Hustle + Gather

Hosted ByDana Kadwell & Courtney Hopper

Sister entrepreneurs Dana Kadwell and Courtney Hopper talk about the ups and downs of the hustle, and the reward at the end of the journey. Life starts at the edge of our comfort zone, and that’s what running a business is about - it’s completely uncomfortable and yet thrilling at the same time. Hear Dana and Courtney talk about the hard parts of entrepreneurship with other business owners going through the struggle as well.

What is Hustle + Gather? And are we twins? Answering all the questions we get asked the most.

Welcome to the Hustle + Gather Podcast! On each episode, we’re going to interview a guest about their entrepreneurial journey and the challenges they’ve faced. And then we’ll follow it up next week with our Conversations with Sisters, unpacking what the guest’s message meant to us.  But on this episode, we wanted to start with a little bit about us – are we married? how do we work together? how many are on our team?

We hope you’ll enjoy, and be sure to check out the next episode as well, with motivational speaker and burnout expert Rachel Sheerin!

Hustle + Gather Podcast Episode 1


Courtney: Welcome to Hustle & 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 of the hustle and the reward at the end of the journey.

Dana: And we know 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: But we love what we do. And today is our very first “Conversations with Sisters”. Our goal is for you to get to know us and understand the why behind the podcast a little bit better.

Dana: We get asked all the time. What is Hustle & Gather.

Courtney: Yeah, it’s kind of like an existential answer. I feel like what is Hustle & Gather really?

Dana: Hustle & Gather started as a creative outlet for me and Courtney back in 2019. And I would love to say it’s because we were bored and we were in a great place with business, but that actually is not the truth at all. It was a really hard business year for us. Our business was still like all over the place.

We were still trying to figure out really what we were doing, but we just knew that we loved talking to people about business, and we really wanted to do more for others that want it to be entrepreneurs. So, we started Hustle & Gather.

Courtney: We’ve kind of become a sounding board for other venues that are opening up in the area. And other planners have reached out to us about planning things. So, it just kind of seemed like a natural thing to kind of talk about our business, that kind of our ups and downs, and to prevent other people from falling into the same pitfalls and making the same mistakes because we have made plenty of mistakes.

Dana: Absolutely. Yeah. So, then we kind of dabbled into one of the things we always hear is, well, me and Courtney bicker and banter all the time and it’s not, we do it everywhere and anywhere. We are like, we are not afraid to have a conversation in front of other people. And some people are like, I don’t want to find us, I guess, entertaining or comical.

So, we started doing conversations with sisters on IGTV and we have a couple episodes out, but we just felt like it just wasn’t serving our needs and we wanted to do so then we thought of a podcast.

Courtney: I know it’s an original idea. It’s so original. We actually love talking and bickering. So, there’s that. And I felt like this kind of gives us unlimited fuel to talk and bicker.

Cause we’re going to talk to other entrepreneurs about their journeys and how they got to where they are. And then we’re going to dissect it and digest it between Dana and I. Yeah, in Conversations with Sisters. So, the show flow is going to be, we’re going to talk about entrepreneur. The first one week is going to be all about their story. Very guest focused. First, a lot of them talking a lot of us listening, just interjecting periodically, and then post that-podcast. We’re going to talk about what we thought about it, what we took away, how we filter that through our very different filters. That’s like the thing about us is like we filter things and see life very differently. Even though he came from the same origin story really.

Dana: But yeah, so that was really something we love, because we used to, whenever we would have like a conversation with somebody or we would, you know, experience someone else’s energy or whatnot, we would, we’re always driving together. So, we’d be in the car with, okay, like sister talk, can we be real? Like, how did that affect you? Whether good or bad.  And so that’s what we felt like was so. I know, sometimes things are really, sometimes they’re just super silly. Sometimes they’re super inspired.

Courtney: Sometimes they’re super ugly and we’re like, this doesn’t go beyond this car.

Dana:  Oh yeah. That ugly talk. Well, and sometimes there’s some name calling between the two of us about to each other, because some of us like to be assholes. It’s not me.

Courtney: That’s absolutely not the truth. Being an outward asshole is better than being a passive aggressive asshole any day of the week.

Dana: Was that a little passive aggressive?

Courtney: I don’t know. It depends on your definition.

