The Alimond Show

Alex Bautista of GiGi Homes and Construction

October 03, 2023 Alimond Studio
The Alimond Show
Alex Bautista of GiGi Homes and Construction
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Picture a bustling law firm and then imagine leaving it all behind to follow your passion for flipping houses, mentoring youth, and giving back to the community. That's exactly what our guest for this episode did. Embark on this fascinating journey with us as we discuss how he transitioned from law to contracting, tackling the ins and outs of running a business, and his future plans for a design studio and flip division. 

Many of us have the dream of starting our own business, but the journey can be daunting, and our guest shares his experience of balancing the challenges of a new business while raising a baby. He also opens up about his love for marketing, his feature on HGTV and how SEO helps him draw in clients. With his invaluable tips on growing a small business, this episode is a must-listen for anyone venturing into the world of entrepreneurship. So join us on this narrative excursion as we delve into the story of a unique individual who is not just an entrepreneur, but also a mentor, a parent, and a visionary.

Speaker 1:

I do interior renovations and I focus on kitchen, bathrooms and basin. Basin is basically the whole house. The areas that I'm in is basically Northern Virginia and I go out to Maryland and DC occasionally.

Speaker 2:

Awesome. Now how did you get started?

Speaker 1:

So when I back in 2006, I always had the gold flipping houses and that's something that I always wanted to do, but we had the economy kind of tank during that time, so I always had that gold and that.

Speaker 2:

So like you were six years old when you wanted to start flipping houses, Pretty much, pretty much.

Speaker 1:

Pretty much, yes. And actually I started out I worked at a law firm and I just got tired of that office life. You know, I was sitting down all the time and my bones and everything were aching. So I just said you know the heck with this, I just want to go learn something else. So I'm not artsy, but I get a satisfaction of putting something together and making it a dream come true for people that are aspiring to do projects.

Speaker 2:

So you know, I actually disagree with that statement. I think anyone who's good at what they do in life that is a form of art. Okay Right, think about it, because, like traditional art, like with, I don't consider myself artsy either, but yet you know, our studio here does photography and videos, but I don't want to consider myself artsy, but when I reframe it it's like no, no, no, I'm taking something and I'm creating something else 100%.

Speaker 2:

If you literally look at something, that's not necessarily crap, but sometimes kind of, when you take that and you like transform it into something like inspiring and beautiful, absolutely, absolutely.

Speaker 1:

You know what I mean. I get butterflies just thinking about it. Right, bringing it to life. Very rewarding, yeah, so I love giving back and that's like my form of giving. Yeah, one of them, anyways.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, no, that's awesome. Now you said that's one of your forms of giving. Can you expand on that?

Speaker 1:

Yeah, so I work with the troubled youth. Okay, I always had a passion of helping the kids, the future of the generation, so I always try and give back to my communities as much as possible. So that's whether volunteering or donating and just giving time back.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, now do you feel like, because you have your own business, you're able to do more of that?

Speaker 1:

Yes, yes, yes, I would love to be able to do more, but with time.

Speaker 2:

Yeah. Now, in terms of like, what do you do? Just because this like likes me, I think it's me so excited. Absolutely Because it's like stuff that I'm super passionate about, sure.

Speaker 1:

So tell me, like, how you get involved and how you do it With giving back, okay, so I've donated a lot of time to schools. So there's one school in particular it's Main Street and Fairfax and so I've come in to volunteer financially as well, as you know, putting hanging up hooks or you know stuff like that painting or doing any little small projects for them that they need. Yeah, and I've mentored a couple kids oh that's so great. And like a big brother oh my gosh. So that, yeah, that brings me a lot of satisfaction.

Speaker 2:

That's freaking amazing I love that Absolutely. Now in terms of future plans, or where are you right now? Where are your future plans for your company?

Speaker 1:

Where I'm at right now.

Speaker 2:

Team wise, the type of clients that you work with.

Speaker 1:

Absolutely so. Let me see, Let me think about it. So the people that I work with are just, I guess, middle class, middle class working class people.

Speaker 2:

Every penny counts.

Speaker 1:

Absolutely absolutely.

Speaker 2:

They're not necessarily like. What do I do with this $500,000?

Speaker 1:

No, but I do have those as well, mostly working class people and where I see myself, I hope to have a design studio someday I don't have that at the moment and just expand with a project manager and more team to kind of help elevate the business and grow.

