Does taking investment mean losing control? Would we invest in other businesses? New Conversations with Sisters

After the conversation with Amie Thompson, Courtney and Dana ponder whether or not they would take investment from others in their businesses. It sounds great to have money come in, but what does that mean for control and decision-making?

And then, would they want to invest in other people’s businesses? How do you trust someone with your money when you’re not sure if they have the same work ethic as you?

As always, a very real and candid conversation from Courtney and Dana.

If you haven’t listened to last week’s episode with Creative Allies‘ Amie Thompson, check it out on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or any other podcast app.


Courtney: Welcome to Hustle and Gather, a podcast about inspiring the everyday entrepreneur to take the leap. I’m Courtney, 

Dana: and I’m Dana,

Courtney: and we’re two sisters who love business. On this show, we talk about the ups and downs with the hustle and the reward at the end of the journey 

Dana: And we know all the challenges that come with starting a business. Between operating our wedding venue, doing speaking and consulting, and starting our luxury wedding planning company, we wake up and hustle every day.

Courtney: And today we’re talking, just the two of us, about last week’s episode with Amie Thompson, president and CEO of creative allies, a marketing firm for entrepreneurs. Amie knows the ins and outs of running a business, as well as the importance of building a personal brand in order to ensure a professional success. If you haven’t heard last week’s episode, go give it a listen and come back to hear our thoughts. 

Dana: All right, Courtney, let’s get started. 

Courtney: All right. It’s a fun episode. I loved her interesting journey to becoming an entrepreneur, like through becoming an investor. No. Yeah. 

Dana: And like, that’s like such a new one for me. 

Courtney: I know, mostly because I don’t invest in really anything, anything besides myself and the business.

Dana: How do you invest in yourself? 

Courtney: I don’t know. Wash my face, do some yoga, go to retreats, better my mind. How do you invest in yourself? 

Dana: I don’t know. I wouldn’t say I invest in myself. I don’t know. I guess I wash my face. I don’t do yoga. 

Courtney: No retreats for you?

Dana: No retreats for me, no. 

Courtney: And your mind’s a scary place, so it is no reason to untangle that. No, but I love that. Like how she. We were talking with a friend recently, like we went out to dinner and she was talking about how she invested in someone’s company, like directly. And I was like, huh, like I’ve never even like, I would totally do that. But like those opportunities have really never come up.

Like how do you go about finding opportunities to invest in like actual companies that you can visit?

Dana: I don’t know, but I loved her tip of like, when she talked about how she knew it was a good one. She, her questions were, is it sustainable? Is it growing? Yeah, and so funny story, I guess not funny story, but I guess side story to this is a couple of months ago.

Me and Courtney looked into buying a bed and breakfast that we were going to turn into a venue. We really liked it, I really liked it and Courtney,

Courtney: It had good Juju.

Dana: it did have good Juju. And Courtney eventually got cold feet which is fine. And it does not be the right thing for us. there was some septic, well, sewage issues.

Courtney: I didn’t have sewage allotment, to do what we wanted to do on it. 

Dana: At any rate, I was telling a good friend of mine about this, like that’s in the industry. And he was like, oh, you’re thinking about doing that venue. I was like, yeah, we’re talking about it. We’ll know some more answers like next week. He’s like, well, let me know. He’s like, I really want to invest in that. 

Courtney: And I was like, what? You want to get me your money? 

Dana: I know. He’s like, yeah, I’d love to invest in your company. He’s like, I keep telling you that, like, I just want to learn everything from you guys, but it was like so bizarre, and I think a lot of it is almost like remembering back to when we opened the venue. Like no one want to invest in our business. The bank didn’t want to invest in our business. 

Courtney: Now I’m in the bank that held all of her money. They were like, Nope, this is not an investment we want to make. 

Dana: So I think it was kind of shocking that we’re at the point where someone’s like, oh, I want to invest in your company. And I’m like, oh, interesting. 

