Ah, Yes. The day Ryan came home to eagerly tell me his new dream…”Honey, I’m going to start a painting business!”…Now look, if you know Ryan and I well enough, you know we practically speak in fluent sarcasm. It’s a pretty big reason why we like each other. Ryan likes to say that it’s our love language.
‘Ha, this must be one of those sarcastic statements he makes followed by some smart ass joke or punch line…” I thought.
But he just stood there- or sat there maybe? I can’t quite remember, but my guess is he was smart enough to sit me down and put a glass of wine in my hand before telling me his idea. Ok, back to the big moment- he tells me about the painting business thing and then he sat there with these bright eyes and a huge smile on his face staring back at me. And, it kind of looked like he was expecting me to also light up and say “OMG! Yes that’s it!”
I remember thinking, “Ok, Ok, Danie. Don’t be one of those unsupportive partners that immediately crushes an idea…just give rational reasons as to why that’s a stupid idea and let him be the one to crush it.” And before you judge me, we can all admit we have done this. Right?
So, long story short- because I do have a point to this story. Ryan took all my rational reasons as to why it was a bad idea and answered them with some pretty rational, thought-out reasons as to why it was a good idea. Plus, the guy was MISERABLE sitting at a desk all day. It just wasn’t his thing. I knew he needed to make a change soon or else the days of those bright, excited eyes and huge smiles would be few and far in between.
But there was still that one thing I secretly struggled with getting over- and I am a little ashamed of it to this day. I kept thinking “but what are other people going to think?! A Painter?” I started thinking about all these silly social scenarios, “My husband quit his job to paint…No, not like art. You know, houses. He’s a house painter”. Are people going to think he’s lost his mind to leave a secure and predictable job to go out and paint houses all day? Should I think he’s losing his mind? I knew he would eventually run his own business, but I didn’t see it being a painting business.
Now before you think I am a terribly pretentious person, let me quickly explain. Yes, I had created these thoughts partly because I had bought into our society’s definition of what success looks like, but mostly because I just imagined him being categorized as a “stereotypical painter”– the ones I had seen either on TV or in passing in public. You know, the ones where you’re walking by a house and the music is blaring, cigarettes are hanging from mouths, garbage not yet in the garbage, people yelling at each other – basically chaos (but not even the kind of organized chaos that I find appealing). I am not trying to say painting contractors are sloppy and unethical, but unfortunately these stereotypical painters exist. They are fly-by-night painters and we have to compete with their very low costs due to corners cut that homeowners don’t know about, until they do and its too late, and the cycle of the “stereotypical painter” lives on and the whole industry gets a bad rap.
In the end, I simply knew Ryan wasn’t someone who operates life like this and I knew he wouldn’t operate a business this way either. Ryan lives by some damn strong values that, sometimes really annoy me, but also really impress me and make me want to be a better human. So instead of trying to steer him away from the painting business idea, I decided to be that supportive partner that encourages an idea (even if I don’t fully get it) and trust in his vision.
Cut to present day and, well, Ryan has been building a company that looks nothing like the stereotypical, fly-by-night painters. And I’m also not ashamed to say that he makes the craft look pretty darn good (is it awkward to use the term sexy here? Yes? Ok, my bad). I love that he operates with ethics and standards, even though it means more work and money out of our pocket. Our clients appreciate it too.
And the best part of it all? It turns out we aren’t alone! The painting industry is sprinkled with a solid group of people who actually want to operate (or work for) a painting business with standards, carry out projects with high quality craftsmanship, and find genuine satisfaction in their work.
Example: Headwaters Painting attends the quarterly “Gathering of MN Painters”. And you guys, MN is home to really incredible industry leaders who decided to form this gathering for the sole reason of trying to make our industry better. Anyways, this is an opportunity for local painting companies to come together and meet, share business practices, and support one another. Yep, we sit in the same room with some of our “competitors” and share goals and struggles, encourage best practices, and exchange business knowledge. It’s a pretty neat thing.
Unfortunately, like in every trade or business, there are indeed many individuals who don’t operate by standards or values, and sometimes, it seems like the painting industry is littered with them. I’m not here to bash these type of painting contractors, but I will say, things are changing. I want our clients, and potential clients to know- we know it can be scary to hire a painting company, we know you may have had a bad experience in the past, we know you want the best for your home, and we know you may have some preconceived notions. I did too.
We also want you to know that there really are good painting contractors out there who have your best interest in mind and want to diminish bad practices. This is one of the main reasons why Headwaters Painting was established.
Aside from now knowing that we, and other painting contractors, want to distinguish ourselves by operating by values and standards, we hope you not only have more confidence in choosing the best painting contractor for you and your home, but we hope to have given you a little more confidence in our progressing industry as well.
Let us know if you’re looking for a Painting Contractor for any and all of your painting needs- we know a good one ;),
Oh, and my husband? The Painter? I am really proud of what he does.
(yes, I’m now done talking about how I think my husband is doing a great job. Trust me, he doesn’t get this kind of praise from me everyday at home, so we’ll allow him a whole story on our website for now).
Here he is in action doing the painting things.