Search

#7- Jeremy Weaver - Affordable Housing Solutions

Updated: Apr 29

CoLab INC’s Executive Director, Ryan Dye, talks with Jeremy Weaver, owner and founder of Atypical Design + Build - a company focused on building thoughtfully designed, permanent foundation homes that occupy a smaller footprint.


Jeremy shares his entrepreneur journey and how he left medical school to pursue his passion for design and construction. Influenced by years spent abroad in developing countries and working with organizations such as World Vision on community development projects, Jeremy brought his insights back to the United States to help work on affordable housing solutions in distressed urban areas.





Listen on your favorite platform:

Subscribe to the There To Here Podcast from CoLab Inc.

Find more podcasts from CoLab Inc.


Follow us on:

Facebook

Instagram

LinkedIn


Full transcript:

Ryan Dye (00:00):

So from CoLab INC, it's There to Here, a show about entrepreneurs, innovators and investors and the impact they seek to make on the world. I'm Ryan Dye, executive director of CoLab, and on today's show we talk with Jeremy Weaver, founder and owner of Atypical Design and Build and former executive director and co-founder of Wind River Tiny Homes. Jeremy's been involved in planning and leading development projects in over 10 countries and holds a masters in global community development with an emphasis in entrepreneurship. So Jeremy, welcome to the show.

Jeremy Weaver (00:33):

Hey Ryan, how are you doing?

Ryan Dye (00:34):

Hey, pretty good. We're looking forward to chatting with you today. So to jump right in, you've been quite active in the smaller home movement with a focus on efficient, high quality building and remodeling. This was not your initial career path. How did you become interested in development and construction?

Jeremy Weaver (00:54):

I don't remember the quote, but there's some famous literary quote that says, gradually and then all at once. I don't remember who said that. So, it started out as it does with a lot of people as a side job. Growing up, I had a dad that even though he was a doctor, he really valued hard work and specifically manual labor. He really looked up to blue collar people, and so that was sort of ingrained in me from a young age and I always worked construction as a side gig throughout high school and college in the summers while I was going to school and never had thought about it as a ... I feel like there's the unspoken stigma attached to a blue collar profession especially ... I'm not going to say my family did this, but it's just in general in society it's kind of like if you're a smart kid, don't do blue collar stuff, do white collar work.

Jeremy Weaver (01:51):

And, I think that's great. I think white collar work is great, but anyways, it was never because of that stigma. It was never the first ... oh yeah, I'm going to really want to do a career in construction, but I always enjoyed construction. I always enjoyed doing building projects. I enjoyed figuring things out and putting things together and taking things apart and I went through college with my eyes set on medicine. Seventh-day Adventist is my religion and a lot of emphasis is put on medicine and medical careers in that religion and in my family because I come from a very medical family, a lot of doctors and nurses and such. And so, I think there's some people that are in this situation where there's a lot of direct pressure being put on them, parents or whatever just saying literally, "You need to be a doctor.

Jeremy Weaver (02:43):

That wasn't it with me. It was just sort of assumed on my part. I take a lot of credit or blame, I guess for that, for not working harder at really vetting whether it was a good path for me and thinking about that. If I would have sat down and had a hard talk with myself, I could've saved myself quite a bit of money.

Ryan Dye (03:02):

Sure.

Jeremy Weaver (03:04):

So anyways, I ended up going to med school for a year. This was after I had traveled. I took a gap year after being accepted to med school and traveled and then came back and knew within a month that it wasn't for me, was pretty sure, but then it's like the whole sunk cost fallacy at work where it's like, "Oh, there's so many people that would kill to be in my position. I'm smart enough to do it."

Jeremy Weaver (03:30):

It wasn't the workload necessarily, even though it was challenging academically more than ... I'm a good test taker, so I've always been able to sort of cram and then take the test, and so it wasn't the workload. I was in good standing academically, but the way that I found best to describe it was that it's like this ... I use the allegorical picture of an elephant sitting on your chest, but just a small elephant, not enough to be like, "I need to get out from under this." But just like enough to be like, "I don't think I'm in the right place."

