Decision Vision Episode 161: Should I Turn My Side Hustle into a Full-time Business? – An Interview with Natasha Tucker, Happy Hippie Gardening
Side hustles can add essential part-time income, but how and when should you transition that side gig into a full-time business? Natasha Tucker, President and CEO of Happy Hippie Gardening, found herself doing just that, as a few jobs on the side became a thriving landscape services business on word of mouth alone. She and Mike Blake discussed how it evolved for her, the decision to make it a business, the hurdles she faced, and much more. Decision Vision is presented by Brady Ware & Company and produced by the North Fulton studio of Business RadioX®.
Happy Hippie Gardening
Happy Hippie Gardening is a trusted landscape company operating in the Huntsville, AL metro market.
They offer residential and commercial landscape and maintenance services. Their hippies love weeds, but they do more than get dirty weeding flower beds. They also add seasonal color, apply mulch, do shrub pruning, create stacked stone borders, and a lot more.
What they really do – “We Get Dirty So You Don’t Have To.”
Company website | Facebook | Instagram
Natasha Tucker, President and CEO, Happy Hippie Gardening
Natasha is a relentless entrepreneur, daring businesswoman, loving mother, devoted wife, adoring daughter, caring granddaughter and a sometimes serious sister. In her many business adventures, she has successfully launched, acquired and/or owned multiple businesses including a coffee shop, children’s boutique and landscape company to name a few.
The daughter of an original 1960’s hippie and master gardener, Natasha has been working in flower beds, and getting dirty, since she was a girl. After years of maintaining her own flower beds, drawing from her childhood landscaping experiences, Natasha decided to help her hippie friends keep their flower beds looking beautiful too. After many months and much encouragement, she decided to turn her gardening side hustle into a legit business. So… on Valentine’s Day 2020 she launched Happy Hippie Gardening!
Her genuine desire and mission in business is to help others enjoy their landscapes, love their flower beds, and perhaps find a little peace and happiness. Natasha is your lovable suburban hippie who absolutely, positively loves to create, renew and maintain beauty, peace, and harmony in flower beds and landscapes. Peace & Love.
Mike Blake, Brady Ware & Company
Michael Blake is the host of the Decision Vision podcast series and a Director of Brady Ware & Company. Mike specializes in the valuation of intellectual property-driven firms, such as software firms, aerospace firms, and professional services firms, most frequently in the capacity as a transaction advisor, helping clients obtain great outcomes from complex transaction opportunities. He is also a specialist in the appraisal of intellectual properties as stand-alone assets, such as software, trade secrets, and patents.
Mike has been a full-time business appraiser for 13 years with public accounting firms, boutique business appraisal firms, and an owner of his own firm. Prior to that, he spent 8 years in venture capital and investment banking, including transactions in the U.S., Israel, Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus.
LinkedIn | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram
Brady Ware & Company
Brady Ware & Company is a regional full-service accounting and advisory firm which helps businesses and entrepreneurs make visions a reality. Brady Ware services clients nationally from its offices in Alpharetta, GA; Columbus and Dayton, OH; and Richmond, IN. The firm is growth-minded, committed to the regions in which they operate, and most importantly, they make significant investments in their people and service offerings to meet the changing financial needs of those they are privileged to serve. The firm is dedicated to providing results that make a difference for its clients.
Decision Vision Podcast Series
Decision Vision is a podcast covering topics and issues facing small business owners and connecting them with solutions from leading experts. This series is presented by Brady Ware & Company. If you are a decision-maker for a small business, we’d love to hear from you. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and make sure to listen to every Thursday to the Decision Vision podcast.
Past episodes of Decision Vision can be found at decisionvisionpodcast.com. Decision Vision is produced by John Ray and the North Fulton studio of Business RadioX®.
Connect with Brady Ware & Company:
Website | LinkedIn | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram
Intro: [00:00:01] Welcome to Decision Vision, a podcast series focusing on critical business decisions. Brought to you by Brady Ware & Company. Brady Ware is a regional, full-service accounting and advisory firm that helps businesses and entrepreneurs make visions a reality.
Mike Blake: [00:00:21] Welcome to Decision Vision, a podcast giving you, the listener, clear vision to make great decisions. In each episode, we discuss the process of decision making on a different topic from the business owners’ or executives’ perspective. We aren’t necessarily telling you what to do, but we can put you in a position to make an informed decision on your own and understand when you might need help along the way.