Speaker 2:

That's awesome. Five years where are you gonna be at in five years?

Speaker 1:

In five years. Okay, so I plan to do a couple of things right. In five years, I plan to have a flip division.

Speaker 2:

What's that?

Speaker 1:

So I just focus on flipping houses.

Speaker 2:

Oh, okay.

Speaker 1:

It's a division that just solely focuses on that. My own design studio.

Speaker 2:

What's that gonna look like? Paint the picture for me.

Speaker 1:

Ooh, okay, that's a great question. That's a great question, okay, so I plan to have that somewhere in Centerville and based on Centerville. So in Centerville, walk in. We have counters, countertops, beautiful pictures, frames. I'm getting into art a little bit, so I'm understanding a little bit. It's kind of complicated and so have some art pieces laying around beautiful tiles, beautiful fixtures and wonderful-.

Speaker 1:

So you can sit in there and like, touch it. Yes, absolutely. And welcoming staff. I want everybody to smile, be happy and I wanna create an environment where everybody is happy and we're more than just worker friends. So I wanna create a happy place and enjoyable place for everybody to come to work.

Speaker 2:

How do you do that?

Speaker 1:

Ooh, a lot of team building, a lot of team building. And me, as being an employee as well as boss or manager, I kind of understand the both. Leader, yes, leader. So I understand the both. So I don't ever talk to anybody like looking down on them. We all make mistakes, so it's okay. It's just about learning from that and keep going and evolving, constant communication. And, yeah, a lot of team builders.

Speaker 2:

When you know, especially with your experience working with youth that have had a hard upbringing, I think you've got a lot more compassion. Yes, In terms of mistakes and being able to communicate in a way that doesn't allow that person I mean you can't control how they take something- Of course, but you can do your best to communicate in a very clear way to let them know okay, this is how we do it, going forward.

Speaker 1:

Absolutely, absolutely, absolutely. Yes, and I treat everybody as an equal. Yeah, you know, I don't look anybody lower or more than than me, because you know we could all learn from one another.

Speaker 2:

That's right. Circumstances can change in an instant.

Speaker 1:

Absolutely Right like somebody up here, Absolutely.

Speaker 2:

Circumstances can knock you down.

Speaker 1:

Oh, absolutely, absolutely, and I live that, you know. So it's kind of early on in my business I grew really fast, like I started off doing small repairs and within months I started doing full house renovations and had a little minor setback, you know, and it brought me down and it humbled me quick, yeah, and I realized like, look, this could all be gone in a second.

Speaker 2:

Do you feel comfortable sharing that setback?

Speaker 1:

Yeah, absolutely so. I mean, I went through a dark time depression. I had staff that were kind of missing out projects and I later learned that they were giving the homeowners their contact information for them to do the remainder of the project. Shady, shady shady, absolutely, absolutely. I mean, that's something we're going to still have compassion.

Speaker 2:

It's hard.

Speaker 1:

I mean, you know, I Maybe you're done that.

Speaker 1:

that's why I'm saying this yes yes, and I mean you know God has everything in control, right? So I, you know, I kind of put it in his hands. I mean, I went through a dark time. I almost lost my house Within a week. I had some other guy who was my foreman slash business partner do the same thing. Oh shoot. And you know it's also kind of I'm giving right, I look the good into everybody. So that's kind of bitten me a little bit, right, because I always think the good in people.

Speaker 2:

And it's hard not to get tough Like it's hard to not. That's happened to me and my like close friends. They're like look, don't let this harden you, Don't let this harden you. But it's hard not to, because it's like how many more times am I going to allow this to? Happen, absolutely how did you get through that, or how do you like move forward?

Speaker 1:

You know, I mean it was tough. Like I said, I almost lost my house. So I went through a bankruptcy, went through that and I'm still kind of fighting through it. Yeah, I did a chapter 13,. So repayment plan on everything. And you know, again, faith and just patience, patience and it kind of helped me step back and analyze my situation right, what I was doing wrong, and so I kind of just got more involved in the business and I started doing a lot of projects myself. So then I quickly grew again and I quickly took some time, but then I graduated into bathrooms. Bathrooms then went to kitchens and then still full house renovations. But I've kind of niched down and focused on kitchen bathrooms and then basements.

Speaker 2:

You got that hustle in here, don't you?

