*Header image credit: Ashley Wainscott, Simply Sold Austin
Full Podcast Transcript
Grace Mase 00:07
Hello, and welcome to the Revivify Podcast. I'm your host Grace Mase. We're speaking with Ashley Wainscott. She is the CEO of Simply Sold, Home Renovations. Welcome, Ashley. So we do have a few questions, you have some incredible experience, and we really like to understand behind the scene, how did you get started? And what inspired you to where you first started this path?
Ashley Wainscott 00:34
Yeah, so I actually love this question because I am on the side of things that actually when I started this company, I didn't have any sort of home building knowledge or experience. So then when I was able to see an opportunity like this, I just leaped at it. I was eager to get in there, I think it was part of my personality to just see something that needed attention. And I told myself, I would just figure it out, you know, whatever it took, I was like, how do you do this? How do you work with an electrician? What are the things I need to know? I really took a backwards approach and how I did a lot of learning up front so that I could make sure I was delivering the service that I wanted to on the front. So yeah, I really just saw the opportunity, and I went for it. And I had no idea what I was doing.
Grace Mase 01:27
But that's, I mean, that's amazing. Being fearless and just going out and just doing it and figure your way through. Presumably along the way you had experienced some challenges, and what were they and how did you overcome those?
Ashley Wainscott 01:40
Yeah, you know, I did. I'm sure, much like every other business owner, I had my own unique list of roadblocks or barriers. And I’m an interesting individual in how I approach things, I think, I typically stay out of my head, I don't get too caught up in, you know, what does this person think? What is that thing? How does this affect this? Oh my gosh, and like the shame and guilt of things, because I think it's inevitable that you're gonna mess up, you're gonna drop the ball, you're gonna fail at something, and then those will be the moments that you can actually shine through. I love this quote, and I have no idea where it came from, somewhere on the internet, but it resonated with me, when I read it, it goes something like, you know, “It's not what you're given in life, it's how you handle it, that sets you apart.” And construction will notoriously give you a whole lot of things that you did not plan for, and that you don't see coming, but it's how you handle it that sets you apart. And I think those opportunities, you know, I've had, I've had anything and everything under the sun as far as problems on a job site. Problems hiring, I've had somebody you know, take my business and replicate it, you know, non-compete issues. I mean, I, I feel like I've experienced a lot of those hardships that could really push somebody back into their comfort zone, but those are the moments that you have to push through. Because that's when you'll start, you know, climbing to the peak of it. And I'm still experiencing them, I'm not saying that those are over by any means.
Grace Mase 03:27
But those are such powerful words, push through and just be resilient and continue to get back up and just do things. And I know, I could only imagine what pain it was to hear, to see something like that happening to you, you work so hard to develop such a unique value to your customers, and someone replicates it. And so given all that experience and you definitely don't have a 30 some years experience, but yet your words are so wise. I'm sure at a certain point you realized, were there moments where you just say like, gosh, what can I do differently that will cause it to create a different outcome?
Ashley Wainscott 04:16
Yeah, you know, I somewhat reflect and think back on those things more so when I have the moments of like, wow, I wish I would have had these tools when I first started or I wish this were here when I first got going. I think a lot of that resides around like, I read a book recently, I'm trying to think of the most experienced, but I read a book recently called Traction and I believe it's by Malcolm Gladwell, but that was one of those instances where I was like, oh my gosh, I wish I would have read this when I was starting the company and learned all of these tools that you can have in your belt and these systems and processes. Although you may not follow it to an exact tee, it gives you a good foundation to start on, whereas I, you know, I just threw myself in there, I didn't do a whole whole lot of planning, that can come out and sound like, oh, well, that's kind of negligent, or, you know, but that's just how I do things. I enjoy jumping in and figuring it out. And although it sometimes can make it harder on myself, I spend less time thinking and calculating and I do, you can just see me acting more. And I think that's something you can walk away with is just remembering there are calculated approaches, and there are things you do before you launch. Then when you're launching, and when you're in it, you just have to do, there's also lots of time for planning that needs to happen, but again, just be careful not spending too much time in your head.