Mike Blake: [00:00:44] My name is Mike Blake, and I’m your host for today’s program. I’m a director at Brady Ware & Company, a full-service accounting firm based in Dayton, Ohio, with offices in Dayton; Columbus, Ohio; Richmond, Indiana; and Alpharetta, Georgia. I am managing partner of the Strategic Valuation and Advisory Services Practice, which brings clarity to the most important strategic decisions that business owners and executives face by presenting them with factual evidence for such decisions. Brady Ware is sponsoring this podcast, which is being recorded in Atlanta per social distancing protocols.
Mike Blake: [00:01:16] If you would like to engage with me on social media with my Chart of the Day and other content, I’m on LinkedIn as myself and @unblakeable on Facebook, Twitter, Clubhouse, and Instagram. I also recently launched a new LinkedIn Group called Unblakeable’s Group That Doesn’t Suck, so please join that as well if you would like to engage. If you like this podcast, please subscribe on your favorite podcast aggregator and please consider leaving a review of the podcast as well.
Mike Blake: [00:01:42] So, today’s topic is, Should I turn my side hustle into a fulltime business? And I’ve been trying to find a guest for this topic for a while because I just run into so many people with side hustles. And, in fact, I would be willing to bet you if I actually looked at the data – I didn’t. I looked a little bit. I did a sneak peek.
Mike Blake: [00:02:04] When I first moved to Atlanta about 19 years ago, it seemed like every other person that I met had a side hustle of some kind. Now, back then, I was primarily in real estate. Because back then real estate was pretty much shooting fish in a barrel. It might be now, too, but don’t take my advice. I’m not a real estate guy. I’m not even very good at Monopoly. So, this is not the real estate investment show.
Mike Blake: [00:02:30] But it is interesting in how many people do seem to have a side hustle, and the statistics are supportive of that. According to Side Hustle Nation, 45 percent of working Americans have a side hustle and 20 percent of those bring in over $1,000 a month with those side hustles. Which is, for many households, $1,000 a month is a significant addition of income to a household.
Mike Blake: [00:03:01] And so, I’d be willing to bet many of you who are listening either have a side hustle, or are thinking of a side hustle, or have actually a business today that started off as a side hustle. So, I anticipate that this is going to be a topic of significant interest.
Mike Blake: [00:03:20] Now, I don’t have a side hustle. I can barely keep track of the one job that I have. But, fortunately, joining us today is somebody who’s done this successfully, and that is Natasha Tucker, from one of my favorite cities in the planet, Huntsville, Alabama. It is just one of the coolest places. It has really two of my favorite things. It has rockets and has German food. And those two things are actually related if you go back and sort of learn the history. But it is just a terrific place.
Mike Blake: [00:03:49] And Natasha is Founder and CEO of Happy Hippie Gardening. Happy Hippie Gardening is a trusted landscape company operating in the Huntsville, Alabama metro market. They offer residential and commercial landscape and maintenance services. Their hippies love weeds, but they do more than get dirty weeding flowerbeds. They also add seasonal color, apply mulch to shrub pruning, create stacked stone borders, and a lot more. Basically, anything that I don’t do. They get dirty so that you don’t have to.
Mike Blake: [00:04:20] Natasha is a relentless entrepreneur, daring businesswoman, loving mother, devoted wife, adoring daughter, caring granddaughter, and sometimes serious sister. In her many business adventures, she has successfully launched, acquired, and/or own multiple businesses, including a coffee shop, a children’s boutique, and landscape company to name a few. The daughter of an original 1960s hippie and master gardener, Natasha has been working in flower beds and getting dirty since she was a girl. Natasha Tucker, thank you for getting dirty with the Decision Vision podcast.
Natasha Tucker: [00:04:52] Yeah. Absolutely. Thank you so much for having me.
Mike Blake: [00:04:53] Sorry, it’s not that kind of podcast, but you get what I mean.
Natasha Tucker: [00:04:56] Hey, you know, we’ll try to keep it clean.
Mike Blake: [00:04:58] We will keep it clean. It has to be safe for work.
Natasha Tucker: [00:05:01] Exactly.
