199: Building a Design Business with Alma Homes

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This week on the pod we are thrilled to snag a guest who’s designs we’ve been following for years! There’s nothing better than an email update from the famous Alma Homes where we get to see beautiful houses plus hear what the owner, Kirsten, is up to. We even learned about her recent 30A beach condo reno this way and just got back from staying in that perfect space!

Kirsten Erickson is the Owner of Alma Homes, a boutique design-build firm based out of Minneapolis, MN. She founded Alma in 2017 with the intent to create beautiful homes that are designed around the way her clients’ lived. We loved interviewing her to learn about this journey and the business she has built.

Ever since 8th grade, Kirsten knew she wanted to become an architect, but had no real life exposure or experience in the industry. So, she threw herself into the design world during college, graduating with a Masters of Architecture, an MBA, as well as minors in Housing Studies and Construction Management. When we say Kirsten wears all the hats, we mean Kirsten wears ALL. THE. HATS!

As a company, Alma Homes focuses on building high end custom homes and whole home remodels in the Twin Cities metro area. They also offer our interior design services nation-wide. They believe your home should be a reflection of your style and the way your family lives, and as such, focus on quality over quantity, and are thrilled to work with clients who end the build process feeling like family. Whether you know Alma Homes or this is your first introduction to them, you are in for a treat!

Find Kirsten at AlmaHomes.com Instagram: @almahomes Tiktok: @almahomes Pinterest: @almahomes

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The following is a rough transcript provided by Otter.ai.
He walked into different units in our complex and had painter like this looks good. Do you want a job? Yeah and around the corner

Kiersten I just got over Brown from the beginning of the painting over the tan on the right hand the builder and rail like I don’t know if I can just go back.

I’m like look, I can help you make your house look clean and empty and ready to sell. I cannot make it like shine or have a special things. This is insane. This is so many people. Hi, y’all. Welcome to hustle humbly. It’s Alyssa and Katie and we are two top producing realtors in the Baton Rouge market.

We work for two different companies where we should be competitors. But we have chosen community over competition. The goal of our podcast is to encourage you to find your own way in business. So stop comparing yourself and start embracing your strengths.

Hello everyone, it is episode 199 Oh good. Love the hustle humbly podcast and today we have a guest Kyrsten Ericson with Alma Holmes is here Kyrsten will you tell the people about yourself, I have followed your Instagram for many years. And so I think a lot of our friends will know. But just tell us who you are and what you do. Well, first and foremost,

thank you guys so much for having me. This is going to be so fun. I’m so excited. But yeah, so my name is KEARSON. I am the owner and the founder of Alma Holmes. And we are a design build firm based out of Minneapolis. So we do, we design and we build custom homes, we do remodels and then we also help clients design throughout the entire country. So that’s just a quick and dirty overview of what we do.

So tell us like how how long you’ve been doing that

you went to school for architecture, if I’m right, like tell us kind of like your beginnings and how long, I guess Alma Holmes has been in existence. Yeah, absolutely. So I am a rare person in the sense that I actually knew when I was in eighth grade, what I wanted to do, my dad bought me essentially a video game that was kind of like The Sims, and I just fell in love with it. I always loved math, I always loved art. And then I got this computer game. And I’m like, I want to be an architect. This is great. And so from that point on, I just I fell in love with it. I went to school for architecture. And I will say I didn’t have any experience in the construction industry or even in the design industry. My dad was a financial advisor, my grandpa was a dentist, my other grandpa sold insurance. So this was all new territory for me. But I didn’t know I had a lot to learn. So I also got minors, and construction management and Housing Studies just trying to be a sponge and learn as much as possible, because I really didn’t know anything. And so after I graduated, I went to grad school. And then I got my masters of architecture. And I also got an MBA, because I didn’t know that long term, running my own company was something that I did want to do. And then when I graduated from grad school, it was kind of like the armpit of the economy, the housing market was in the toilet. And a friend from undergrad reached out and he was working for a custom home builder. And they had a position in interior design. He was like I know, it’s not what you want to do. I know you want to be in architecture, but at that point, I was like, it’s a job, I will take it, it’s semi related, I will not complain. And so through that position, I fell in love with the entire design process. I fell in love with being involved in the interior design in the architectural design and the construction side of things. And so from that point on, I just knew like I wanted to be involved in everything. So I worked for a couple different companies for a few years. And then once I felt like I wasn’t learning anymore, I just branched off and started on the homes in 2017. So we’ve been been here ever since.

