Beyond the Messy Bubble: Conversations with Sisters

Beyond the Messy Bubble: Conversations with Sisters

Courtney - 00:00:00:

You can't lead and have vision for a team and also be in the middle of managing that team all the time. But for us, our messy bubble, that's what it was. There was no other way out. We're the owners. Who else is going to lead this team, right? Welcome to Hustle & Gather, a podcast about inspiring the everyday entrepreneur to take the leap. I'm Dana.

Dana - 00:00:27:

And I'm Courtney.

Courtney - 00:00:28:

And we are two sisters who have started multiple businesses together. And yes, it is as messy as you think, because we know that starting a business isn't easy.

Dana - 00:00:36:

I mean, we've done it four times. And on the show, we talk about the ups and downs of the hustle and the reward at the end of our journey. We like to talk to our guests about the important topics in our entrepreneurial journey. So far, we've covered team building and work-life balance. And now we're moving on on how to recover from tragedy, both in business and in life. We're talking to some incredible guests on how they recovered after tragedy. You know, you simply can't separate life from business. We're talking about how to handle those unexpected moments and how to grow forward through those experiences. Last week, we talked with Karen Hunt about weathering the storm and finding resilience. So this week, the two of us are talking about the lessons that we learned from Karen. I thought it was so funny, her one. Nice little trip down memory lane at the Keys.

Courtney - 00:01:18:

I know.

Dana - 00:01:18:

I know. I could have talked more about that. One of my other favorite memories from the Keys was when we went camping at the Keys.

Courtney - 00:01:23:

Yeah, but that was not on the bus.

Dana - 00:01:25:

It was not on the bus, right. It was camping. And my rabbit had just died. I do remember that. So that was sad, which has a lot of childhood trauma for Dana. But you can listen to that in another podcast. But there are all these big blue crabs. Do you remember that? They got in our tent. And they looked like cartoons walking around. They were so exaggerated.

Courtney - 00:01:41:

It's my favorite kid picture of all time, of me on that camping trip at the Keys. What picture is it? It's like I'm sitting on the beach, and it looks like it was taken with this amazing camera. I don't know. And it's like I still had a super gap tooth because I was younger. And like, my hair is blowing, and there's the beach behind me. And it's like the cutest picture. I can't find it. Like I think it's in like an album or something. But every time I go home, I remind myself, oh, you should go find that picture because I want it. And I keep forgetting to actually do it. I should just task mom with it. You're never going to get it then.

Dana - 00:02:13:

No. It's not your favorite picture.

Courtney - 00:02:16:

No, it is my favorite picture. I love it.

Dana - 00:02:18:


Courtney - 00:02:18:

It's just, it reminds me so much of being a kid. Like it's such all the memories wrapped up into that one photo, like being on the beach, being in the Keys. I look so happy. Like it's just, it's just so quintessential me in that picture.

Dana - 00:02:30:

Well, yeah, you were a very carefree little kid.

Courtney - 00:02:32:

Yeah. I know. For sure. You know, life happens. Then life happened. But there was a good chunk of time there were not a care. The other thing that I felt like was like right down memory lane was her talking about Andrew. Because I distinctly remember going through Andrew as well. I remember the hurricane because it was really just a tropical storm where we were. But what I remember the most was the week, two weeks after hurricane, our elementary school got an influx of students. Like we got like five new kids in my class.

Dana - 00:02:59:

Oh, really?

Courtney - 00:03:00:

Because all these people like left Miami. And I don't want to say they actually moved to Melbourne, but it's like where they were displaced for six months. They came up there. They had temporary housing and the kids went to school there.

Dana - 00:03:13:


Courtney - 00:03:13:

And I remember having all these new students and thinking like, oh, this is so cool, all these new people. And there was one little boy. His name was Andrew, surprisingly enough. And he was so quiet. And I never, I did not understand why. But he was just so like, and I'm sure he was just traumatized. By the experience in general. But. I don't know. I remember like trying to play with them and he just like was not interested. Like he just was like, he just never, he kept to himself. He didn't really want to have any friends, but he seemed like a, like a cool kid. I don't know. And yeah, but I remember that very distinctly. And before they came, they came, they sat us all down in the auditorium and we're like, these new kids are coming. They're coming from Miami after that. I remember the hurricane and we all talked about the hurricane and all that stuff. Yeah.

Dana - 00:03:56:

I remember, thinking, we had a large number of neighbors that had airboats because the roads were not drivable for a long time.

Courtney - 00:04:04:


Dana - 00:04:05:

And there was flooded. It was Andrew.

Courtney - 00:04:08:


Dana - 00:04:09:

And so people would drive back and forth to neighbors' houses on airboats. And then when all the water drained away, there was all of these dead fish in the yard. Do you remember that?

Courtney - 00:04:18:

Yeah. When was Andrew, though?

Dana - 00:04:20:


Courtney - 00:04:20:


Dana - 00:04:21:

No. 1993. 1993.

Courtney - 00:04:24:

So we weren't in the big house. We were in the big house. We were in the big house.

Dana - 00:04:27:

Or was it 96?

Courtney - 00:04:28:

I don't know. I think you might be thinking of a different hurricane.

Dana - 00:04:31:

We were in the Big House because we had all the mattresses and the family room.

Courtney - 00:04:35:

There was also Hurricane Bonnie where our street flooded really badly. Like really badly.

Dana - 00:04:41:

I'm Googling when Hurricane Andrew is.

Courtney - 00:04:43:

Yeah, but Hurricane Bonnie was the one where I remember we had crabs. And like the next week we were walking to school, we had crabs. Because it was when we were in, I guess it was in Big House because we were in Meadow Lane at the time. But we had all these blue crabs that were walking down the road.

Dana - 00:04:58:

It was 1992.