Mike Blake: [00:05:01] But thanks so much for coming on the program. And as I think I always am, but I say this in all sincerity, it’s a topic I’ve been wanting to do for a while, but haven’t felt the right person to do it. And then, your husband and I had just a conversation about entirely different topic and he had mentioned what you are into. I’m like, “Oh, I’ve got to get her on the podcast.” So, thanks so much for coming on.
Natasha Tucker: [00:05:27] Well, thank you. I’m so excited to be here.
Mike Blake: [00:05:29] So, I introed your business and kind of how you got into it, which is fascinating. So, what I’d like to do is I’d like to share with our listeners your origin story. Like, Spider-Man got bit by the radioactive spider and Superman was thrown off of his exploding planet. What’s the origin story of your business?
Natasha Tucker: [00:05:56] Well, it kind of started off with me trying to figure out what I wanted to do next. I’m kind of in a place at that time where we needed to get some extra income coming in. And I knew what I did not want to do. I did not want to go back into the service industry as far as like waitressing and things like that. I did not want to go back into the classroom. I don’t do well behind a desk.
Natasha Tucker: [00:06:30] So, it was it a big thought process. I felt stuck. And then, all of a sudden, it was the fall of 2019 and I had some friends ask, “Hey, you’re good at this. Can you please come and shred my shrubs and do some mulch? Because my lawn guys don’t want to do it.” And that was my initial little ping there that there might be a need. So, I did theirs, and then word got around, and I started doing more people’s flowerbeds.
Natasha Tucker: [00:07:05] And as that month, month-and-a-half, or fall went on, I realized this is a need that lawn guys are missing. I mean, they don’t want to have to stop and do the tedious. They want to be able to cut and go. And there’s a lot of people that don’t have the time to take care of their flowerbeds. So, that fall went by and I just kind of sat on it, because then, of course, through winter there wasn’t much then to do. So, I kind of sat on it for a little while. And as soon as the sun popped out in January and it felt warmer than normal, I started getting phone calls. And I was like, “Whoa. Okay.” So, it kind of went from there.
Mike Blake: [00:08:01] So, I have to ask and I’m just curious, you said you’re getting calls because the lawn guys wouldn’t do the shrubs and flowers and stuff. Is that a hierarchy? Do the lawn people feel like they’re too good to do that stuff? Is that the issue? Or is there something else at work?
Natasha Tucker: [00:08:20] I think that it’s more of the tedious part of it. They don’t want to get on their hands and knees and pull weeds. If you do get them to trim your shrubs, most of the time, they don’t even know what kind of shrubs they’re trimming. And when they leave, it looks like they’ve packed it to death with a chainsaw. And I’ve had quite a few people who have that happened to and it’s sad and mortifying.
Mike Blake: [00:08:51] I’ve had that happen too. I had my lawn guy do one of our shrubs exactly once, and it looked like my shrub was about to join the Marine Corps.
Natasha Tucker: [00:08:59] Exactly. Exactly. So, the attention to detail and the not minding taking the time to do it. And also one guy, you know, they charge – I don’t know what they charge there – anywhere from $50 to 75 a cut here. Well, they got to get in and out within 30, 45 minutes. You can’t be tedious and pay attention to detail with that amount of time that you’re being booked for. So, I think that’s basically why.
Mike Blake: [00:09:38] So, when you started this side hustle, did you work outside the home? And if so, what was that role?
Natasha Tucker: [00:09:47] I have done many. Especially 2018, 2019, I have had a couple of other little smaller jobs. Because I do have three children, and at the time, let me say, Isabela, my youngest, she was still, like, preschool age. So, I did not want fulltime then just because of schedule and kids. And at the time I did not have drivers yet. So, there was a lot of mommy taking around, and busing, and all that fun stuff.
Natasha Tucker: [00:10:28] So, right before I started with Hippie, I did have a fulltime desk job for a while. I realized that that was just not going to work with our schedules and with Rob’s schedule, so I did some retail work. I worked for one of my favorite stores. What else did I do? And then, I did try the waitressing thing again. I did it for many years and I realized, no, I’m just not doing that again.
Mike Blake: [00:11:03] So, at some point when this became a side hustle, not just sort of doing a person a favor, how many hours a week do you think you were doing that at first?
