Kathy: [00:00:00] hi, I’m Kathy rushing host of the podcast committed the entrepreneur marriage. If your middle name is restless and you identify with words like innovator. Dreamer changemaker, creative, independent, or you are married to an entrepreneur or heaven help you, you’re both entrepreneurs, this podcast is for you.
The entrepreneurial journey can be a little wild at times like uncharted territory. Join me as I talk with others who are at various stages of the entrepreneurial process. We’ll explore the wisdom and insights they have gained while navigating the ups and downs of the entrepreneur journey. You’ll discover that there are many couples who have found ways to thrive in both their marriage and business.
I love meeting entrepreneurs. It’s like hearing a good adventure story. When I listened to a seasoned entrepreneur, tell their story from startup to sale. The episode I did with Bob and Rose Nore, which was episode two, if you want to check it out, was a nail biter and I already knew the ending. But I especially love hearing the stories of young entrepreneurs that have so much vision and energy and drive.
Today’s guests are early stage entrepreneurs. I connected with Caitlin through Instagram last year and have loved watching her grow cc’s flower truck. Her partner, Nate, turns out is an entrepreneur also, so we get a double story with this one. Join me now, as we unpack their story and listen for the challenges they faced right out of the starting gate of this new business.
Good morning, Caitlin and Nate, how are you guys this morning?
Caitlin: [00:02:17] Good morning!
Nate: [00:02:18] Good.
Kathy: [00:02:20] Did you guys see the sunrise this morning?
Caitlin: [00:02:24] A little
Kathy: [00:02:24] My goodness. The clouds over the mountains were phe- nominal.
Nate: [00:02:31] Yeah.
Kathy: [00:02:32] Caitlin, congratulations on winning the recent giveaway that I was doing on Instagram.
Caitlin: [00:02:38] Thank you! I felt extra lucky for that one.
Kathy: [00:02:41] I know. I know. And now you guys have two relationship books and the best part is a Starbucks gift card. So you can go have a little date time in between work. And I promise listeners, this was not a rigged giveaway, knowing that Caitlin was an upcoming guest. We had a lot of fun with that well. Yes. You know, I have all different stages of entrepreneurs on this program.
Some are very far into the process, but you are pretty new. And so we’re going to hear your story today about CCS. Do you, do you call it CC’S or C C S?
Caitlin: [00:03:24] CC’s . Yep.
Kathy: [00:03:25] CCS flower truck. All right. Great. Well, give us a snapshot of Caitlin and Nate, where, where do you guys live?
Caitlin: [00:03:35] We live in Fort Collins. I’m originally from the Midwest and Nate is from Colorado Springs, but we met here in fort Collins. We were actually both bartenders at a bar in old town and we worked there for years and that’s how we met.
Kathy: [00:03:51] Oh, awesome. I love old town.
Caitlin: [00:03:53] Yeah, it’s great. Yeah.
Kathy: [00:03:55] So how long you said Nate, you, how long have you been in Fort Collins?
Nate: [00:04:00] Off and on for about nine years, we left for a little bit, came back. So yeah, I think it’s been about nine years.
Caitlin: [00:04:09] Yeah. And then I moved here in 2012, I think. And then we left around 2015, came back in 2019.
Kathy: [00:04:20] Okay. So what brought you here and took you away and brought you back?
Caitlin: [00:04:24] Yeah. You can go?
Nate: [00:04:26] Yeah. So, so for me it was it was school, came up here to go to CSU and in my early twenties And I, yeah, I just stuck around for awhile.
Got that bartending job. Just, you know, kind of found a community here and enjoyed staying after Caitlin and I met, we moved back to Colorado Springs , for a work opportunity, and then what brought us back here is really just, I mean, we just liked the place and I owned a house here as a rental at the time and my tenant’s lease was ending.
It was just easy. Just worked out.
Caitlin: [00:04:55] . I came, when I moved here in 2012, that was just kind of on a whim. After I had graduated college, I went to college in Kentucky, and I had kind of just moved around. I don’t know. I just wanted to not plant new roots too soon. And so I had lived in Florida for a while, and then I had two good friends that had lived out in Fort Collins and they just kept saying like, you should come out here, you know, check it out.
And so I never been here, but I loaded up a U hall and just moved here kind of sight unseen and got a bartending job. And yeah, it all kind of fell into place after, and I just fell in love with Fort Collins. Like I, I love it here and I’m kind of picky. Like I am a warm weather person. I’m a beach person.
Did not think that I would be long-term living in Colorado, but, yeah. Like nine years. So yeah,
Kathy: [00:05:44] I’ve been dreaming of beaches for a year now. We were going to make a little trip to a beach somewhere last, like during what they call in Colorado mud season, especially when we were living up in the mountains.