Ryan Dye (04:06):

Right.

Jeremy Weaver (04:07):

So anyways, by the time it got bad enough, the feelings of I was in the wrong place, that got bad enough two weeks into the second year of med school and I cut bait and they were kind enough to refund me my two weeks of second year, but not my first year.

Jeremy Weaver (04:27):

So anyways, so then I came back and it was like, "Okay, well what do I do now?" I'm just going to work construction because that's what I've always done. So, I started working construction and back in Chattanooga I was dating Lindsay, who's my wife now and started doing construction. If anyone's done a lot of manual labor, you understand the cathartic aspect of doing manual labor. When you're literally swinging a hammer, it's inherently cathartic. So anyways, it helped me, it was like kind of my period of sorting out, okay, what am I doing, blah, blah, blah. I was super into tiny houses and converting bands and this was kind of right at the beginning of all this, like in 2013, 2014, there wasn't any shows about it yet on TV or anything.

Jeremy Weaver (05:14):

And we had both, me and a buddy that I was working construction with, are both been just really fascinated by tiny houses in particular. And, he actually bought a trailer and started building one while we were working together. And, that kind of sparked me to get serious about it and I ended up buying a trailer to build a tiny house and decided with this same friend that we were going to start a tiny house company and he had one person that had asked him to build a tiny outsides, so it basically just spiraled from there. When I say I had worked construction, I knew a lot of the basic skills of construction, how to handle a power tool, the basic tenets of framing, of plumbing, of electric ... I knew the basic tenets of construction, but I didn't understand at all how to run a business. There was a lot about construction that I didn't know. There was a lot about getting certifications.

Ryan Dye (06:01):

Sure

Jeremy Weaver (06:02):

Honestly, the first two years, three years of we're running Wind River, I learned way more or I should say I learned more practical skills by far during those first two years of starting up Wind River than I learned through all my ... besides reading, writing and math skills that I learned in grad school, it was the most practical knowledge that I gained in all of my formal education combined.

Ryan Dye (06:28):

Sure.

Jeremy Weaver (06:29):

Just, how do you file taxes for our business? Basic accounting skills, applying for business licenses, just all the basic stuff I just was forced to learn. Sales, marketing, social media marketing, you don't think of it in terms of like, "Oh, I got to learn this." It's just like, "Okay, I have to do this by tomorrow or else something bad's going to happen." And, so you're just like-

Ryan Dye (06:53):

Baptism of fire.

Jeremy Weaver (06:54):

Exactly, you're just learning all these skills and I enjoy those kinds of ... I'm inherently autodidactic and I enjoy teaching skills to myself and so I really thrive and enjoy that. That's one of the things I enjoyed most about starting up and running that company.

Ryan Dye (07:13):

I'm a small business owner as well and it's amazing the things that you realize you don't know, but you need to know quickly.

Jeremy Weaver (07:23):

Filing your W-2 is not filing taxes. That's not-

Ryan Dye (07:26):

No, no, no. It's definitely a ...

Jeremy Weaver (07:31):

There's a reason TurboTax doesn't charge for that.

Ryan Dye (07:35):

Exactly. Well, the tiny home movement has been really popular over the last few years and I think as folks look to lower their consumption and their debt load, this can be an attractive way to do that. What trends are you currently seeing in this area of construction and do you see it continuing to grow?

Jeremy Weaver (07:55):

I do. I think it went through the mania, heyday phase. I think we're kind of through that. There was five TV shows about it, and you click up to your Google news or your Yahoo news page and there was like three articles on tiny house houses.

Ryan Dye (08:10):

Right.

Jeremy Weaver (08:10):

I would say that was from about 2014 to 2016, 2017 was that just mania phase of everyone wanted a tiny house and it was just this revolutionary concept. Tiny homes aren't a new concept. They're a different form of potentially the very oldest concept of housing, nomadic housing that you can take with you, which is really sort of the oldest concept of housing. So anyways, but the trend ... I wrote a white paper on this that I've been meaning to publish on my blog that I've been meaning to start, but the modern godfather, his name is Jay Shafer and the modern ground zero company is Tumbleweed and Jay Shafer started Tumbleweed.