Natasha Tucker: [00:11:15] At first, maybe about ten. As I started getting more jobs, my dad would come and help me. So, that way I wasn’t spending five hours at one house necessarily. But it started off probably about ten hours a week to start with.
Mike Blake: [00:11:36] And is that something that you’re really embracing or did you have to kind of get dragged into it a little bit?
Natasha Tucker: [00:11:42] No. I actually fully embraced it. I love being outside and just having that freedom of I’m outside, I’m getting fresh air, I’m getting my exercise, and I’m getting paid to do it. And I could work with it when I needed to. I still had the flexibility at that point to still be the mommy bus. And so, all in all, it worked great.
Mike Blake: [00:12:18] So, when you started it, did you have any plans at that point to make this kind of a fulltime gig?
Natasha Tucker: [00:12:25] I really didn’t. I knew I loved it and I knew that it was working well for me. At the time, I did not expect for it to hit the fan, so to speak. And so, when it did that next spring in 2020, I was kind of blown away. And that’s when I was like, and even Rob being the business guy that he is, he was like, “We need to probably get your licensing and all that done and tax purposes,” so I can be legit.
Mike Blake: [00:13:08] Rob is your husband. For our listeners who haven’t met you guys, Rob is your husband.
Natasha Tucker: [00:13:11] Yes. So, he wanted me to be a legal hippie and make sure that I did things by the book as far as the business side goes. And it just kind of just happened, which worked for me because I loved it.
Mike Blake: [00:13:33] I think that’s one of the best ways to grow a business is have it organic – no pun intended. I tell people all the time that a business is like a Great Dane. And if you have to just sort of push and pull and it’s really hard to get the dog to move, then you probably don’t have the right dog. You probably don’t have the right business.
Mike Blake: [00:13:59] But on the other hand, if the Great Dane takes off down the sidewalk and nearly yanks your shoulder out of your socket and you’re running behind trying desperately to keep up with it, that’s the right business for you. That’s the market telling you that you’re really on to something.
Natasha Tucker: [00:14:15] Yes. Absolutely. And to see that the need was still there and it was greater and it grows. We’ve done very little as far as marketing. I started off with my Facebook Page. My husband, Rob, did the website. So, it was all done in-house and very manageable. And it’s all word of mouth as well. I love my people. That’s the other side of this business that I love. I love connecting with people and hearing them and saying, “Okay. This is what we want.” Even down to the colors that we pick, the style that they want. It’s individuality at its finest is your curb appeal. And so, it’s been a lot of fun. And I think that’s why I have grown so much, too, is if you enjoy what you’re doing, it shows.
Mike Blake: [00:15:22] Yeah. Yeah. I think that’s right. So, as you’re building this business or as you are trying to kind of lasso it, wrestle it to the ground – maybe that’s a better way to put it – did you have any doubts? Did you have any doubts about your ability to grow the business, run the business, be successful with it? Or did you kind of know just from day one, “Yeah. I got this”?
Natasha Tucker: [00:15:49] No. It’s a very scary ride. I think any time you’re doing something new and you are in a totally different ballgame than you’ve ever played, it can be super scary. We, all, as humans have that fear of failure kind of thing going, especially when you have your family depending, you have your customers, and your ego – let’s just be real. And so, it can be super terrifying, especially when you can’t control the weather. You can’t control supply and demand right now. There’s a lot of things that you can’t control as it is. So, being able to just keep pushing and try your best to stay levelheaded and keep the faith that, “Hey, it will work out”. Sometimes you just got to be a little patient. So, yeah, it can be terrifying.
Mike Blake: [00:16:54] So, how long did it take you from neighbors saying, “Hey, would you come help with our garden and, by the way, we’ll pay you” to getting to where you are now, where you’ve got it as an intentional, thriving business.
Natasha Tucker: [00:17:11] Well, I would say probably about four to five months. It was that fall of 2019 and then starting spring of 2020, it just kind of ran. It just took off and almost wanted to leave me behind. And, of course, spring of 2020 was when everything else hit the fan. And so, that was scary, I just started this in February and now the whole world is shutting down, which actually helped me a lot. Because I don’t work indoors. I work outdoors. People were working from home.