Courtney: But I think about that and I think it is more about, it’s not, it’s about investing in the company, yes. Like, you know, looking at the financials, is it profitable or whatever, but I think it’s almost like you’re selling yourself. It’s likely they’re investing in you; they’re investing in your ideas and they’re investing in what they think your success rate’s going to be.

Dana: Well, yeah, because even the best ideas with terrible leaders are going to fail.

Courtney: That’s right, yeah. So, I mean, I don’t know. I think it is just kind of more salesy, honestly, but it was totally interesting. I thought that was a really interesting way to end up being a CEO of a company. Obviously, she has other investors in that group with her. She just kind of runs the show now. 

Dana: Yeah, no, I thought it was really interesting. 

Courtney: Yeah. I loved how she talked to so much about motivation, like what motivates her in her business. And she said that she realized that she was not motivated by money, but she was motivated by like project completion.

And I know we’ve talked about like, what motivates us, like in general, like what do we love about our business and keeps us moving forward, but thinking about like, she’s kind of in the beginning of her ownership, thinking about in that like beginning stages, like what motivated you to keep moving forward? Like what was your like motivation factor? 

Dana: I think it was money, even though we weren’t making any, at all, I think it was knowing what was to come down the pipeline. Like you could see the future in a way, like you’re like, okay, if we can get to this point and we can, be this much profit you could see, oh, wow.

Like this is a great life, this is a sustainable life. You know, this is some amount of financial freedom. I didn’t expect for it to take as long as it did. I mean, seven years, really to finally even feel like that, you know, but I think that, but I also really appreciate her saying, getting things done motivated her and I, I feel that deeply. Like checking things off my to-do list makes motivates me to do the next thing off my to-do list because it feels so good to get it done.

Courtney: Yeah. I totally agree I, whenever you’re talking about that all I’m thinking about is like the reprisal of the sun will come up tomorrow, cause I felt like we were always like tomorrow, tomorrow, tomorrow. It’s going to be better tomorrow, knowing that tomorrow was multiple years away, but tomorrow was going to come and it was going to be sunny.

Dana: I’m glad you had that thought, because I did not think that. I was thinking like, what’s our five-year plan five years from now, not 

Courtney: tomorrow. Oh, I meant that was a metaphorical tomorrow. That tomorrow was multiple years away. 

Dana: I think you genuinely woke up and maybe it was like, maybe not tomorrow. Maybe it was like next week, next month, you a little bit more of a positive outlook.

Courtney: I felt like utterly like for us at the beginning, like, especially with the Bradford, like it had to work. Like there just wasn’t really an option, and Dana reminded me often that it didn’t have to work, but I really believed that it had to work. Like there just wasn’t really an option, like failure was not an option for us.

Dana: So do you, that’s a good point. So do you feel like, let’s say it’s the worst idea ever, right, like maybe it’s not super sellable. 

Courtney: So you don’t believe in this idea from the beginning? 

Dana: Well outsiders no, but this person does. They think it’s what they need, that they can do it, but they are very much motivated. They think it’s going to work. They are very much like you; it has to work. There’s no other options. So they bust their ass, bust their ass. Is it successful, if it’s not a super sellable? Or does there have to be, do you have both? 

Courtney: I don’t know there’s a lot of silly things out there that I would perceive as not super sellable and they seem very sellable and people are very wealthy because of it.

I mean, think about like, when, like who’s the person who owns Spanx. I think about when that was first introduced, I probably seemed like the craziest idea. 

Dana: Why we haven’t spent our entire life being told we’re too fat. Why is that a crazy idea for someone to make you not fat? 

Courtney: I’m just saying, like, I just think a had to have been like some off the wall idea. Like we’re going to have these undergarments and they’re going to suck in your fat and they’re going to like, make you look different and make whatever shape you want to make, or be. So it had to have been off the wall, like when they first got introduced. 