Dana: Oh, gracious. So that’s what you can expect. But we wanted for you guys to get to know us a little bit better, we felt like it’d be helpful to understand our points of view, a little bit to know who we are, so we want to do kind of a Q and A.

Courtney: Whenever we’re out and about these are questions that get asked to us all the time.

So, number one question, literally we get asked it at least once a month when we’re out and about is, are you twins? And the answer is no, we are not twins.

Dana: Courtney is actually older.

Courtney:  I’m older, but I look younger. So, it works out.

Dana: Whatever. She’s only, you’re almost three years. You’re between two and a half and three years, like two years, nine months.

Courtney: I’m actually two years, six months and like one and a half weeks older than Dana.

Dana: Thank you for that, very specific.

Courtney:  I’m just saying about do the math. I believe that’s what it is.

Dana: So, we are not twins and we actually have another sibling. We have a brother, a younger brother.

Courtney: Yeah. Dana will reference being the middle child, but then everyone’s always like, even though she says that they’re like, Oh, is it just you two? And we’re like, no, Dana’s the middle. So, there’s one at the other end of her.

So, we have a brother. His name is Jeremy.

Dana:  And he is a little over two years younger than me. So, he’s like two years and three months. He was July, not April. So, we’re all like we were all born within five years from very, very, very young parents.

Courtney: Yes. Our parents are really only 20 years older than me. So, our parents were babies. When they had me, like just out of high school, they were married. They were, the math adds up. But, uh, yeah, so we were like babies who were raised by babies. So, I think that makes a lot of sense, actually.

Dana: It does. So where are we from?

Courtney: We are from Florida. We are literally in the middle of the state. East coast, like right there for us.


Dana: But I would like to ask a question. When, can you say you are from a state? So, we moved here when I was 14. Courtney was 17. And then I guess my brother was 12. So, I’ve been here for 22 years. So, I’ve lived in North Carolina longer than I have lived, than I lived in Florida, but our family still lives there.

So, our parents only lived here for five years and they moved back to Florida and I, Courtney stayed and got married, I stayed and went to college and then I got married and stayed here. So, we’re originally from Florida, but I feel like I can say I’m a North Carolinian and I identify with North Carolinians much more than Floridians.

Courtney: Yeah, but I think really a lot of her formative years were in Florida and it just highlights the difference between us. I Always feel like it’s very different going back to Florida than living in North Carolina. And I tell my parents that even though it was traumatic at the time being like a junior in high school and moving to another state that it was like the best thing that they could have done for us, for sure.

Dana: Totally. It was great for our family.

Courtney: It really felt like moving to Raleigh, North Carolina in particular being surrounded by colleges and industry. Like it was totally a good opportunity for us.

What are your actual companies? So, yeah, like what do you actually do?

Dana: What do you do? Cause I see you everywhere.

So, we have our very first business with C&D Events. It opened in 2006. So, we’re on year 15 this year. And then we opened up Bushel & Peck florals. Although we didn’t really have a name for it. We just did florals. And this is our last year doing it. It was supposed to be 2020, but then pandemic hit and people moved their weddings, but that’s going away, which we’re perfectly fine with. And then we had The Bradford, which opened in 2014.

Courtney: Yeah, we were building in 2013. The first wedding was 2014.

We we’re getting ready to launch a luxury brand called Anthem house that’ll do less weddings, very design and client detailed, which I’m sure we’ll talk about a little bit more like as the podcast continues, but just being able to reach a different market. And also, we are totally about our girls being able, I guess it could be guys, but they’re all girls, honestly, all of our employees to be able to kind of reach their goals and not really hit their glass ceiling. One of our girls whose been with us, Becca, for a very long time, kind of her brain child, and us kind of facilitating it. So that’s actually making it happen. So, it’s actually a really cool evolution in entrepreneurship to where your employees are able to do and present ideas and move your company forward.

Dana: And now we have Hustle & Gather. So, Hustle & Gather that right now, what it does is it really serves as a way for us to speak. So, we do speak gigs all over the country and do keynote speeches, and we are kind of venturing into coaching. We do coaching on an as needed basis, but people who reach out and ask us to consult.

Courtney: Yeah, on like venues and planning.

Dana: Mostly venues, that’s really where our strong suit is. So, the question we get all the time is did you always want to own a venue?

Courtney: So, the answer is like, no, I don’t know if there’s very many people who grow up and they’re like, you know, what I want to do is open a venue.