Natasha Tucker: [00:17:55] Especially here in Huntsville and Madison, most people were working from home. And they were forced to look at their flower beds. They were no longer doing the rat race in life and leaving and coming home at dark and not looking. Now, they’re sitting at their kitchen table with their computers looking out and going, “Oh, my God. What have I done to my yard? Or what have I not done?” And so, that actually spurred a huge push in my business. All of a sudden, like, it was a huge spike, which is great.
Natasha Tucker: [00:18:36] And then, the next year, 2021, it was stimulus checks. These little projects they’ve been wanting to do for forever, here you go. Now, they have the money for it. So, everything comes and goes and it ebbs and flows. But it always, always ends up evening out.
Mike Blake: [00:19:02] So, I’m curious, you’ve probably heard of this before. I often hear stories about somebody who cooks really well and then somebody will say, “You know what? You ought to open up your own restaurant.” And as often as not that person will say, “You know what? If I had to do it for a living, I wouldn’t like doing it anymore.” And I get that. I have hobbies. I’m into computers. I’m perfectly happy to spend a weekend fixing my own mistakes. But I would just blow my brains out if I had to make a living of fixing other people’s mistakes. So, I get that.
Natasha Tucker: [00:19:38] Yes.
Mike Blake: [00:19:39] And I’m curious, has now making what was a passionate hobby, one you had, really, from just being a little girl, how has turning that into a business impacted your passion for it, if at all?
Natasha Tucker: [00:19:53] If anything, it’s helped grow it because of the fact it is a constant learning thing. You know, there’s always something new to learn. There’s always different plants to learn. Every yard is different. Every customer is different. So, I think the difference is that, if it did become super repeat, like if I was just cutting grass and weeding and blowing and going, I would probably get bored to death. But the fact that every day is a different day, every plan that I draw up is different, I think the fact that it’s engaging me in that way, I still totally love it.
Mike Blake: [00:20:49] Now, if you’re willing, I’d like to talk about the impact on your family. Because your role economically has changed. Has that limited or changed the way that you fulfill your other roles as mother, wife, house manager, that sort of thing? And if so, has the family been supportive? How they had to adjust? How have you guys all had to adjust to now accommodate this thing that you’ve unleashed on the world with the gardening business?
Natasha Tucker: [00:21:19] Well, yes. As a wife and as a mother, let’s just say, don’t ever judge my house when you come in it. I try. I try. You know, me being gone now that the kids are even older – our eldest has graduated, my son drives, and we have a second grader – they’ve grown a little bit as well so that’s helped as far as they’re being self-reliant. Which is kind of sad, they don’t need mommy as much. But as far as I still do cook at least five nights out of the week. I do still try to make it to all the games and sports and things like that. That just means that mommy’s up until 1:00 a.m. every night.
Natasha Tucker: [00:22:20] And the balance is hard. I think that is probably the toughest part on me, is, finding the grace as a parent and as a small business owner with myself. Not beating myself up too hard for the little things. And so, my family has been great. This week is spring break, so my parents have our youngest. So, I’m all over the road and booked out this week. So, everyone has been very supportive. They’ve been my best cheerleaders.
Natasha Tucker: [00:22:59] And there’s just certain things that I had to let go of as far as my standards. No, my house isn’t perfectly clean. And, yes, there’s laundry. But I do make it a point to do my best as far as still being present. And I guess that means less sleep.
Mike Blake: [00:23:23] If you don’t mind my asking, how much sleep do you typically get a night?
Natasha Tucker: [00:23:27] Whew. Probably about five hours, maybe.
Mike Blake: [00:23:31] Okay. Okay. Okay. So, you’re really at it then. That’s a tough number. And I’m curious here, and we’ll get a little sociological, but that’s okay. We can do that here on the Decision Vision podcast. And that is that, I do think that that’s harder on women because of social media. And social media leads you to present the polished sort of market ready version of yourself. And that tends to impact women, I think, more than it impacts men in terms of making them feel badly about themselves or focusing on what they’re not doing as opposed to what they’re accomplishing. How do you react to that? Does that ring true for you?
Natasha Tucker: [00:24:19] It absolutely does. And, honestly, it’s a daily reminder that you have to give yourself. Stop allowing yourself to focus on that. Stop allowing yourself to be Negative Nancy on yourself. Look at what I did do today. You know, I brought in this much money today. I got my kids fed and out the door, at school, did jobs, did three estimates, went to a soccer game, and cooked dinner. In reality, that’s life.
