Never in a million would I have imagined being a business owner. Some would say, especially my husband, that I’m bossy, so maybe it was my destiny, even though I never thought I’d be an actual “boss”. I grew up in Nashville, graduating from Overton High School (’95) and went to Auburn University majoring in Hotel and Restaurant Management (’99). Those were the days at Auburn… one of my assignments was to research on this new “Internet” thing for a margarita recipe!! Can you believe that?!!
Anyway, after school, I lived in St. Louis for a couple of years and then found myself back in Nashville working in the non-profit sector before having children. I was very lucky to stay home with our kids and never thought I would go back to work with a “career” …maybe a part-time job at Pottery Barn or something very limited. My small plans were not at all what God had in store. Read on for the juicy part!
I got cancer and had to move five days after my surgery. This is how Finally Home Services began.
To offer a little back story, my husband (his name is Young) and I were living in one of those “tall and skinny” houses in Nashville. The kind where you’re so close to the next house you can look through the windows and see directly into the neighbor’s living room. Thankfully, I have no naked neighbor stories to share. It was, however, a little too close for us, so we decided to casually look for a new house. The word casual should be noted because it only took two days to put an offer down on an awesome house.
If you live or are familiar with Nashville, homes don’t last on the market very long, but we found a solution to this crazy market: a house that had been on the market over 100 days! It wasn’t going anywhere! We made an offer and got a big fat rejection from the homeowner because our current home wasn’t listed. They would not even entertain our offer without our home being on the MLS. Did I mention this house had been on the market for over 100 days in a HOT market??!! They couldn’t be picky…they “needed” our offer. This was on a Sunday.
We decided to list our house. In true Type A fashion, we were ready for pictures on Tuesday and listed on Wednesday. I’ll show them…. that house will be OURS!
Thursday morning, we had 3 showings…. boom! We had one offer come in that day….24 hours after listing. All the dominos are falling into place! Thursday night our realtor scheduled a call to talk through the offer. He started off with “do you want the good news or the bad news first?” Well get to it realtor…what’s the bad news? (these calls are the worst!) Remember that 100+ day listing we loved, miraculously it was now under contract with another buyer. Yes, under contract with another buyer!! Another BUYER!!! That house is the ONLY reason we put our house on the market. What in the world happened here?
The bad news: we lost that house. The good news: we had a great offer on our current home and should strike while the iron was hot. Y’all…. we listed our house in order to buy the “perfect” home. In one conversation, we lost the house we wanted to buy and sadly the one we lived in. This was early November, no inventory until Spring. What in the world has happened?!
You know the saying “when it rains, it pours?”, well we were in hurricane central. The following Monday after we received the good news/bad news call, I got a call at 7:00pm from my doctor. She told me I had thyroid cancer. What in the world?!?! First, I’m homeless, now I have freaking cancer?! OK, God, what gives? What did I do to deserve this? I’m a good mom and wife…I give of my time, talent and resources…. C’mon!!!
The next month, December 2015, I had my thyroid completely removed. We moved 5 days later into a rental house which was only one block away from the home we just sold. First night, no hot water. Second night, roaches in the shower. I never felt clean or settled. Should I mention it was less than 1,00 square feet and my in-laws came for Christmas two weeks after my surgery?? Are you surprised my husband is still alive??!! I was so mad at him for not backing out of our home contract, moving, and his family coming into town. The only thing holding me into this marriage was Jesus. I think Young thought maybe my surgery was on the same level as having your tonsils taken out and then, poof, life goes back to normal. He didn’t understand.
We got through the holidays and got the kids back to school. Mid-January a house that had been on the market for one day in November miraculously came back on the market (the buyers deal fell through). Y’all, this was our house. One mile from our kids’ school. On a lot where I don’t have to look at my neighbor’s kitchen, a one-level ranch, which is what we wanted!!! We made an offer and thankfully we got the house!!!! Thank you, God!
We stayed in the rental until the end of February. The new house needed some updates. But, during February I had to take radioactive iodine as part of the thyroid treatment. If you haven’t done this before, the medical staff brings out a stainless-steel thermos and makes the patient (that would be me!!) reach in and pick up the radioactive pill. Imagine a good science experiment with gases coming out of the thermos upon opening. JK….it wasn’t that dramatic, but they did tell me to grab it, swallow and then immediately leave the hospital. After swallowing the radioactive iodine, I spent 7 days in a hotel room since I was contagious of radio activity! It was the best vacation I’d been on since birthing those babies!!
It was during this time of staying at a hotel that I really had quiet time. Time to think about the surgery, about the upcoming move, about our new house and try to understand how this blip on my personal timeline was to serve the Lord and others. See, I don’t always listen to God; I sometimes think my notions are just from my inner self. This cancer was His wake-up call to me; He had plans for His child. I really felt a push to help people in the moving process. A time that is one of the most stressful times for families. A time when a family or person really needs someone to show-up and be in their corner. An opportunity to place a wedding planner-like experience to the dreaded move. This is how Finally Home Services came to be!! This is a calling. No one likes to move. It’s HARD, really hard. Emotionally and physically. But when God calls you to do something, you do it!
When we moved into our new house in early March, that’s when I started putting feelers out for the business. My husband now tells me that he used to cringe when he heard me talk about the business to friends. Young said most people talk big about starting a business but never really do it. But with God on my side, how could I go wrong?!
I started working for free in May 2016. Many friends from Bible study and school were Guinea pigs so I could figure out the kinks of the business. In May, I thought, Lord, if I can have one paid move this summer, Finally Home Services will be on a roll. Y’all, our first summer we had twenty-two PAID moves. That is 1.8 moves a week over a period of 12 weeks!! That’s a LOT of moving!!!
That summer brought business from places I never dreamt of, or frankly heard of. I hired an accountant and brought on 4 ladies to help. As of today, we’ve completed over 200 moves in almost 3 years and have 15 ladies on the team. We’ve traveled to Chicago, Jacksonville, Los Angeles, Miami, and Savannah to bring families in or out of Nashville. I have no other way to explain how this happened other than God.
I know that was long…but people ask me all the time how Finally Home Services got started. I am so very thankful and know how blessed I am to carry this opportunity. It’s an honor and I look forward to this adventure every day. I can’t wait to see what God has in His plan for YOU and ME!