It’s so hard to have perspective in that moment. I know for me, there are things that I look back and I’m like, do you remember when you know we did that? And we’re kind of laughing at how just idiotic that was or how poorly it went when at the time.

It was a really big deal to me at the time. That estimate was probably a pretty big deal to you. You were giving an estimate you really wanted to close it. Now you look back. It’s like, man, that, that was really something. But I think listening to this, if you’re early on in your journey and you’re committed and you have something just really not go well, try to remember that it will be funny eventually, as painful as it is right now. Just say, you know what I’m gonna get, I’m gonna get there and this is gonna be hilarious even though, wow, this really sucks right now.

I’m so embarrassed. It makes for a funnier story. So at what point I know within the past year. So six years in when you guys were, were already well along, you guys sat down and we’ll get to that and really mapped it out. But I guess as you progressed, day one is ok, Matt’s gonna go out estimate project manage. He’s gonna do what he does. Maggie’s gonna fill in the holes while learning the industry and plugging in, in pretty uncomfortable ways sometimes because Matt can’t get there with this estimate.

How did it evolve or let’s say the first several years? Hm. We, we started breaking it down originally by kind of like the vertical in our business. I had the commercial background. So I kind of ran with the commercial stuff. Uh, Maggie was great with residential and designer type work. So we divided that first sale. You guys knew Maggie is the one to steer the residential. It was just decided. Got it. Ok. She has that rapport and patience that I lack uh from dealing with the rougher.

So that was kind of the first division we went through and that got a little cloudy. So really over the last, like we said, year and a half, two years to figure it out that Maggie is a much better uh leader and galvanize of people and I’m much better at kind of discerning the uh the direction of how things need to go and, and having technical knowledge and project management experience, but not great leadership skills. Interesting. So, up until a year and a half, two years ago, Maggie, were you doing a lot of the estimating in the selling up until that point?

So you did that for quite some time? Yeah, probably two years. I was selling and project managing. Um I basically took everything like he said, residential, everything that wasn’t new construction. And I just worked really hard, really, I worked harder than I needed to work. But again, that’s because it wasn’t natural and intuitive for me. Um But I, I’m kind of feisty and have a pretty good amount of grit. So I was like, we’re gonna, like, I’m not gonna fail at this. Um I think part of it’s funny most people don’t most people get frustrated with designers.

Um they can have a tendency to, to not always have the highest level of organization and foresight into projects. They have great vision, great, you know, idea, but the actual, you know, execution and that almost gave me as an estimator, the freedom like it bought me some time, right? I wasn’t staring at the eyes of a, of a homeowner waiting for them to just say so, how much is it? And when can we start? It was this whole like, well, we don’t really know the scope or which we’re gonna do here.

But can you kind of like give us a general? You know, so it actually um fortuitously gave me some freedom to, to learn a lot of different things about products and substrates and design. And then also kind of gave me some flexibility to not feel like I was bound to this. Like must give the bid right away, must have turned, you know, it, it gave some flexibility, which was super nice. But yeah, it was about two years that, that I took on that role and it was not my favorite job.

Um I think I’m pretty good at it, but it was uncomfortable and not something that I deeply enjoyed. So it was a role you basically force yourself to do for the good of the business for that time. Absolutely. Yeah. So we’re all friends with Chris Elliott, owner of on it. Painting and I, I was talking with him a while ago and I remember so, Emily, you know, his wife works with him in the business. And I remember he was saying, you know, he, Emily’s threshold for pain is far higher than he realized because he thought, oh, they were trying to systematize things, I think.

I don’t remember exactly. But they were trying to build in sops and she just kept doing everything. It’s like I’m gonna do it all. I’m gonna do it all and in his mind like, ok, she’ll figure out that this isn’t gonna, gonna work. It’s not a good idea. And then he’s recognizing, wow, she is just gonna keep doing it all kind of into perpetuity because she’s willing to tolerate a lot more pain than I, than I fully appreciate it. Do you feel like maybe you held on?

You know, you say I have grit, I’m going to succeed, you know, I’m the kind of person who’s gonna hold on and say, hey, I’m gonna win here. Do you think maybe that you held on to that role too long because of that? You think I did? No, no, I don’t think so. I think it was the right amount of time and I think that’s partly because we had a lot of outside voices. You know, we have our business coaches, we have our, um, pretty tight knit community that we try very hard to be vulnerable and open with um about where we are as a business as well as business owners, right?