Mike Blake: [00:25:03] That’s a full to-do list. You don’t have to apologize to anybody for that.
Natasha Tucker: [00:25:07] But, like you said, as women, we’re just kind of taught and expected by others, like you said, with social media and the way things are, that you’re supposed to get everything done in one day. And you’re supposed to keep things rolling, and the house clean, the dishes done. You’re supposed to still do the the feminine roles. And I am a woman working in a man’s world as well as business stuff. That’s been very interesting. At first, especially, I got a lot of looks. So, finding grace with yourself and always daily reminders of you are enough and own it. You can do this.
Mike Blake: [00:26:06] Yeah. Men have been slacking off for centuries, you know. So, let’s move over to more of the positive, and that is, you have this side hustle that’s now become a business. How has that impacted your household finances?
Natasha Tucker: [00:26:27] Oh, it’s dramatically impacted. It’s definitely carried us through quite a lot, especially the past two years. So, it’s been a huge blessing and it’s one of those things where it came at the absolute perfect time. Thank, God, for putting us in trouble.
Mike Blake: [00:26:59] So, did you have to invest any money in the business yourself when you started or could you just sort of bootstrap it?
Natasha Tucker: [00:27:08] I absolutely bootstrapped. When I first started up until – oh, wow – for a year, my poor Tahoe was loaded with all kinds of things from trimmers, and mulch, and bugs, to plants and dirt. Like, my poor Tahoe, it was embarrassingly bad. But it had to be. My work truck was all I had. I used tools out of my garage that I just had. If I needed something else, hopefully, I had a job that I would make profit on and go get it.
Natasha Tucker: [00:27:53] I know that my husband, Rob, thought I was crazy when I woke up one morning, it was April of 2020, and I got so tired of having to wait on people to make deliveries for me because I just had the Tahoe. So, there are things I couldn’t get, and I was like, “This is crazy.” I woke up and I said, “I’m going to go buy a trailer today.” He goes, “What?” I said, “I’m going to buy a trailer.” The fall of 2020, I woke up one day and I said, “That’s it. I’m getting a truck. Let’s go.”
Natasha Tucker: [00:28:26] But I had grown enough to that point where I could do that. I never borrowed money. I did not take on investments. It was all as I grew, everything else grew kind of thing.
Mike Blake: [00:28:44] It’s funny you say that. And I’m going to commiserate with you a little bit. You and I are in different fields, but I have my tools just as you have yours. And, you know, it’s funny, you do just sort of wake up one day and you say, “You know what? This just is not acceptable anymore. I’m going to go out and buy the right tool for the right job.” For me, I need a new computer because I was doing stuff that it would just take my old computer too long to do. Some of the models I do take ten hours to run through, so speed makes a big difference.
Mike Blake: [00:29:16] I woke up one day – because one was taking, like, 18 hours – I said, “You know what? There’s no numbers to run here. I’m just done doing this. I’m just going out and I’m buying a computer.” That’s all there is to it. And it’s refreshing to talk to somebody else that kind of had the same thing. It’s like I’m tired of being held back by my tools.
Natasha Tucker: [00:29:36] Yes. Yes. And the benefits that those new tools outweigh 1,000 percent what you’ve been dealing with. As long as you can do it. As long as you have the means to do it. And that’s part of being thirsty, I guess, and work smart and knowing that there’s going to come a time when you know that you’re going to have to just do it. And, thankfully, you’ll have the means to do it, if you’re thrifty.
Mike Blake: [00:30:09] It also shows that there’s a switch that flips, I think, that says I value my time now.
Natasha Tucker: [00:30:18] Yes.
Mike Blake: [00:30:19] It’s not like, “I’m buying this trailer or this truck, and then somebody is paying me right away thousands of dollars for me to go buy it.” You just know my time is too valuable to be waiting around on this stuff anymore. You know on the backend, it’s costing me money and my sanity not to do this.
Natasha Tucker: [00:30:39] Exactly. Absolutely. You know, when you do have your customers waiting on you, and you have a schedule that you’re trying to stay on, and you cannot count on other people to step up for you, especially when they have their own things going on in business or whatever. You can’t just expect people just to do it when you say do it. People, you give them always the benefit of the doubt. But when it just gets to where it is, taking up your time and money, let’s build up here.