Courtney - 00:05:00:


Dana - 00:05:00:


Courtney - 00:05:01:

Yeah, but Bonnie was another really big one where our street flooded a lot and people were going down the road in canoes and all that stuff. But our house never suffered it because we were on what you would call a hill in Florida.

Dana - 00:05:09:

It's like a berm, I guess. I don't know.

Courtney - 00:05:11:

I don't know. Yeah. But we never really had any major issues. We never did, yeah. No flooding, right?

Dana - 00:05:16:

Anyway. Yeah. Interesting. Well, I love the story. Like, I just, I love how it really, her story to me, that kind of thinking through business and things that affect the community translates well to like our recent experience with COVID, I feel like. And how we kind of think of COVID as an anomaly. It's an anomaly, I think, in the fact that it was global. But I think... I think for me, it was like, These things happen all the time.

Courtney - 00:05:40:

All the time, yeah.

Dana - 00:05:40:

Like in certain micro levels.

Courtney - 00:05:42:

And it was just more of like everyone understood where you were at with COVID. And you had these people probably 2017 and like the rest of the world had no idea or understood what they were going through.

Dana - 00:05:54:

Yeah, because you're still moving and shaking.

Courtney - 00:05:55:

Yeah, 2017. Yeah, for sure. Yeah. I remember it. I remember when it hit. I remember it being really devastating. I know we were doing a wedding. It was the wedding at Prestonwood.

Dana - 00:06:07:

Oh, really?

Courtney - 00:06:08:


Dana - 00:06:08:

That was then?

Courtney - 00:06:09:

That was then. And that wedding. And I remember that the one of the photographer, videographer had family in the Keys and they were so scared about it.

Dana - 00:06:20:


Courtney - 00:06:21:


Dana - 00:06:22:

All right, well, I thought she had a lot of really good business and personal.

Courtney - 00:06:25:

What was your favorite overall?

Dana - 00:06:26:

Overall? I thought overall, and I think that she said this multiple times, was just to really just show up. Like show up where you can for your community, whether that's, you know. Like directly your community, like when something like that happens, or your vendor community, your business community, your colleagues. I felt like that was a lot of her message was that a lot of her business, future business and current business kind of predicated on her just, you know, showing up and doing what was best for everybody around her.

Courtney - 00:06:54:

Yeah, it was kind of similar to mine. Like it was about being a part of the collective resilience. I thought it was a really interesting way to say that. Because I just don't, and it's not like the collective misery. It's not the collective like, woe is me. It's the collective resilience. Like be a part of the group that is trying to fix the problem.

Dana - 00:07:14:

Yeah, that's, and again, like for COVID, that is like where it just got really black and white for us in general.

Courtney - 00:07:20:

There was no gray area.

Dana - 00:07:21:

Yeah, it was like there's people who were trying to fix it, and there's people who were either trying to profit from it or... I don't know, just make it harder on everybody else is what it felt like.

Courtney - 00:07:33:

Yeah, for sure. I mean, there were like, and it was, and I think, I think what was so hard about COVID, and I'm sure it's very similar to, to a situation where someone's acting out of best interest for themselves and not the collective good, is that there was something so deeply personal about it.

Dana - 00:07:50:


Courtney - 00:07:50:

Like, I remember, and it's not even just vendors. It was everybody. Like, I just remember so many conversations I would have with, like, with people, clients or whatnot. And they would just rail against wearing a mask or whatever. And I was like, I actually don't care what your beliefs are at all. Like, you do you. That's fine. But the fact that you are pitching this fit is making me so I can't actually host this wedding here.

Dana - 00:08:11:


Courtney - 00:08:11:

Because I can't. Like, I legally can't. This is not my own personal opinion. This is, like, the legality of, like, me losing everything that I've built because you don't want to put a mask on your face. Like, absolutely not. Like, whether I think it's right or wrong, which I thought it was right, but whether I think it was right or wrong, it doesn't matter.

Dana - 00:08:29:

It was so nuanced, though. Like, it was really interesting hearing her opinion. Her thought on like, Florida just opened up and they're like, oh, you can have these weddings. Like, but is this vendor going to have this wedding? How do I feel about this wedding? What are the regulations that are in place for this wedding? And kind of like forcing people's hand in that way. And like ours was very much the opposite where we opened up so late. It was like, at what point are you going to let us get back to business? Even though we have vaccines and we have these things in place, like, can we please do something?

Courtney - 00:08:59:

Yeah. Once the vaccine was in, I didn't care anymore because I was like, you make your own choice.

Dana - 00:09:03:


Courtney - 00:09:03:

And you make your, you know, and you have to make your own choice.

Dana - 00:09:05:

But I remember there being vendors very, very early on who were like picketing downtown about not being able to be open. And everybody's dying. I've seen the videos. And there's all of these things. And you're like, okay, but like at what cost? And then like, then you're making people, like if you think about it from the business perspective, if you're like, okay, everything can be open, but like nobody's comfortable having the event, then you're making your vendors cancel. So you're like kind of nulled your force majeure in your contract at that point. It's like all of these very like nuanced things. And I think that when you're in that type of situation, like COVID or hurricane, I think getting to her other point, you can't just think about your bubble. Like it's all the bubbles start overlapping.

Courtney - 00:09:44:

Which was like my. My business advice, she says, don't stay in your messy bubble. Everyone's bubble is a mess. And recognize that. Just don't stay in your messy bubble and try to fix your space only. Everyone is experiencing the same thing. And how can you collectively fix the overarching bubble as a whole? And I think that that was what was really hard. And I did look at it very black and white. I know there was a lot of gray and nuanced areas. And personally, and you can have the gray area personally, but business, it was black and white. Here's what the law said. I'm going to follow the law. That's black and white. There's no gray area there, right? And so the minute they're like, this is every time, it's like, hey, but then you can do this. Okay, great. Well, it's black and white. You can do this or you can do that. And then when it opened. Then it became a personal choice. And then it was like, hey, there is a lot of gray area and we're going to extend some grace to clients. They're still allowed to reschedule, right?