Speaker 1:

Absolutely, Absolutely. Yeah, I started to kind of you have to. You know it takes like the bamboo tree it takes a lot of watering for it to start going the bamboo, they said the bad boy tree.

Speaker 1:

Oh no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no. So you know it takes time, so it's just I take these as lessons learned. You know I've gotten baptized by fire a lot throughout my journey of this business, so a lot of learning. I unfortunately didn't have a mentor or anybody to kind of guide me through, so I basically, when I was working at the law firm, I got tired of that and I started doing marketing for my father-in-law, horan's a masonry company and he's older guys, so he has an older way of thinking. Right, pen and paper, sending us summits like that and Contracts, handshakes.

Speaker 1:

Yes, not even contracts sometimes. So I'm like what are you doing? You can't run your business like this. So I got involved with that. I fell more in love with just, I guess, being the liaison between the contractors and the homeowners, right. So so I kind of help elevate him. I got him some pretty decent projects and you know, I said this is my time for me to jump into what I want to do, which is remodel, to learn to build houses, flip houses, and so I started and that's where my journey began. That's awesome. This was in.

Speaker 2:

So how many years ago You're looking for a new?

Speaker 1:

question 2015. 2015. I started my business December 15 of 2015. Wow.

Speaker 2:

So that's not too long ago, I know it was eight years ago. No, that's awesome.

Speaker 1:

Yes, yes, a little bit, little bit, little bit, yes, little bit. A lot of baptized by fire.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, no. So, in terms of like going forward, what's your next steps? I know you said growing the team design studio, having the Incidentrville specifically yes, incidentrville, yes yes, yes.

Speaker 1:

So moving forward, I'm actually diving into marketing myself a little bit, learning a little bit of SEO and stuff like that, because you know a lot of people charge a lot of money for that. Yeah, so I want to at least learn stuff so that I could advance that you hire someone, you'll know are they actually doing a good? Job, Exactly exactly.

Speaker 2:

So that's the biggest thing I've done in my business is take you, I know how to do it. We're just having a conversation, Lil and I every single part of my business. I know how to do it and I can do it. If something ever happened to a team member, Awesome. And even when people come in, I try to train them on multiple roles because if something happens, or I don't know.

Speaker 2:

somebody wants a week vacation. You know, like the business doesn't ever go down, of course. And then when it comes to the marketing piece, for me I'm the most passionate about that. Wow, like I don't consider myself a photographer or videographer editor more than like a marketer, because to me, marketing is beautiful. It's providing solutions to problems, challenges that people have. I want to be the one that's like, like you said, seo knowing and. I'm not going to spend like my whole life studying SEO right, like it's not 100% my focus.

Speaker 2:

but I want to know enough that when I hire somebody or I'm paying for that service, I know that this is quality. And if somebody is telling me it takes me 20 hours to do something, then I'm like no, that takes two hours, good try Absolutely.

Speaker 1:

Let me show you how to make it do it in two hours. Absolutely, yes, absolutely, absolutely. Good for you. I'm glad that you're doing it.

Speaker 2:

How are you currently getting your clients?

Speaker 1:

by the way, so I do SEO little backstory about that. So the reason why it's made me kind of want to learn more about it is because I had a company for a year that I spent like about $12,000 on a website. Website is beautiful and it's kind of helped me see the lights from peoples of HGTV, but it performed nothing for me. It brought me no leads for about a year.

Speaker 2:

Do you still have the same website?

Speaker 1:

It's been revamped a little bit. Okay, it's majority of it's from the original, but it's been revamped just a tad bit, yeah, so I mean I get compliments a lot on it. It's very personable. People see me my family, and they're like, oh, this guy, I like this guy. Then when I come in they see my smile, we're all and you know why that's important.

Speaker 2:

It's because they already know you, they already like you, they feel like they can trust you because they've seen you and I'm sure you know all this stuff like because they've seen your face and they feel like they've got some type of connection with your family just by seeing a picture.

Speaker 1:

Absolutely yes, yes.

Speaker 2:

I'm just applauding you.

Speaker 1:

Thank you, thank you, thank you, and so that website performed nothing for me and I was down and the guy that actually helped build the website for me branched off and started his own company and so he took over my stuff and it's been a blessing since then. So I've been found by. I did a show for HGTV called the Ugliest House in America and M&S's.