Kind of two different things to support there. And so we had enough people kind of in our ears saying Maggie is really good at leading. Hey, like Maggie’s really good at this gift and talent. Maggie’s not happy. Let’s her life. She’s great over here. You guys need this same thing with that. I mean, I think the affirmation of him being reminded that, you know, some of the projects that, that he sells and manages and some of the, some of the, the wisdom and knowledge that he brings to us from a technical standpoint is, is very atypical.

He, he’s very smart and sells and manages really crazy jobs. And um I think again, it was helpful for outside voices to, to remind us, you know, we need to build a company that lets Matt do his crazy cool stuff that he’s good at doing and Maggie do her people thing that she’s really good at doing. And so that’s kind of how we evolved into our roles was how can we do these two superpowers that we have and what infrastructure do we need logistically financially and um personnel wise to make it happen?

Yeah, I love that. So Matt, you, your role has remained more consistent then over time. Is that correct or is that incorrect? Yeah, that’s probably more correct than not, but it’s, I would assume you’ve kind of grown out of, you know, some of the stuff you were doing. Do you still do any sort of selling? Is it? Hey, I’m just gonna go kind of sell these bigger projects now and, and maybe have someone under you sign a smaller project or how have you evolved over the past seven years in your role?

Uh, it’s kind of more client based. I still have a handful of my, I guess I call them legacy clients or not really, but uh relationships that I hang on to and let some of the younger newer guys build and develop their own relationships. Um So it’s, it’s not necessarily project size, more just relationships and that we’ve had to really be intentional and have specific conversations about because Matt’s um reach in the new construction commercial realm in Nashville is very deep. He’s been in the industry for 15 years in Nashville.

Is that right? More than that, whatever it is 17 years. Um And so a lot of the people that are now growing in the company and being decision makers. No, Matt. So Matt’s in a lot of ways like the business development and the in for a lot of these jobs. And so being very intentional, almost project by project, he’s still kind of taking the lead on. Do I need to bid this and do I need to be the face of this or is this something that I can gracefully hand off to uh another estimator.

Yeah, walking that fine line. And so let’s get into the year and a half, two years ago when you guys did sit down and formalize your roles. How did that, how did that come to be? Let’s just talk about that entire entire experience and decision. It came from building our org chart and building it for what it was that day and also what it was gonna look like over the next five years. And it became clear through that planning process that we needed to really uh complete and finalize our roles.

Or it would also be really confusing for our team as it grew to. What prompted you to go ahead, Maggie. I was gonna say we reached out to a few companies larger than we were and asked for their ORG charts and it was actually Dave Scaturro from alpine painting up in New Jersey who sent us his and it had current ORG chart next year’s org chart and five year out org chart. And we were like, oh, wait, that’s a good idea, you know, planning Dave. What are you doing here?

Yeah. Wow, that’s an interesting concept. So, well, I think we probably could have come to that on our own again. It was a lot faster to just look at what someone else is doing and be like, oh, wait, yeah, we don’t need to just plan for right now or tomorrow. We need to be thinking about the future? Yeah. So what, what was the impetus to even do this, you know, five years in six years in you guys decide to sit down and create this ORG chart and then you figure out, OK, future Org chart is a good idea.

Why did you create the ORG chart? Because we had a, we had to, it’s a necessity of a growing business, creates clarity for the team and creates clarity for us. So my question specifically is it, it’s been five years, right? Five years or six years. Some people say, ok, great in or chart from day one. I know most entrepreneurs don’t do that. I didn’t do that. It seems a little beyond when you’re just struggling and starting out. Was there a hey, we’re running into a lot of issues here.

What’s the pro let’s sit down and do this? Was there a hey, we’re, we’re expanding past a certain point or we’re starting to grow faster. We really need to start planning a little more specifically what caused that and that shift, I guess and intentionality of creating the work chart. I think, I think it was, who do we need to hire next? I think it was, it helped us create a um order of operations um because we knew the demand was there from our current clients to grow.

We saw the opportunity for future clients to grow and it was kind of like what, what do we do now? Like chicken and egg. Do we hire a PM first? Do we hire a salesperson first who’s in charge? Like it kind of became a necessity from the perspective of we don’t know what’s next and we don’t, we don’t know what’s next based on, you know, because there’s also the, the top line revenue and the, and the payroll and what balances and what makes sense? And do you have enough employees that are producing revenue to balance the ones that aren’t necessarily producing revenue and just kind of that whole puzzle?