Dana - 00:10:35:


Courtney - 00:10:36:

And then we're going to send grace to our vendors and we're going to tell them exactly how things are going to operate and how we feel safe, like what the rules are at our space. And then they have to make a choice. And I think what's really hard. And I think that especially when you, for me, like I see the world a lot of black and white, like I don't see a lot of gray. But what COVID did is there are times when you can stand here and you can say, like, if I was presented with this problem, I would do X, right? If it was my kid's health, if it was this, if it was this. And there's so much assurance in your mind, like, okay, I would make this decision. But then when you're presented with it and you are looking down the barrel of a gun, essentially, of like, okay, can I make this work? Can I keep this kid safe? Can I also not lose everything I have in my business? Because if I don't do this and I'm out thousands of dollars that I don't have to get back at this point, because at this point, it's me canceling it. It's not because I can't do it. I'm allowed to do it. The venues are doing it. Everyone else is doing it. Now it's me making that decision. That is a really hard decision. And everyone can sit here and say, like, oh, I would choose choice A. And you don't.

Dana - 00:11:41:

I know.

Courtney - 00:11:41:

And you don't know.

Dana - 00:11:42:


Courtney - 00:11:42:

Like, you just don't.

Dana - 00:11:44:

Well, you kind of roll the dice on the information that you've been given.

Courtney - 00:11:47:

It's not even that. I don't even. I don't even agree with that. I don't think it's rolling the dice. I think that you make a decision as to what, to me, it's what you think is the best. And it's not about what information it has. But I can sit here and tell you, like, for example, in the very beginning, the biggest concern that we had health-wise was Ada. Because she had this super weird disease when she was little. And the doctor was basically like, you need to be careful. We don't know what this is. It's vascular. Her thing is vascular.

Dana - 00:12:17:


Courtney - 00:12:18:

Be really careful. And so I was like, okay. So, but there were, I, we, we did an illegal wedding in COVID. Like we did one. And I remember the whole time, I'm not going to say where it was. Like the whole time I was so scared. Like, what if I brought this thing home to my kid? Right. But in that moment and that decision that I had, that I made, it was like, I was bombarded with all of this, like this, these impossible decisions. And I, I, I made the best decision that I could make with it. I did the right thing, you know, making sure I was healthy and safe and came home or whatever. But to everyone looking at it, like, well, why wouldn't you just say no? Like it's your kid's health or whatever. You know what I mean? And it's just not as simple as that. And I feel like that's the biggest lesson I learned going through something like that. It's not as simple as right and wrong.

Dana - 00:13:10:

Yeah. It's not.

Courtney - 00:13:11:

When you have to make a decision, it's easy when it's like, is this a law? Yes or no. Right.

Dana - 00:13:15:

Yeah. For sure.

Courtney - 00:13:16:

I don't know.

Dana - 00:13:17:

It's very nuanced. I mean, I think that that was one of the things, like, and I think when you go through things like Irma and Andrew before that and you go through things like COVID that you realize no man's an island. Like, everyone else's decisions affect everybody else.

Courtney - 00:13:32:


Dana - 00:13:32:

And, like, how small everything really is. Do you know what I'm saying? Like, that's one of the things for me with COVID is, like, wow. Things that happen across the world can affect us here.

Courtney - 00:13:44:

Well, yeah. I mean, just to clarify about this one illegal wedding, just want to clarify this, was the whole reason why we followed all the rules. We followed the law, all that stuff. But we had to change the venue because we had a photographer that was so mad that we had it in the first place. Even though we followed all the regulation, all the guidance, we pointed out, they basically went on a rampage. They did. And turned us into the public health, whatever. So then the venue was like, we can't be this visible. We're too big of a venue. There's too much going on. And so we had to move it underground. So it wasn't technically illegal because we did all the right things. But it was definitely like-

Dana - 00:14:26:

We had ordinances in place.

Courtney - 00:14:27:

Yeah. We were following the ordinances. But we had to move it because of someone's-

Dana - 00:14:33:

And that was the other thing, too. Like, all those, like, events felt like this crazy house of cards. Like, where everyone had to support the base.

Courtney - 00:14:40:


Dana - 00:14:41:

And, like, when one started getting wiggly, it all just kind of started, like, falling and moving. So, like, it was so clear, like, who your allies were. Like, who are your cohorts in crime? Like, who's going to go through it with you?

Courtney - 00:14:51:

For sure.

Dana - 00:14:52:

Follow the rules, do the things, you know.

Courtney - 00:14:54:

There was a lot of negativity towards people who just—

Dana - 00:14:57:

On both ends, whether you followed the rules or you didn't follow the rules.

Courtney - 00:15:01:

Yeah, but, I mean, yeah, for sure. I think for me, like, my biggest—the most disappointing I've ever felt in people was during that time and them just being so ungodly selfish about it. And, like, because what happens is, as a venue, you actually hold a lot of power. So, what the venue says pretty much goes, as a venue says, yes, you can do this event, then all the other vendors are supposed to fall in line and they're expected to break the law because the venue said yes.

Dana - 00:15:23:

Yeah, I know.

Courtney - 00:15:24:

And there are many times, like, on the planning side where we had to just say no.

Dana - 00:15:28:

Yeah, we're not doing it.

Courtney - 00:15:29:

We're not doing it. Like, I don't care if your venue says it's fine. Like, I'm not putting myself at risk for that. Like, I'm just not going to do it. It was very, very stressful. But I love that. I loved her. Just don't stay in your messy bubble. Because I think, I mean, taking COVID aside, like just happier times, right? I think everyone in the industry, in any business, any entrepreneur has their own messy bubble at all times, right? And how messy it is depends on what you're going through.

Dana - 00:15:56:

We've got a messy bubble.