I love that. Okay, I think it’s so interesting that you kind of are the full package. So you have the architecture, experience and education, the design, you know, the interior design and the construction. Do you find that to be sort of rare with builders? It seems like these are generally three different people, right?

Yeah, there’s a couple of different paths that you can take when you do build a home. So you can go more of the traditional route where you hire an architect, you hire an interior designer, and you hire a contractor. That’s the more traditional, the more common approach. Design Build is an option where everything is under one roof. That’s what Alma Holmes is, and it has grown a lot in popularity over the past 10 or so years. But it’s definitely not as popular as as the traditional path, I would say.

So are you the architect for your company and you handle the plans and everything like what is your role specifically?

Yeah, that’s a great question. So I yeah, I do I oversee all of the plans. I I’m involved in the interior design process as well, I’m more. So just oversee that we have a great interior designer that really heads that up. And then a lot of just behind the scenes day to day business things. One thing you do learn running a business, as I’m sure both of you guys know, is wear hats, and everyday is unpredictable. So.

Okay, so the builds that you do are all local to you in Minnesota, right? Correct. How many do you do at a time? And like, I guess in the course of a year, maybe? Or like, what are what is your client load at any given moment?

Yeah, so each year, we probably I would say, it ebbs and flows each year, we do about 10 to 15 projects per year. And that’s a combination of new construction and remodeling. Everything from a build standpoint is local, we do take on remote interior design projects throughout the country. And at one time, from a design standpoint, I will usually have one or two people in plans. And we’ll usually have one or two people in the interior design phase. So I’m usually working with three to four people at once heavily in design. And then in construction, we can we can handle a lot more in construction, because we utilize subcontractors for everything. So yeah, we have great project managers that oversee the actual on site activities.

Do you prefer building or remodeling? That’s like

picking a favorite child. Building. Because it’s from the ground up, the opportunity is endless. You can literally do anything. But remodeling. I don’t know there’s something so fun about taking a space that doesn’t work, and just transforming it and really making it work for your client. Because you don’t get that fun before and after feel when you do new construction. It’s just this is there.

Like, look at this thing and look what we made it into. And it’s just we saw one on your Instagram that gosh, did they tear this house down? And I’m like,

it looks like I don’t know what they did. It’s not the same. No, yeah.

I will say it is very rewarding. Though. The very first house that I ever fully designed, the plans for walking through that first house will always be one of the most special experiences just knowing like this came from my head. And now someone lives in this. So right here there is new construction. That’s so

how long does that process take when you’re taking it out of your head and like working with a client to make plans? Like I’m always fascinated by I mean, my husband and I have built two homes ourselves. So we had a drafter who did our plans, but we’re like in the kitchen measuring Okay, well, what does 10 feet look like? What does it look like? Or how big should the island be? Well, let’s stay in here and walk around it. And like really super overthought it but from your perspective, like how long is that process,

it really varies based on who you work with, we have a pretty efficient process. And so I would say most of our clients, it probably takes about three to four months. But we get pretty in depth just to make sure everything is exactly to their liking. And so it does take a little while for sure. Yeah.

Yeah, because once you’ve done it in the walls, it’s not like you can just go no moveable. I love when people just this is not quite big enough. Like that’s not really how any of this works like we have to know. But the nice thing I think about the way you have it set up doing the construction and the design is that you have a more practical knowledge of the build part, I think that I’ve seen at times, sometimes the architecture world or the design world doesn’t really understand like the practical application of putting that thing that structure on the ground and building it. So there becomes a little bit of friction, where it’s like, well, you drew this, but we can’t do this or so I think that’s kind of nice that you have that, to share that full perspective for your clients. Yeah, it

definitely is a benefit for our clients, for sure. I mean, we see it a lot where sometimes clients will actually come in with plans that a different architect Drew, and not to bash any architects, I think sometimes there’s just if you don’t actually have the direct construction experience, there can be that disconnect, where they don’t understand fully how much things actually cost. I would say cost is the biggest factor where we get these plans. And like my architect told me, this is a million dollars, and we’re like, who’s $3 million? There’s no way this is a million dollars. So I think sometimes that can be a struggle for sure. But again, it really is just dependent done on teeth working Yeah.