Jeremy Weaver (08:58):

So anyways, there's a bunch of history, we don't need to go through it all, but basically that was 2000-ish is when he kind of formalized Tumbleweed and built the first tiny house and started living in it. I went back and did some research and if you look at the Google trend line of Google search terms, the first major statistically significant spike happens late 2008, 2009, which is telling.

Ryan Dye (09:22):

Right.

Jeremy Weaver (09:23):

The obvious thing is the housing market crash that happened, but the other thing that is less obvious that was happening right at the same time was millennials coming into the home buying market for the first time. And so, those two things kind of happened at once. So, millennials coming to the home buying market and then looking square in the face of this housing crash.

Jeremy Weaver (09:44):

So, a lot of people were just searching for an alternative to basically being at the max limit of what you could possibly afford, which is kind of the mindset, and that's what it's been. And so, I think that some of the inherent characteristics of the way millennials think generationally had to do with that, but also the fact that everyone was staring right at the housing crash when tiny houses were popularized and it started off and it's still to a large extent, it's sort of a bit of the wild west in terms of regulation because technically you can build a tiny house for somebody and as long as they can find a place to put it legally and live in it, and there's a lot of places, mostly in rural parts of the country, then you can live in a tiny house that was built by you or by someone you know that's got no certifications whatsoever just fine and no one's going to give you a hard time about it.

Jeremy Weaver (10:38):

And, that's a great thing in some ways because it allowed intense creativity that you see and that you saw in the early days of tiny houses thinking outside the box in terms of what you can do in such a small space.

Ryan Dye (10:51):

Right.

Jeremy Weaver (10:51):

That's probably one of the biggest lasting impacts that we're going to see continuing is just thinking about a space and what you can do with it in a different way. And in some ways and less practical, you don't need a bed that also is a bathtub, that's also a ... it got to the point where it was diminishing returns for sure, especially with these TV shows that are always trying to figure out ... how can we make this multi-functional thing absolutely ridiculous?

Ryan Dye (11:21):

We're on six square feet and it's a transformer.

Jeremy Weaver (11:23):

Yeah, exactly. So, there's definitely diminishing returns there, but it's just I felt like that ethos has sort of percolated its way throughout the rest of the building industry to a greater or lesser extent and really changed the market.

Jeremy Weaver (11:37):

The products you're seeing offered on the market are just fundamentally different, I believe because of the tiny house movement. I would say where we're at now is that the mania has sort of subsided. We're starting to see regulation come into play, which is ... and I think a good thing. I was saying the unregulated period was good because it allowed things to sort of get to [crosstalk 00:11:57] quickly, but you do have to have regulations, especially when it comes to housing because there has been a lot of cases of people basically building things that were unsafe and not being held accountable or people not even realizing how unsafe things were, especially when you get to electrical, plumbing, propane, hauling an 18,000 pound structure with wheels down the freeway at 75 miles an hour.

Ryan Dye (12:22):

Not a good thing.

Jeremy Weaver (12:25):

But, I think we're at phase ... when I sold my ownership at Wind River, it was 2018 and we were starting to get into the place where we were actually seeing more qualified leads. We were seeing far less leads, but way more qualified leads. People that were coming at this with a sober mind, that understood what they were getting into, that understood what the costs were. So, I think the mania has definitely died away, but the interest is kind of leveled out and is just more steadily growing instead of this crazy mania sort of ...

Ryan Dye (12:56):

Well, and it sounds like because the industry has, I guess you could call it stabilized somewhat, it would seem that the clientele has a better opportunity to research more clearly what it is they're looking for.