Courtney - 00:15:58:

Middle of a very messy bubble right now. But... I think when you take a moment to realize that everybody is a mess, right? And to get out of that and recognize like, hey, can I ask a friend for help? Or can I... Like what can I do that can, you know, maybe help alleviate my messy bubble or maybe to help some alleviate someone else's messy bubble? Because I think a lot of it too is you go through the same things. Like we're all the same litter is in our bubbles, right? Like the same issues. And when we kind of close ourselves in and say like, oh, it's only me going through it. I'm only going to, I'm just going to focus on me, me, me, me and how I'm going to get out of it. You lose so much perspective, so much collaboration, so much like. I don't know, better solutions.

Dana - 00:16:42:

Oh, for sure, yeah. I mean, I definitely think that, like, you know, as you're, like, trying new things or... You know, expanding or growing or. Venturing out, like there's all these people that have done it before you and like, and what you have might be novel to them. And what they have is like old hat and you can. Kind of share and collaborate and move forward through those things.

Courtney - 00:17:01:

But I think it's even like, like, so for our like messy bubble at the moment, like we, as when this comes out, this will obviously be, everyone knows this, but we have hired a COO to like run our company. Right. And it's been very, we've lived in our own messy bubble of trying to manage and, you know, lead this team and all this stuff. And there's been some great greatness has come out of it, but we've realized in the past year, like, that's just, you can't lead and have vision for a team and also be in the middle of managing that team all the time. And so, but for us, our messy bubble, that's what it was. There was no other way out. Like we're the owners, like who else is going to lead this team? Right. And it took an outside perspective of saying, of bringing somebody in and now we're bringing this person in and she's looking at all the operations, the job descriptions, the contracts, and, you know, she's having these ideas and talking about, you know, we should do X, Y, Z. And there's a part of me that I look at it and I had just sent her actually, I sent her a voice memo and I was like, I'm, whatever you say, I'm going to follow because we've had what, like 10 years of running this venue, going into 10 years, 10 years of running this venue. And like our ideas are done. Like we've tried it all. We've done all the things. Like there's no, my ability to think outside and try anything different is so stifled because I've only just been like reactive managing. Right. So to me, like getting, having someone say like, Hey, come in, come into this mess. Can you figure out how to organize it a little bit better? It's been like, so refreshing.

Dana - 00:18:35:

Yeah, for sure.

Courtney - 00:18:36:

So I think it can go both ways. Like, yes, get out of your bubble for other people, but also bring somebody into that bubble and help them, help them clean it up a little bit.

Dana - 00:18:44:

Yeah. Yeah. I think, I do think you get tunnel vision. I mean, I'm saying you like the world gets tunnel vision when you're in your own thing.

Courtney - 00:18:52:

Like, this is the way we've always done it, or this is the way that we think it's best. And like, yeah, it's not tunnel vision. It's like your own biases.

Dana - 00:18:59:


Courtney - 00:18:59:

Like your own emotional attachment to things for some odd, weird reason about things. I think it's true.

Dana - 00:19:05:

That is a hundred percent true. Yeah.

Courtney - 00:19:07:


Dana - 00:19:08:

I think it's funny, too, like even like through that process, like her ask of people. Or what she would ask people is very different. Like, oh, who's going to do that? And she's like, people do that all the time. And I'm like, oh, well, that's, you know, just kind of have your own like. I wouldn't want to do that. So why would I ask someone else to do that? It's kind of like you've always led from this. And I'm not saying like any job is beneath you, but like we've kind of always led with the thought of I've done everything that you've done. You know what I'm saying? And worked through everything that you've done. Mind you, we've pushed our body way further than we've ever asked anybody to, like, push their mental. Physical, spiritual well-being for sure. But you get in that mindset. And we're kind of at the point now where maybe we haven't done everything that we're asking everybody to do. Like there's all these new roles that we haven't stepped into. Right. So it's a little bit of like an unknown, but you still have this biases of like, I haven't walked through that.

Courtney - 00:20:02:

Well, and I think just dealing with people for 10 years, you are told so many things and like, you're like, oh, well, that didn't work with this employee or this person doesn't like doing this. And there's a part of it's like. Everyone's replaceable.

Dana - 00:20:17:

It's true.

Courtney - 00:20:18:

Like the job is a job. That's right. It's a role.

Dana - 00:20:21:

It's a role.

Courtney - 00:20:21:

And there are seasons of life where those roles get filled well. And there are seasons of life where you can say, you know what? You've outgrown this and it's time to move on. And that's

Dana - 00:20:29:

okay. I know.

Courtney - 00:20:30:

But you just get so endeared to everybody. And I don't think it's a negative thing, but it's a hard, it's a really hard balance.

Dana - 00:20:37:

It's so hard.

Courtney - 00:20:38:

I completely agree. Business to emotional. So it's nice to have a middleman in the middle that's dealing with it.

Dana - 00:20:44:


Courtney - 00:20:45:

They can get attached. They can get attached and we can see the perspective.

Dana - 00:20:48:

That's right.

Courtney - 00:20:49:

Or their job is not to get attached, actually.

Dana - 00:20:51:

I know, but I'm just saying.

Courtney - 00:20:53:

What was your best business?

Dana - 00:20:54:

It was, well, I liked when she was kind of talking about starting out on your own. I think we. Have fun. Some like people who are interested in entrepreneurship or like, you know, taking their career into more solopreneur type situation. I liked how she said to have those relationships in place before stepping out on your

Courtney - 00:21:10:

own. For sure.

Dana - 00:21:11:

And I feel like, I know we've said it a million times, it's just our relationships and networking that have kind of grown the Bradford and gotten it to where it was. And I think that we would have done infinitely better at the beginning of the Bradford had we more relationships in place.