And I think the other thing to be aware of, is in construction, you're at the mercy of other people, it's a very human focused, I mean, you're so reliant on humans to complete the job, that it's not like other industries where maybe you're relying on like, certain manufacturing, or you're relying on, other factors that, like technology, which all of those things can go wrong. When you work with humans, that means that you’re subjective to their needs, their wants, the problems in their life, if they're having a bad day, if their work just wasn't great that day. And then all the other factors on top of it, such as plumbing parts, or the tile didn't get in from overseas, or, I mean, a lot of material factors, you have the weather, you know, there's all these factors. And so I think just being super aware of what you can control, and what you cannot control, and how you set up your clients for success, knowing that.
Grace Mase 06:52
That's brilliant. And I love that the way you think about things and focus on your client's needs and how you solve their problems. And knowing that there's always this kind of unpredictability with human interactions that could cause some potential challenges, would be able to be diligent on working through all the details. So clearly, I was gonna ask you a question, what would you tell your younger self? Clearly, you share a lot of good information. Are there any interesting insights that you could share with your younger self? If, especially for someone who's starting? What would you tell them?
Ashley Wainscott 07:29
The first thing that keeps coming up in my hand is, is just being persistent. I think you mentioned it earlier about being resilient, but being persistent, and whatever it is that you're doing, don't just reach out to somebody, once, when you're trying to get their business, don't give up at the first, at the first slow down, don't give up on the first mistake, you know, really sticking it through when it comes to delivering that. And I think looking back, I also, I really, really, really wanted to post more of my culture, my mission and vision and what that looks like. Overall, I feel like if I would have had the culture, the mission, vision and values set up in the beginning, in a lot of these hiring processes and systems that, you know, talking to younger Ashley, I could have looked at her and said, let me save you some heartache, and go ahead and prep you on some of these things that I feel like are gonna come up. And with a business coach, I was able to achieve those things and with other perspectives, and welcoming other people's perspectives into your business, and really being vulnerable to that is extremely helpful.
Grace Mase 08:39
That's powerful. That's exciting. And far as going forward, where do you see yourself in 20 years by now?
Ashley Wainscott 08:48
I see myself, I see Simply Sold having a pretty big headquarters here, I see us being all over the country. I see myself, Well, personally, I see myself with the family. I do want to do more traveling. And I see us inventing and changing the industry as much as we can, you know, let's make ripples. Let's make a dent in the industry and do what we can to improve it for the better. I think our industry is behind in a lot of ways in comparison to other industries, whether it's technology or customer service principles or things like this. I think we have a lot of room to grow, and I'm excited to see where that takes us over the next 10, 15, or 20 years. I'm in it to win it.
Grace Mase 09:39
Awesome, and then how would you help the younger the next generation of incoming women in construction? What would you do with the next 20 years for them? How would you help them?
Ashley Wainscott 09:49
Empowering them, and giving them the power to know what they can do with their strengths and you know what they can do with their relationships and in who they are in their life. I think that women have so much to offer the industry. And I think that there's a lot that is missing in our industry, because of the feminine touch that we can offer and fresh perspectives that we can offer. And I, I really pull a lot of women into this industry, because one, they're such a big part of the home, you know, they're such a big part of their own home, why shouldn't they be leading thinkers of our industry? I just want to encourage women to come into the industry, you know, it's not traditionally their first instinct to go into the construction side of things. But I can also assure you, it's just as dirty as it looks, but it's also even prettier than you could imagine when it comes to just about everything, the final product, the client experience, the in between. I want women to feel safe and powerful in our industry.
Grace Mase 10:59
And I know you hire a lot on your staff, you have a 50% already are female?
Ashley Wainscott 11:06
Yes, we have anywhere, at any given time, between 70-80% that are all female.
Grace Mase 11:10
Oh, wow. That's amazing. Well, kudos to you for elevating the next generation of women leaders in construction, and educating them at the same time setting examples with your own action. And you have done a tremendous amount of great work and continue to lift up the everyone around you to make sure they see not only from the dirty side, but also the beautiful side on the other side.
Ashley Wainscott 11:41
Yeah. I think so too. It's all about the people, right, developing and helping and being a part of whether it's vendors, clients or employees, they’re the most important.
Grace Mase 11:51
Well, you're definitely a change maker. So thank you for being an incredible thought leader in an industry and really pushing the envelope and changing every aspect from technology to customer service and elevating the entire industry as a whole.
Ashley Wainscott 12:07
Absolutely. Thank you for giving me the space to share this info.
Grace Mase 12:13
Well, thank you Ashley.