Jeremy Weaver (13:12):

Yes, right. I feel like the credible sources have kind of shaken themselves out a bit because for a while there everyone was just like, "Hey, let's post an article that says tiny house and it doesn't matter how factual." It's just click bait. "BuzzFeed, 10 tiny houses that are terrible", whatever it is.

Ryan Dye (13:31):

Right, exactly. Well, you spent some time in East Africa as a community developer and researcher with World Vision. That's an organization we have a lot of respect for. How did that experience shape your view on housing, particularly being in third world countries?

Jeremy Weaver (13:49):

A lot. I would say that was the two most formative years of my life in terms of just shaping my adult mindset was definitely the initial year that I spent serving in Africa as a basically humanitarian worker. I went through the program through Southern, it's called Student Missionary that year and then the year I spent traveling after college. So in Africa in particular, I lived in a fairly rural location and in conditions that were fairly similar to what the local population were living in, kind of a one room hut scenario, running water but cold, no hot water and essentially kind of a plank bed with a thin kind of mattress and mosquito netting. I wasn't living that much differently than my neighbors in the villages were living.

Ryan Dye (14:39):

Sure.

Jeremy Weaver (14:41):

I interacted a lot with people that lived in that area, in rural Zambia and I spent time in about four or five other countries during that trip, quite a bit of time in Zimbabwe actually during the cholera epidemic and the crazy inflation thing that happened there where they were printing a $100 trillion. I have some $100 trillion Zimbabwean notes and then also a little bit in South Africa and then in Ethiopia and then Kenya a little bit. And, I've since spent time in a handful of other countries in Eastern Africa as well. And, you just quickly understand that the happiness of people is not wrapped up in the spaces that they're living in. And in Africa, at least on its face, there's a lot of people that are very happy, and there's a lot of basic need in Africa too.

Ryan Dye (15:35):

Right.

Jeremy Weaver (15:35):

But, I would say that sometimes people equate, "Oh, these people need so much more stuff. They need to modernize, they need to get their act together." And, my view I guess at this point is that there are certain things that would be nice that I'm sure that everyone would appreciate having in certain villages in rural settings in Africa. We're talking about Africa, but this kind of applies to a lot of developing countries. I think what's needed more so is ... I mean, there's some basic needs such as having a more stable food supply, having more resilience built into the system, meaning governments that have the best interest of the people in mind because unfortunately in a lot of East Africa it's endemic government corruption that unfortunately most of the time is hurting the people.

Jeremy Weaver (16:30):

There's a couple of books, one's called Dead Aid that's one of the more bleak views on it, but it's not made up information in that book. There's literally hundreds of millions of dollars of aid given to Africa that goes to essentially nothing but lining the pockets of corrupt politicians and warlords and things of that nature. So anyways, what I'm getting around to saying is that there's a lot of things that people in Africa could teach us about how to live in a mentally healthy way, in a way as far as family dynamics, in non-isolated way that they could teach us. And, I think people that travel to developing countries, especially people that choose to use the method of travel of backpacking, essentially self-contained backpacking sort of travel. I think you start to get that appreciation and understand that it's not this checklist of things that you need, and it's not this size requirement that has to be met.

Jeremy Weaver (17:26):

That is unfortunately a stereotype as Americans that hurts us in a lot of ways. Hey Americans, you have to have ... and I'm speaking to myself because I'm someone who I have an unhealthy attachment to being self-sufficient in a lot of ways, but I would say in America in general we have an unhealthy attachment to being self-sufficient and we have this sort of concept that we need X amount of whatever. And usually, as an American it's a lot of it in order to be happy or to be able to measure up, and I think that's the thing that Africa and other places have figured out, developing countries, whether they figured out or not. You see levels of development coming to a place and you see measurements of happiness decreasing in a lot of these cases.

Ryan Dye (18:17):

Right. I can appreciate that because I too have spent a fair bit of time traveling to numerous countries around the world and did spend some time in Africa, in Kenya, and the thing that struck me the most you touched on was we're out in the Serengeti plain with Maasai tribes, and in my Western view, it's like, "These folks have nothing and they're the happiest people I've ever met in my life." And, that really did struck a chord with me, but it's kind of what you're saying. I think there's a certain degree of development that can be helpful. Certainly, we want people to be able to have clean running water and proper shelter and things like that, but also what we measure as valuable in a society, they don't equate from one place to the next, especially when you visit those kinds of environments.