Dana: I’m thinking more of like, okay, so there is this, I was watching this YouTube videos just like years ago. This was like maybe like year one of the Bradford, and I was lamenting about how nobody loved the Bradford more than me and you. And there was this fear of letting go because no, one’s going to sell it as great as we are. No, one’s going to love it as much as we do. Whatever, and he had this video, it was this man.

I can’t, I have no idea, can’t remember who he is. I’m probably going to totally butcher this story, but that’s fine. And he invented a razor for bald men that you can own. Cause he used to shave his head with a razor and it was really hard and he can, and this razor, it was curved and it slipped on your finger and you could just go like this as opposed to using the handle.

And it was like this like breakthrough, whatever. And he made, and he like had these things, manufacturers, he hired some people to go out and sell this razor, like legitimate, like you think like a kiosk at the mall, right. And he sold like, I’m just making up these numbers. I don’t know what the actual numbers were, but so like a hundred that day. And all of his people only sold like 20. 

And the point of the story was no, one’s going to sell it like you can sell it because it’s you. It’s everything like you’re the one that can sell it. That seems like such a small market for bald men. 

Courtney: I’ve never heard of these curved razors. So it must be a very small market.

Dana: But he’s super successful. Super successful, like millionaire, like started with this curved razor, and it was, it was then brought into people, used it who were in chemo, who wanted to maintain short hair. It was like, there was like this huge market that he didn’t know really existed for it, and so I think back to the question, I think there is a mix of it.

I think that enough perseverance and enough like, I don’t know, marketing prowess and gumption and yeah, tenacity. I think anything can be successful to a point.

Courtney: I do believe that I do. I do actually believe that. I think that if you believe in it enough and you work it enough, I think that there will be some level of success.

Are you going to be like a billionaire? Like, are you going to be the next Jeff Bezos? Probably not, but like, I think you can be successful within your own realm. If you have enough tenacity and ability to believe in what you’re actually selling, because people don’t buy things a lot of times, because of the thing, they buy things because of how people use using the thing or wearing the thing or whatever, make them feel.

That’s why we have a whole influencer market, right? It’s these people telling you that they feel better wearing these things, doing these things, vacationing here, driving this, eating this, like it’s going to make you happier and whatever. And so I think that if you market it well enough, and you believe in it enough, such that you get other people to believe it, then I think it is sellable, even the stupidest thing.

Dana: I agree with that. Yeah, I mean, side note to be an influencer, do you have to like, is all you ever do is like sit on a beach in a bikini all the time? Like that’s all they do. 

Courtney: It seems like a very specific kind of influencer. There’s other types of influences going on, you’re just not aware. 

Dana: Apparently wrong search bar on my Instagram. 

Courtney: I know, mine are all bikinis too. I mean, don’t get me wrong. It’s true. Yeah. It’s all like the kind of Kardashian model of influencing. 

Dana: Okay, digressing. 

Courtney: Moving on, we digress. So what motivates you? You said it was money in the beginning and I don’t think you answered the question.

Dana: I did not answer the question. I don’t know. I think for me it was just like everything that we’d worked for. I don’t know, in the beginning. It was definitely, we needed money to like, be able to like move forward. We never actually got money out of it. We just needed money to pay for the next thing to pay for the next thing.

And the next thing, the next thing we weren’t hiring anybody at that point, we were just literally trying to get this thing off the ground, but I always felt like I was just living this dream slash nightmare slash dream slash nightmare that like we’d worked for, for so long. And we were just doing it. Do you know what I mean? Like, it felt like that to me. So just the, like doing it, motivated me. 

Dana: Yeah. I mean, there is some, there is a neat thing to say you own a business. Say you own a six-figure business, say you own a seven-figure business, like those are neat things to say about yourself and a lot of, a lot of ways, and to be very proud to feel. 

Courtney: Well, it was really neat, I guess that this was something that we like talked about in a coffee shop, like at this point, what, six years earlier, sketched it out on a napkin, found something that we kind of liked, got it built, and then it was actually happening like, oh wow. All these things that we spoke about are actually happening. And I just believed in it so much, but you know that. 

