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June 7, 2022

All Up In: Running a business with your husband — with Vanessa Jackson-Lopez of The LemonAd Stand

All Up In: Running a business with your husband — with Vanessa Jackson-Lopez of The LemonAd Stand

Could you run a business with your spouse? This week Mary has Vanessa Jackson-Lopez on the podcast to talk about the good and the bad (but mostly the good) of running a business with her husband. Together, Vanessa & Mary talk about–

  • How her husband quit his job the week they got married then ended up going on job interviews with their baby daughter
  • Why they launched The LemonAd Stand and when Vanessa came on board
  • Vanessa’s advice about hiring your first employee & creating a great company culture
  • What it’s really like working with your husband (spoiler: it’s great)

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Music. Welcome to all up in my lady business I am your host Mary nisi on this podcast all explore the fine line between having it together I'm losing your shit here I share my journey as an entrepreneur a mom a wife a DJ and randomly a beekeeper I have no shame and no filter except the ones I use on Instagram my stories of resilience a little structure and a lot of resource Wellness can show you how to take those same things and live your life with your hole. Music. Okay so I'm here with my friend Vanessa Jackson so I met Vanessa, back in the day she was a person who would come into a sankoh work my former business that I had and she got to experience that side of my business and she and her a really wonderful husband, Calvin the look you just gave me he is very handsome we come in and work out of there and we became we'd have sassy times we'd have fun times we talk a lot funny because I bet there are too many people who knew you from a first know people probably just know Mary the DJ yeah. Now you get to see my other weird side business that I used to do and I was doing it myself that was before I had anybody working in the in the space so. It was when I was running it still to so Vanessa works with her husband they have a business together called the lemonade stand and started in 2016 no I started in 2016 the business is way older than me. Oh the plot thickens and Vanessa is the VP of sweetness where she manages operations and fiercely protects the company culture and she's been with her husband for 21 years 15 of that married they've got two beautiful children that are my carbon copies of the two of them mushed together and they have a dog, yeah but did you even peanut butter because he's a chocolate lab so peanut butter was the name that she had at the rescue oh all right so she came with the name peanut butter and this is the second time that we've rescued a dog that my family won't let me change their name. The family won't Rebrand the dog no they won't like so we got Bella Calvin and I got Bella When We Were Young very young. And he wouldn't let me change was like no she already knows it like come on for real she's a dog and then, my kids just really loved peanut butter so they named her peanut butter jelly jackson-lopez that's a great name though it's a lot and we have a mutual friend who's a dog trainer and it's a lot of syllables from a professionals perspective though is that what Ruth says yeah because it's like you can't just yell out across the right and when you have to yell peanut butter like you're yelling peanut butter for so long and then you just say it several times, she seems the dog seems to have gotten it now because she responds to peanut butter. But she's a work-in-progress she's a she's you know Labs take a long time to mature. Okay she's still very very much a puppy and. A symbol of my husband's love like the I literally said that to him this week I said I want to let you know that every time I look at that dog it reminds me how much you love me because he. Doesn't think we should have the dog okay. We travel a lot so just having the dog as a symbol of his love for you because he's willing to have a dog because you don't want putting up with us he's literally putting up with the fact that he knows my oldest daughter and I love this dog so much and so he's like all right fine we're just going to keep dealing with it. And boarding the dog expensive imported dogs he boarded with Ruth I have four did it with em they're they're amazing so I didn't I don't like dogs either so I mean I like dogs like I like playing with other people's dogs but it's kind of like. It's like when an ant comes in hold your child to get to give it back like I just want to hug your dog and pet your dog and play with it and give it kisses and then be like you're the one who's cleaning up its poop. Yes that makes sense I think Calvin feels and Calvin loves peanut butter and peanut butter loves Calvin but it's impractical, for us to own a dog and sometimes Calvin can be very practical yeah but I'm not no wait I disagree okay so part of the we had a huge conversation earlier on that didn't get recorded we were talking about how you became in a business with your husband and we figured out that you had gone to College initially in New Jersey because it was connected somewhat tangentially to New York City I was an aspiring New Yorker yeah but the universe had other plans yeah and so the universe had to get you. River Forest Illinois to River Forest Illinois and so you come you go to Dominican to be a sociologist right and then you meet Calvin what was k plan like with caught with undergrad so Calvin is an artist an abstract painter and, in the 90s the ID people weren't like artists like it was very heavy at this concept of you're going to be a starving artist and so he, I decided to study graphic design because he didn't want to be a starving artist but he still wanted to be creative. So he just always knew that he was going to be in the Arts and like that was how he was going to sustain himself and it is a passion of ours to help young people find there. Place in the Arts as well so sidebar so by the time I met Calvin he was already a senior and he already had a full time job so he was already working as a designer. For an agency out in River for it not in River Forest in Park Ridge. And so he was like already living his grown man life like he had his own apartment and his own car even if it had crank windows and so he was already in the in the in the field already worked for an agency at that point. And he he was there for probably seven or eight years. And then I used to sell cell phones shout out to all the people who work in the cell phone industry and it's so hard wait what do you so like you worked at an AT&T store or it early so before. I used to work for a company called Cingular Wireless oh recycler little orange Splat character yeah that's our guy and then that got bought out by AT&T and It ultimately became easy and see you but. Selling cell phones is so hard and I it is everybody needs one right but how often do you go to the cell phone store I don't. Right people go into the cell phone store when they have a problem it's bad I would tell you honestly that selling cell phones. Is as hard as serving food. I have