Dana: No, I mean, okay, true. So, we were both teachers first, like I taught chemistry and physics at Sanderson high school.

Courtney: And I taught seventh grade science at a middle school for a long, long time.

Dana: And then I did go to middle school my last year before I finally quit teaching, but I think we both know early on that with teachers, it’s not what we want it to do. And we wedding planned alongside teaching. So, wedding planning was just a hobby while we were teaching. But the whole reason we got into wedding planning…

Courtney: …was to open a venue that we were like, Hey, there we saw in the Raleigh North Carolina area, that there was a lack in the type of venue that we needed to facilitate Dana’s egregious guest count and air conditioning. And we were like, wouldn’t it be amazing to open a venue that had XYZ, and then we decided that our scope was limited.

Right? So, all we really saw it through was our eyes. And why don’t we get into wedding planning to kind of open our eyes to what other people are wanting. So, we have a better pulse on the industry, and that is what actually started C&D events was to do market research, to be able to open a successful venue.

And I think Dana just placated me for a while. That was like, Hey sure. Yeah, we’ll do that. Like we’ll, we’ll do wedding planning and we will open a venue one day and blah, blah, blah. Until like, I was serious. I was like, no, no, no. There’s something to this, actually. We’re going to do this. Don’t placate me. I’m actually serious.

Dana: Yes. But it took about seven years for us to really make enough money to put a down payment on a piece of land because we knew we wanted eventually, wanted to build, like we thought about renovating, but with renovation comes history and you’re like, we just never knew we were walking into. And so, we were just like, we’re just going to build from the ground up.

Courtney: And that’s the other thing I think that people don’t know is that we are like, so we were so safe. And how we did things. Like we put the down payment with money, we earned from event planning and, move forward in that way.

It wasn’t until we were in the middle of building The Bradford that we were like, okay, we’re actually going to have to disrupt our personal lives to actually build this. Sorry. And then it became risky, but all leading up to the years to that was not supposed to be.

Dana: And this podcast, you’ll kind of hear bits and pieces of our story and definitely give more insight into that.

But if you have to know right now, there’s a really great episode. That, on weddings for real it’s episode 13.

Courtney: Produced by Earfluence.

Dana: Yes. And they tell our whole story. So, I think that’s definitely worth checking out. Yes. The whole Bradford story. How we got into wedding venue ownership.

Courtney: All right. So, what role do you play in the company? So, there’s two of us Dana always points us out. Like she’d be making a bigger salary if I weren’t here. So, I think it’s interesting to note what role do we play in the company? And I was curious, because I have a good idea of what I do, but I was like, Dana, what is your role in this company?

Dana: Oh, that’s a good question. I feel like, my main role, I think is a lot of managing our event director at The Bradford, and kind of like the logistics of things at the Bradford. I care a lot about organization, so I feel like I’m the one that comes in like a hurricane, the office, like this place looks like a freaking dumpster fire. Like, get it together. Why don’t we have bins? Why don’t we have an organizational system for XYZ? Like, that is just my thing.

Courtney: But that’s only your thing like two times a year.

Dana: I Create a lot of SOPs. I did a lot of the marketing stuff for a long time before Sarah came along. So, I do all like the stuff and Adobe and all our ad generation and slowly, my job is becoming a little less important.

I feel like I’m starting to delegate it, but I think overall it’s just the think tank part of it, and really, I think I pick up more of the Bradford Slack, I would say on the management side, because you handle a lot of the C&D management and all the money, like you’re miss money bags.

Courtney: I handle all of the cashflow. So, I don’t do the day-to-day accounting. Like I don’t balance our accounts. We have an office manager for that, because that was really a sticking point in our relationship. So, it was either hire an office manager or go to countless hours of therapy. It was going to cost us the same either way. And the office manager was going to end up better.

Dana: But we had to go through therapy to figure that out.

Courtney: There was like, I think maybe like six months in our career that day ended the money. And she was like, I don’t want to do this. Like, I don’t want to be responsible for it. And it caused so much tension in our relationship.

Dana: To be fair to you as well. I only bounced – I only bounced our checkbook maybe twice a year.

Courtney: So, she would call me from the bank and she’d be like, this would be like December. So, like say like December 29th, right, I’m being generous. It’s probably the 30th or 31st.