Dana: Yeah, I do know that. 

Courtney: Yeah, that it was just actually doing it and doing it how we said we were going to do it and, you know, making it happen that really motivated me to the end of it.

Dana: It’s really interesting because I feel like her advice at the end was don’t rush. Running a business and not for everybody, like basically figure out if it’s a lifestyle that you want. Whereas I wouldn’t say we rushed into it. I think we were very much like the dip your toe into it type of entrepreneurs. Like we kept our main source of income for a very long time, until we kind of made it a full-time gig. 

But I don’t know if I would have given myself that same advice. We’ve always said this, our biggest mistake and our biggest regret was not going all in like immediately. And I don’t know, and we say that now, the landscape is very different than it wasn’t 2013, like where people were not lending money and they, people didn’t trust businesses because we were just pulling out of the recession.

So I don’t know if it would even have mattered if we tried to jump all in, it probably we still would not have been able to jump all in, you know? 

Courtney: Well, I remember talking about an investor at that time, which is like interesting that she brought that up, like we talked about earlier, and I was so worried about bringing somebody else into the mix.

Dana: Oh, yeah. Cause then we were responsible, 

Courtney: Well, not responsible, but just to have, I didn’t want anybody else telling us how we should do it. I didn’t want anyone else’s say. 

Dana: Oh, I know. Even to the point where our husbands didn’t have a say. 

Courtney: Yeah. Like I didn’t appreciate that half the time. I did not appreciate that. There were times they did not appreciate it as well.

Dana: I know, but they didn’t appreciate the fact that they would say something and we’re like, no, and they’re like our name is on this, like, with you, like, we’re all doing this together. Like, I should have said, you’re like, no, you actually, you don’t have a say. Like, this is not your business. We’re just using your name and your credit. 

Courtney: That’s right. It’s only your liability, not your business. Get it straight. 

Dana: but I think it’s true, especially if you’re going from, you know, some, a corporate job or really a job where you feel the mildly fulfilled, but even like financially stable, and going to a CEO. It is a very different world. Everyone thinks it’s great and wonderful and glamorous, and it is great and wonderful and glamorous. 

Courtney: Is it glamorous? 

Dana: But it isn’t always that way. There are moments of time where it’s like that, but there’s a lot of, a lot of moments in time where it’s, you know, soul crushing and maybe you don’t want to your soul to be crushed every week. 

Courtney: Maybe, or monthly. Bi-annually. 

Dana: I think it’s more than bi-annually. 

Courtney: I think it’s just the mental plate of at all, honestly. Like I, I like when she was talking about one of the things that she said that she was so excited about was adding team members and which I love, like there is nothing more, not authenticating so that’s not the word, nothing more validating. Validating? Yes, validating, then when you are sitting in front of this person who you respect, who has all of these traits that you’re like, wow, that person’s amazing. And I love this and this and this about them, and they do this and this and this better than I ever would.

That’s an amazing idea. And then it’s like, and they work for me. Do you know what I mean? There’s something that’s amazing about that, right? But I know for us, like we never took that lightly. Right, there’s always like a mental toll to adding somebody to the team because you knew that you are responsible for their livelihood. 

Dana: Well, she said that took her, like, she wanted to have six months of proof and I was like, it’s like Courtney reincarnate over there.

Courtney: I know. I was thinking, I was like six months? I need a whole year, and I need to know what’s happening next year before I hire someone for this year, for the whole year. Yeah, I know. But it, it is like, there’s a lot of like mental weight with that. You know what I mean? That I think you don’t have when you aren’t running a company or aren’t the CEO or making the decisions.

Dana: Well, sure. I mean like theirs, I mean, I know many people who are in like mid, you know, mid-level managers, right. They hire people all the time. It doesn’t, they don’t worry about where that person’s paycheck is. They just got it, you know, information down from the boss said, hey, you need to hire two people to expand your team because we’re going to be adding this project. And yeah, they just do it. They don’t think twice about it.