a I mean people have thrown things at me people are mean we'll get mad because their cell phones get cut off because they don't pay their bills and it's not my fault bro you don't pay your bill we got mad at me about it it was tough those are tough years that's it yeah I feel like a miserable person when I sold cell phones he graduated from college and just worked at AT&T don't know if I started working at AT&T wow well it wasn't I mean I started selling cell phones while I was in undergrad it was like our down the street yeah cool and so that's what I was doing and I was on commission sales and I'm pretty good at that and and I anything from you especially if you give me a goal in your like listen this is what we need to do I'm like oh yeah baby we're doing it like if we're gonna make it happen one way or another Super goal-oriented 47 phones are being sold in this quarter or whatever it was the early 2000s and I had a phone book and I was like calling everybody in the neighborhood like do you need a new cell phone we're like giving away free phones today should come an upgrade like hardcore phone. Also don't get embarrassed so perfectly comfortable on the phone getting hung up on it's cool yeah so I was selling cell phones and he was like already in his profession then Kevin and I dated for a really long time which used to really be a sore spot for me. Because I'm like bro I knew you were the one why'd it take you so long to realize I was the one this is a matter of contention for US 1 it's like that scene in Pretty Woman I was very angry with Calvin because I wanted to get married and like he didn't but whatever it all works out in the end right so we dated for seven years but what I was saying is those seven years like you're trying to get to know somebody and Calvin and I have very very different fighting styles right, I came from a very poor Tariq and household where everybody else for everything like everything if you're happy you're screaming if you're mad you're screaming everything is yelling Calvin grew up in a household where, nobody else ever. K like I never heard my ones asleep by my parents must argue when I was sleeping or they just didn't do it so we very different communication Styles it took us a long time. It's a find. Our communication Styles so we tell people all the time K and I fought for 7 years straight and then we got married it would have anything else to fight about like that was it we're good. That's beautiful it's cool so we're getting married it's a week before our wedding and K like I don't I don't like the agency I work for I want a quick this and I'm like. Cool quit your job go out on your own make it happen so literally it was the week of our wedding he quits his job, wow and you were cool with this and I was cool with it it was fine at that point I had a career I had an established you were like making bank selling those cell phones industry anymore I had left the cell phone industry and I was working in higher ed so I worked at a university. And so he quits his job and he goes to start this agency and it was time like he was doing his thing and this lemonad Sim know this is the original one so. This is Kelsey design so Calvin established coffee design in 2003. And then we didn't get married to old seven so he had been freelancing like on the side which we work for an agency was freelancing on the side it was a whole thing and then he decides he wants to go out on his own and he's out on his own as calfy design. Well then we get married we get pregnant and I'm like yeah we're going to need to like go back to work homie. That was fun but now we're bringing a human being into the world and we kind of need to all be leave maximizing our contributions to the household and were you planning on working after you had her. Oh yeah okay that's why I don't like babies yeah don't lie. That's awesome for all the women who do but like you just want to get through that period yes like I love my kids but I was I'm just and not and I don't want to be like I'm not maternal I am I loved loved loved on my babies but I could never have stayed home full-time with oh yeah I know I know and cheers everybody who does yeah you know I don't stay at home mom says I do as teachers like good for you you are out there doing yeah God you do what I can't do I like infant stage I hated about. 26 I did not like that period and that was my favorite period. So right when they start talking and like telling me what they want to do and we can run to the park and I don't the carry you and then you get potty trained and we're like whoa yeah the best period and they're funny and they're funny at that age so that was really good age so Calvin went back to work he actually went on a job interview with our daughter in her, carrier and like put her on the table of the carrier so people would new, that he was like you were hiring this fool person right like we're all your wiring a man who has got a family and I like using to prioritize them priority regardless of joke about this all the time she was at the job interview with him and they were like. It was great so we worked for that company for a few years and then you got the bug again, okay it's all I'mma tell you the whole story with the lemonad sound so Calvin is. Really and has always been a super hands on that again showing up to job interviews with his kids like. Hika Dorothy's human beings for real and so he decided he was going to design a lemonade stand for our daughter to sell lemonade so he did he designed this Lemonade Stand he had them professionally printed and caught and Bill and I was like whole thing, and so he's talking to my brother-in-law his brother about it and his brothers like that now be a great name for a company the lemonade stand, but that sounds and my brother knows got a masters in marketing so they're having this whole conversation, and so he goes to buy this URL the lemonade But it's not available because it's the lemonade yeah and so in typing it out he gets to the lemon add you stop as he misspelled it. Well he was looking for variations of okay so when you're trying to buy a URL and what you have is not available you got to play with a little bit so branding tip check to make sure your URLs available before you commit to a name of a company. Or cross reference it sometimes do that's been a bad experience for clients that we've had but you got a weird name and then it comes up as a porn site do not good yeah eyes look up your urls, he's like is it a great is a great business idea or a porn site why can't it be both hey man so he comes up with the lemonad stand and so Calvin founded the lemonade stand in 2014 and. It was great it was very successful for him right off the bat Calvin is remarkably charismatic and to this day most of our business, if not all of our business is people just wanting to work with Cal you know I think you're being modest I'm not Vanessa I love Calvin but you're always you're the real live on the back end crunching numbers and like making sure we're hitting goals like he's so and I'm super personable but it has to be like the right setting that's a lie. Through know you are the most magnetic person I've ever