Jeremy Weaver (19:19):

So, I realize that people that speak about this kind of thing, tiny houses and living with less and minimalism, you can come across as a bit ... personally, so I'm not like Rousseauian, or things are left to their own devices are in their best state. I don't subscribe to that school of thought. I do believe that development is good in a certain amount of increasing one's ...

Ryan Dye (19:43):

Sure.

Jeremy Weaver (19:45):

I'm a capitalist, I believe in capitalism. I think that it brings a lot of value to people's lives. So, to me it's a balance. If you're like, "Don't do anything to disturb the way things are." That's probably not good because I'm sure they would like to die less of malaria and diarrhea and treatable disease and things like this, but also there's the other school of thinking of just like, "Let's do away with what ... and just replace it with Western production." And, it's just neither are true. Obviously, it's a middle ground as it is with most things.

Ryan Dye (20:21):

Absolutely, that's an excellent point. In 2016, you were selected as a fellow at Causeway, a non-profit social innovation studio in Chattanooga, Tennessee. This exists to help people solve a city's tough challenges. Tell me about that project and the work you did with Causeway.

Jeremy Weaver (20:43):

So, it coincided with a down year. I don't remember ... there was a number of factors, but we were having a rough year financially at Wind River and I think it was a year because we had essentially tried to scale up. So, it was kind of the journey of scaling up where you have to take that step off the ledge and hopefully the orders will be there to meet the amount of extra equipment that you bought. So, we had just gotten to a plateau where I think it was during a winter season or something. Anyways, so we were having sort of a slow patch at Wind River and I got this opportunity. The fellowship, it's really awesome because it's essentially unstructured. They say, "Present us with your idea of how to improve the lives of Chattanoogans and if we like your idea, we'll pay you $40,000 for a year for you to work on that idea."

Jeremy Weaver (21:34):

And so anyways, I applied with the idea of ... because we had been talking a lot about, "Okay, practically, how would you go about implementing a tiny house community in an urban setting?" Running the business, you never have time, or I didn't have time to stop and let's think about that interesting thing. It's like, no, we're just trying to get the business going. So basically, it made sense from the business for me to ... I basically went to quarter time as far as like ... I just kind of kept up the stuff that only I could kind of do.

Ryan Dye (22:05):

Sure.

Jeremy Weaver (22:05):

And then, handed off my other activities to our operations manager, and she was very capable, so she was kind of running a lot of the day to day stuff that I had been running. And so, I just kind of stepped out of the business, didn't take any pay, and then was able to focus on this sort of research of how would you implement a tiny house community in a context like Chattanooga, and in terms of very specifically, what type of property as far as zoning would you need to pursue, what would the foundations of those houses look like? What kind of plumbing connections would they have? What type of electrical connections would you have? What sort of approvals would you need to even get in place with the city to be able to do it? How could the tiny house form be used in an overall development trajectory of an area within a city and would it be beneficial or are we just basically trying to force our narrative onto the situation?

Ryan Dye (22:58):

Sure.

Jeremy Weaver (22:59):

So anyways, those were the types of questions I was trying to answer and my goal was to actually get started at least on the actual development of a community such as that, which I didn't get to do, but I did get a lot of those questions in my mind at least answered of, okay, what would this look like?

Jeremy Weaver (23:15):

How would you get it done? And, I had put together a pretty detailed report on that, on exactly how you would do that. The other thing, the neat aspect of it was it allowed me to ... it gave me sort of the reason to engage with a lot of people within the city I was able to build really good relationships with that helped me personally a lot, but I also think that a lot of people were super happy to give me their time because it was a really interesting project and I was able to engage their brains in a way of thinking about developing a city. So, one of the ideas was in the typical development scheme. So, you take a part of the city that either it's been depressed and there's derelict buildings or it just hasn't been developed yet and there's open space.