Courtney: Yeah. They’re not thinking like, yes, I’m hiring for this project, but are there going to be two more projects after that? They don’t think about that. They just like build up and then they have layoffs and yeah, very strange mindset that I think small business doesn’t have. It’s very different. 

Dana: I agree. I really liked it when she talked about, cause I really connected with this, is that how creative you are when you’re broke. And her point really is to maintain that creativity. I personally feel like it’s one of those, like out of sight, out of mind, things. So like, yes, when we were broke, we were extremely creative in how we spend our money because we had to be, you know, we had to figure out how to take our windows from like $30,000 to $14,000. And we made a terrible choice doing it.

Courtney: It was creative, but not the best one. 

Dana: It was not the best one, but the point is we had to figure out how to save money and how to do things in a way that was, that had that end goal at the end of the day. Yeah, and I think when you’re in a season of plenty, you forget that. and I feel like, I don’t know if you’ve ever fully really been in a season of plenty, but we’ve had seasons where we’re comfortable.

And like we were talking about this story about our employees just buying random shit off Amazon for ridiculous amounts of money. It didn’t make or break us, like it was not a huge deal. But if that was the beginning of the Bradford, like I think we would have shat a brick, like, because like, where is this money coming from?

You can’t squeeze blood from a turnip, cause that’s what it felt like. And so it was, it’s a funny story now. And we could like tell an employee, like, hey, next time, tell him we need light bulbs. Cause we’re just going to go to the dollar stores to get the light bulbs. But you forget about it. Like you forget how like stressful, I don’t think stressful is the right word. 

Courtney: Oh it was stressful, there was definitely stressful times. 

Dana: No. I mean, I don’t think you forgot how stressful it is, you forget how necessary it was, right. 

Courtney: Like to get you where you are. 

Dana: Yeah. But I will say we had some great seasons and then we were going into construction and we were like, we need tighten up this ship. And I remember it was like that fall before construction and everyone was coming at us for a raise and I was like, y’all are like motherfucking killing me right now. Like I’m taking on a million-dollar loan right now. I can’t talk about a raise. Can we please get to March?

Can we please get to the place where I’m done showing everyone all my financials, and then we can talk about raises? And I mean, we had that meeting. I remember, I was like, you all are coming at us for a raise and we hear you. We believe you deserve it. We cannot do them until January. We have to close on this loan. Yeah, like we have to do it. 

And then of course the whole world ended in March of that year. And I remember that I was like, we have just got, I mean, it was like month by month. Like you have a job this month. Work at it. You have a job next month. Let’s work at it, and we had to get creative to save those jobs. Like we had to do a lot of manual labor. 

Courtney: Creativity always equals manual labor for us.

Dana: That is what it is.

Courtney: It’s not like mental gymnastics. Its literal like physical work.

Dana: Yes. 

Courtney: So whenever someone says get creative, that’s what I think about is like planting trees or putting in a terrace or all the trim, or like doing poor paint jobs or like all those things. Creative things that we did.

Dana: Yeah. But it bought time. 

Courtney: It did buy time, and now we’re fixing all of the creative things that we did, like the floor in the master path, that was the one that we installed. It’s true. 

Dana: I can’t blame us for that fully. I mean, that’s just like, it would have happened even if a professional tiler did it.

Courtney: We’ll never know. So that brings me to her point is that she had a really expensive MBA, like when she came in and she had this proprietary thing that she was fixing, which I can’t even wrap my mind around what that would be, but as she had to revamp it and by the, how it took so long that basically it was obsolete in her company. What do you think was your really expensive MBA? 

Dana: I have no idea. Like, I have all these random thoughts. I mean, I think about the fence. Like it was an expensive fence to put up and it turned into a wall that was expensive. Yeah, I think about all the windows that like are going, they haven’t quite cost me a lot of money, but they’re going to cost me a lot of money. I think about that stupid ass small ballroom, like 

Courtney: That was an expensive MBA. 

Dana: That was a really expensive MBA, and it was a stupid choice. 