Yeah. So it sounds like you were in a position where you saw the ability to scale because you had clients that wanted more. You saw potential for new clients and it, in my mind, I’m seeing, OK, you’re starting this company, you’re scrambling, you’re doing everything you start to build, you’re seeing success, you’re seeing success and all of a sudden you’re seeing potential for a lot more success. It’s like, OK, ho how are we actually going to do this? So it’s almost like a second chapter in your business.

First chapter would grow, make it work. OK. It worked. Second chapter is, wow, there’s, there’s a wide open opportunity here, but we don’t actually necessarily know the order and what’s to do this or how we’re actually gonna net let’s sit down and become really intentional at this point. You can tell me if you’re like, hey, Brandon, you’re an idiot. What did you say? About it. It’s become a cliche to some of us, but it’s the step of professionalizing your business. Sure. Going from just scrappy uh entrepreneur to business, actual business owner and I was very well, Matt and I both, but I was very adamant that every conversation we had about structure and ORG chart made sense financially.

Um And I think that’s something because we even brought our ORG chart to a few peers in the industry to say, hey, can you give some input? Like we can’t figure out how this is working and they were like, well, you just need to put this person here and this person here. And I said, but that doesn’t make sense financially like there was this balance between what I knew I needed to pay people, what we knew we could produce the net profit. You know, it’s this constant juggling act of it’s not just putting people in place because you think that would run a well oiled machine.

You also have to be, yeah, you also have to be able to pay them. Yeah. So for people listening, you know, obviously Matt and Maggie are talking a lot about their network, their colleagues, people that they’re bouncing ideas off of Matt’s have been in the industry for a long time, but a lot of these colleagues are from the painting contractors Association PC A. If you are not, if you’re listening and you’re not a member of the PC A if you don’t know what I’m talking about. PC A Paint Ed painted.

org, check it out. You should join the PC A. It’s a lot easier to grow business, to stay in business, to stay sane and to make good decisions when you are surrounded by colleagues that are helping you and mentors that are further ahead. But Dave Scaturro is probably the number one thing that I attribute a lot of our success to is not just being a member of the PC A but being involved in building those relationships. It’s a, it’s a giant shortcut life hack business hack. Yeah.

And that’s a very good point to just joining. That’s when your work starts. You know, I, I think so often people will make a decision. We have this at painter marketing pros where people decide to, to start working with us. They, they sign up and then we don’t hear from them like, hey, do you remember the part about on boarding? Do you remember the part about getting access to the decision was, oh, I paid the money and I signed up and I, oh thank God, like our marketing is done.

No, that’s when you really start to participate. When you join an organization like the PC A leverage it, figure out everything, contact everybody, use it to the best of it, of its abilities. You don’t just sign, pay the check and magically through osmosis. Your business will, will get to the level of Harpeth painting, right? But let’s say, ok, so you guys have decided time to professionalize the business. We’re no longer in survival mode. We see great opportunity. Wow. We, we actually made it and we can create something really huge and substantial.

This is very exciting. How are we going to do it? What happened then when you guys sat down, how did you guys come up with these job roles for yourself? It’s, I think it was very intuitive for us. And I think if you go back and listen to some of the earlier episodes, you’ll understand more of what that means. Uh Just a lot of, a lot of work that has been done to understand each other. But we’ve also used some tools like dis uh we’ve had pretty cool success with another uh process called working genius.

The six types of working genius. I don’t know if you’ve heard of that one. I have not as familiar with it and, and those are helpful indicators of, of kind of what your proclivity is, what you’re good at. What do you wanna do. Uh But I think it didn’t change anything for us. It just uh clarified why we’re doing what we’re doing. Interesting. So you knowing that you enjoy the, the client interactions going out and doing all that, when you take these personality assessments, you, you essentially figure out why you enjoy that kind of.

Oh yeah, that makes sense. And I was already doing that. But now here’s why. That’s interesting. Yeah, those are, I mean, those any of the inventories are not obviously be all, end all but, and there’s gonna be, there’s always things in your role that aren’t something you’re necessarily good at or love. But I think better understanding your motivation or your why behind it is what will help that be more tolerable to your point. Yeah, I think anytime we can understand ourselves better, we can do better and tolerate more.