When did you deposit?  $1,500. June 7th. It says you went through the drive-through and I just don’t see it. And I was like, I have no idea Dana, because that was over six months ago and I can’t remember. And I’m like racking my brain, trying to remember what it was that I deposited.

Dana: It was so frustrating. I would spend hours on the phone with the bank, trying to figure it out. What is this check number? What’s it for? Cause you had to like expense it, it was so frustrating. It didn’t matter. I’d be like, take a picture of it when you go through and send it to me or jot it down. So, I know because it wasn’t, it’s not like I lied and said, I’m going to balance this next month. Like we all knew I was going to balance it six months later.

Courtney: So now we have an office manager. So, if you don’t have one of those and balancing is not your strong suit, we suggest, highly suggest it’s done a lot of money and it’s the best money you’ll spend. But that being said, I manage all the big things like the cashflow, like what we’re going to spend any projects we’re going to take on, employees, like when we’re going to take our new employees, like, do we have the money?

Do we have the money for raises? All those things kind of get filtered through myself. And then also I work very closely with C&D events to make sure that our, we call them planning partners, are taken care of, have all their questions, answered, help with those things. I personally call myself the critical eye of the Bradford as well.

I’m the person that walks over and I’m like, this is not good enough. This needs to shine like the top of the Chrysler building, a call myself, Ms. Hannigan over there. I handle a lot of those vendors that help that. Keep the image good. Like the painter and the maintenance and all of that. So, I don’t know. I feel like I’m all over the place, honestly. Yeah. I didn’t really know. I can’t say that it was like an actual like label for my role.

All right. How many employees do you have?

Dana: So, we have three full-time employees, like 40 hours per week full-time. We have two full part-time it’s their only thing they do, but they’re technically part time so they work about 20 hours a week.

No, three of those. And then we have four girls in the collective outside of those people that are 10 -99 contract employees because they decide what weddings they want to take.

Courtney: And then we actually have three other part-time employees that work for The Bradford.

The new supervisors that take on like between 20 and 25 weddings a year and the conversations with them. So yeah, this is forever evolving, but I think that the answer is that we have seven that I would classify as fully part-time. Three that we would classify as full part time, like meeting. This is our only job that’s are part-time.

We have three people who are full-time and then we have Dana and I, so what’s that number? \

Dana: I had stopped counting. It’s a lot. It’s a lot of 13,

Courtney: 15 were us.

Dana: So, one question we get asked often is how long have we been married? Obviously not to each other, but to our significant other.

Courtney: So, to each other, we’ve been married for almost 37 years. Cause there’s, there’s kind of like a, like a marriage of sorts. There’s a lot of like finances involved feelings involved talking involved.

Dana: We went to counseling it was a marriage counselor.

Courtney: We did. It was, well, no Dana actually said to me at one point like, Hey, I went to this thing. I can’t remember what it was. In consequential, but she’s like, I really think that we need to go to couples counseling and I was like, Oh, that would be so good for you and Sam. And she said with you, I was like, Oh, okay. Like we can, we can totally go to couples counseling. So, we went to a marriage counselor for a while to work out some of our issues.

Dana: But to our spouses, I got married when I was 22, about six weeks after I graduated. I got married too. People like to say, he’s my high school, sweetheart. And I don’t know why I pushed back so far. And I, because we did date. Yeah. But like, no, why it bothers me so much, but it used to, but anyways, we’ve been dating, we were got together when, when I was 17.

Courtney: Which was when she was in high school to be clear.

Dana: He wasn’t in high school when we started dating. Like he wasn’t like, we went to prom together, which is the whole story. Like I was dating this guy. And then for like two years when we broke up and I was, I love to dress up. And so, my goal when I was in eighth grade, my goal was like, I want to go to prom every single year.

Like that was just the only goal of high school. I don’t even care what grades I got. I just wanted to go to prom all four years. And so, the first two years was solid because I had an older boyfriend that took me to prom and then we broke up and it was my junior year. And I was like, I need a prom data. And I knew Sam, he was cute, but he was just. Like a friend. So, like, I didn’t have like these like strong feelings about them, but he was tall. I’m six feet tall. And so, it was imperative that my date was taller than me because it really bothered me when I was 17, 16 at the time. And so, I convinced him that I liked him. And it’s true.

Courtney: So really your opportunist, I am, sounds like that it does.