met in my life and geez Louise your flattery. Okay because we're not coz K not here and this isn't about him well we are talking about how my husband and I got trying to make you be the Crux of this whole thing. But so then we get to 2016 and I'm still working in the university and I got laid off. So this is how I enter the space so in 2014 he starts lemonad Sam because he realizes that lemonad is the right URL it's the right URL so that's how the lemonade stand comes to be so he's running the business and then he then I get laid off and I'm remarkably depressed and I didn't know it at the time. It's one of those looking back at it where I just felt like I'm just sluggish this is 2016 it's 2016 and how old are your kids at this point. They are six and four okay so it's not postpartum depression know that postpartum depression is I lost my job and I had completely wrapped up my full sense of identity in that career I had been in that profession for 12 years and I was the master of all things in that like how could you lay me off well the company was doing badly but, and I don't have one of those situations where like we're laying you off but your job is going to be. Restructure to you can apply on Monday if you want she what was the company it they're gone they want exactly exactly they got rid of you right, that's probably they should have listened a lot more it's mine and then Calvin comes up one day and he's like hey I want to become minority certified I need you to figure out how we do this. And in getting a certification for anybody who has or has not done that you really got to have your life in order your paperwork has to be legit oh my God to get one certified. It's insane that's a that's a separate topic lately so I begin the process of dissecting our business and trying to get our paperwork in order and I come to that point where I'm like. We're missing a lot here because you has really been a solopreneur for this entire time we're trying to show people that were a business and we are missing, all of these things that we need to get in place so it probably took me a year to peel back the onion of our business and like get all of our books in order and start writing board meeting minutes and start toasting board meetings and then I became the boss cuz I'm the secret holder of all things like I'm the only one who knows how this company actually operates and runs so do you have like numbers to back up what you've done in terms of well like I mean sort of grow sure. Question so since you came on what is it what's happened to the business so that's a. That ties to 10K speed though because I would say that in going through the 10ks be program is when I learn to read my books this is when I met Angie Knoll mangino represent greatest book keeper of all time of all time so patient and kind, and then you just learn the things that have to pay attention to and you learn you go through 10 ksb and you learn to set a plan and set goals and then that's when now you're really talking my language. So from we are five times bigger today than we were when I did 10 KSP wow. So 10K is be for those it ended at the end of 2019 so we all came into 2020. Thinking crazy big things are happening and that only happened for Vanessa that is not true I know lots of people who had very very successful 2020s and. It's interesting there's an interesting Dynamic that is why right because 2020 wasn't only the year of the pandemic it was also the year of civil unrest and Uprising in. Holding people accountable for where they spend their dollars and, no longer having diversity initiatives because it's the right thing to say you're doing but you actually put, your money where your mouth is so how did that how did that how did that help you I wouldn't say that it did I'm going to be totally like I'm just going to say that I think a lot of people rang our doorbell. And nobody acted on it like I can tell you. Like you think people were coming to because you're mine already certified yes so like there was a Microsoft program and Microsoft reached out and then Google sends an email and all these people send emails like Hey we're starting up these programs to help minority small business owners and they were almost like. Some of them were procurement based some of them were will give you access to free Google ads so that you can start and I didn't really take advantage of any of those things it wasn't the right. It's funny you should that you're mentioning these things because I'm remembering this is this is a thing as I was getting because I think tacked onto the minority, decided things was the me to stuff and so I was getting a lot of stuff like you're right Google was going to give me access to the suite for free and I was going to get access to Adobe software for free because I was a woman oh I forgot about that and you're right it did just. Disappear. That's kind of nuts I didn't I haven't thought about him in there was so much chaos and stuff going on at that time but yeah I forgot about that you're right so basically you had a bunch of people who are like I'm going to pay lip service to the concept of trying to get in a minority owned business and that I still participate in Microsoft version Microsoft has these like group webinars where all these small business owners to get together and then they offer enlightening information on. Operational things you have and how useful is it I haven't decided yet I'm still showing up sure I haven't decided yet there's always you always get something out of it even if it's another person that's like spun person exactly sometimes you're just connecting with other people and I think that's one of the things that, we've experienced an immense amount of growth right so we're finally we finally have full-time staff right we were bouncing everything off each other for years. Because I was afraid to hire somebody who's really scary to hire your first employee yeah but what I will say for everybody who's afraid to hire your first yeah oh my goodness it's the most amazing thing ever. First of all it validates your processes and what you've done because you've got another person they're reflecting it back on you and actually doing the things and that's kind of amazing the thing I really like about it is just being a job Creator like being able to, like and I think mine comes from. You know like I've had a million jobs and I was a majority of them had very crappy bosses and so I always wanted to try to be the boss the, you know I always wanted and I. You know it's so I'm able to kind of correct on those things and then it also gives me empathy for those bosses because there's things where I have to be hard-ass about and it sucks but I don't know it makes me understand labor a little bit better I would say probably only in my whole life had one really crappy manager was it at AT&T or Wet Seal it was that AT&T dude was such a jerk so we had a client or whatever this man was reaming me out it was so bad and then. It was really really bad and I'm he just wanted to talk to the manager and I am like sir, that's great but the managers not going to tell you anything different than I'm telling you but sure I will go