Do you find that your build clients ever come to you confused about what the cost is going to be? And like they bought a piece of property and maybe they’ve even acquired plans, and then they show up and you’re like, well, this isn’t a million dollars, it’s $3 million. And all of a sudden it’s like, well, we have to have a 3000 square foot house. So if we can’t build it, do they ever scrap and then buy or like yes, I find that that happens a lot here. Yes.

Yeah. And we have a pretty extensive, like questionnaire process and vetting process and we’re very be upfront with clients. Because we’re design build, if we don’t build, you know, we’re not getting paid like a traditional architecture firm. Well, we’re, we’re billing hourly and everything. So we’re incentivized to build your house. So we’re gonna have that tough conversation on the front end. Like, if this isn’t feasible, you’re gonna know it’s not feasible. And, hey, let’s find a house that you can buy. And we’ll help you remodel it and make it your dream home, then,

that was something that we found very refreshing about your website. It’s so good, by the way, and it is very direct in the FAQs and just the about section. And we love that you weren’t afraid to shy away from the fact that y’all are a luxury brand, like you have created a specific area that you want to work in. And that’s what you do. And if it’s outside of that, you don’t do it. And so we really thought that your

it was very transparent. Yeah, like, this is where renovation prices start. This is where our real prices start. Like, if you’re not even in this world, like then we’re not going to be a fit. It was nice to kind of see that. Okay, thank you. So welcome. It was so nice to like, explore and like learn, okay, do you have a client waitlist, if you’re only really working, I guess, with those four at a time, and how long is the wait to work with your company,

it really depends on when you reach out to us because it’s different in every season. So right now, based upon what you want to do, we have a waitlist of probably about six weeks, we usually don’t have these really crazy waitlists, we do have great, a great team that’s able to handle a lot and do a lot efficiently. So we usually can get people in pretty quickly. But that being said, with when you look at how many leads, we start with to how many projects we actually do, we filter through a lot of people to actually get to the right clients, for sure.

I bet the filtering process is time consuming. If if 100 People came through and filled out all of the questionnaires and went through the fees and the pricing and understood the process, how many like what would you say your percentage of them moving forward? Is? Is it like 10%? Or 50%?

Oh, that’s such a great question. I don’t know the answer to that off the top of my head, we actually have a pretty decent conversion rate. But within the past two years, we automated a lot of things, which was really scary to do, because we are a very, you know, we’re a very high end brand, essentially, when it’s like very high touch point for our clients. And so internally, we’re like, how do we navigate that the first experience they have when they reach out to us is essentially a questionnaire. But once you know our social media presence started growing, we were just getting inundated with leads and you’re like this is not sustainable. Like this is a full time job just responding to leads that are nowhere near the right fit for us, right. They kind of filter people as they go to make sure like you said, Okay, this is within my price point, even on the the first initial lead questionnaire is how many square feet do you want to build, this is what your budget needs to be. So that right there will filter people out. So I mean, if I had to guess I would say, we probably sign at least 25% of the solid leads that come through. And I think social media plays a huge role in that just because they feel like they know us by the time we actually have that conversation.

Well, your social media is done so well. We follow your accounts. And so we have so many questions about how that came to be like how you knew that that was something you needed to do for your business and how you got started there.

Yeah, like Were you always a marketing brain? Like that was your bait? Like, I guess tell us the the origin of your social media and like what your I guess vision was? Yeah, so

it was my secret weapon when we first started the company. And it actually started previously, when I was working for different companies. I just I love home design. And so I was always posting on my own page, just what I was doing. So I was so passionate about it. And then one day randomly one of my things, one of my posts got reposted by this account. And overnight I had like 5000 followers and at the time. So this is insane. This is so many people. And so when I ultimately did start all my homes, I knew that that was the avenue that contractors were not utilizing but people in the millennial generation, that’s where they were looking. And so I think that really helped propel us forward at first because we were able to get in there and start growing a presence before it was mainstream, especially in our market too. So that really, really helped us.

What year was that? That you started on the homes on? On like Instagram, do you remember?