Dana: And he asked me to prom and then he asked me out shortly after there, but I was like, I can’t say no to you because prom would be awkward. Like, so we’re just going to date. And then somehow between that time and prom, I realized this is a really cool person. Like he’s really sweet and really kind.

And, we ended up, we never, we just stayed together since then. We dated all through college and he is one of those people that, everyone always said, how’d you get married so young. And I knew he was the right person, probably when I was about 21, 20-21 and my, all through high school. My last year of high school mom got really sick and she was in the hospital from like, I think it was like August to like may or something.

It was a really long time. And Courtney had moved out because she was getting married. This was when everyone forgot my 18th birthday, by the way, which will be mentioned later on, on a podcast episode.  And he was at NC state and I would go up and I’d visit mom up at big wake and I would sit with her and yeah, she had a massive stroke.

She was in a recovery. And I, there were some nights I would stay the night. The nurses all knew me. They had a cot for me, but then sometimes I would go home and I was the swim team captain. I was like VP of student council. I mean, I was like, Overwhelmed with schools my senior year. And there were times I just couldn’t go visit mom and I would text Sam and I was like, Hey, can you ride your bikes, since he didn’t have a car over to a big Lake and visit mom like ride.  Yes, because it was so far from NC state.  And he would go and visit her and sit with her. And then I was seeing her and I was seeing her and she’d be like, you didn’t come visit me for three weeks. I was like, mom, I was just here two days ago.

And she was like, well, Sam was here. And I was like, yeah, I know. And so, the joke is everyone likes Sam more than they like me and my family, which is probably the truth. After that you just kind of know this person’s in it for the long haul. Like you can’t throw anything at them. And like, I mean, he’s been through like, like my literal hell, so yeah, we just knew we wanted to get married and. We did. And it was great and it’s been fun. And everyone always said, the first year of marriage was super hard, but it was literally the time of our life. Like, oh my gosh, there’s so many great memories from it that we had so much fun. Yeah. So, we’re going on 15 years in July.

Courtney: It’s crazy.

Dana:  I know, but we were babies and we grew up together and luckily, we still like each other.

Courtney: Yeah. I mean, I feel like that’s kind of like our story in general is like all four of us have literally grown up together. I mean like, because Mikhail was around when Dana was in high school, like Mikael was in charge of driving Dana down to Florida a couple of times to visit our parents and a really fun story. Really fun story for another podcast.

See, I’ve been with Mikael for. 22, almost 22 years, but we’ve been married for almost 19 years. And I can definitely say that we’ve been through like our ups and our downs.  I could speak ad nauseum about that, but, that we’ve basically grown up together. Like all of. When I think about family, I think about Mikael. When I think about growing up, I think about Mikael. I’ve been with him since I was 18. I got married to him when I was almost 21. So, we were together for almost three years before we got married. I was a baby and there was so much that changed in my twenties.

So yeah, no, I mean, I’ve been married for, it’ll be 19 years in June. And, while it’s definitely had its ups and downs, like I’m totally grateful for all that it’s taught me about myself and my journey.  Going through it for sure.

Dana: And we have kids!

Courtney: We do have kids. Yes. So, we have kids actually very close together. So, I have a 12-year-old.

Dana: And I have an 11-year-old girl, Ada.

Courtney: And I have a ten-year-old girl, Nora, and they’re our closest two they’re only nine months apart.

Dana: And then we have Henry who is nine.

Courtney:  It’s just crazy.

Dana: I know.

And then I have a seven-year-old Liam, who is the baby.

So, Courtney found out we weren’t, we had just gotten approval from the bank that we could start construction. We were going to like break ground, like I think maybe a few weeks later.

Courtney: And I said to Dana, I think of the craziest thing that could happen. And she said,

Dana: you are not f-ing pregnant.

I was very upset about it. I hung up the phone and then my husband’s like, um, your sister just told you she was having a baby. So maybe you should call her back and be a little bit more excited. That was very inappropriate reply.

Courtney: Cause our reply verbatim was what the fuck I was like, I don’t know. Maybe it was the fuck. I don’t know.

Dana: It was. And she’s like, I don’t know how it happened. I was like, you told me how it happened when I was 16.

Courtney:  So that’s Liam and we love him. And he is the bookend at this point of our, this is Dana’s turn.

Dana: He’s the bookends. There is no more happening.