get the manager and I go in the back office and dude want to note this person was doing. He was rewinding watching this person go off on me and cracking up in the his office was like rewinding the security tape, basically the guy like shaking his finger and face going off on me and he was just on the desk cracking up hysterically I was like you were the worst boss. Heifer. So I'm very fortunate I've only had one my very first boss at the cellphone plays was actually my best friend's father and that was. Amazing cuz I worked with my best friend's father. My bestie and we all worked here and it was like one big happy just fun just the greatest time ever. Then I got a terrible manager and then when I went into education I worked with phenomenal P well education people don't get an education because they. Are jerks phenomenal people I've had amazing mentors in that space amazing women who just were. Killing the game I've got so many amazing nuggets that I still use with my own team now. And I love it but seriously anybody who's on the fence about hiring your first employee hire your first employee. Because a good employee is going to pay themselves I cannot say that I do I love. Our team so much I tell them that all the time I think they probably think it's creepy I end all our staff meetings would like all right don't forget that I love you well but I mean you know understanding that they're being I mean that's probably a lunacy or that culture is really important to you I mean that's. Culture is way important I mean it really is like you can't just have a business and expect everybody to be excited especially now we're like you know. It's hard no one wants to it's hard to find good people it's hard to keep good people I've gone through more employees in the last three years than I've like usually I hire somebody in the stick around for him average of like 7 years so it's like the last three years of really fucked up that average it's crazy I tell them like Aunt so we meet on Mondays and we met on and we're a completely remote agency so our team is. Very rarely in the office like they don't come in they came in yesterday we were celebrating a birthday but. Every Monday morning I tell I thank them I'm like you woke up this morning and you could have called off it's just that simple I think about all the days you wake up and you don't want to go to work. And you show up so thank you for showing up when that means the world to me that these. And they're all women for the most part that these women show up and they do such a good job we just promoted I had an admin and we just promote her into a project coordinator role. This woman is a beast she is in beast mode all the time yesterday message her and I'm like is there something that I can help, here at the lemonade stand can I do something for you I want to help this woman she is she want to quit that job and work for me she can't okay. Music. And it's so refreshing. When you take moments of pause to reflect and feel good about the things that you do in life and to look at how much of the agency has grown. In Five or six years I guess and it's amazing it's amazing an our team is phenomenal I mean they're brilliant they're smart. You're so funny we have so much fun and I love that so what's your role is Vice President of sweetness but what does that mean. So this is how the magic happens at the lemonade stand there are two sides of the house and the lemonade stand right there is the creative. Hot side of the house and that is Calvin side of the house and I can give my opinion and I can share my thoughts on things that are happening on the creative side of the house but. In that I only have like Forty Nine percent say so that's how Calvin and I work together I manage the operation side of the house so. You can only say so much about what's happening on this side of the house and that's how we keep a very clear divide so as the vice-president of sweetness I managed all the operations so I manage all of our books I manage how, established processes where we spend money and how we stay on track to make sure we're. Hitting our targets right and then the HR side and all of those things and are you doing the marketing. We don't do any marketing you don't do any marketing how does that work people it was all word of mouth it's all referrals all its. It is mostly referral except that because we have these certifications are named ends up on lists like we have What's called the BEP certification through the state of Illinois so if somebody's looking for a minority-owned business they go to this list that the state of Illinois has posted and then you see the lemonade stand that's fun and that's literally how the phone rings, so because you've got great marketing already in your name of your company I mean we get people who hire us because we're toast and jam I mean it's like you know you just be a little bit creative and. And that's what people say oh that's so great people say that all the time that's so great and if you're creative on that right what else you gonna do that is such a funny thing because it's one of those things where I can say I can comfortably say we don't we don't do. Actual marketing we also don't we don't like to get in the sales process with people that's part of our company culture is that, people understand that you're partnering with the lemonade stand and we are getting in the weeds with you on all of your goals. And if you show up and you start asking questions that come off as weird red flags or. What's it like an example of what like what's an example of that I'm trying to think it's like people who want to nitpick about pricing or people who. I think that because every website example you've given them doesn't match their exact Vision that you then can't create with it, bro you're missing the point here you're met you're completely missing the point because we're so Visionary that. We want to listen to what you need and help you get what you need and then if what you think you need isn't actually what you need then you need to trust that we're going to tell you them right like it's just gotta be a good partnership I don't want to work with anybody who I feel like I'm having to constantly defend everything I'm saying to you that's exhausting and it's unnecessary it's like why did you're not really listening to my answers anyway so it's like we will come into like I want to have a say in every single song that I play and the order and then also what's happening at this time this and it's like. Then why don't you have an iPod exact I don't your I don't you don't need me DJ yeah need mama you do you do need me need it more than the average person does but. You're not listening to me and you're making my job harder and you're eliminating your enjoyment because you're doing the thing that you're hiring me for. Right and we wouldn't you wouldn't hire me in that situation I wouldn't take the job so would you ever walk out every week you might this is a common theme with my team is like my team will my team already knows that I will fire a client in a heartbeat I have no shame about it, so you fired a lot of clients know I don't have to because we screen