He’s 17 Okay,

so it’s really not that long ago. Not

that long. No, it’s funny too, because Ethan, who is my husband now? But he ran previous companies in a past life. And when we feel started. I’ll never forget this. We always laugh about this story, but there was this big hailstorm. And he was like, Oh, this is great. We can do some fast roofs. We can do some fast siding just to build some capital right now while we’re first starting. He’s like, Kiersten. This is what you need to do. He needed prints and yard signs, but they need to say all the homes on budget on time, and I’m like, I will handle the marketing from this point on you still. Like I got discovered we’re good.

Oh, man. Oh, man. That’s wild. Okay, so was all of your growth pretty organic on social media? Like it just took off? Because the timing and there wasn’t a lot of people putting out what you were putting out?

Did Yeah, it was definitely a slow burn, for sure. Um, I’ve always been very business minded. I love marketing. And so I love watching the trends. But we honestly didn’t see the most of our growth until probably 2021, when really started to take off. As soon as rails came. I knew because I had seen how different things had rolled up previously on Instagram. I was like, we need to adopt this right now we need to figure this out because Instagram is heavily trying to compete with Tiktok. So we need to, like, get on the front end of this wave. And that really is what exploded our account for sure.

Huh? Yeah, we actually watched one of your reels that was so good about the like seven questions to ask when you’re selecting a builder, so will you because I kind of like the how you’ve taken your as a designer who does renovations its content is pretty easy. And I feel the same way about we’re realtors are audiences realtors, there’s content for days because you’re going in houses and people love to look at houses. It’s not hard. It’s not like being a loan officer or an insurance salesman like right? You’re pretty things to look at. So it’s pretty easy to put some content out there. But will you share with us some of the questions from that? Do you remember that reel with the things to ask your builder? I would love for you to share a few. Yeah,

absolutely. So some of the questions. I don’t remember all of them off the top of my head. I do know for sure some of them were what are their processes? I think that’s a very, very important question to ask. As we’ve done more remote design throughout the US, we’ve been exposed to different contractors and how they operate. And it just makes us very thankful for our processes, because there’s a lot of very transparent information. And so understand what their processes look like, because it will affect what your experience is like with them. And then another one, too is what are their timelines? How do they handle backward items? Because things have gotten a lot better since 2020. But we are still feeling some of the effects with long lead times and whatnot. So how are they proactive? So you don’t sit there with your house? on hold for three months? Because your tiles delayed? Right, because we’re a couple just off the top of my head. Love that. Yeah,

so good. elicited a flip last year, and she had to order her windows before she even closed Yeah, did window lead times. There’s

they’re getting better now. But they’re still there long.

That’s why like, can you imagine like we’re in play as we might break ground tomorrow, but we’re gonna need to order those windows right.

Now, that’s the very first thing that we do with our clients still is will do. The minute they sign their contract, we do a window meeting to make sure everything is good. I mean, we’ve gone through their plans and everything at that point. We’re like, we’re ordering windows right now. So we have them when you need.

Yeah. Okay. I also really love that you have so many facets now, I think that are being added to your business. So you’re not just doing this one thing. We specifically kind of want to ask you about your personal real estate journey, because we know that you’re building or I don’t know, if you’re done with altitude, you know, your vacation home, and then you we know you just renovated emerald, the condo at the beach. So tell us how you got into that. And like kind of what your plan is for your personal real estate, I guess, in addition to your business, definitely. So

there’s a two part answer to that. So the first part is that it has I went to grad school in Colorado, I love Colorado, it’s just a second home to me. And so my entire life, one of my bucket list goals has always been I want to have a house in the mountains and I want to have a house on the beach. So there’s definitely some a personal agenda in driving and driving those purchases for sure. But a big part of it, too, was also Ethan and I not only are in the same industry, we are in the same company, and it’s not lost on me. I graduated when the housing market was in the toilet for lack of a better term. And so it’s not lost on me that we need to diversify because if there’s ever a recession again, we want to make sure that we’re protected. And so, you know, we selfishly we wanted to have you know, these homes in these different locations and we decided to branch into the Airbnb market and try that out and see how it goes. So we just listed out altitude, I think it actually goes live today or tomorrow, which we’re really or not altitude, I’m sorry, emerald. And then altitude is wrapping up here. And the next two months, it should be ready for listing in July. So we’re really excited for those to go live. So