Speaker 2:

Was it in our area?

Speaker 1:

Yes, it was in M&S's. I mean, oddly enough, the house wasn't that bad and but we went in. We had fun first time behind the camera like that Production team following us, new experience, and he's done really well for me on the SEO part. He's a blessing for sure.

Speaker 2:

That's awesome, and did you take footage from that and are you able to repurpose that?

Speaker 1:

I did. I have a clip on YouTube. I feel like I could do better with marketing, just put it in the signature of your email. That's a good idea.

Speaker 2:

Wow, what did you say? It was HGTV.

Speaker 1:

Yes, check me on HGTV. Okay, thank you, oh my gosh, she's on the. Hgtv. Yes, yes, absolutely the thing about me. I'm a little strange, like I don't like talking about me, don't you guys? As?

Speaker 2:

a market. Okay, listen, I am the biggest proponent of nobody as much as you can do great work for your clients. You can do great, and it's always better when somebody else is talking about you, absolutely 100%. You have to start that. You have to proudly, right, be able to say Because, even if you're thinking about it, it's not for me, it's for the Future Design Studio, absolutely.

Speaker 1:

Future team Absolutely.

Speaker 2:

So being able to say, yeah, I can get the job done, yeah, I do a freaking amazing job and then other people look at it and they're like yes, you can't, absolutely no, you're right.

Speaker 1:

It's just something that I have to kind of get over with and just do yes, yeah, you're right. So I don't. I kind of it's weird, but I don't like the spotlight on me, but sometimes I do. It's just I'm a bit strange.

Speaker 2:

Because you know you need it right. Yes, Like I know you need the spotlight, yes, but it's kind of hard to be like.

Speaker 1:

Hey, shine it on me.

Speaker 2:

Yes, yes, yes, exactly, but as business owners, it's what we have to do.

Speaker 1:

Absolutely.

Speaker 2:

We have to highlight, and, for me, I found the best way to do it is by highlighting other people.

Speaker 1:

Okay, okay. Right so you're a giver too.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, because look at this right now.

Speaker 1:

Absolutely.

Speaker 2:

I'm highlighting you, but I'm also highlighting Alamon Studio.

Speaker 1:

Absolutely.

Speaker 2:

And so then, when you share it on your social media, I'm going to now be able to get in front of your people. When I share it across my social media and my email and my YouTube, you're going to get in front of my people. So it's just like this whole, like everybody's helping each other out Exactly.

Speaker 1:

I love that, absolutely, absolutely.

Speaker 2:

All right, so what are two tips that you have for a small business owner who is looking to grow? You've gone through a lot.

Speaker 1:

You've been through a lot yes, yes, yeah, what's your tip?

Speaker 1:

Tip number one is never stop marketing. So never stop marketing and never stop marketing. Keep building that brand, keep shaking hands, keep smiling. And number two is don't get discouraged and give up. This road is extremely hard, extremely stressful, a lot of nights with late nights and early mornings, very little sleep, but just keep it, keep going. It's worth it. The end is always going to be worth it. It's very rewarding for you and your family. It could be extremely lucrative, and I'm not artsy, but this is my former art, so I get an extreme enjoyment out of it.

Speaker 2:

I love that and that's such good advice. It's like you've got kids, you said.

Speaker 1:

I have three yes.

Speaker 2:

It's like having a baby.

Speaker 1:

Oh yes. Over and over. Oh, absolutely, there's a late night stress, absolutely.

Speaker 2:

But then you learn to love it.

Speaker 1:

Absolutely.

Speaker 2:

We start to thrive on it so not the stress, but just the outcome yes, yes, yes.

Speaker 1:

And you look back and you're like, wow, I've done this, just like your kid, I've created this kid. And look at them now. I can't believe this. And you're just in all the situation and you just sometimes I pinch myself just to make sure it's real and just like I can't believe it.

Speaker 2:

Sometimes Agreed, but you worked hard and you've raised that baby. Yes.

Speaker 1:

Oh yes, oh yes, Awesome.

Speaker 2:

Is there anything else you would like to share?

Speaker 1:

No, appreciate, washing, Appreciate inviting me here, and that's it.

Speaker 2:

You've got a beautiful story. Thank you for coming and being a guest and I can't wait to share it with you, thank you. High five, that was easy, yes.

Speaker 1:

Yes, yes, absolutely, thank you.

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