By Devon Martinez
Click Below for an excerpt of a podcast featuring Christy Avis:
The alarm goes off, it’s early and it’s time to wake up.
Christy Avis used to dread this moment—death sounded better than getting out of bed and going through her day. But after starting her business and changing her mindset she now wakes up and finds the motivation needed to ensure she has a successful day.
What does it mean to have a successful day in Avis’s eyes?
It’s accomplishing a couple of non-negotiable’s that she promises herself to accomplish every day. First, she goes to her day job at Timberland Landscaping, where she is the marketing coordinator for the organization. She is a one-person team, so the day is long and tough.
When the workday ends, she moves on to her passion–her marketing business. Where she completes the one non-negotiable task for the day: to be there for her audience in any way she can.
The long days and early mornings that Avis is used to is the life of most entrepreneurs, including 4G Concrete and Construction owner, Cody Curtis.
Curtis wakes up early, drinks coffee and pours concrete around seven a.m. every morning during the week. He works with his dad most days, who is the founder of 3G Concrete.
Curtis is the fourth straight generation in his family to start a construction company. He began the company right after high school and has helped pour concrete since he was in eight grade.
They’re two different kinds of people and two different kinds of entrepreneurs, but they wake up with the same goal: to provide value that goes behind the dollar to their clients.
Art, is what Avis wanted to do with her life; she listened to suggestions made by her parents to major in business at Pikes Peak Community College.
Overtime Avis developed a love for business, but it came in fruition when she discovered graphic designs.
“I got really lucky to do graphic design in the first place,” said Avis as she reflected on her journey into marketing.
She wanted a job as a graphic designer despite having no experience, but that didn’t stop her from applying. She designed her resume to reflect her creative experiences where she dipped her toe into the respective field.
When Avis got the job, she bought a Mac and went to work.
“Graphic design is the one place where I find my flow space,” said Avis.
Prior to this opportunity, Avis worked in a dentist’s office, which was a nightmare. The Dentist would yell at her for the trivial act of stuttering while talking to clients. One day, she walked out and never looked back.
Originally, her business was a side hustle. She connected with people that she knew needed graphic design assistance. The money she brought in varied from $100 to $1,000 each month. But she knew the side hustle wouldn’t last unless she took it seriously.
Avis applied for a scholarship so she could take a course on creating business plans with a local organization in Colorado Springs. Once she won the scholarship, Avis placed all her extra energy into her new business. The corporate job she fought so hard to get into was only a steppingstone for her future.
For Curtis, his humble beginnings towards a career in concrete began before he was born, when his great grandfather began his company. Little did he know that this small act would eventually lead to the next three generations doing the same thing. Curtis’s father told him stories about how he did concrete with his brother when he was eleven.
“If your dad was at work, then you went to work with him,” said Curtis.
The first time Curtis did concrete was in eighth grade. He continued to help his dad whenever he wasn’t playing basketball or in school.
When Curtis went away to college, he ended up working for a concrete company in his spare time. He also did rodeo. His love for concrete overpowered his will to stay in school.
“If I’m going to do this, then I’m just going to go home,” said Curtis. He followed in the footsteps of his genealogy and began to work for his dad while starting his own company.
In concrete, it takes a while to build a name for your brand and to get the jobs needed to sustain a long career in the field. That’s why he and his dad still work together because it’s better to seize every opportunity.
The days are long. And since he and his dad work together, they sometimes pour concrete twice a day, once in the morning and once in the evening. Being with his dad all the time is both a blessing and a curse because by Friday they just want to go home and not see each other until Monday.
“I’m a hippy-dippy person,” said Avis who believes that the universe responds to positive energy. And that a person can create new neural pathways by working to be what they want to see in the world.
Avis’s perspectives come from past failures, and the success she’s had by just changing her mindset.
“Everyone is one decision away from completely transforming their lives. And I believe that in my business so that’s why I keep going even though things are hard,” said Avis.
Avis is focused on creating a business that adds long term value to people’s lives. This means generating marketing strategies that last a long time for the person she’s creating it for. Money isn’t what drives her, but instead finding strategies that allow people to be themselves and to market themselves.
Avis believes that because she once created a failing business due to her failed strategy that she could stop others from making the same mistakes. She is open about this on her website–it’s rare for a business to admit its mistakes as openly as Avis’s does.
“If you know your values then it’s so easy to make a decision,” said Avis, “you then dig into how you want your brand to make people feel.”
The first change Avis made with her business was its name. The business was originally called ASYM Designs. This was changed to Christy Avis. Yes, it’s her name. She wanted her business to be hers, and for it to be personal, because if it reflects who she is, then she can help others do the same thing.
The second change to her business model involved moving away from building just logos, and into a long-term marketing strategy.
“The vision is the long-term focus, and the mission is that shorter-term focus. Making those together. Makes it so you can focus in and focus forward,” said Avis.
This means creating business strategies that aren’t published, but instead, are authentic. Because she doesn’t believe people relate to perfection, instead they relate to what’s real.
“If you do something to get something it’s never going to work,” said Avis. “You have to enjoy the process.”
Curtis is someone who loves the process, and just like other people in his field, he’s become addicted.
“You can tell a concrete guy walking down a sidewalk because he is looking straight down,” said Curtis, because they are amazed by the work. They notice mistakes in concrete that no one sees. They see the hard work done by others, and they appreciate it. It took time to set up the site, and to pour the concrete, and then finish the concrete.
Curtis is motivated by clients who send pictures of his finished job because he doesn’t want to diminish his name or family name in any way.
“When you’re the fourth generation down the line—I really don’t want to go up to heaven and my great grandfather hit me in the face, because I sucked at something,” said Curtis.
Curtis understands the effects that working in concrete has on the human body because no one who’s done it in his family stands up straight. But it’s in his genes to go until he is unable to work. His great grandfathers did his final concrete job at the age of 85, and his grandfather did it until he broke his back falling off a trailer—now he’s a chiropractor.
After long weeks that involve overtime, he still can’t turn down helping a friend with a concrete job on Saturday.
Value is found by both Curtis and Avis when they provide value to others. And despite starting two different businesses this is the connection they share.