that is exciting. I have a cabin in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, that we Airbnb and VRBO. And it was my first one, it was super old, super old, but had all the space and the view, like I got it for the view. And I’ve just slowly, you know, done what needed to be done. And it’s come a very long way. But I’m like, Man, I think if I was gonna do this, again, I would love to have the budget to get something a little bit newer to not have to just, and then you’re remodeling between guests. Like as you you kind of get it ready. And then it’s just little pieces of time, you know, like, I just had to rebuild my whole deck. And we had to do it between guests. So it was interesting, but do you

self get done? Or do you have a property management company,

I just pretty much do it myself. I have a cleaning lady that I really like she’s local there, she sinks her calendar with my calendar. She’s kind of my eyes there. So it’s a it’s about an 11 hour drive for me. And there’s no easy way to fly. And I have a two year old that’s terrible in the car. So we don’t go. Like we, we took my six year old over Thanksgiving and just left him home. Because I was like, I’m not doing 11 hours in the car with him and older. But we go like once a year, but I’ll send friends or family to check on things and let me know how everything looks. And my cleaning lady does a good job. But like you said to everything is pretty automated. Yeah. So I just haven’t had much of a need for like a management company to come take a big percentage at this time. Maybe if I get into more like, I would love a place at the beach. So that’ll be that’ll be her next. My next goal.

How much time do you personally think you’ll use those two properties? Do you know because you kind of have to book it so far out in advance if you’re renting it out the rest of the time.

Yeah. So how we designed altitude is we actually have a separate essentially unit in the basement that will never be rented out. So that will allow us I mean, it’s basically like a one bedroom hotel room, if you will. So it’s nothing you know, big and luxurious by any stretch. But then at the very least, if we want to go out and go skiing for the weekend, we’ll still have a place to stay. But I have a feeling we probably won’t be staying in like the main part of the house that much because ultimately we want to be renting it. As far as Florida is concerned. The really nice thing about the Emerald Coast in that area of Florida is that peak season for them is summer. And for us Minnesota like summer is amazing in Minnesota, so I have no desire to go to Florida in the summertime. So that’s great. We’ll rent it during peak season we’ll go over the winter when it’s not as it is more temperate down there. It’s not as hot like Southern Florida. So I’m not sure how much time I think a couple of weeks each year, but it’s definitely not at this point. Something that will send months that for sure.

Right? Yeah, I love that.

I know people always ask me, Do you feel bad that you never use your cabin? I’m like, no, because if I don’t use it at Rent since I have no guilt, you know, I have no guilt. It’s

fine. Hey, Alyssa pKb.

What do we mention almost

every episode, email template. You’re right,

we sure do. And after every time we mentioned an email template, do you know what we get

emails asking if they can have copies of the email template, send

me a copy of that template. I would like that. That sounds great. And you know what the good news is, you can get all of our email templates from our course email templates, one on one, tell the people about it.

Our course has all of the email templates you would need to send to your buyers and your sellers and your clients that are buying and selling at the same time. Exactly. To get through every step of the transaction and giving them information that they need for where they are in the transaction. It’s great because you never forget to tell them something. Yeah. So we’ve already done all the work for you. Yeah, we wrote them and you can personalize them. Yes. And just feel organized, knowing that you have all the information where it needs to be.

And if you purchase email templates, 101, you do get lifetime access. So occasionally, we like to go in and make updates based on the market or if we find a new best practice. So we put that right into the template and you get that updated straightaway. It just

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That’s great. Where can they find these email templates? You can

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One Oh one.com. Yes, head over for reviews and all of the specifics. Wonderful. Okay, enjoy. Okay, so emerald was a renovation, altitude was a new build? Yes. Do you how do you feel about being your own client? Are you the worst client? Are you was it easy? Like, tell us about that experience?

Yeah, um, so I, we actually went through I remodeled for myself before. And then we did build our current home, I’m definitely my worst client hands down, I think I’ve gotten better, I really do think I’ve gotten better. But I think the biggest challenge is that being a designer, you want to be doing things that are on the forefront of the design trends. And so you want to take risks, but you don’t want to take too big of a risk. And then also, it is your project. So clients always come first. And so the biggest challenge is that we have these great processes in place that we have for our clients. But then when it comes to our projects, it’s just a free for all because we’re just doing it last minute and I’m like, This is why we follow our processes you’ve got it’s definitely a different animal building for yourself for sure.