Jeremy Weaver (24:00):

So, the trajectory, we'll say in a gentrifying ... since that's the buzzword, in a gentrifying part of a town that's maybe become derelict, the trajectory typically is you have the early adopters moving into that part of the city and those are typically younger, typically more open-minded people, a lot of artists, a lot of entrepreneurs, people that basically see it for what it can be in 10 years. It's a good value in terms of I'm living close to where I want to live or it's really cheap right now, or whatever the value that they see is they're willing to move there. So, they move there, they start businesses, they patronize those businesses and sort of the first wave of development happens and then those are a lot of times the movers and shakers within the culture of say a town or a city and those are the people that other people look to sort of set the tone, set the trend, whether it's in business or in art or in just thought.

Jeremy Weaver (24:58):

And so, then you get the second wave of people that are a little more progressive than the average. You get those people trickling in and things start to get hot and then the market sees this area is going to be hot. You get a couple of cool buildings built, you get a really good restaurant, you get a coffee shop that's kind of a linchpin of a community, then the floodgates open and then the place develops quickly after that because you get the masses moving to a place that's trendy. And so in that trajectory, one difficulty that's encountered by developers and by people wanting to move into a place is that there's often lots that are vacant for one reason or another that have a prohibitive expense to develop or remediate in the case of Chattanooga, there's a lot of brownfield sites.

Jeremy Weaver (25:47):

Brownfield is essentially ... there was at some point in the history of the city, there was some sort of activity there that caused enough pollutants to be in the soil that it can't be approved by a ... there's this federal agency and state agencies that basically say this can't be built on unless this list of remediations take place or enough time has passed that we do test periodically and the levels are down to a level that ... and those pollutants can be anything from ... there's a huge list that you can have brownfield in. So, in Chattanooga there's a ton of brownfield sites and there's a ton of prime properties that are downtown that are unusable and they're millions of dollars worth of real estate that's unusable because of it's a brownfield and in a lot of cases there's other cases where a building was demolished and then just bulldozed and buried.

Jeremy Weaver (26:37):

And so, it's unstable foundation soil. So, you would have to dig down so far that the project becomes untenable from a cost perspective until that has a chance to settle in. So sometimes, it's not even necessarily the toxins, it's just the fact that the soil's unstable. So, that's one of the spots a transitional mobile, tiny house community could fit that would be a win for developers, would be a win for someone wanting to move and live cheaply in that area. It would be a win for the city in general because you'd be able to take these properties that are currently vacant and so it encourages stuff to happen like vandalisms of derelict buildings and kids doing stupid stuff on vacant property, all this because there's no one there. So basically, if a developer owned a piece of property and it was a brownfield or it was on unstable soil, so whatever reason they couldn't develop it or they didn't want to, maybe they just wanted to hold onto the property until the market got better.

Ryan Dye (27:28):

Right.

Jeremy Weaver (27:28):

So, they're forced to pay those property taxes and then that land just sits there and nothing, they're not making any income on it and no one's benefiting from it. So, if you took a tiny house community that could literally just be sat on top of the ground and you put it in that lot, you could deploy a community like that in less than a week in terms of the infrastructure and putting the tiny houses and getting everything hooked up and ready to go and doing some nice landscaping. You can put skirts and put tiny houses on temporary foundations, so they don't look like they're mobile homes, they look like cool, trendy micro structures. And, you could deploy that in less than a week. The developer is making rent on his property, covering his cost at least, and maybe even able to provide that at a reduced rate if it's meant to benefit certain people, disadvantaged groups that want to live in a downtown area.

Jeremy Weaver (28:18):

There's all of a sudden units available at less than market rate. It's potentially helping the city develop a part of the city that they'd like to see developed in a transitory ... basically, those can fill gaps within the infrastructure as things develop and then as soon as the developer is ready to move, that community can move to another area. So, it's what I'm saying, that could be a mobile-

Ryan Dye (28:38):

True.