Yeah, for example, I mean, it was through, I got real big into the enneagram for a while. Um I mean, I still love it. I still think it’s, it’s, it’s a great tool. Yeah, some people think it’s witchcraft, it’s a great tool. Um but it was, it was through the enneagram studying and reading um that I better understood why project management was so debilitating to me because of my personality and my innate drive to please people and to get affirmation from people. That was a really hard thing to do in project management.

Like, you know, when you want the high five and when you want the, we love your crew, they’re the best ever. It’s not always gonna happen. And so understanding that has allowed me to when I do still have to manage a project which happens, it’s allowed me to kind of come in with better um better wisdom and better perspective as to OK, my self worth is not in whether or not this client tells me every day that my painters are the best and they love me. Ok. Got it.

You know. So it’s, it’s really creating, um, a professionalism for myself is that I don’t think would have happened if I just kept working. Yeah. I think that’s really fascinating. I’m actually reading a book right now. Maybe shouldn’t announce this. But I am. It’s OK. Self development. I’m reading a book. The title is Keeping Your shit Together. And it’s about the psychological research of all these entrepreneurs and the, the highs and lows that they endure and kind of why the entrepreneur uh just the person who’s an entrepreneur tends to experience higher highs, lower lows and the different kinds of strengths and weaknesses that different entrepreneurs have and how to essentially build a business that caters to your strengths, but also how to understand your weaknesses, accept them.

And then when you deal with the situation that you find particularly difficult, which other people may not find that difficult, may not even understand why you find it that difficult to almost be easier on yourself and accept it and say, hey, I’m going to do it, but it, it just makes it less painful because I know why it’s painful. And I know, hey, I, this is a weakness of mine. I accept that I accept, this is a hard thing and I’m going to do it anyways. But now at least I’m aware of what’s happening right now.

I always had this conversation in Crossfit because, you know, it’s the whole, like the wad would get like released the night before and it was just like this big game of like, what’s gonna be the workout tomorrow. And it’s not because we actually cared what the workout is. I think, innately, it’s exactly what you’re saying is we wanted to be able to prepare ourselves. Is this something that I’m gonna like, show up and get focused on and crush and be good at it? And I’m gonna, am I having to show up this morning or this day?

Um, with the, the mindset of this is a skill I’m not good at and it’s, you know, the opportunity because you don’t always have control, right? I didn’t have control over the workout. I don’t have control over what my clients is good or you’d probably do the same workouts over and over again. The ones that you like, she was definitely a cherry picker. I, I’m tired today. I’m not going. It’s true. No, but it’s great because then you show up and, you know, hey, I’m, I’m just gonna do the best I can.

And this is an opportunity for improvement. I’m probably not gonna get first in the, in the classroom. But going and knowing is this a day I’m training? Is this a day I’m competing? Is this a day I’m gonna excel. Is this a day, I’m gonna be frustrated um to your point kind of going and knowing is super helpful. Yeah, so Maggie, you are the CEO. So they say is that correct? So I’m talking my email signature. I’m talking with the, with the person whose email signature has CEO in it and who may or may not be the CEO in your, in your opinion.

What are the most important qualities of a CEO? Mm You can say it. That’s a great question. You don’t have to go back just because Matt’s there. I don’t want to say that. Uh That’s a terrible question because I don’t know you and try to answer it. The first word that comes to mind is such a cop out, but it’s a leader. Um We can dissect that a little bit more that everyone who owns a business is a CEO. Matt still technically as CEO peppered into his day.

Um But it can bring a lot of important relationships. That’s pretty ceo. Yeah. Yeah, I mean, it’s, it’s a lot like being the head of a household. Um I’m in charge of my fellow leaders and the relationships I have with them. I’m in charge of the relationships that my leaders have with the people under them, but I’m also in charge of the people under them. Um And so it becomes this intertwined web of, of efficient leadership, effective leadership um working on the strategy of the company like what, what is the vision and how do we keep driving to get there?

Not even necessarily being the visionary, right? Like the CEO doesn’t have the visionary. Would you agree with that? But they have to take the vision and figure out how to run with it yesterday, my operations director called me. He’s so sweet and he said, trying to let you know, it’s really fun working with you. I was like, well, that’s nice. Thank you. He goes, no, like I feel like you and I together like make things happen operationally. And I was like, that’s CEO, right? Like, you know, I’m helping him get this operations program running smoothly and efficiently through collaboration, through conversation.