Mud season is pretty long and it’s hard to get out and hike because it’s just muddy. And then the pandemic happened. So haven’t made it to the beach yet, but yeah. So what, what do you guys do for work now?
Nate: [00:06:10] Okay. So I work at a CPA firm. I’m a tax accountant. I am not going to be doing that for too much longer.
I’ve been in the mortgage business, really I’ve been in real estate for, I think it’s been about nine years now, eight, nine years. And and really that’s what I do. For the most part that’s how I define my professional role.
Kathy: [00:06:30] So real estate, selling homes, buying investments, or?
Nate: [00:06:36] Yeah, I mean, I’ve kind of done all of the above really what I’m focused on is buying investments though.
Kathy: [00:06:42] Okay. Yeah. Kind of building…
Nate: [00:06:46] yeah, building a portfolio buying and selling several houses in a given year. Just, you know, kind of, kind of just depends on what my goals are for that specific property, but that’s, you know, that’s what I want to do. It’s just, it doesn’t happen to be my day job right now.
Kathy: [00:07:03] Gotcha. So how long have you guys been together?
Nate: [00:07:08] About six years,
Caitlin: [00:07:10] it’ll be seven this summer so, going on seven years
Kathy: [00:07:15] Ok, when I contacted Caitlin, because Caitlin, you talk about Nate on your website. And I was like, well, how committed are you guys? Because the podcast is Committed: the entrepreneur marriage, and committed , you know marriage ,has a wide range of definition currently. And and a lot of people are committed, but I said, I don’t, I don’t want to scare off your boyfriend.
Caitlin: [00:07:37] Yeah I don’t think you have to worry about that!.
Kathy: [00:07:42] Yeah. So she said, no, definitely you guys are very much in this together. And so I said, I’d love for you guys to come on. And you said that you met at a bar. And that was like six years ago, seven years ago? Or did you meet and…
Caitlin: [00:07:59] We actually met probably like eight or eight or nine years ago. And you know, we just were coworkers and friends for about, I don’t know, maybe a year and a half, two years for a while until I think we kind of realized like, Oh we might, like each other, you know, more than just friends.
Kathy: [00:08:18] Okay. So it was kind of a mutual recognition, sometimes one recognizes much sooner than the other, but..
Nate: [00:08:25] It was probably, I guess it was probably neither recognized it at first.
Caitlin: [00:08:30] That’s I think the first time he’s ever admitted that like out loud to me, no, no But yes, he started to pursue me. And then I was like, Oh, maybe I like, maybe I’ll do like Nate more than a friend. So, I’m glad he did
Kathy: [00:08:43] Well there you go. Well, before we get into your story I have a couple of questions that are just kind of a fun way to get to know a little more about you. So if your relationship was a team sport, what would it be?
Caitlin: [00:09:00] Well, we, we thought about this.
Nate: [00:09:03] I mean, we, we, honestly, if we’re just being honest by our relationship, we don’t work super well together when it comes to like getting a task done or you know, if we were playing hockey or soccer or something, I would, we would probably both be ball hogs. So we came up with bowling you know , and, and like as a team, like a, you know, in a bowling league or something.
Rooting for each other, trusting each other to get our role done and, you know, executing it, but not necessarily, depending on one another to put a point on the board as an assist position, we both kind of want to be the goal maker.
Caitlin: [00:09:43] Cause we we’ve had to recognize this in our relationship and we’re both only children.
Which I think that alone just adds to our personalities. We’re both very independent people. Like we’ve just, you know, lived on our own, we’ve supported ourselves. We’ve just been independent people in general. And so when you bring both of us together, there’s a lot of stubbornness. There can be a lot of butting heads and yeah, I mean, cause there’s been times where we’re like, why, why aren’t we collaborating on this. Why are we instead like butting heads? And it’s because we both, like he said, we both want to kind of be, I think that the main, the shot-caller, so when it comes to like a team sport or something, we need a team sport, like a relay race, you know.
Nate: [00:10:31] I said, I said, tag team wrestling. I thought that was perfect.
Caitlin: [00:10:39] Yeah. Then over Christmas break, this was a big Accomplishment for our relationship, which I don’t know if that’s good or bad, but they there’s these puzzles that’s, it’s not a puzzle in the sense that you put pieces that fit together. They’re what’s it called? Like a brain? I don’t know. You’ve probably seen them. It’s nine squares, each square has the same repetitive picture on it. There’s a name for them, but anyway, but you have to put these nine squares to where they each fit and the corresponding photo matches on the opposite side and yada, yada, probably not explaining it well, but it’s really, really hard to do.
Like there’s whole, you know, like web forums about like how..
Nate: [00:11:18] Websites dedicated to, how to fit these nine pieces together.
Caitlin: [00:11:21] Yes, It’s insane. It’s so very difficult. Yeah. Nate was gifted it for Christmas, so he was just like determined to do it. It’s like, Oh, I can do this and it took days. And he wasn’t kidding.