Courtney - 00:21:24:

Yeah, and I also just feel like it's this very, it's interesting because at this point, I can't imagine walking into an industry and not having a single connection in the industry. I can't even imagine it, but it's 100% what we did. And there's almost this, maybe it's being young, maybe it's being in your early 20s, but there's this arrogance about it. You're walking on this scene being like, I know what I'm doing. I haven't talked to a single soul. I just have this passion for it. And I'm just like-

Dana - 00:21:50:

What do you mean I can't play in a true venue?

Courtney - 00:21:52:

What are you talking about? Get an internship, shadow somebody, develop, get a mentor, get a coach, do something. It's just, it baffles my mind, but it's exactly what we did.

Dana - 00:22:01:

It's exactly what we did.

Courtney - 00:22:02:

There was no- Yeah.

Dana - 00:22:06:

I know.

Courtney - 00:22:06:

It's bizarre, but people do it all the time.

Dana - 00:22:08:

I know. And I judged him harshly for it. Don't do what I did. Don't do what I did. Make some connections.

Courtney - 00:22:16:


Dana - 00:22:17:


Courtney - 00:22:18:

For sure.

Dana - 00:22:18:

I mean, I feel like we fell into connections really quickly. We have an ability to make connections quickly, which we didn't know at the time. And that really helped out. But there was a lot of luck. That like came our way.

Courtney - 00:22:28:

For sure.

Dana - 00:22:28:

And some like different things that just lined up perfectly that kind of propelled us forward that had it gone a different way, it could have gone a completely different way.

Courtney - 00:22:36:

Yeah. For sure. What was your favorite personal takeaway?

Dana - 00:22:40:

My favorite personal kind of rings true just for my year in general. My past year is do it scared anyway. Like sometimes, and I feel like that, sometimes you just got to walk through it and be scared. Like literally. And just because you're scared doesn't mean it's the wrong decision or doesn't mean you shouldn't do it.

Courtney - 00:22:56:


Dana - 00:22:57:

You know, because there's going to be lots of times where, you know. You're scared and... And you have to go through it anyway, you know? But I feel like that for me, that was a lot. Like, just overall, like, even, like, getting divorced. Like, I remember when I told Mikhail, like, I was like, I don't want to give you another decade. Like, I literally just cannot. And I knew, like, my body was suffering and like everything was kind of going crazy. And I looked at him and I was like, but I'm terrified that you're going to take my business. I was like, because I don't want to be held to you in a financial way, like for the rest of my life. It's enough that we have these three kids and I love our kids, whatever, but that's enough. And I literally voiced that to him just like that. Like, I'm terrified of it. And he said, and he was, I mean, he made threats a couple of times throughout the process, but he's like, I'm not interested in your business. And he held true to that. I felt like, you know, like I'm going to take, I want to take this step and I'm terrified of this.

Courtney - 00:23:49:


Dana - 00:23:49:

And it could have gone in any different way.

Courtney - 00:23:50:


Dana - 00:23:51:

You know, but.

Courtney - 00:23:52:

Even if it did go the other way, it would have been fine.

Dana - 00:23:54:

It would have been sucky and fine.

Courtney - 00:23:56:

Sure, it would have been sucky and fine.

Dana - 00:23:57:

Yeah. But I mean, I just think through like, you can't always use fear as the indicator as to whether or not you should do something.

Courtney - 00:24:05:

Yeah. Yeah. I don't know if I actually feel fear a lot. I think I just feel like loathing. Like I feel like making this next step in the business, like I wasn't fearful of it. I was gutturally nervous that because I think when for me, it's like, okay, I know it's just gonna be really hard, but I wasn't afraid of it. Like it didn't, it wasn't like I was afraid of making a wrong choice. I knew it was the right choice. I wasn't afraid of, you know, having to make staffing changes because I knew it was right, but I didn't want to go through it. Do you know what I mean? Like it was just more like loathing or like not loathing or like trepidation, but it wasn't like this. I was like, oh, I'm so afraid of this. And, and even like when I think back on things, I can't even say I was ever super scared about it. It's just, I just was like, oh, I got to deal with this. I really don't want to deal with it. But it wasn't because I was afraid, just because I didn't want to deal with it.

Dana - 00:24:58:

I think I deal with like some level of anxiety in general, like just. A low level that's always just kind of there. And like when we talk about like bringing on a COO or we talk about like. I have some fear about like salary things. Like I think financially about it. I know you don't think about that at all.

Courtney - 00:25:15:

No, no, I think about it. I just know I can only imagine the amount of money I can bring into the company when I am not literally weighed down by shit every single day.

Dana - 00:25:24:


Courtney - 00:25:25:

That's all I can think about. And I know it. I know it to the core of who I am, that there is like literally been this path that we could have taken for the past two years. There is just money all along the way that I know that we can get to, but I have not had the time, the energy, the want, the desire, because I'm so bogged down by everything else. I, see, I don't worry because I firmly believe in when you're trying to propel your business, it is not the how do you do it, it's who is going to do it. It's who do you need in order to get there. It's not how do I do it.

Dana - 00:25:57:


Courtney - 00:25:57:

Because, and that's always been our mantra.

Dana - 00:26:00:


Courtney - 00:26:00:

It's okay, we want to make more money at the Bradford, so like we're going to hire somebody and it seems so counterintuitive, but no, because that person allowed us to do the things, allowed us to market the Bradford correctly. Like we didn't always have a marketing director. That was us who did it, right?

Dana - 00:26:13:

Yeah, that was incorrect.

Courtney - 00:26:15:

It wasn't incorrect. It got us where we needed to go.

Dana - 00:26:17:

Not in our strong suit.

Courtney - 00:26:19:

No, I mean, I totally disagree with that. I think that it worked really well for a very long period of time. And then it became, okay, there's all these things added to our plate.

Dana - 00:26:30:


Courtney - 00:26:31:

And this is the one thing that's starting to suffer and slip because we did it so well before. And, you know, and we're. Not understanding the changes and how all that stuff is happening and we need to hire somebody. So I don't think that at all. I just feel like it's, for me, it's, I don't fear about the salary side of it because I see the numbers.