Courtney: Fun stories.

Dana: So out of the two of us who is the risk taker.

Courtney:  I think that I’m the risk taker. Like I am totally the ideas girl. Like we should jump into this. We should jump into that. And then Dana is the risk enabler.

Dana: It’s true. I am more risk adverse, but I trust Courtney enough for good or bad that, it will be fine. Yes. Courtney, as a risk taker.

Courtney: Absolutely. I’m totally the risk taker. I like something new. I like something adventurous and we wouldn’t be in this mess slash blessing if it weren’t for. All of my crazy ideas.

All right. So, what is your Enneagram? We’ll talk about this a lot in the podcast is our Enneagram. We believe very strongly in the Enneagram because we follow very closely into our Enneagram numbers. So, I’m Enneagram seven, which is the risk taker, the adventurer. But even when I look at the Enneagram and they talk about like, when your Enneagrams not, like when you’re in an unhealthy spot and your Enneagram, it looks very much like me when you’re in a healthy spot and your Enneagram, it looks very much like me, very much, a risk taker, very much an adventurer. You start things, you don’t finish things like your actions and your top can look a little bit like ADD.

And I can relate to that. Totally. Dana’s bailed me out of a lot of messages that I’ve gotten myself into, whether it’s just like unpacking boxes or I’ve got too much on my plate. I don’t know how to organize what I should do next.

Dana: Yeah. I am an eight. So, it was like the challenger.  And I feel very deeply about that. A lot of that comes with my sense of justice. I have a very black and white view of the world, even though there’s a lot of gray area.  But at the same time, my wing, I’m actually pretty high of a nine as well, which is the peacemaker, because as much as I like to challenge things, I also don’t like to hurt people’s feelings.

Courtney: Maybe we need to retake that test now.

Dana: I Just like to smooth things over; I can read people really well.  So, eights, a lot of issue with eights is they are not empathetic. And I am actually very empathetic. I have very big emotions. I’m very emotional person, which really resonates more with a nine.

Courtney: When I took the Enneagram task, I said that I was a seven wing eight, but I’m not a very empathetic person. Like my emotions. I don’t feel my emotions mentally, I feel it in my body. Like my body is like, Oh, you push it to the limit. You’re done, but I haven’t actually felt stress. We’ll talk about that a lot.

Dana: So, this is a question we ask all of our guests is what was your Oh shit moment. Meaning the moment in business, when you were like, this is all coming apart and failing and like, what did we get ourselves into?

Courtney: So, my Oh shit moment is very much different than Dana’s Oh shit moment, because she actually walked me through this Oh shit moment.

We had built The Bradford and it was super stressful and we were starting to have weddings and we had a couple of weddings and somebody fell down the stairs of our Concourse. It was like maybe like a year in.

Dana: It was, it was the first year. It was a year.

Courtney: And come to find out this person, that’s like, she normally walks with a walker or cane and she decided that she was not going to walk with a walker or cane at her granddaughter’s wedding or like her great niece’s wedding. I don’t remember like the relationship to the bride, but she fell down the stairs and like, somebody emailed us later and it was like, Hey, so-and-so fell down the stairs. I had to catch her. I’m a bus driver. It’s affected my leg too. And it really brought up all these questions of like insurance and like about suing.

But I was like, oh my God, like, what if somebody falls to the Bradford? Like, what if somebody gets hurt? Like we are going to be sued every weekend. Like, I can’t help if somebody falls down the stairs or like has too much to drink or like all these things. And I just remember talking to Dana and I was like, I can’t do it.

I literally can’t do it. Like I was like, so anxious about this, but. That was out of my control, right? Like I didn’t have control over whether somebody fell on the stairs and like how they reacted or how they viewed that as my fault or their fault or whatever. And I was like, I can’t do this every weekend.

And I did have so much anxiety, which is one of like the catalyst for hiring somebody else. Like I can’t see it.  Like I don’t want to know about it. I just want to know, like retroactively that everything was fine because I had so much anxiety related to it and I couldn’t see that coming down the pipeline.

Dana: I think a great question. Cause I feel like I could have one of those moments every year, like where, and I don’t know if it’s the same gravity of, I shouldn’t be doing this. It’s the gravity of more of I’m making wrong choices or doing like, not being a good boss or whatever, but genuinely the one time I like went home to Sam and I was like, I don’t want to do this anymore.