Okay, I’m so glad you brought up trends because, okay, my real estate office is a design real estate firm. So my broker does design work, you know, interior design, she has designers on staff, and she has realtors who are doing real estate work. And I’ve always had a big passion for design. She has reposted so much Alma homes over the years. So I said, Hey, I’m going to interview Kiersten, what do you want to ask her? And she said, Oh, I want to know what the trends are. So she’s like, I know, she goes to all of the shows, like the trade shows. And I want to know what the build and design trends coming are. So will you can you share a couple of thoughts on that,

of course. So trends are definitely going more natural. So you’re gonna see a lot of darker colors, a lot of darker tones. So wood tones are going to start to start to lean a little bit darker as well. I wouldn’t say they’re going like dark, dark, but definitely more medium tones are coming in rounds are actually really making a comeback, which actor Brown, we posted a reel and we were just laughing at the feedback. I mean, we’re on the very front end of that trend coming. But you can definitely see it in just some warmer tones.

And then just, Kiersten I just got over Brown from the beginning of the tail, I know, clients painting over the tan, and the builder Grail like I don’t know if

I can just go back. It definitely takes some getting used to for sure. What any others besides the colors that you I mean, we do. And this has been a trend for a long time, but a lot of natural was white oak is still massively popular patterns, people are playing a lot more with pattern and color. wallpaper has been just exploding on the scene. And that’s been so fun to really inject some personality into spaces. And just I think color in general is is much more forward than it has been the past few years with all white everything. Love them.

Okay, now we’re gonna get into a whole nother part of your business because we’re fascinated by all of it. What inspired you to branch out from your one on one client work and start adding an online component. So you have a course and some other courses coming? Like what inspired that. And I really want you to tell us about your digital downloads. Because we have never seen that where you could be like, I would like to know this paint color. And you’re like, here’s a digital download, but it does cost $5. And I thought

what that really and yeah, it’s so brilliant.

So talk us through how that came to be and like what your online business? I guess thoughts are?

Yeah, a lot of it. Again, it stemmed from that wanting to diversify our income streams. At the end of the day, like I said, we’re in the same exact company, that same exact industry. So we wanted to see how we can leverage our platform that we have built and how we start to monetize that. And so it I guess there’s a two part answer to it as well. So being that we are more of a boutique company, we only are working with, you know, 10 to 15 clients per year. And we want to be able to serve more people. And I think one of the ways we can do that is through courses. So even though we may not be able to actually build for you, we can create resources that then you can use during your build so you can get sort of the all my experience without physically working with us. So that was a huge Stryver obviously wanting to diversify, diversify income streams, but also just make information more accessible to more people. And then the digital downloads honestly kind of came out as we were just getting inundated with questions and it was taking somebody it was a full time job just responding to these questions. And so we’re like, how can we make this more sustainable because this is not sustainable? And we figured, you know, we actually had done you know, different affiliate marketing and at one point We had a photo of my mudroom go completely viral. And what we’ve learned is that affiliate marketing is great for fashion. It’s great for different components, it doesn’t always do the best in home design, because we got inundated with questions on what’s this tile? What’s this tile? What’s this tile, we probably sent out 10s of 1000s of links to this tile. And when I looked back, I think we probably made $200 in that tile. And so we’re like, how can we work smarter than this? Because that was a lot of work for not a lot of reward, essentially. Right? So we just kind of took here our most common requested sources, let’s make it super accessible. So if someone really wants it is $5. Like it’s the price of a latte. And then they can purchase the information if they really want it. Because I think a lot of people just they want the information, but they don’t actually do anything. Yeah, they don’t need it. Yeah, yeah. Oh, right.