Mike Blake: [00:31:25] What were some of the biggest challenges of converting from side hustle to full on business? If you can remember, what were some of the big hurdles for you that you had to overcome?
Natasha Tucker: [00:31:37] I think one of the biggest ones at first was the time management and the mental capacity. Because going back to everybody’s house is different, everybody’s needs or wants are different, the amount of brainpower that you have with thinking and thinking about these people. And if you have ten estimates lined up, each one the focus factor. The numbers factor of coming up with numbers for them. Then, you have to turn around and go be a mom and a wife.
Natasha Tucker: [00:32:20] So, it’s the compartmentalizing what needs to happen when. So, the time management and focus factor was probably the biggest hurdle, for me, getting thrown into a whirlwind that you knew was coming, but you just didn’t know how to fly in it.
Mike Blake: [00:32:48] So, that’s interesting, focus and time management. Were there any specific actions you took to develop those skills? Did you take courses, read books, podcasts? Or did you just learn it through the school of hard knocks and you learned what didn’t work and then tried something else?
Natasha Tucker: [00:33:09] That’s pretty much it.
Mike Blake: [00:33:10] Okay. That’s fine.
Natasha Tucker: [00:33:12] Okay. “So, that didn’t work out too well, so let’s shift here and let’s maneuver this a little bit. Because, you know, along with business, life changes as well. So, everything is constantly shifting and constantly moving. And so, half the time I just feel like I’m flying by the seat of my pants. But you have to be okay with that sometimes.
Mike Blake: [00:33:39] I get it. I need to take a picture of this. But on a table that you can’t see off camera here, there’s a bunch of stuff peeking out the bottom, a bunch of stuff I’ve thrown on the table is the workbook for David Allen’s Getting Things Done. And I can’t wait to take a picture of that because, obviously, I haven’t touched it. It’s literally on my to-do list to do the Getting Things Done Workbook.
Natasha Tucker: [00:34:07] Oh, my goodness. That’s great.
Mike Blake: [00:34:10] It’s just so meta. It’s going to make a fantastic photo when I put it out there. But there does come a point where you don’t have time to slow down and learn. You just sort of have to take the fruit as it’s thrown at you and try to juggle it as best you can. And, eventually, just learn to juggle.
Natasha Tucker: [00:34:28] Yes. Yes. And the more balls that get thrown in there, the quicker you get.
Mike Blake: [00:34:34] Yeah. That’s right.
Natasha Tucker: [00:34:35] I will say, too, I’ve never been a list person. And I can’t tell you how many calendars that I’ve thrown away in my life because I’m like, “I’m going to be one of those moms that writes everything down and I have my little schedule,” and that never worked up until now. I realized real quick that my schedule book is now my bible, because that was what kept me. If it’s written down, I can find it and I can remember. So, I did learn that part, too.
Mike Blake: [00:35:19] All right. So, as you’re making this transition, did you seek any outside advice?
Natasha Tucker: [00:35:29] Not really. I mean, Rob, my husband, is a huge business guy. So, anything that has to do with finances, money, the legal side of things, up to writing my little clauses at the bottom of my estimates, he was able to handle that. And there’s not really anybody else that I know or have heard of around here that does what I do. So, learning as far as different plants, different ways of doing things that, yes. Making good friends with nursery people and learning that way. But business side, thankfully Rob knows how to handle this stuff because that’s not my thing.
Mike Blake: [00:36:27] So, I’m curious, and feel free to not answer this almost unfair question. But I have to ask because I’m immensely curious. My wife and I have separate businesses. And they’re separate because if we tried to work in the same business together, it would either be the business than marriage, they would not both survive. I love her to death, 23 years married coming up on June, two children, all the works. She hasn’t changed the key on me yet when I left the house. But working together continues to be very hard for us. How do you guys work together? Does it work well or did you have to kind of break each other in? Or, frankly, did you have to break Rob in a little bit to get that going well?
Natasha Tucker: [00:37:12] I hadn’t break. It may have been kick him back out sometimes. What’s the word? He’s very driven and very hard focused on certain things. And I am very light spirited. I’m a total opposite. We’re complete opposite people. For a while, he did work with me daily, and it was great. And on some days, I do miss it. I do miss having him with me all the time. And then, other days I’m like, “Oh, thank goodness he’s back in an office because he does so much better there. That’s where he thrives.”
