Bryan grew up in a blue collar, self-employed family where his dad wore a shop coat to work every day as an aircraft sheet metal technician. While Bryan always loved working with tools, he was headed to law school when it hit him: He was meant to pursue a career he loved. And that meant working with his hands and fulfilling his passion for building and renovating. So, he redirected his education and began focusing on construction. He started his own construction & renovation business, which he operated out of his truck, and he hasn’t looked back since.
When Bryan’s parents saw his first company truck, with “Baeumler Quality Construction” proudly displayed across the side, his dad pulled him aside and pointed at the truck.
“Do you see that?” he asked Bryan.
“Yes, it’s my new truck!” Bryan answered.
“No, that’s our family name… don’t screw it up!”
“And keep your nose clean!” added his mom.
Translation? Bryan’s dad meant: Be true to the values you were taught. Be honest, show up when you say you will, do what you say you’ll do, be nice to people and have fun. His mom meant: Work hard, pay your taxes and run an honest business.
These early lessons and core values of honesty, quality work and respect for others were ingrained early, and formed the solid foundation of Bryan’s business.
The Scary Parts
Bryan will be the first to admit that the scariest part of starting your own business is also the most rewarding. That is, letting go of the life lines that come with salaried employment and providing for yourself; while at the same time opening up limitless opportunities that depend on your own decisions and hard work.
That, and maybe re-mortgaging their first home to fund the business.
When Bryan and Sarah look back at that decision to take a financial risk, they see it as a no-brainer.
“Growing your business is exciting and terrifying at the same time. While growth provides increased revenues, it also comes with an increase in costs, responsibilities and risks.”
When Bryan and Sarah got into the real estate and building market, they realized they needed additional funds to take advantage of the opportunities that were available to them. Without the funds, the opportunities were out of reach.
“Trust me – the only thing scarier than re-mortgaging your home to invest in your business is being underfinanced while trying to grow your business.”
Failure Is Not an Option
As most entrepreneurs will tell you, working for yourself is as challenging as it is rewarding. There’s nobody but yourself to hold you accountable for your performance. A 40-hour work week doesn’t exist. But Bryan was ready for it. As he says it:
“When I started out, I was the salesman, the carpenter, the accountant, the janitor and everything in between.”
With a new family, that was a lot of pressure, and self-motivation was the name of the game to make it work. But giving up was never an option. Ever.
“I’ll admit, there were a few really tough times when I may have felt like giving up… but I never wanted to give up. There’s a very important difference there.”
Bryan chose a career that he loved, had bills to pay, a new baby at home, and goals that he wanted to achieve. He knew the importance of putting in the hours and working hard, and had learned early on that dedication and effort pay off.
When Bryan first started out, Sarah and her mother went door-to-door delivering flyers for his new construction and renovation business. While she was teaching classical ballet at the time, Sarah helped with the day-to-day bookkeeping, pitched in with the website and designed promotional materials, providing support and extra hands to make it all work.
Then as the business grew and Bryan began filming HGTV Canada’s Disaster DIY, together they decided it made the most sense for Sarah to learn more about the construction industry and take on a larger role within his company.
(Image from 2009)
Now they’re working together with HGTV Canada on Bryan Inc. and they’ve discovered the importance to taking some time off occasionally to focus on family and their relationship.
“Working together can be challenging for a lot of people, and our relationship certainly isn’t always kittens and rainbows. It’s hard not to bring work home every night, but sometimes you just have to leave it at the office.”
Balance? What Balance?
So with such busy schedules, how do Bryan and Sarah balance work and family life? Well, balance isn’t really the right word for it.
“We began to look at our lives in terms of a pendulum instead of a scale. Instead of always trying to achieve balance, we learned how to deal with the ups and downs.”
With such a demanding work schedule, there are times when Bryan and Sarah have to be focused 100% on their business. Likewise, when they have family time, they are committed to focusing all of their attention on their children and one another. Not so much a question of balance, but of allocating time where it’s necessary, and making sure it’s distributed where it counts, when it counts.
Fruits of Labour
Getting to where they are today has taken time, a lot of hard work, and some tough (and sometimes expensive) lessons along the way. But in the end, all of the effort, struggles, mistakes and lessons culminate to a leading a business – and a life – that they love.
“Choose a career you love, set measureable and achievable goals, work hard, accept failures as a necessary path to success, seek and heed advice from trustworthy advisors, and occasionally take the time to enjoy the fruits of your labour to keep everything in perspective.”
That might just be the greatest lesson of all.
Look out for more from Bryan and Sarah Baeumler as they offer up tips on running a business, renovating a home, making smart housing decisions, designing the perfect space and more. And maybe they’ll share more nuggets of wisdom from a couple that’s built a business, a life and a family – together.
This article is intended as general information only and is not to be relied upon as constituting legal, financial or other professional advice. A professional advisor should be consulted regarding your specific situation. Information presented is believed to be factual and up-to-date but we do not guarantee its accuracy and it should not be regarded as a complete analysis of the subjects discussed. All expressions of opinion reflect the judgment of the authors as of the date of publication and are subject to change. No endorsement of any third parties or their advice, opinions, information, products or services is expressly given or implied by Royal Bank of Canada or any of its affiliates.