Opera okay so like when you fired a client how do they take it. They take it well because I do it with a smile I know you always do because you're the vice president of sweetness I always do it in a kind and classy way. For sure so you're running this at your house right or David office so because the business was established in 2003 when Calvin had just when I had just come out of undergrad the headquarters is our home like but no we work at Ashland and division is where the office is okay so we have a whole complicated family life right like we live in the suburbs, but our kids go to school in the city so we drive into the city every day to take the girls to school then we go to our office and work then we leave for work and we go pick up the girls and then we all come home together so the Jacksons spend an insane amount of time together. Like we all move as a unit all the time wow yeah and how does that work I mean it's at. Preferable I think it's the only way we know at this point. So working with your husband has got to be other amount right and basically I'm trying to force you to like like show how hard it is to work with her husband I don't think I don't think you're gonna give that to me and I don't get why people feel it me, because I think no one wants to think it can work I think like I said all the people look at you and you're like okay how can you actually enjoy this because I mean I love my husband but like during covid I wanted to murder him because we were in the house together all the time and not really I didn't really want to murder him but but it's just an immediate just because you've had that seven years of fighting I think it's an important part of our Dynamic and why why things just work for us right because we fought for seven years and there's nothing left to fight about. It's kind of a funny thing I can when I get mad it's just kind of like where is this going to go what is even the point of staying mad like we're far am I gonna take it yeah not we're just going to let it go and one of the things I sort of prescribed to is like. If this isn't going to matter in a year let it go don't don't say mad about it it's not going to matter your I'm not going to even remember. Why I was mad and I will tell you that having spent seven years fighting I can think about experiences that we were on that I ruined because I was trying to stay mad about something so worth it why. What's Happening Here. Like you're mad because I didn't do the dishes What You Gonna Leave me you're not shut up about it also another dish is gonna get made like you're like yeah we fighting about here stop it. So everything's great all the time for you oh and it's about just. Knowing when to Let It Go knowing when not to let it go and also knowing that I'm married to somebody who's a really. Good I don't want to say he's a good listener that would be a somewhat. I've a lie to say he's a good listener but I am married to somebody who cares about me. And is willing to apologize he needs to apologize and he kind of has that same attitude like why the hell are we trying to stay mad about stuff we're not trying to stay mad about stuff right we had a really crazy situation in December. And. We went to go visit a family member and an Amazon employee fell asleep at the wheel on their way home from work like not in the Amazon vehicle but in their personal vehicle. And I just drove full-speed into our car and so they totaled are like T-boned you know like we were parked and they came up from behind like they just drove straight into the back of it and for all four of you in the car no we were in the house oh visiting someone so it was just part okay okay and so this was December when. The car market was insane yeah that December of 21 the our Market is insane this is Omicron nightmares used cars anywhere and our car has just gotten total so we were having the worst time trying to replace this vehicle I mean it was really bad. So we get up we fly to st. Louis because there's this truck at carmack's in St Louis no way yeah you flew to st. Louis to get a car we just like the night before we booked it we got we woke up the next day my parents came to pick up the kids and drive which was Grace they are not always here in Chicago they picked up the girls took them to school and we flew to st. Louis to go by this car and the idea is we're going to fly to st. Louis and then we're going to drive the car back and it's fine, call in one day all in one day like we're going to get down there get back up it's cool. Well we get there we're buying the car and everything is like okay fine it's going it's kind of going good except that like. The bank didn't want to release the funds in time yeah there's it's not going smoothly I woke up and just decided I was gonna go do this right like wasn't the bank wasn't prepared for yeah it's right so now I have to get a loan through CarMax and then. The bank is going to take Karma it was a whole or yeah right so I go and I put the I we buy the car right and so we're sitting there. And I type in the VIN number into. The State Farm App State Farm populates the car and State Farms like oh you just bought a brand-new Yukon that's two wheel drive I'm sorry what, no I I flew down here for four wheel drive why would I buy this giant drop. For it's only have two why would it only have two wheel drive I don't know honey apparently people in Florida I we literally had no idea so I jump up like straight up out of like home alone I jump up and I scream for Calvin in this car max I don't know where he went off to. They went to go wash the car or something so I'm screaming in this CarMax like we're not taking this. This was so much stress that like this is one of the main engines as in my life or Calvin is mad at me the K usually not Maddie's very even Keel kind of a guy right he's usually just defending himself from my enter. He's like mad right and he's. Telling the guy like you need to go find a car off this lot like we're taking something and I'm like no we're not yeah like that's crazy we're not going to just take anything off the lot and it was just this moment where he we were like we were both stressed out and I just kind of looked at him I'm like bro you're mad right now and I get that you're mad but you're not mad at me so stop snapping on me I did not say that it was two wheel drive on the CarMax a. I don't know or did you just assume was four-wheel drive because why would they make a two-wheel drive Yukon I mean you can't drive a two-wheel car to a two-wheel drive car in the Yukon why would they make a Yukon then let's talk about the moment where because we talk I feel like this is it, we talked about moments where people are sexist hmm the sales rep looked at me and he goes well the car weighs a ton it's not really going to slide. Oh you're thinking you think I'm stupid like really, no honey that's not how 4-wheel drive Works view wow even on the ice before is that what you're saying have you never been stuck in this hole see Louis and I'm sorry Annie if you're listening but I prefer to st. Louis lovingly as Satan's nut sack that's so funny because I always tell people that when hell is. Discovered it's