Jeremy Weaver (28:39):

That could be essentially a catalyst tiny house community that could be moved around and there's obviously tons of different structures in terms of ownership of the homes, whether it's the tenants that own it or the city that owns it, or a private organization or whatever. But anyways, that was one of the avenues that was very interesting to a lot of people that sort of I was able to research and flush out during that year.

Ryan Dye (29:01):

That's interesting because I would think if I was on a city council or a mayor or whatever, if you're looking at some property that has some potential, but the pieces aren't quite there, it seems like this could be a great way to, as you say, perhaps encourage some development and get some income flowing in a certain area to help the overall aesthetic of a community and be able to move up rather than just a derelict space or whatever it may be. So, I could see the value in that for sure. The path to entrepreneurship is often full of challenges and you've touched on that a bit, obviously more dealing with the unknown. We're certainly in uncharted territory with how our global pandemic is affecting business and the business landscape. How are you coping with this current environment that we're dealing with business wise?

Jeremy Weaver (29:58):

I read this book by Nassim Taleb called Antifragile. He was one of the guys that shorted the stock market during the 2008 because he saw it coming essentially and his whole mindset, the concept of anti-fragile is essentially building businesses, systems, et cetera that don't have fragility inherent to the system. So, I feel like being an entrepreneur, starting your own business, thinking in the mindset of as challenges arise, I will solve them, and I want to say this is a Seneca quote or Marcus Aurelius, it's a stoic philosopher that says this, paraphrasing basically the set of skills and knowledge that you've been able to overcome challenges in the past with is the same set that will allow you to overcome them in the future essentially. So, I feel like it's one of the best preparations for uncertain times like this is essentially being in the mindset of nothing is a guarantee. I'm going to scrap for everything that I get.

Jeremy Weaver (30:58):

And, as things change I'll change with them. That's kind of the mindset of quote unquote a business owner or an entrepreneur or the most successful ones I would say. And so, it's definitely affected me. So, my main income source right now is essentially designing things and building things for people. I do a little bit of consulting here and there specifically around people wanting to build weird stuff and how do I get this zoned and talking to building officials and kind of helping people navigate that process. So, it kind of remains to be seen how the larger group construction industry is going to be affected by this. We're not going to feel that, I think for six months or so.

Jeremy Weaver (31:36):

So, things may really slow down. That's an eventuality I'm sort of planning for in my head, but to date, since I left Wind River and started doing my own design build projects, I've been pretty busy and that hasn't slowed down yet for me. I've tried to cultivate clients who have ... they're coming to me because they want me to do their project. I'm not the low bidder necessarily. They're coming to me because they want a quality thing done and then they think I have a reputation for doing that that I try to meet. And so because of that, I think my clients, at least the ones I have right now, they're in a better position to weather the storm and continue with their build projects with me. So up to date, I haven't had a huge effect as far ... personally, as far as my workflow and stuff, I haven't really seen ...

Jeremy Weaver (32:23):

I'm actually looking ahead and I feel a little bit like a war profiteer saying this at this time. There's another book I'm reading right now, The Snowball, which is the biography of Warren Buffet and he made a lot of money during some of the biggest market crashes historically we've had over the last 89 years I guess is how old he is or something like that. And, I'm trying to adopt some of that thinking and I'm trying to think two or three months ahead, okay, I need to get some financing lined up because there's going to be a bunch of cheap properties on the market probably in six months. And like I said, I feel like a war profiteer, there's a certain amount of guilt with that because I also think like a developer. I have this altruistic part of myself too.

Jeremy Weaver (33:08):

Sometimes I feel at war with myself, my capitalist side and my populist side. But anyways, I know that there's going to be a lot of opportunity created and if I'm thinking about things from several angles instead of just from a fear perspective, then I think there's a lot of opportunity for people to actually take this awful situation and make a good thing out of it or at least salvage as much as possible out of it.

Ryan Dye (33:34):

Sure.