That’s a great point. Because you’re like, you have to hit the button and put in your credit card information. So it’s only $5. But like, how serious are you because you’re you’re taking up a lot of my time to run my business, for me telling you a paint color one at a time, every picture that I post,

do you have to update that constantly, as you post new photos, you have to kind of go into that tab of your website and put up that people are

putting those new digital downloads together. And we’ve kind of had to tweak the language and what we’re doing and we’ve tested different things, we’re now will actually give away paint colors if they join our email list just to try to grow that email list and then have other things where they can purchase. But it has I mean, we got a lot of pushback to at first, like some people were not happy about the fact that we were charging for it, which I understand. But I think one of the challenges is, is there’s so many, you know, content creators out there who have, they’re just sharing their home. And so it’s pretty easy, they probably have, I don’t know, five to 10, paint colors, Max. Whereas for us, we’re posting all these projects, and we’re like, We literally don’t know, the paint color off the top of our head, someone has to look it up. It actually does take time. And I don’t think people always understand that. So Well, I

think it also just goes back to being true to your brand. And knowing your value and knowing your worth. And that is something that’s time consuming. And if it’s something that they’re upset about, you’re probably not a good fit as a client either. So

yeah, we’ve also learned like we’ve tailored our messaging to just just basically like softening the blow a little bit more, thank you so much for your support, like, here’s the information, but it is paid. So like if you want free information, here’s where you can find free resources, because I get it not everybody does, does have the means to to pay for paint colors. So we do try to have a lot of free information on our blog or on our email list that they can get, and still feel like you’re getting stuff from I actually think that was a really good tip, she softened the language because she’s still saying no, I’m not going to give you this pink color, I

don’t have the time to go look it up. But here’s a free resource. Here’s the paid pink color. Thank you so much for your interest. You know, please continue to support the business. But you can only do what you can do. And I think a lot of people, when you become pretty popular on social media, that’s hundreds of 1000s of people looking at your photos and wanting to ask you questions, and it’s just sometimes like, I’d love to answer every single person that asked the question, but logistically, it just can’t be done. So I do think that will be a really clever way to still satisfy that need of your audience, but make it worth it for you to continue to keep up with it. Yeah. Okay, can you so you have all of these different things going on? Can you tell us your biggest challenge running this business? Like what is the thing that’s,

I guess, most challenging, there’s a lot of challenges. Anyone that’s ever run a business knows that every day, there’s a new challenge that you didn’t think you’re gonna have to deal with? I think hands down just within our business itself. The biggest challenge can usually be subcontractors, just finding quality trades. At one point, we actually had talked about opening branches in Colorado and in Florida, because we just we love those locations. We love those areas. There’s so much so many beautiful homes. But ultimately, we decided we’re like we’re just going to be taking like the biggest pain point in our business and duplicating it because finding quality trades is so challenging, and we have great trades. We really do. We have great subcontractors, but it takes a long time to develop those relationships and find good I was wondering

how you subcontracted out like your remodel in Florida? And yeah, I did. A few was it people you knew how did you even know who to

hire? So Ethan is very resourceful. He has no problem. He just walks onto a job site and gets people’s information where I’m much more introverted than that for sure. But a lot of it was very, very cosmetic. So the only people that we actually had to hire down there were painters and flooring everything else. We took care of ourselves. Ethan went down and demoed it And then they put in floors, we brought cabinets down and did those ourselves. And as well, we had to do countertops. But flooring and countertops are usually pretty easy to find reputable brands and painters. He just he walked into different units in our complex and had painters and it’s like, this looks good. Do you want a job? Yeah. And around the corner. Yeah. But Colorado has been really challenging. Just because where it is in Breckenridge, there’s such a demand for construction. There’s not a lot of workers. And so we’ve actually flown a lot of our subcontractors out there just because it’s less expensive for us. We know them. We trust them. We know their quality. So we’ve done that for a lot of different parts of that

bill KEARSON. Is that because there aren’t a lot of people living in Breckenridge that aren’t like second homing, like vacation. So because it’s a vacation town, there probably aren’t just a lot of trades, people who can even afford to live there. I would think like, would they be driving from like

them drive from Denver on the people that we’ve hired a lot drive from Denver. And there’s such, there’s such a massive need for construction. There’s such a massive need for affordable housing out there. Because unfortunately, yeah, is very big Haitian heavy. And so a lot of the actual workers in Summit County are being driven out. The county has been doing a lot just to try to subsidize things. But there’s definitely a housing shortage for sure.