Mike Blake: [00:38:01] Okay. That’s fair.
Natasha Tucker: [00:38:02] Yeah. There were days. There were days.
Mike Blake: [00:38:08] Yeah. Well, look, my wife and I really struggle. We do a little bit, but not a lot. We’re better off sort of being in our corners and doing our thing. It doesn’t mean you have a bad marriage, but it just means that the compatibility required for a successful marriage is not the same as the compatibility required for a successful business partnership.
Natasha Tucker: [00:38:30] Exactly. Exactly.
Mike Blake: [00:38:36] What surprised you about this experience? What do you look back on? Or maybe think about now saying, “You know what? I didn’t expect this.”
Natasha Tucker: [00:38:46] Oh, gosh. I guess my biggest surprise when I look back, I’m like, “Oh, my goodness. I did that. Oh, my goodness. That happens. How in the world did we make it through? How did I even handle that?” Surprising myself, but then almost on a daily basis after a job, you turn around and you have that surprise of, “Wow.” Like, that’s one of the main reasons I continue to love this is you show up to a mess and, all of a sudden, you turn around and it’s gorgeous, and it’s beautiful, and people are happy, and you can be proud of yourself.
Natasha Tucker: [00:39:35] I did not realize when I first started because I wasn’t doing as much as I am now. I didn’t realize the sense of pride that I get. And the happiness of making other people happy, especially after you get to know them after bouncing back plans and getting to know people. That’s been my biggest surprise, is, I had no idea how happy it actually can make somebody when they do love what they do.
Mike Blake: [00:40:10] I’m talking with Natasha Tucker. And the topic is, Should I turn my side hustle into a fulltime business? We just have time for a few more questions. We got to, maybe, get you to bed at 12:45 rather than 1:00 a.m.. I certainly don’t want to be the reason you’re at that late. But what’s next for the business? What plans do you have for the business going forward?
Natasha Tucker: [00:40:37] Again, it’s the slow growth method now, because I haven’t taken on any capital per se. So, growing organically, right now I do have an assistant, which has helped keep my head a lot clearer. And I do have people that have been onboarded, so that helps a lot.
Natasha Tucker: [00:41:06] So, my ultimate goal is to be to where I can get another career going. I’m not going to say that I don’t want to be in the field working because I love it. But to where I can grow enough to where I can bounce between places a little bit more, because that makes it. And not be on the job site the whole time. But, again, I do love working outside and doing what I do and I love the people that I’ve brought on, so it’s just a lot of fun. So, get to where I can spread out and grow that way. Get a few more trucks out and go, I think that’s what’s next anyway.
Mike Blake: [00:41:56] Natasha, this has been a great conversation and I think our listeners will have learned a lot. I think they’ll just enjoy listening to the conversation, which is fine, too. It’s infotainment here on the Decision Vision podcast. But I’m sure there are questions we haven’t covered, and maybe they wish we would have done more in depth. If somebody wants to contact you about this question about turning their side hustle into a business and learn more from your expertise, can they contact you? And if so, what’s the best way to do that?
Natasha Tucker: [00:42:25] Absolutely. They can email me at email@example.com. You can also message me through my Facebook page, Happy Hippie Gardening. And that’s probably the two direct routes that they’re absolutely welcome to email or message me.
Mike Blake: [00:42:49] That’s going to wrap it up for today’s program. I’d like to thank Natasha Tucker so much for sharing her expertise with us.
Mike Blake: [00:42:56] We’ll be exploring a new topic each week, so please tune in so that when you’re faced with your next business decision, you have clear vision when making it. If you enjoy these podcasts, please consider leaving a review with your favorite podcast aggregator. It helps people find us so that we can help them.
Mike Blake: [00:43:13] If you would like to engage with me on social media with my Chart of the Day and other content, I’m on LinkedIn as myself and @unblakeable on Facebook, Twitter, Clubhouse, and Instagram. Also, check out my new LinkedIn Group called Unblakeable’s Group That Doesn’t Suck. Once again, this is Mike Blake. Our sponsor is Brady Ware & Company. And this has been the Decision Vision podcast.