Um I’m giving him autonomy, but I’m also giving him support and teamwork. That’s a CEO. I love it. I do think it’s interesting because I feel like a lot of people think the CEO has to be the visionary or should be the visionary. And I think it’s interesting that in this case, Matt, I guess you are more taking that role. Definitely. Yeah. And I, I think there is no exact one size fits all, but I do think Maggie you leading with leader, I don’t think that’s a cop out at all.

I think it is the most important attribute of a CEO. It just sounds like a cop out because like Matt said, we, you know, we have these platitudes or things that we say all the time and they kind of lose meaning after a while. But once you build your company to a certain level, things like culture, things like personality, fit right person, right seat, things like leadership all of a sudden it’s like, oh, you know, that was not a bunch of b si actually see how important it is right now.

Yeah, we’re currently having a conversation matt as a visionary has been really pushing to implement a pay for performance type structure um for our company. And we definitely my questions are yes, but how can we do that while keeping the culture? Yes. I want to incentivize people with money. But how we do that is kind of my role in terms of maintaining culture and exactly to your point, the vision that he brought was motivating people with pay for performance. Now it’s my job with the help of my team to implement that in a way that that maintains our culture and our core values.

And that’s a tough job. I’d rather be in Matt’s seat on that one. Like we should, we should reward people for doing well. That’s a great business decision, Maggie make sure it’s not cut throat and that people don’t hate each other. Cool, Matt’s job is done. Maggie go. That’s so funny because you know, you said that you said that about you and your wife is like, that’s sounds, I do not want to sit in a room and vision. That sounds awful. Like, I don’t wanna think about things like that.

I’m so thankful he does. I’m sure he’s so thankful that you now need to make that work. It, it’s a very good fit, but it’s really tough to do both because I can drive around and let my mind wander on. What does this look like in five years? What does our sales process need to look like? What does whatever? Because I’m not, my mind has open space to think about those things. It’s not bogged down in. Oh, I gotta remember to get that gown to paint or whatever. Yeah. Yeah.

You have the, the ability to be creative. And because after you create the idea, obviously, you’re not, you’re not gonna create an idea that doesn’t make any sense or is impossible. But when you create the idea, you don’t have the full responsibility of actually implementing it, which again allows you to be a little bit more out there or creative in the idea. And then Maggie has the responsibility of a century saying, hey, Matt, you know, this isn’t gonna work or let’s see if we can make it work or I think it’s a great idea.

I’m going to make it work. But if you are also, you’re creating the idea and then the other side of your brain knows. Ok, well, when I’m done with this exercise that moves over to this half of the brain and now I have to actually do it, it might keep you a little more tightly reined in and you might be a little bit less creative with your thought process. That’s true. And I think it’s a, a testament to the work we’ve put into our marriage. Um, I think the fact and I know he struggles with this, the whole trusting that I’m getting it done.

Um, the whole process, the patience the time. Um, he could easily give me something, you know, this idea that we’re like, yes, this needs to happen. We’re all in. Um, and, and then get frustrated and angry and bitter to me outside of work because he doesn’t feel like it’s getting done. Like I think it takes a lot of discipline and trust in our marriage for him to um to allow me to take his ideas. That’s a gift. He’s gifting me his ideas and trusting that I’m going to honor them in, in action.

And that’s um something special. I think that you get to do with your spouse. Yeah, you guys have a great relationship. But I, I wanna, I do have a follow up question with that. So he gives you an idea and then he’s trusting you to execute on it. And then you say he doesn’t get frustrated or angry outside of the business. Does, then Matt, do you ever find yourself maybe you, you are a little frustrated within a business context? OK? I brought it and I thought it was you said it was gonna be implemented by this.

It’s not. And then you maybe are allowed to be a little bit frustrated at times within the business. But then you have the mental discipline to acentric a barrier between the business and your guys’ relationship. Or you get, you’re saying just in general, you just don’t get frustrated. No, I’ve, I’ve had to work at that and one of the tools that we’ve used is being very clear in writing about what our initiatives are and what we’re working on, whether it’s, you know, an L 10 style. So they’re just ways of tracking that things are getting done.