going to be right under Steel, sorry but that has more to do with how humid in crazy I gets in the sun that's why I refer to it as Satan's not suck it's like the heat in St Louis makes no sense, it's so hot in this weird way that's awful like no those things that I remember very distinctly the very first time I experienced like that blanket of just a wall of fire Heat, I don't remember humidity like anywhere like I have in st. Louis. I think that is what I'm saying right so we're buying it in the worst place have any perspective and he's trying to convince me that I should take this car just because he wants to make the sale. But anyway we have this terrible stressful moment and we just saw what you do Dakar. Um so Car Max has a 30-day buyback program and so what we did is we sat there with the sales rep and we found a Yukon that was actually in Wisconsin. And they had to ship it from Wisconsin back to st. Louis so we drove the two wheel drive Yukon home that night. And then we put it in the garage and we let it sit there for a week and a half until our actual Yukon made its way from, Milwaukee back to St Louis and then we had to drive the one in our garage back to St Louis to trade it for our other vehicle which. So we got a nuke Yukon that has four-wheel drive and then this past two Sundays ago we went to the movie theater and a drunk driver hit it while we were sitting in no way. You have this business you've got great employees amazing employees I love you lady who are your who's your like dream client, my dream client is Kaiser Permanente they are a medical group out of California. Do you have them are they your client but you want them I ask they are I have a list of like aspirational clients and they are there I want this client. Here that Universe there you go ahead and the universe exactly exactly. So we started off talking about what is something like your whole the things you whole ass, and the things that we have as yes so I whole ass parenting I feel indebted to human beings that I brought into the world until they're of the right age, it's really funny thing I'm very very into my children but I'm very into my children being independent and going out into the world and shining their magical light into it and like not trying to live in my basement, so one and it's really funny because when I think is Calvin and I used to joke about before we had kids what kids was that on their birthdays, we would have two cakes we would have the cake that showed them how old they were and then we would have a countdown cake that said how many years till they have to get out oh wow and this was a thing you actually did or was a joke it was a joke that I had before and I love you girls I'm not you know I don't do that, what you're supposed to parent them to leave we're not supposed to parent people to stick around other 28 feel like people judge me because I'm really adamant about like you have to kind of go and it's really I need to be honest Mary it's really bad what's up, our plan to get them out of the house so yeah Calvin is, his birthday is in August and because his birthday is in August he graduated high school at 17 we intentionally had summer babies so that they would graduate at 17 and go, away. Give us our life back we're moving to Spain you are that's the plan that's our plan it's due to España so okay so let's go let's go back to what do you mean people judge you for this plan like you think the people who are like no I don't think I think it's like people have told me what do they say people tell me that I'm tough on my daughter that. Why do I want her to go like then there are people and people are I get people are so madly in love with their kids that they will know, that's not what it is it is it is competitive parenting it is if you know absolutely I think everyone loves their kids you mean it's a baseline you love your kid you want your kid to do well you want them, why do you play pay for instructions and all this extra shit if you don't want me to become whole. People that can go out in the world and do what you did I mean are you treating your kids basically how your mom treated you I think people want some people want their kids to be their best friends which is not did you know anybody like that when you were growing up. No I didn't either none of my friends. We're best friends with their parents and I know that that's like a new way of doing things now and I know that I am closer to my kid than my mom probably. Was to me I mean who knows I mean I he's my only kids I time was dividing her love amongst five kids ever six kids and you know fire five other kids outside of me but I do think there's a competitive parenting thing where it's like if you're an anomaly as a as a woman who only has one child in your comfortable with him like going out into the world most parents I know I feel like they're the opposite I think they feel they have to say that I think I think yeah I think that there's you know it's like, I'm trying to think of I mean this happens to me all the time because I like my son's autistic right so there's a lot of things he's done that are not as easy for him to do and it's in things that I can't, expect him to be able to pull off the other kids I see doing so when I see things where places where I can give him some Independence or I can try to toughen him up I have to take it because I don't have the same. Like opportunities that other parents do and I know what he's capable of doing as well because I'm his mother you know so like you know he walks behind us a lot like he just dilly-dally is and so I always I'm always keeping an eye on him but I let him have that Independence and I will have people to like your kid is 10 feet behind you thank you for that and it's like bitch I know like I've got eyes in the back of my head like them all mothers do you know like it's like and so so there's that part of it too then where I feel like you know there's just people will comment on people I know think people are so calm comfortable commenting I'm baffled by yeah it's the internet I think people have gotten so used to just dashing off like you know Drew Barrymore post a picture for their kidney like your look fat or what people are they're like so good at like being shitty on the internet that it's bleeding over into their regular times. Count in the world I can't believe I mean I would never come I mean maybe I mean I don't think I would comment on someone's parenting but I do think that but I do think I do think that there is a if you don't want your kids living in your basement till you're 28 and if you don't want them to like go off to college or whatever like you're seeing is like a bad parent and it's like I would actually argue it's the other way around it's like keeping your kids at home and Sheltering them and not giving them the tools and not letting them harden a little bit, is bad for them I agree but I still think that we are an anomaly well we're just willing to say it out loud outlier and that situation well or word is willing to say it I think that if you don't want your kid around you forever you're seen as and I the things I do want I mean I might actually get that