Courtney: Yeah. the most non-functional size space, like what were we thinking?

Dana: We even put in like Google space and it was like, it’ll be fine. It’ll hold 120 people. It will not hold 80, in case anyone’s curious. 

Courtney: On a good day. 

Dana: But yeah, I think that. I think in terms of like business operating our expensive MBA is the employee we had to fire. It was a very expensive MBA. It was an expensive year. It wasted a year of payroll and many years of my life. 

Courtney: Yeah. I think for me that was probably it. It was probably realizing too not fit a job to a person, but actually find the right person for a job. Like, I feel like that was the biggest takeaway in that time. And I think that was an expensive MBA, like both mentally and financially and just like the toll on the office. Like it took a long time to bounce back.

Dana: We also lost another employee, which was just fine, right. At the end of the day, I’m like okay with that. 

Courtney: But it felt very expensive at the time. 

Dana: Well, and I think what the expense was, like you said it, there was definitely like a financial expense to it, but the most expensive thing was our time. It destroyed our time. 

Courtney: Yeah. And like, we could’ve been doing other things.

Dana: I know. Well, we could have just been doing anything that’s right.

Courtney: We could have been, I don’t know, honing our cooking skills. Anything would have served us better. To me that was, that was our most expensive MBA. 

The other thing that I love that she talked about was how she is an introvert and how, when you’re the CEO, you have to be comfortable with sales because you are, you are selling yourself really, and that’s why people buy from your company, which I think is totally true. And it took me a long time to realize that I am a high functioning introvert, because we think about introverts. You just kind of think about kind of like the bookworms or maybe you’re spending your evenings on an online forum playing magic the gathering.

Right, and I think that is just not what all introverts are. Cause I think about introverts as having low social skills. I’m not saying I have the highest social skills, but I am saying that. You could say that I am maybe even a better seller than you are, or like what our product is and a kind of troop leader of our business.

Right, which you wouldn’t really think of as like an introvert. But I think it really comes down to how that drains me. You know what I mean? It doesn’t really fill me up. But I loved how she was talking about being an introvert and still being in sales and trying to like marry those two.

Dana: Yeah. I feel like for us, like, this is what makes the partnership so great, is I genuinely feel like I’m like the primer. Like I am an extrovert. I get filled up by being around people all the time, like it gives me so much energy. 

Courtney: You keep your schedule so full. 

Dana: Yeah. Because I love it, you know? And so I am very much like the person that’s out there and I love to create relationships. I love to have relationships. I love having multiple, like lots of friends and even, and I don’t need to have deep friendships.

I am so happy having surface level friendships. I can have so much fun with anybody, anywhere, like totally fun. I don’t really love selling necessarily, but I feel like I prime the pump, so to say. Like, where I’m like, Hey, we’re so much fun. Like we love being around everybody and we’re great people. And then like here comes Courtney and tell them how, why we should, why they should buy from us.

Which is true, which I feel like that’s how networking works a lot of the times, you know, and we definitely connect with different people in the networking world, you know? But yeah, I, I do think it’s interesting because when she was telling me about like how she had to tell herself, okay, this is, you know, for this goal.

And it’s more of like a, I want to make payroll, therefore I have to get this client, like she did like, not rationalize, but kind of think through why she was doing what she was doing to give it a purpose and meeting, and then she could be like, all in. I just imagine, I mean, being an extrovert can be exhausting when there are times when you do get depleted, because you’re exhausted.

Like it’s just, you’re giving, giving, giving, giving so much, and you’re always on, always on. And I remember I was walking into a NACE meeting and I was at the University Club in Durham. And it has you to go, like, I don’t know how many stories, like 17? I’m in the elevator. And I’m just telling myself, right okay. I’ll be social. You’re going to smile. You’re going to have fun, get a glass of wine, it’ll be okay. Like I’m like giving myself a pep talk to get off the elevator and then you’re on and you’re smiling. You’re like, Hey, great. Like, you know, whatever. But I think, I think everyone, no matter who you are, when you’re networking, when you’re selling, you have to give yourself that pep talk.