And I think for a while we weren’t doing that. So I felt like nothing was happening, but it was, yeah, he definitely felt frustrated the expectation setting, I guess. What’s the definition of done? You know, hey, I’m gonna get this done by next week. Are we, are we both thinking that done is the same thing because I might be like, hey, you didn’t do anything and you might say I, are you kidding? I did the whole thing. Yeah, we actually ran into that. I think it was um probably q three of last year.

He, he was frustrated about, about an in something. I, I don’t even remember what it was but some, some initiative or, or part of our company that, that needed attention and needed um tightening up. And I think after a week or two. It was like, just like, I just feel like nothing’s getting done. And I went back to our initiatives for the year which we had mapped out and included timelines and scope. And I was like, hey, look, this is where we started and this was our goal for Q four.

So, like, we’re actually like, it’s easy to forget how much you’ve done. It’s easy to forget how far you’ve come. We’re always focused on what’s undone. Yes, exactly. And so for lack of better words, it kind of shut him up. He was like, oh, for lack of better words. And I’m not trying to like, I just remember him looking at the sheet and being like, so we are making progress, ok? Like, because it’s part of why we’re successful is because Matt for 23 years, put his head down and just got shit done and did things and worked and just, you know, there was no option other than to do.

And so some of these, so it’s hard to become the visionary and transition into the, the mindset that I would have had this done last week. But you can’t always do things in three days when it affects 85 people. Yeah, I think that’s a great point. And the, I guess that writing it out. So we’re talking about, of course, working together with your spouse. But I think that concept of what is a, what is the deliverable, you know, hey, we agreed on something. What is that deliverable? What does complete actually look like or what are the phases of completion actually look like?

Is just a great business practice in general when you’re working with a partner or even with a team? Because say, hey, get it done that. It’s amazing how different people perceive that different ways. And ultimately, it means you’re not even, you’re not even doing the same thing or looking at the business the same way, which is a huge source of conflict. But of course, with a spouse that can create life conflict, that maybe wouldn’t happen with a regular business partner, we try to prevent that because, you know, they say happy wife, happy life, sorry to put that one in there.

Like literally he was just waiting, waiting to drop it somewhere. Like what, what’s the never said that before? You, you don’t, you’re, you’re not the kind of guy who, who says that I have not gotten the impression. Um OK, so Matt, so she Maggie is the CEO, what is your, what’s your email? Let’s not ask what, what your role is. What’s your email signature? Say? It actually says nothing about my title at all. You’re just, they know who you are. Yes, Mike. Mike drop. You put cancer boy in for a while.

I’m technically on our org chart. I’m the uh director of New Construction. Um But it, it’s kind of one of those weird things because I’m still, you know, it’s the bubble above here, Maggie and our owner, she’s CEO and then I’m also down here as a director level position. So I, I occupy two positions, which was the whole thing that we, another thing we learned from Dave Scaturro as we built out. The org chart is Dave’s name was in like five different bubbles. Um I think you get caught up thinking that you can only have a person in a bubble.

Uh And that’s, yeah, to Matt’s point, he probably serves a lot more at the top, but day to day he has this role kind of making sure that our new construction division keeps running is the end goal to put somebody else in that spot probably. But right now it’s him. I think that’s really interesting too because we’ve all heard, hey, Create an orchard, even if you’re a one man band and then you just put yourself in everything and as you grow, you take yourself out and you put someone else in, you guys are at 9 million.

Dave Scaturro is even quite a bit higher than that. And yet he’s in five different positions. So this idea, you might serve multiple roles, might go on longer than you think. And it’s freeing and clarifying to know that. But it also means you guys have defined the roles probably more granularly than a lot of smaller companies have. So it’s, well, it looks like, hey, Dave Scaturro is occupying five roles. Those five roles are probably more specialized and overall less labor intensive from an hour perspective than the five roles of maybe a start up company with one person and he puts himself in five roles, which is essentially the entire business.

So also something to keep in mind. So with you guys being a married couple and I think this was something um Maggie did mention it can be confusing for the team, Maggie. You said 85 people or so on your team for who to report to or maybe you know, this idea of like mom and dad like, hey mom said no, but maybe dad will say yes. How, how have you guys handled that with your team? It’s been a little bit of a transition process. Uh I think initially it was harder for the the field, the painters to make that transition.

