We caught up with the brilliant and insightful Lauren Hughes SCHNEIDEWIND a few weeks ago and have shared our conversation below.
Lauren Hughes, appreciate you joining us today. It’s easy to look at a business or industry as an outsider and assume it’s super profitable – but we’ve seen over and over again in our conversation with folks that most industries have factors that make profitability a challenge. What’s biggest challenge to profitability in your industry?
What a great question and one that I ask myself on a daily basis. The world is changing right now, everything is moving at a much faster pace than prior generations. The rules we used to follow are becoming more and more out of sync with this new globalized business model. As a smaller business owner, it is getting harder and harder to compete with mega corporations. I have to accept that I will never be the cost leader in any of my businesses. In my real estate business, Luxury Colorado Lifestyle, I am competing with online giants that reduce their prices to less than a 1/3 traditional real estate transaction cost. I will never be able to compete on cost, which is Okay. As small business owners we can dominate with our service and attention to detail. We are not a commodity, we are a personalized service tailored for each and everyone of our clients. We have to make every person that works with us know they are important, they are valued and we always have their best interest at heart. This is how we retain and gain clients, which is turn allows us to not only stay in business but thrive. Our profitability comes in when our clients return to us for years and years. Client acquisition is one of my largest costs, and I can increase my profitability by keeping my clients happy. There are some basic rules that haven’t changed, treating people well, is one of them.
Lauren Hughes, love having you share your insights with us. Before we ask you more questions, maybe you can take a moment to introduce yourself to our readers who might have missed our earlier conversations?
Hi, Lauren Hughes Schneidewind, I am a serial entrepreneur. I am currently working on my 5th business venture, Hughes Capital, aka Luxury Colorado Lifestyle. I have always loved real estate, I am a third generation real estate investor. I have wonderful memories of walking through investment properties with my Grandfather when I was growing up in Indiana. I have taken all of those lessons and put them into our real estate adventures in Colorado. I like to keep things simple and I treat people the way I want to be treated. In my businesses I always say, “We do what we say we are going to do when we say we are going to do it.” Life can be complicated enough, so when you work with us, we make things look easy.
Can you share a story from your journey that illustrates your resilience?
I always think to myself, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. If we had done this interview a month ago, I might have talked about that one time LD Studios had a client churn of 90% in 6 months. I could have talked about how after 3 years with LD Studios, our development team all ended up getting offers at the same time and we had to rebuild our entire team within 3 months. I could have talked about how a billion dollar company once tried to use the legal system in the Southern District of New York to prevent us from building software for their competitor. I could have talked about Covid impacting our business by 50%. I could have talked about getting diagnosed with not one but two cancers right after my second child was born.
Let’s chat about the Marshall Fire in Boulder County Colorado. Our family home was burned to ashes along with our melted car. We lost two of furbabies to the fires. We will be displaced for the next 2-3 years. However, my family and I survived along with our two dogs and one of our cats. We are rebuilding. We are currently living in a Hotel, not getting much sleep. We are together, we are growing stronger every single day. My children, 4 and 6, are getting stronger. I would not wish this on anyone especially children. Since we are in this situation we have decided to build strength and deal with the situation head on. Today, we are stronger than the day before. We are rebuilding what we have lost. We will continue to thrive in the face of adversity. We have to be Resilient. We choose to be Resilient,
The moral of the story with all of us is, when we get knocked down, we get back up. The more we are knocked down, the more practice we have getting back up. My definition of success has changed over the years. I believe with everything I have, that success is all about getting back up when we get knocked down. It is that simple. It doesn’t have anything to do with money or career achievements, it is in our mindset. Being a success is simply believing you can and taking action, one day at a time.
What’s a lesson you had to unlearn and what’s the backstory?
The biggest lesson I had to unlearn from growing up was, in order to be a success, you have to go to school, get good grades, get into a good college, get good grades (again), get a good corporate job and climb the ladder. While doing that go back get more degrees, so you can climb the ladder faster.
As a dyslexic kid, that playbook for success was excruciating. I did it, I got decent grades, 3 college degrees, a good corporate job and a ladder that I climbed with all of my might for 8 years. It was never right…it was never me. I do not fit that mold. My mind works differently than most. I finally realized that me being different was a good thing and to stop hiding who I really am. Unique is awesome, especially is you decide to become an entrepreneur. I had to embrace me just the way I am. I believe that is why I have been able to start, grow, and sell several businesses. I am used to getting knocked down and having to work harder than my peers. I believe most of my success is because I struggled so much in school because I am different. I am used to working harder just to simply not fail out of school and taking tests. Being dyslexic has actually been a gift, it just took me 30 years to realize it.
- Website: www.LuxuryColoradoLifestyle.com
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/laurenhughesrealtorandinvestor/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SoldbyLaurenHughes/
- Linkedin: www.linkedin.com/in/laurenschneidewind
- Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/c/laurenhughesrealtorandinvestor
Janet Howard Studios