because he is autistic and who knows what his life is gonna be like when he gets older and I know that I'm a bit of an anomaly like when I graduated from college I came back to Omaha the summer between my freshman and sophomore year and I never came back and that's not 100% normal but with my friends it was because like my like my Amy and Molly my to like best friends from college like we all just stayed they didn't go home like I didn't have a whole lot of friends who would like go home for summer, because we all got Apartments we all just stay here we're also in the city it's not like River Forest wherever you are that it's just a moment that I get to confess that I live with my parents until I got married. Poultry net married 26, first of all you were too young to get married I can't believe your marriage has lasted this long but you live with your parents until you got married I woke up in my bedroom on my wedding day. Wow in like my childhood bedroom that's I mean I don't know anybody who did that. And so then you got married and then you went to your conjugal bed with your husband that night yeah. Zack let me we stayed in the hotel but yeah and then and he carried me over the threshold to our home yes that was a real thing it did he so he was living in an apartment already what yeah he owned up beyond the building already. He owns the building yeah so Calvin this is all kind of ties in so Calvin's and his brother. I think there's an eight year age gap between the two of them and so they the only siblings yes. Interesting you just had a lot of wisdom his brother got into real estate really young as well and so he encouraged Calvin to get into real estate really young and. Calvin's family they're very close so very close knit and they just share their wisdom and so he bought. The year I finished undergrad he bought a building like a like a three flat or something. And so you guys lived in the multi-unit so he had lived there before and then you came and moved into his house exactly we had a dog already that lived with him it was a whole kit and caboodle. And then you how long you live in that building. We still are in the we have that that's where the companies registered like we still own that building that so the one on Ashland division nope that's where the working spaces. Okay so where's the office the office is at Ashland and Division and then where is home is in The Burbs and that's where you live now you live in the house that you moved into the day after you got wedding they got married. Wow and it's a multi-unit do you have you have tenants we do see wow yeah so how many years you been living in that house. That building so 15 years no no so we lived in it he lived in it then we lived in it then we got pregnant and we moved out. And we bought a house and then I lost my job and it was like oh my God we got to get rid of this house we can't afford that like I was definitely afraid of like bankrupting my life yep and so we sold the house and moved back to the building and so we've been in the building's back since. 17 I guess and now we're buying another building or trying to get where I'm like doing a whole what do you what do you what do you buying so we don't know what we want to do this is funny because my part I feel terrible for my realtor I want to be honest because I'm waiting for the universe to tell me what I'm supposed to do so I'm between buying. A single-family home, or just buying a multi-unit another multi-unit that I can live in for the next couple of years until my child decides what she wants to do about high school because you know High School in Chicago is a whole ordeal. And then I might move to Michigan or I might move somewhere South I don't know where I want to go I'm that lady who's I lived in Chicago my whole life and I'm starting to wonder why I've lived here my whole life I needed to go experience something else I just don't know what something else is because I love this city so much well I'm your husband has to get brought along for the ride as well. That's the cool thing about my husband though he loves my crazy I asked him last night I said you know I keep jumping back and forth between these whole what's going to happen with the real estate thing. You seem to have no opinion on any of this you're just going along with my world win over ride and he just kind of nodded and went to sleep. So what's the soda mean do you have an idea of what your secret is like your Vanessa Secret. My like why you're so like I don't know it's very confident in myself I'm very very comfortable with who I am I'm super comfortable with who I am and painfully decisive hmm and I don't take no shit either. I think that's a big one you don't take no shit I'll take no shit girl it's funny because I had this conversation with Calvin recently and he said to me. You need to remember that you're intimidating and I was like no I'm not intimidating I'm not going to receive that. If somebody's intimidated that's their problem I'm assertive and I'm confident in what I have going on but I don't think I'm intimidating. But I can tell you that there are plenty of examples of people that Calvin and I interact with who I see. Whitney I witnessed them treat people badly and you're not going to talk to me any kind of way you're just not. It's interesting when you when you were just saying that Calvin was calling you intimidating and you're like no I'm not like that such an interesting. So because I would call you intimidating. But why so why wouldn't is well because now I'm thinking about it I'm like I don't really find men intimidating the people that I find intimidating tend to be women. And now I'm wondering if being intimidating are having that lobbied against you is a form of sexism, I'm thinking this now in my head I don't know if it's for I've never thought this one through well it's the same thing as like when you're a little girl and people are trying to tell you what she's bossy and whatever tells a little boy he's bossy yeah right by the girl got to be bossy and I've always been boss yeah me too, me too I mean I you know I mean I made the realization recently that I'm not a team player and if I would have realized that a long time ago my life would have been so different but like women aren't allowed to like. Say that they aren't team players or that they are leaders like it's like it's not a thing that is how do you distinguish a team player from a leader though are those things, well I'm not good at like getting in a group and like like everyone's got the equal say like I always have to be like I'm notice this week for the table I'm not good at being a part of a group effort to be the queen bee I'm the queen bee I'm the one who has to I mean I want to be the face of it or I want to be the one who decides okay well actually I'm at we need a leader here you're doing this you're doing this year and it usually goes better because you need someone. To take control of the situation am I always the best person no but I am a person who took control of the situation and if somebody else wants to come along and, make a better decision I will yield to it if I cuz I'm able to see weight that my way was not that