Courtney: Oh, I definitely think that. I’m the same way. And like half the time, like, it’s fine when I get there. I’m not like awkward in a situation or anything like that. 

Dana: You make awkward jokes sometimes, like you don’t read the room all the time. 

Courtney: That’s the thing. For me, there’s so many an entertaining people. Like I’m here, I’m giving of myself, I’m putting my best jokes out there, and like, sometimes they fall flat because people aren’t just getting them. 

Dana: Maybe they’re just not funny. 

Courtney: I don’t believe that. I really don’t. I really don’t. So it’s like exhausting, right. And there’s times where I’m in a conversation. Like, I’ve just, well, you know, this I’m just out, like I’ve just checked out. Like you’ve lost my interest. Like it’s gone on too long and like, I’m just done, you know? So yeah, it’s hard. So it’s hard to like stay engaged sometimes. Especially, and I thought it was really interesting how you brought up kind of surface level friends. 

And I am like such a deep friend, like my best conversations and my closest friend, Krista, like it’s always like resolving all the world’s problems, like we already have cancer solved and you know, like emotional acuity and whatnot. And I feel so recharged by that, whereas I think a lot of people would feel very depleted by that, but it’s like this level networking things, sometimes they just, if I’m not in the right mindset, I just can’t get in it.

You know what I mean? And I would just assume, just not go right. If I had the option and you know, this, if I have the option and I’m not forced to like, maybe Dana’s out of town and we were supposed to be in a meeting or whatever. And I’m like, is there a virtual option? I’m going to take that one. 

Right, because I also am like semi like a hermit. And the more I am at home, the more I want to be at home, which is very odd. I think about how often you get out of the house. Like you’re like forever going somewhere. It’s very, very different.

Dana: Yeah, no, it is. I mean, I understand that and I get it, but like I love surface level friendships. They’re so easy because there’s just fun. I mean, it’s literally, so I started listening to Glennon Doyle’s podcast, We Can do Hard Things, and she had a whole episode on fun and I’m like, yeah, like you got to find your fun. Like, and that’s fun for me. Like, I enjoy that. I enjoy like, laughing about something.

I enjoy not getting serious because sometimes when I think about my deep friendships, like I have this trip coming up with my college, with two of my college friends and we’re all very different on the political spectrum. And I’m like really anxious about it because it’s been such a politically charged year.

I’m like, I don’t want my weekend to be filled with trying to solve the world’s problems. I don’t give a shit about it right now. Like, can we just talk about kids and work and like other, and I don’t know, whatever. 

Courtney: I love how Kids is on your list of not deep things. 

Dana: It’s not deep. It’s cause we’re all different stages. I mean, I had kids first and you know, my youngest is their oldest essentially. So like, I’m in a different place, dealing with a preteen then they’re dealing with still dealing with toddlers. But I don’t want to talk about it. I just don’t want to, like, I don’t know.

Courtney: Yeah, no, I get that. I mean, I enjoy like all of our industry friends, I feel like for the most part, I mean, I have a couple of deeper industry friends, middle level, certainly not like surface level. But I mean, I love those surface things, for sure. Like they definitely have their place, but it’s like, I can only have so many, right. I can only have. 

Dana: Yeah. There’s no amount, because what’s, what are they doing? They’re not taking up any energy. 

Courtney: Well, no, I just feel like I don’t, I’m just not available for it, right. Like I just don’t have the bandwidth for it. Yeah. 

Dana: Well, I mean on that same vein, talking about networking and stuff, I really loved her talk about partnering and collaborating. I feel like we missed that so, like we missed the boat on that for like the first half of like, of our business. Like really, it wasn’t until the Bradford. I remember at one point we were like, we’ve got to like meet people, like, cause we were doing fine with C&D like by our standards, we were doing fine and we were booked and it was great.