Dana - 00:26:50:


Courtney - 00:26:51:

They're there. It's fine.

Dana - 00:26:52:


Courtney - 00:26:53:

Like it's not eating into me. It's not eating into you. It's not eating into our employees or anything like that. Like it's there, you know?

Dana - 00:27:00:

Yeah, for sure.

Courtney - 00:27:01:

Like I have enough confidence and faith that it's going to. We're going to get to the other end in the same.

Dana - 00:27:07:

I mean, obviously we have data. Like we have like. We know almost exactly where we're going to be for next year. You know, like. Even when you think about our sales portion of the year, that goal is just a— maybe only 20% of our income projections. So it's like we have data and buffer that goes forward for sure. I'm not saying that at all, but I just don't take it lightly ever.

Courtney - 00:27:32:

I don't take it lightly.

Dana - 00:27:34:

Like someone else's livelihood.

Courtney - 00:27:35:

I know, but I think that there's a difference between approaching something with smart, sound decision-making and recognizing this is, it'd be different if you're like, I just want to hire five people because I don't want to do anything. Like, okay, that's not the same thing. But hiring someone you know that's going to propel the business forward, it's going to create a better company culture. It's going to create a better work-life balance for everybody. To me, that's not even a conversation of, and you know, we've had many conversations. I don't approach it with a scarcity mindset.

Dana - 00:28:06:

Oh, I know.

Courtney - 00:28:07:

I don't want to hire someone for $80,000 a year. That's not what I want to do. That person's not going to do a good job. They're just not.

Dana - 00:28:12:

Oh, yeah. You should have all the conversations with Dana. Yes.

Courtney - 00:28:15:

They're not. Like, I'm not going to put somebody in there who does not feel well-compensated to do this massive job that we're asking them to do. And it's just, it's a scarcity. It's a scarcity mindset that we, that when I look back on how we built the Bradford was all in scarcity.

Dana - 00:28:29:

Well, it's like how we grew up.

Courtney - 00:28:30:

So it's like very, it's very, very much kind of breaking out of those like generational things you told yourself. But I've broken out of those generational things I told myself years ago.

Dana - 00:28:37:

I know.

Courtney - 00:28:37:

Because I, like, that was bullshit. I know.

Dana - 00:28:40:

Yeah. I mean, I think, I think part of it too for me is just like, I mean, it's fine. And like, I look at our trajectory and like, I'm proud of us. And I mean, I think we did the best that we can do. And I signed on 100% for the COO. I might've waffled on the salary a bit. But, I mean, I think, too, for me, it's been a huge transition year just in general. And there's, like, even, like, mentally, there's, like, only so much transition that you can take. Do you know what I'm saying?

Courtney - 00:29:06:


Dana - 00:29:06:

Like, when you realize your body is just, like. Okay. Okay, okay. And it just starts to make you feel a little panicky.

Courtney - 00:29:12:


Dana - 00:29:12:

You know, because you're just... There's nothing really grounding you. You're just, everything's kind of changing. So I feel like there's a lot of that, too, that I think plays into it, which is a good thing. Why I'm happy to have a business partner to.

Courtney - 00:29:24:

Yeah, but I mean, on the flip side of that, how I feel about it is happily have been taking on a lot of the work and I just feel an immense sense of relief.

Dana - 00:29:35:


Courtney - 00:29:35:

Like that's all I can feel about it is just the, and I told Sam, I was like, I cannot wait for February 1st.

Dana - 00:29:40:


Courtney - 00:29:40:

I just cannot wait for it.

Dana - 00:29:42:

January is going to be a lot.

Courtney - 00:29:43:

It is. And I have, there's a lot going on in January.

Dana - 00:29:45:

I mean, you can have other like outside things like Evolve that's coming due and all that.

Courtney - 00:29:49:

Right, all that. So there's a lot. On my plate and I can see, and I've, and he's like, Oh, that just sounds like a Danaism.

Dana - 00:29:54:

Cause he's like a Danaism.

Courtney - 00:29:55:

I was like, no, no, it's different. And so we were talking about it and he's like, I can't even imagine what you're going to do with your time. And he's like, what are you going to get yourself into? And I was like, I'm not going to get myself into anything. I am not adding anything to this plate. I was like, I am just trying to like get back to what I love doing and like propelling this side of our business that like is so fulfilling that I like, I love, you know? And it's been fun. Like I was telling like, I like doing tours or whatever. I was like, Oh, I forgot how much I really love interacting with clients sometimes. Like I do miss that. And I'm not bad at it.

Dana - 00:30:26:

Like, I know you've sold a couple.

Courtney - 00:30:28:

Yeah. Three.

Dana - 00:30:29:

Yeah. I know.

Courtney - 00:30:30:

I know. You know? So it's very much like, I don't know. I just, it's a very exciting change. And I feel like it's one of those things where. I don't even, like I said, I don't think I look at it from a scared perspective, but just from like, it's going to be hard and I don't want to go through it, but it's the right thing to do.

Dana - 00:30:48:

I just want to get the puzzle pieces in place for me. It's still a big puzzle. Yeah, that's how I feel. It's like not, there's no picture yet. It's just like pieces and who knows what it's going to look like.

Courtney - 00:30:57:

Yeah, that's what I told, we had a meeting yesterday with our person and I had sent her a voicemail afterwards. I was like, sorry if I seemed overwhelmed. It's because I am. If I seem that way. It is the truth.

Dana - 00:31:08:

That is the reason.

Courtney - 00:31:09:

I was like, I am so overwhelmed. There's so much information in my head. My mental load is unbelievable at the moment. And there's no way to pass it off to you.

Dana - 00:31:17:

Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Courtney - 00:31:18:

And I know it's coming, but there's all these plates spinning in the air, and I'm in charge of so many of them. And I'm terrified. Like every time someone... Like. Books or write a contract. I'm writing 10 emails, make sure it's not overlooked and all the things are done. Like, cause I just haven't done that process in so long. And so it's just, it's just so much in general. Yeah.