great like we can we can give it to somebody else at that point but I'm just not much of a team player, and I think that that's not seen as a positive situation I think it's a very entrepreneurial to yeah. Which is what I think I don't have like I think I'm not naturally entrepreneurial, Calvin has I constantly refer to myself as the anti entrepreneur like I never ever would have done I could just wouldn't have been like I'm going to go start my own business why not. It just feels like insecurities right again I'm the person who like the minute I lost my job and I got to get out of this house I can't I can't ya mean this mortgage like this is gonna swallow me like. It just feels it felt for a long time. In stable right I mean I had to set up somebody's 401k like what I'm in charge of that but when you wanted to sell the house because you lost your job Cal was like yeah. Or was he really was okay absolutely and I think it was a double it was like a double edged it's funny because this comes up so often with like family and friends who don't. Correlate me losing my job with selling the house, people always are like what what happened to the house like we sold it because I lost my job it was a double right so at the very same time that that had happened we were also losing a, so it was just too much Financial insecurity was a lot going on and so we sold the house and then you've got renovated the first floor unit, and then ultimately gut renovated the second floor unit and, we've also going through a lot of home renovations together I just awful I'm really really that would be if I were ever going to start a business it would be demolition like give me a giant like. Hammer not a have like a sledgehammer I want a giant sledgehammer and I'm taking down walls I'm always taking down walls it's my jam oh really so you actually are demoing guys love demoing things like if we're going to redo a kitchen trust and believe that I'm demolition doing the kitchen like it's going to be me I'm ripping the cabinet's out. It's a problem that I have I kind of like to break things and then watch. So you know how my house was renovated for a television show yeah so when we when we when we did the demo for it like you know it was like they made a big. A big to do you know and so like we all got sledgehammers and John in particularly to Glee like busting through like the island and, you were ripping doors off and then like when the episode came out there all these people were like I can't believe how ungreased in that was you should have artfully taken all those things apart and taking them to a place where they could have been reused I'm like. It was basically particle particle board in a wish that was like holding all that together but you and also like don't take away my joy why people who has got to be trying to steal the joy. I don't understand that, it's all rainbows and butterflies is one of my mottos that I like to be like just be rainbows and butterflies people chill out stop being so critical of everything else because your self-loathing it's so hard not to this world is the world is like a cratering vampire it's hard to like people need love more than they know criticism it's hard I think me personally I get stuck between this place where I'm like okay you know I've got. Great business and a house in son and a husband and a car and I've got you know I really like potatoes and I like to eat them like there there's a lot of places I can find joy and cheese wow the things that she's can do for me but then I'm like there's a war and you know, you know who've all day and you know voter suppression and George and I started and it's like I'm like am I allowed to be happy when there's this much misery in the world and that's where I kind of get in this place where I'm like that's not attacking individual people though that's not the same thing right I think that you need you need balance right so bad things have to happen or else you're never going to appreciate the good things. But you can't be so enveloped in Badness that that's all you see in other people or when somebody's your friend is getting their home renovated on national TV and all you can see is that they didn't. Recycle cycle there particle board come on your hater stop it. So do you think the part of the reason why the world is so crappy seeming right now is because people are just focusing too much on the negative I mean that now that I'm self-loathing why. Because their mothers didn't. That's my solution to everything I tell people all the time my mommy hug me so much I got nothing but love for the world yeah no and you're probably not wrong I mean I look at Donald Trump and I'm like that man is like that because his dad did not love him looking right there looking for affirmation some places that they shouldn't be looking for a affirmation. So where do you find information in the mirror I'm so self-absorbed people do not understand how self-absorbed I am well I mean you're beautiful. You got a great head of hair your rack is insane am so it's insane your skin off absorbed I am and I just want to be clear that my youngest daughter is exactly like me and all she does is dance in the mirror and tell me how cute she is all the time, but I mean how is your skin like that genetics my Grandma had really phenomenal skin my mom's mom, had the best skin I mean it's and I know pores no wrinkles no discolorations my tip for that is sunscreen where's open on time even in the wintertime ample wear sunscreen take care of your skin hydrated. The hydration that's the hard thing for me okay so Vanessa is there anything else you want to wedge into this conversation before we bid adieu. I love you thank you Mary this is so excited that I got to be here I'm so happy to have you here you to see how the sausage is made. Vanessa thank you so much for coming who needs to find you and how can they find you, anybody who needs to update their brand if you need a new website if you like people don't know we do websites in like 80% of our businesses web development so really like in looking WordPress yes oh we kill it in WordPress all day we do you do design and development design and development front and back that is that is a hard combo to find and it's going to look good and it's going to work more importantly yeah we're putting her name on it but you can find us at the lemonad is that the same thing on all your social is well it is the lemonade stand all right guys well thank you so much Vanessa this has been the best. Music. Thanks for listening to all up in my lady business it is written by me Mary nisi. It is produced by Christina sorum Williams and Amelia Ruby with softer. It is recorded at the toast and jam offices in Logan Square in Chicago, you can find resources and links from this episode in the show notes at all up in my lady, if you enjoyed this episode and you did Smash that subscribe button and if you're the kind of person that reviews things on the internet please rate and review us wherever you listen to us it really does help people find us follow us on all of your socials and don't forget whatever you do this week do it, with your whole ass thanks for listening. Music.