You all know my face, but do you know much about me and what qualifies me to be part of the dynamic duo?? Grab a coffee/wine/beer and let me tell you all about me!
My life in construction began before I was born, really. My Dad is a plasterer, (also former brickie) and right from when I was in my Mother’s tummy I would head to site most weekends.
My childhood was spent waving my Dad off before it was light and cleaning the plaster buckets on the weekend for pocket money. I grew up in the ’80s when times were really tough, and my Dad had to work most weekends just to keep food on the table and the mortgage paid, and yet I loved it!
It meant that I could go to work with him, as the only time my Dad would let me go to site was when no other workers were there because it was no place for a young lady with all those men around. Too much swearing and far too much objectifying women for my Dad to want me to be a witness to, I’m so pleased he did, I might not be the person I am without his shielding.
Instead on a Saturday, I would follow him around and typically as he would be sanding that day, I’d be chief sweeper. Now let me tell you, it’s not easy to effectively sweep plaster dust, there is a real art to it! We’d often stop for a lemonade ice-block or a can of Tab on the way home and I loved it!
Fast forward to my teenage years and I didn’t love it so much. In fact, I didn’t love anything to do with my parents at all and so pursued a very different life direction, although I’d still get stuck cleaning the damn buckets on the weekends.
I went on to marry and open my first business with my then-husband, cutting and supplying firewood. It was great during Winter, although living in Brisbane meant the demand was never huge and after a couple of years we let the business go.
When not helping with the firewood business, I was developing my career in pharmacy. I loved working in pharmacy and retail was a whole new skill to master. This part of my career went on for 13 years, during which time I went on to run a very successful independent pharmacy, (not easy to do in the days of the big box model) and later managed the purchasing for 13 stores.
It was during this time, my first marriage broke down and I met my now husband, “The Builder”. With 5 kids between us and us each working 60+ hours a week outside of the home, life got really challenging. After many conversations, the call was made for me to leave my pharmacy work, and help out in the business.
At this point in time, the Builder was working in his parents business, however, they were all going nowhere very quickly. So we made the decision to go out on our own. HOLY MOLY!!
Nothing had prepared me for this. Sure I had buckets of business knowledge, but nothing prepared me for the way I wouldn’t be accepted. I mean my husband accepted and supported me, why not the guys on site.
During those first few years, some really tough decisions had to be made. We moved on most of the subcontractors we had been using, for fresh ones who shared our business vision. I had a crash course in how to build a house and deal with the bullshit attitudes so many still had towards women in the industry. It was hard, it almost ruined our marriage, it most certainly impacted our family and rocked my self-esteem. But we continued.
Four years later, we were finally making headway. The business was booming, and our family life had settled. I started my blog The Builder’s Wife and found myself overwhelmed by women who had had a similar path to mine, and the one thing we all had in common, was how lonely we found the journey, and so began a community.
In December of 2015, I was shocked to be announced as the 2015 QLD HIA Business Partner of The Year. I’ve had an amazing journey in the construction industry, but I’ve seen some horrendous things as well. Bullying, stress and family breakdowns seemed to be all around me. It is in fact, what lead Warrick and I to sit down at a service station 12 months ago, to talk about how we could make a positive change in the industry.
That is where Tradies in Business was born. It is our mission, to help tradies, and their wives, partners or supporters to prevent #Tradiebusinessfails. You see, tradies are not taught to be business people, and yet we are encouraged to go into business for ourselves. For so many of us, our journeys are rocky, we don’t make the money we thought if any at all, we are stressed, exhausted, rarely home and never have time for ourselves. Here at TIB we are working to change that.
We are passionate about helping you create a business that you manage, not one that manages you. So now you know a little more about my journey in construction, care to tell me more about you? Drop by the Facebook Group HERE and introduce yourself and your business. See you there!