I think the, the office staff, the leadership team took on do it a lot more quickly, but a lot of it was just like, hey, I, I would just, I’m like, I don’t know, you’ll have to check with Maggie and you do that enough times. Stop asking. Yeah, I would like to, I mean, you’re right when I go to job sites, the painters, especially when you were sick, the painters would always say, how’s the big boss? I was there? They still think I’m the big boss. They still and it’s in broken for a lot of them.

It’s in broken English. How’s, how’s big boss? And I’m like, like, it’s me. She’s standing right here. You ask her doing just fine. But a lot of them trace back and have relationships to Matt prior to Harpeth painting. And so, yeah, I mean, to his point, the field people still think Matt’s the big boss and that’s ok. I mean, not offended. So we’ve gone through a couple litmus tests. It seems like this has overall been a fairly natural journey for you guys. I know you talked about a lot of the work that you put into your marriage, which probably set you up for success of enduring the hardships and what you have to endure as a young business owner.

But the, you know, when we, when we talked about, OK, is working with your partner a good fit. You guys essentially just knew and we ran through some litmus test of, can you have these uncomfortable conversations and things of that nature? Then we get into OK, how to identify the superpowers of each partner. And again, you largely knew we figured out that Matt Matt’s been doing this for a long time. He’s good at it. He likes it. Maggie’s gonna fill in the gaps, ok? Now she’s doing estimating makes her stomach hurt.

She really doesn’t like it. Probably need to figure out a way to get her out of that. Oh, she’s great with people. Perfect. So it’s kind of this natural flow that happened. You, you sort of subsidize it with some personality tests, things that essentially affirmed your decisions, helped you understand your yourself better. What advice would you give to couples who don’t feel? Maybe that sense of self that you guys have or, or maybe don’t have that experience like Matt’s experience, for example, coming into this. So they don’t really, they’re more at a loss and they’re saying, hey, what’s the first step?

Because it’s maybe not gonna be as easy for us to figure out the steps as it seemed to be for Maggie and Matt. Hm surround yourself would be the first thing. Um I said this earlier. It was other people that told us what I should be doing when they said it. We were like, oh, yeah, duh, that makes total sense. But um at the time when you’re just grinding and building and um we all, every single person who owns a paint company, I would argue has moments where they just innately fear is this going to keep working?

Right? And so you can just get so hyper focused on the doing to make sure that it doesn’t stop working that you forget to sit back and reflect. And so it was, it was others. It was at one of Nick’s retreats that I think it was Jamie Burkhardt from Murfreesboro painting and he was like, Maggie is the CEO y’all are stupid. And then he got up on the marker board and drew the space and like it was not, might have been when you were there if it were, if it were two years ago or so, it was anyway.

But it was just so funny how it took this person to be like, you guys are stupid and not see that she’s good at this and then Matt can run off and do this. But I know I said it earlier. It yes, we are introspective and yes, we are emotionally, we work on our emotional intelligence and we have these um existential conversations, but it was not through those that we figured this out. It was through being vulnerable um with people that we trust and putting it out there and allowing them to give ideas and then taking it with a grain of salt.

Jamie built us like a $30 million company that had me in the fetal position on the couch. I was like, I don’t want this, take it away. Once we sifted through, you’re at the top, you’re like, no, take it away, right? But once we sifted through, I was like, OK, it’s not the top that scared me. It was it $30 million nonsense. But you know, here we are. Yeah. Uh So for people listening again, I just always want to make it as actionable for as many listeners as possible.

They don’t feel like they have, let’s say they don’t feel like they have this network of people who know them very well, especially in maybe a business type setting. We can talk about joining the PC A, we can talk about maybe a, a local, you know, some sort of mastermind group. What would you recommend for them to try to get that insight from, from other people? Yeah, I think that’s been a huge part of my growth as a business owner is not just PC A but other uh networking groups.

Like you said CEO groups or entrepreneur groups, those have been as valuable, if not more valuable than PC A relationships. Where can they find them? Those groups? It’s trial by fire, I think, I mean, trial by fire. Is it trial by fire? I don’t know. I think it’s trial and trial by fire. Um But yeah, I mean, we’ve done it like I joined a, a CEO mastermind group that Matt was like, this is awesome. Look at this is gonna be perfect for you and I paid $250 a month for three months and I was like, all they do is talk on slack.