Dana - 00:31:41:


Courtney - 00:31:43:

Well, my personal takeaway was I loved it when she said, just say hello. And I love the story with her friend. And I do think it so clearly set her on a trajectory and a path of helping other people. Because you remember that. You remember that person that talked to you and pulled you out of whatever situation it was or made you feel welcome.

Dana - 00:32:03:


Courtney - 00:32:03:


Dana - 00:32:05:

I didn't really have that till like... Probably middle school. It was probably Jessica Baker. And I was like in seventh grade.

Courtney - 00:32:15:


Dana - 00:32:16:

But I felt just like, I mean, we're not friends any longer. Yeah, so it wasn't like a lifelong friendship. Like I moved away and blah, blah, blah. But I remember feeling like, oh, okay, that sense of belonging at that point.

Courtney - 00:32:26:

I never had like good friends in school. I had really good friends outside of school. My best friend was like outside of school. That's who I spent all my time with. But in school, I didn't really have any.

Dana - 00:32:34:

Even in Florida.

Courtney - 00:32:35:

Oh, I know.

Dana - 00:32:36:

They were kind of all forced by your mother.

Courtney - 00:32:38:

Yeah, they were. They're my best friends.

Dana - 00:32:42:

Yeah, I know. They were all your mother's friends' kids.

Courtney - 00:32:45:

I know. Well, me and Noelle were like six weeks apart.

Dana - 00:32:47:

Yeah. Unavoidable.

Courtney - 00:32:48:

It was unavoidable.

Dana - 00:32:49:


Courtney - 00:32:50:

We spent our entire life together.

Dana - 00:32:51:

That's true. Yeah.

Courtney - 00:32:52:

I think no one could like to understand the level of crazy of our parents. Yeah.

Dana - 00:32:58:


Courtney - 00:32:58:

That's true. Because they grew up together. They live together.

Dana - 00:33:01:

They live together.

Courtney - 00:33:02:


Dana - 00:33:02:


Courtney - 00:33:03:

They had me young. Like, I was the oldest of the group or whatnot. They used to drive to Orlando, which was like 45 minutes to an hour away from Melbourne. And like eat popcorn for dinner with like their newborn baby and bowl all night.

Dana - 00:33:18:


Courtney - 00:33:19:

Yeah. Like they had very strange. Parenting skills.

Dana - 00:33:22:

They were living their life. They were 19. And 20.

Courtney - 00:33:25:

I know. I know.

Dana - 00:33:26:

It's crazy.

Courtney - 00:33:27:

Yeah. No, but I love that, the just say hello. Cause I think that's just such a good piece of advice across the board. Like, and there's times like even now, like even when we are like more in, when I'm in new environments and I'm like in a new conference and there's that like, oh my gosh, like the anxiety of like talking to somebody that I don't know. And it's like, just say hello, just go say hi.

Dana - 00:33:46:

Yeah. You just don't know where it's going to lead you. I think that all the time.

Courtney - 00:33:50:

But it's like, and the way I've started looking at it too is I think I had to take the pressure off myself because I'm not, I don't want to have this conversation because I want to garner something from this person or I want to like advance some part of like my business, right? I want to say hello to this person because I'm interested in who they are. And it's always been the most amazing conversations. And like the first time I really ever did that was I was at a conference. I remember it was whatever it was in Florida for like, uh, it was like a day conference and I was a speaker there or whatever. And it was a bunch of people I'd never met before. I didn't know a single solitary soul. I was in Dustin, right? I had met one person at BSAGE the February before, and, but we had spent so little time together and I was the only person that she knew. And so we kind of sat together, but then there was like all these amazing people that were there. And there was this one person specifically, I was so nervous to talk to you. One, she looked amazing. She was like beautiful. And she had like so much great style. She was like an amazing speaker. And I was just like, totally like, Oh my God, who is this person? Never heard of her before. But apparently she's like this amazing speaker all over the world. And I just, we were at the pool and we went down the slide together because we all, all the people were doing it. We just started talking and it was like seriously the best conversation I've ever had in my entire life with somebody it was just so cool and neat and just like and the connection we still like email back and forth or whatever but it's just like that I had to tell myself just say hello just say hi just say how are you doing.

Dana - 00:35:20:

Yeah I think that's great.

Courtney - 00:35:21:


Dana - 00:35:22:

Yeah I have a hard time with that I'm actually like very introverted, like in my... Like. I don't know. Like my renewal sense. Like it takes a lot for me. So like once I'm there, I'm there, you know? Like I'm going to do the networking and the thing. But like. My natural inclination is not to say hello. Yeah. Like I just want to go to my room. Right. Be on the lounger by myself in silence.

Courtney - 00:35:49:


Dana - 00:35:51:

You know, so it takes a lot for me to be like, oh, okay, let's talk.

Courtney - 00:35:54:


Dana - 00:35:57:

All right.

Courtney - 00:35:58:

Fuck up.

Dana - 00:36:00:

Does our fuck up have to be related to this podcast?

Courtney - 00:36:04:

Well, technically, yes. And I can start and then maybe you can say what your fuck up is.

Dana - 00:36:07:


Courtney - 00:36:08:

And you kind of already mentioned it, but like. How we, and me too, how we had no network when we started. That was probably the biggest thing. And like, and it wasn't really until we built the Bradford that we were like, okay, this is a lot of money and we, our network is smaller. Like we had a core group of vendors we were friends with, but we knew that those core group was not going to get us the bookings we needed. Like we needed everybody to know who we are. And so we were like, let's start networking. Let's start, let's get into all the things. Like the NACE, Nylea's and all that stuff. I think that was like the biggest fuck up is that we just felt like we were an island. No one understood us. There's definitely a sense of self-importance. Like no one is a parent to five children and building a venue and having a wedding planning company life is so hard and awful. And it's just like.