Like I want to, I just want to walk away. It was in the middle of construction. I made probably an incorrect plan to take Sam to Charlotte for his birthday, because we’d had this horrible year and I got him tickets to the Panthers. And at this time, we were like living paycheck to paycheck because it was costing us so much money.

We had so much racked up on credit cards, but I was totally that 29-year-old, like it’s, that’ll be fine, like,

Courtney: And it really will be fine.

Dana: Right. Well, in the process we left in our, we ended up our dog was really sick and we had to put the dog down and it’s just like this extra $600, it’s super expensive to euthanize a dog.

And I had no idea and we had no money. Like we couldn’t even buy groceries that month. And I remember thinking, looking at this building, and certainly there was weddings happening, but we were like, we were still spending more money than, than what was coming in. And we were operating at a loss for a very long, for like six months, pretty much.

And I just remember looking at Sam and I was like; we’re going to have to ask for help. Like, we can’t even afford to feed our kids this month. And I just remember thinking, it’s not worth it. I just, I lost it. I just could not pull it together. I was like, this is not worth it. I can’t look up, put my family through this.

I can’t believe we did this. We have no savings. I’ve never been someone to like make poor choices to the point where I couldn’t even buy groceries. And it was really hard to come to terms with it.

So, the other question that we get asked a lot, especially when we’re speaking is what do you love about being an entrepreneur? Like, what’s your favorite part about it? Why should we inspire people to take this leap? Cause it sounds like right now its kind of sucks, but why?

Courtney: I love it for multiple reasons, but I like creating our own path. I like developing or, I mean, there’s been low times for sure. Like, there was definitely times where our lifestyle suffered because we were entrepreneurs, but more often than not, our lifestyle has benefited because we were entrepreneurs.

Like, I think about just take 2020, for example, which no one saw coming, we were able to wrap whatever our family needs around our entrepreneurship journey. Like we can make our schedule, we can change it, we can be flexible, we can adjust the needs of our family. Because we’re entrepreneurs.

I love the idea of building a team. Like I love the idea of, mentoring other 29-year-olds and 30-year-olds and 30, because they’re all younger now, 31-year-olds to move into their best and be able to inspire their ideas. And. It’s amazing to see other people get behind your vision. Yeah. Like there’s nothing more, I guess I’m thinking like affirming, there’s nothing more affirming than, seeing somebody else get behind your idea, love your product as much as you love your product care about as much as you care about it.  I totally love that. Like their, their job is created because I created this, you know what I mean? Yeah.

Dana: I do love that I will agree. I think building a team, just the community is really amazing, but I think overarching to me, what I love about being an entrepreneur is I genuinely think it’s made me a better person.

I feel like it has made me more compassionate. I think that it has allowed me to put myself in other people’s shoes more often than just my own.  And it’s been really interesting, like, Who I was in college and who I was in high school and how very different I am now. And I think it’s because of being an entrepreneur and even being in the industry too.

Just the, like when you’re at a wedding, you are with, well, before 2020, you’re with like over a hundred people and you can, like, I can talk to a brick wall. I can literally talk to a brick wall about anything and everything and find something in common. Even like the person that is probably in my mind could be the worst human on the face of the planet.

I could find something in common with them because it’s like the skill you have to have to be a business owner. And so, I feel like it’s just made me look at the world in a very, even though I do see the world I’m very black and white, I can acknowledge that there’s a lot of gray and I can respect there’s a lot of gray where I don’t feel like I would have been the same. I would have had that same thought prior to owning a business.

Courtney: So, yeah, those are a few quick questions kind of that we get asked all the time. Was it quick? I don’t know. Probably not.

Dana: So, we are so excited to start this podcast.  We, as something we have been thinking about for a couple of years, actually, and we just have never had either the time, the energy or just, probably the inspiration to be truthful, to like get it off the ground. So, we are so stoked. Out right now is also our first episode with Rachel Sheeran, who has been not only a great friend to us, but an amazing mentor. So, make sure you check it out. And then the next week will be me and Courtney chatting about,

Courtney: Our takeaways from that Rachel Sheeran conversation, which will be the model going forward. Guests slash takeaways.

Dana: But we are so excited to go on this journey with, with all of you.

Courtney: Absolutely. All right. Cheers. To Hustle and Gather and conversations with sisters. Cheers to the next step.

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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