This is really stupid. And so I bowed out. Um You know, I think Matt said a couple successful uh a business coach that the coaching program was local and came with like events where you could network. Um We’ve been plugged in with the university that we went to, which is in town. They have some entrepreneurship. Groups for alums. Um, Matt’s plugged in with some Christian men’s leadership groups in town. And, um, I think maybe I’m still figuring that out for me. Um, what, what that’s gonna look like to, to be in that network other than the PC A for me, it’s the PC A right now.

Matt has ventured out to some additional support things but it’s definitely just been, um, feeling it out wasting some money, not wasting some money. Yeah. Yeah. And you can Google things like CEO meet up group or business, meet up group. You can go to meet up.com. You can search on Facebook. You can, you can just try to find other business owners who as a, as an entrepreneur, you do need to even ask like your paint rep, they talk to paint contractors that are probably more successful than you.

Um, you know, do you know what? So and so is doing for professional development. Um I mean, even just start with a BN I group, I mean, they’re just try to find something, try like guarantee if you start trying, it’ll be the process of elimination. Like, well, this kind of sucked and didn’t seem worth my money. But what I did like is this so maybe I can go find something that has more of that iterating on. I love that. And I think we’re, we’re so reticent as adults in general to ask for mentorship.

It’s such a weird word, you know, mentors. And the I, I remember first I date my wife, she said she had a mentor and I just had never heard of someone just saying, oh my mentor and she wasn’t running a business. She, she worked at a nonprofit and I’m like, what are you, what are they mentoring you on? But I think we should be looking for mentors and leaders and even more semiformal or formal relationships in that regard. And I think if you’re running a, a starting a painting company, running a small painting company, try to find a, a company in your market or several companies that are really successful, maybe show up to their office, maybe call them.

There’s a chance that the owner of scarcity, you know, has a scarcity mindset and tells you to screw off uh because he doesn’t want to help a competitor. OK? You’re an entrepreneur, you have to have thick skin, go to another one. Try to say, hey, I’m starting this painting company. You run this really successful one. I would, you know, can I just pick your brain? Can I take you to lunch? Can I kind of learn what you did and how you do? I would, that would really help me a lot.

Some people, a lot of people will be really honored for that. So just, you know, be resourceful, put yourself out there, be uncomfortable and, and get the help, get the mentorship that will is just gonna save you years. Yep. So guys, as we, what, what did you say? Great advice. I appreciate that, Matt. So as we, as we wrap up this episode, finding your superpower uh with your spouse in particular, a lot of this stuff was, was relevant outside of that. You guys have anything else that you wanna add?

This has been the most thorough podcast series ever. Hopefully somebody makes it all the way through to this point and please use code painter marketing pros for 50% off a paint job. What’s, oh, is it off a paint job? Ok. I was like, what is it off? It’s not off us. So if you, if you’ve listened this far, Brandon is offering 50% off for a year. There, there it is. You heard it from Matt? He’s our, our top sales rep here at Painter Marketing Pros. That’s funny. That’s all I have, Maggie.

Um two great things. It’s my advice. Listen to the last podcast. If you’re a female and are easily offended, don’t be easily offended. Don’t be easily offended. The uh that, that one is uncomfortable for me. So the only other question I have like I was, I was, you know, real precarious. The uh did Matt actually put cancer boy ever in his email signature or was that a joke? Oh, no, it was a joke. I was like, man, that’s crazy. No, but there have been a few clients that had no idea.

And he like followed up with an email was like, sorry, I’ve been out of pocket, I’ve got chemo treatments but you know, so and so will be in touch. And this is like he started or he got sick in September. This is like December and these clients are like, hang on, hang on what? You know, and we’re like, we were saying it like it’s no big deal. We’re not just going to like, send a company announcement, like dear clients, the owner of this company is sick. We’ll see how this goes by pummeling the Grim Reaper, stand by, stand by.

Make sure liquid gets on your walls, I think probably have a good day. Happy New Year. Yeah, I love it. Well, guys, thank you, Matt. Thank you for sticking around for so long for coming back and I really appreciate you guys. This has been a phenomenal series. Thank you both.

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 paintermarketingpros.com/podcast.

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 Brandon@PainterMarketingPros.com and I can give you personalized advice on growing your painting business until next time.

Keep growing.

Brandon Pierpont

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