Yeah. It’s I think that’s happening in a lot of places. But I definitely could see it and like a vacation town. Yeah. Interesting. Okay, so can you share with us your vision for the business and where it’s going, maybe in the next 10 years or so or like what, what the goal was,

and we would love to hear that really well. So when I first started all, the main goal, and the main intent was actually to stay small and focused on quality over quantity. And that won’t change. So we always want to continue to serve our clients, to serve a select number of clients, and really just give them an amazing experience, I think we will see the biggest difference is in our online presence. So as you’ve seen, we’ve expanded into courses that we’ll continue to grow. And we’ll just continue to expand into different online avenues. So we can serve more people, and they can work with us in different capacities. So that’s kind of the big, the big, overarching goal is to continue to expand and serve more people. I love that.

Well, just from looking at your website and your social medias and the team that you have it really from the outside looking in looks like you have it all together. I mean, every every day I knew it was coming and I was trying not to. But yes, I just love how streamlined everything appears to be. And it’s all very cohesive together, even though they’re separate. So

yeah, it is very nice. Okay, since our podcast is for agents, realtors, do you have any tips for realtors, as they might be working with a builder? Do you have Realtors ever bring you clients? And I guess maybe any thoughts about that part

of the process? Absolutely, we do a lot actually. I think for us, we were very hands on with realtors, because no one in our office is a realtor. And so if our clients come to us, they need to purchase land, we don’t hold land. So we have some great realtors that we will refer them to. And we have some great realtors that will bring us clients when they are looking to build or to remodel. And I think the best way to have a great relationship obviously is start to foster that relationship, but understand what their, what their systems and their process is and how you can be an asset versus what you might do that might start to get in the way. I know sometimes what can be challenging is, as the realtor, your responsibility is to your client, and you want to be this advocate for your client. But you need to make sure that it’s actually helpful with the builder. Sometimes it can be too many cooks in the kitchen. So just really understanding what that dynamic is. If it’s a situation where the builder may not be as organized, you may need to be more of an advocate advocate for your client. But for us sometimes like if Realtors when it comes to selection meetings, we actually asked them not to just because we’ve been trained in design, we know how to bring out what the client wants, we understand all their different, all different facets, and sometimes having that extra opinion can actually confuse things. So just understanding the builder and what they need from you, and how you can be the most supportive in that role, I think will serve you very, very well in the long run. Yeah, definitely.

Love that. Okay, at the end of every episode, we do a toast did you think of someone you would like to toast to today who’s maybe part of your success or someone you want to celebrate?

I definitely do. It’s not just one person. I would love to toast our incredible team because they have just been so wonderful and we would not be where we are without them. And we so appreciate their hard work every day because it is a grind some days and some days it is a very thankless job. So we just want to give a huge shout out to our incredible team.

That is awesome that cheers to them. We saw their sweet pictures on your website, and it’s hard to build a good team and you cannot do anything yourself really so happy to toast to them any parting words? Or do you want to share with us where people can find you?

Yeah, that’d be great.

Yep. Yeah, so you can find us online at ALMA homes.com. Or you can find us on Instagram or Tiktok. At OMA homes, and Pinterest are all in the homes. Basically, everyone

in the home, you’re telling me where the name comes from? I don’t actually know.

It means soul in Spanish, which just kind of felt warm and fuzzy. And like you put your heart and soul into your home. So it was just it was a good fit. Oh, yeah, sure.

I love that too. Well, thank you so much for being with us. We really appreciate you. We’re going to have everyone go and follow all my homes and enjoy your beautiful design and builds and keep us posted, I guess. And we are going to stay in Emerald. So we’re really jazzed.

I wasn’t sure we were allowed because I’m so excited. I know. We’re going next month that when this airs

will stay before this airs. So we’ll share some photos.

Yeah, we’re so excited.

To stay there. You’re gonna love it. It’s so it’s perfect. We love it.

That’s our favorite place in the world. So it’s an easy drag for us there. We can get there in like five and a half hours. So I wish we could.

I mean, if you leave your house at 9am You’re almost there by lunch.

Yeah, it’s quite Yeah, it’s quite nice. We’re going to enjoy that so much. Okay, well, yes. Do follow up with that email when you have a chance. We don’t this doesn’t air until the end of May. So you have time. It’s really not a rush. And then I guess we’ll be in touch and we’ll let you know how that stay goes. Well, this was great. So great. Your son, thank you so much. We appreciate you so much.

Thank you so much for tuning in to the hustle humbly podcast.

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Two Realtors fostering community over competition through light-hearted conversations.



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