Jeremy Weaver (33:35):

So, I don't know if that's what you were getting at. I don't know if there's -

Ryan Dye (33:38):

No, that's exactly right. Well, last question here. What would you tell young entrepreneurs who are in the early days of their business journey, especially in this challenging time?

Jeremy Weaver (33:50):

I would say this is, again, talking to myself, it's easy to get in a ... especially as an entrepreneur I feel a lot of times there's a lot of lone wolfing involved in that because you're by definition going your own way and you're seeing something that other people don't see and you have to go your own way a little bit. And so, that that can be, especially in times like this where things are kind of crashing down around you, it can be really depressing and it can be mentally tough to continue on the path. The advice I would give is to look to other people that have been in these situations and that have come through them and that have even profited on them, like Warren Buffet, pick your successful entrepreneur and that's probably someone that has done this, been through a hard time and come out of it. And, there's really good places like How I Built This with Guy Raz is great. Essentially, that's just a list of all the businesses you know, and the people that founded those businesses talking about all the stuff that you didn't hear in the headlines.

Ryan Dye (34:52):

Yes, all the challenges.

Jeremy Weaver (34:54):

So, if you digest some of that content, it's really encouraging because you realize that literally 100% of people that are successful have failed probably more than they succeeded.

Ryan Dye (35:04):

Absolutely. I think that's probably one of the greatest takeaways. We tend to think that all really successful business people or entrepreneurs, they were just really smart or they had a lot of luck and no, that's not true.

Jeremy Weaver (35:20):

They got up one more time than the next guy was willing to get up.

Ryan Dye (35:24):

Excellent point.

Jeremy Weaver (35:26):

So anyways, and it's really easy to say that, super easy to say that, but it's really hard to ... and the practical advice I would give is to consume whatever it is, podcast or a biography or whatever form of content that you can do. I love podcasts and audio books because as a builder I do a lot of the work myself, so I'm literally listening to this kind of stuff all day long to kind of keep my motivation levels where they need to be.

Ryan Dye (35:50):

Yep, agreed. I think that's a great bit of advice and I enjoy that as well. Well, Jeremy, thanks so much for taking time to talk with us today. We wish you well and we'll check in to see how things are going in the weeks and months to come.

Jeremy Weaver (36:03):

Cool, man.

Ryan Dye (36:03):

How can folks connect with you?

Jeremy Weaver (36:06):

Instagram and Facebook page and Twitter. You can find me at ... I think I'm Jerweave at all those, J-E-R-W-E-A-V-E. Instagram or Twitter are the ones I'm probably most active on. Facebook is just kind of I repost whatever I post on the other ones.

Ryan Dye (36:19):

Sure, and do you have a website for Atypical Design?

Jeremy Weaver (36:23):

I don't for Atypical Design Build yet. That's one of those things, I've been so busy that I could stop and make a website, but I'm already so busy that right now I don't have the need yet. So anyways, that's one of those just in time things that'll happen when it needs to happen, but then I have jeremyweaver.com, which is one avenue that I've always wanted to explore more of is writing. I've kept a blog for a year at a time a couple of times and so anyways, jeremyweaver.com is not up and running yet, but that's going to be my blog. We'll talk about building and entrepreneurship and tiny house stuff and stuff that I'm interested in.

Ryan Dye (36:58):

Excellent. Well, thanks for listening to There to Here. We invite you to check us out on all the social media platforms and visit our website colabinc.org. If you have comments on today's episode or know someone who would be a great guest on our show, send your suggestions to Ryan@colabinc.org. We'd love to hear from you. Special thanks to our producer, Michael Webberley, editing by Tanya Musgrave and all the CoLab staff. Until next time, be well and God bless.

About us

We help innovators and entrepreneurs bring their ideas to life through coaching, mentoring and startup funding.

Contact us

208-459-8522

contact@colabinc.org

4481 N Dresden Place

Garden City, ID 83714

  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • LinkedIn Social Icon
  • Twitter
  • YouTube Social  Icon

Stay connected