And we didn’t have to do any networking. We didn’t have a single meeting or do anything. It was, you know, working with great vendors and whatever, and the Bradford, like this has a little bit more weight to it. Like we got to actually pay for this mortgage, like let’s we got people who know that it’s here, so let’s get out there and do these things. And I mean, it like radicalized our business. I think.

Courtney: It really did. It like put us in a different, totally different strategy level stratosphere. But I feel like to me, and I’ve often thought about this, is that, because we were so insular because I think we’re a partnership. So we are constantly bouncing off somebody else.

So it always felt like we were collaborating and we were coming to some medium or like, and I think that you can get into this mindset of yours is the only ideas. Do you know what I’m saying? Especially in a partnership. Like, this is the way it should go. Because you agree, it must be right.

I do think that that kind of hampered our success for a while, but I think it might be like, if you would think about like twins, right, and you see like how their kind of world revolves around,

Dana: But disclaimer, we’re not twins. 

Courtney: We’re not twins, right. But I’m saying you can, you know how they like create their own language sometimes. And they can communicate in certain ways with each other that they came with other people and they don’t really interact with other people because they have everything that they need right there between the two of them. And I felt like for us, business-wise, well, I don’t think it was true, but we felt like we just had everything you needed right there. 

Dana: It’s like a codependency, right? I know this like networking event and someone was asking like, oh my God, I love your foundation. And Courtney goes, well, the foundation that we use, because apparently, we use the same foundation, which we do.

Courtney: We do use the same foundation? That’s true. I don’t even remember that. I introduced you to this foundation. 

Dana: I know you did. I’m just saying it’s just bizarre that like, we can’t even have like our own foundation. But no, but I think what it did for us is when we finally decided to network and we just, and it wasn’t even about collaborating, I don’t think necessarily, I think we’ve gotten better at collaborating with people.

It was recognizing that we are not an island. And I think for so long, we felt like an island. I think because the beginning part of business, we were moms who were pregnant, we were doing all the things that, you know, you’re trying to juggle it all. And there wasn’t like that time necessarily, which I agree with and I don’t. I think there was time to actually go out and like have some, you know, community with other, business owners who are moms and understand that this isn’t this unique problem. This is a universal problem that everybody has. 

But it’s brought so much more joy to the business. I think that if we were in the same place we were when we opened the Bradford, I don’t know if I’d still be in it in terms of how insular were and how much we didn’t have those relationships outside. Because I think what keeps me in the industry is the relationships. It’s the people, it’s the vendors, it’s that camaraderie.

It’s that sense of community, you know? And you have found a place where you belong. It’s like you’re walking in high school trying to find that, right, cafeteria table that you feel accepted and everyone understands you’re crazy, and it’s fine. You know, you are there every single day. Like I have found that lane, like I’ve found that table, whereas if I didn’t have that, I don’t know, it wouldn’t be worth at all. 

Courtney: Well, I thought it was super interesting talk 

Dana: Yeah. I really loved the fact that she like had two men that owned it and a woman came in and revamped it and is a very successful company right now. 

Thanks everyone for gathering with us today to talk about the hustle. For our episode with Amie, we’ve picked an Amaretto Sour, her favorite cocktail. We hope you’ll get the chance to make one this week, and cheers to high functioning introverts. To learn more about Amie and her businesses, visit or follow her on Instagram at amie_ceo or at creativeallies

Courtney: And to learn more about our hustles visit,, and or follow us on Instagram at canddevents, at thebradfordnc, and at hustleandgather. If you liked the show, be sure to subscribe and leave us a rating and a review.

Courtney: This product is a production of Earfluence. I’m Courtney.

Dana: And I’m Dana.

Courtney: And we’ll talk with you next time on Hustle + Gather.

Full Episode Transcript

Hustle and Gather is hosted by Courtney Hopper and Dana Kadwell, and is produced by Earfluence.  Courtney and Dana’s hustles include C&D Events, Hustle and Gather, and The Bradford Wedding Venue.

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