Dana - 00:36:57:

I think very well that could have been the case. There might not have been that exact same scenario. But yeah.

Courtney - 00:37:04:

Yeah, but it was very much like no one understands. Who understands the drama, the trauma of this experience.

Dana - 00:37:11:

It's true. Yeah. It did feel traumatic.

Courtney - 00:37:15:

So self-important.

Dana - 00:37:16:

Yeah, I would agree. I mean, I think definitely like the lack of networking. You know, getting out there and. I think also... Probably also not inviting enough people into our bubble early enough, too. Like, kind of holding it so close to the chest, I think, would have been more beneficial to, like, bring a third perspective. Because I loved your thought when you were talking in the podcast about how you said there's, like, visionaries, and then there's planners, and then there's doers. And I think that. While everyone kind of overlaps a little bit when you're in small business, because you have to be, I'm definitely very much in visionary. You're very much a doer. And we kind of miss the planning in the middle.

Courtney - 00:37:58:

Yeah, for sure.

Dana - 00:37:59:

Do you know what I'm saying? And I do feel like this person that we're bringing on is very much a planner delegator. That's kind of her strength. So it's kind of like maybe recognizing what your qualities are and looking for those missing pieces early on I think could have been helpful.

Courtney - 00:38:16:

Yeah, because I think when you're missing one of those, it just breeds resentment. Like so much resentment.

Dana - 00:38:22:

Yeah, because I think it's kind of like a visionary and might dabble in like a doer. I think you might be planner and doer. But yeah. Definitely a stronger doer. Definitely a stronger visionary. And I think the planning kind of goes the way that we're like, all right. And I think that's why we tend to get into a reactionary mode. Oh, let's put a bandaid on this problem because we don't plan for it.

Courtney - 00:38:42:


Dana - 00:38:42:


Courtney - 00:38:43:


Dana - 00:38:44:

Yeah. So I thought that would also be like a fuck up is just not recognizing that earlier on.

Courtney - 00:38:51:


Dana - 00:38:51:

But yeah, good talk. That was great.

Courtney - 00:38:54:

Yeah. I think she has probably like such a great membership program too. Like just like her wealth of knowledge. And I think she has like a great attitude towards it. Like there's been, I don't know a ton of membership programs. I don't know. But there's obviously we come across business consultants all the time. And it's always refreshing to come across somebody who believes in that kind of collective collaboration community. And that's what's going to create growth as opposed to these people that are just like. Charge this, charge that, do this. You know what I mean?

Dana - 00:39:25:

You're not charging enough.

Courtney - 00:39:26:

Here's how you get your profit. And it's so funny because I'm working with a business coach and they are super helpful or whatnot. And there's definitely this sense of like. Of where you have to get over, over yourself in both ways. Like there's a point where you have these people that I'm like, so not attracted to people that are like, who feel like they're God's gift to whatever. Like, that's just not my vibe. Like, I don't like dealing with those people. I don't like talking to those people in general. I mean, I will talk to them, but they're like, not my favorite. Like it's very off putting. And so there's tends to be, that's like something I don't like. There tends to be the, the, the dramatic opposite where you're very like, self-deprecating, like I am nobody, I'm not important. And then there's this happy middle ground that you have to find. And that's what I find when you talk about business consulting. It's like you have a lot of people that are in that upper category. You deserve it. You are amazing and you should do XYZ. And why are you not charging $50,000 to plan this person's wedding?

Dana - 00:40:31:

I remember-

Courtney - 00:40:32:

And I'm like, what? Nope. That doesn't make any sense. I don't think I'm trash, but I also don't think I'm that. You know what I mean?

Dana - 00:40:38:

I remember I was sitting in a conference one time. So probably the end of when I wanted to go to conference education. And there was a business consultant and she was talking about like how to attract that luxury client and everyone should be attracting this luxury. I mean, that's, hundred people in this room, right? Not everyone's going to be a luxury event planner. And her whole thing was predicated on you're not attracting it because you don't look like them. And you don't shop like them. You don't understand what their, like, level is. And it was like this whole. Was not productive like it wasn't like super helpful but it was like this.

Courtney - 00:41:12:

So you're not rich enough.

Dana - 00:41:13:

You're not rich enough to attract rich people and I was like, wow, okay. That was basically what it was and I was like that is your business advice for luxury clientele?

Courtney - 00:41:22:


Dana - 00:41:22:

Because you're not shopping in the right spots and if they don't recognize it on you they're not going to buy it from you.

Courtney - 00:41:27:


Dana - 00:41:27:

So it's like if I just got this one belt, that's it. I'm golden.

Courtney - 00:41:32:

Wear it to every single meeting you have with them. Yeah.

Dana - 00:41:34:

I know. But it was like that was literally the message. And I was like, that is just. Not helpful, business coaching.

Courtney - 00:41:41:


Dana - 00:41:41:

Yeah. So she seems like much more helpful, like practical. Anybody can do it. Like her advice about. Um, planning her friend's wedding in Georgia. Like, Hey, that was so good. You can network anywhere. You don't have to be there.

Courtney - 00:41:55:


Dana - 00:41:55:


Courtney - 00:41:55:

Yeah. I think she'd be great. So if anyone's interested in that, definitely check her out. Cause I think she'd be amazing.

Dana - 00:42:00:

Yeah, for sure. To learn more about our households, visit us on the gram @canddevents, @thebradfordnc, and @hustleandgather. And if you're interested in learning more about our speaking, training, or venue consulting, head to our website at

Courtney - 00:42:21:

And if you love us and you love this show, we'd be more than honored if you left a rating and a review.

Dana - 00:42:26:

This podcast is a production of Your Influence. I'm Courtney.

Courtney - 00:42:29:

And I'm Dana.

Dana - 00:42:29:

And we'll talk to you next time on Hustle & Gather.