Nate: [00:11:29] So it’s going to take me like an hour,
Caitlin: [00:11:31] Yeah, it took days. So we, we sat down and we like got a system where like, listen, you do this and I’ll do this. And we did it. We put it together. That was a big building block in our relationship. We’re like, Hey, we just worked together really well on that, you know,
Kathy: [00:11:48] But you found the way that worked for you. And I think that’s an important thing in relationships. Is that what works for you may not work for your best friend.
Caitlin: [00:11:57] Right.
Kathy: [00:11:58] But the key is finding what works for you instead of continuing to butt heads. Right? Yeah. That’s really interesting that you’re both only children that is, that is a challenging place to meld a relationship so…,
Caitlin: [00:12:15] because I think we both grew up not, not having to account for anyone, but ourselves, ultimately, you know, like the food in the fridge was ours, or if we got something that was ours and that’s it. And so now in our relationship, we have to kind of distinguish like, okay, I guess I gotta share this with you. And I guess we have to join forces on this. So. That’s been a learning process.
Kathy: [00:12:37] That’s really interesting.
And that, you know, I think a healthy relationship is one that where we do learn how to give and take with another person, that it isn’t all about me. My needs are important and I need to know how to ask for my needs, but that give and take is really important.
Caitlin: [00:12:57] Yes.
Kathy: [00:12:59] What is the worst job you’ve ever had?
Caitlin: [00:13:04] Mine’s easy. I knew that I, when I was in high school, I worked at a tax accounting office, actually. So this will show you how different Nate and I are,
Nate: [00:13:13] well, I mean, in my defense, I hate this job.
Caitlin: [00:13:16] That’s true. It’s just like a separate period know during tax season for them just pushing paper and answering phone calls. And I wrote myself a note on one of those pink little pads, you know, that you answer, you write down phone messages on. And I put it like in a keepsake box that I found like years later that said, “don’t ever work in an office. You hate this. You cannot sit in front of a computer all day.” Like don’t do it. So that was my worst job. And I learned it pretty early on that. That’s not, that kind of work environment isn’t meant for me.
Kathy: [00:13:46] Yeah. Yeah. How about you Nate?
Nate: [00:13:50] I’d say I’ve had a lot of bad jobs. The worst one was spraying pine trees for, with like chemicals for pine beetles. Like this was when pine beetles were just running rampant. And yeah, you would have to take these huge pressurized spray guns and dress in like, you know, like five layers of clothes and just spray down these pine trees from the top to the bottom.
And I did this, you know, obviously it was in the mountains and, you just come home, just drenched in chemicals. I quit after about two weeks and it was, it was mostly because I was just like, this cannot be good for your health. That was the worst job I’ve ever had.
Kathy: [00:14:28] Goodness. I’m glad you were able to move on, but I hate that anybody has to do that job. Right? And for people that aren’t familiar with, the pine bark beetle, it has killed huge swaths of forests from Canada all the way down to Mexico, I think, through the Rocky mountains and is part of why we’re, maybe we’re having hotter temperatures and dryer years, but also there’s just a lot of dead trees.
What book or person has most affirmed how you approach life and like how you developed your current philosophy of living?
Nate: [00:15:13] Well for me, it’s been kind of a two-pronged thing to that I’d say as far as books go, I’ve got this, I just can’t read a book, that’s not some sort of personal development or business book.
I don’t know why I wish I could. So I’d say Sam Zell’s “Am I being too subtle?” That book was a big eye-opener for me. For those not familiar with Sam’s Zell he’s a, big mobile home park investor. He’s a, you know, billionaire from, Chicago and has been doing it for a long time, and he’s just got a very creative approach to it.
He really builds his fortune by buying companies that had net operating loss carrybacks and he would get that tax incentive from them and then increase and then reinvest that money into the businesses and sell them. So His way of looking at, looking for value where other people may pass it over is really, has really just opened my eyes up in the business world.
Personally though it’s been Caitlin she’s, she’s taught me how to have have fun and, you know, live in the moment a little more than I’m used to. I’m still working on it, but yeah, I I’d say those two have been a good balancing act lately.
Kathy: [00:16:23] What a beautiful compliment.
Caitlin: [00:16:25] Yes, that is very nice. For me, I think my mom was probably, she just had this, I mean, she was just the epitome of just- live your life. You know, she may not have made all the best financial business choices. She also made great ones, but she wouldn’t, if there was an opportunity to go have fun and have a, make a memory with people that you loved, then that would easily outweigh whatever the other option was,
you know, so she just kind of taught me and, you know, she passed away at 65, I think. So, you know, still relatively young. And she was initially diagnosed with a rare cancer when she was 54. And we were told then that she would have had, you know, less than a year to live and that just opens your eyes. And at the time I was like 20, I was 20.
So at a young age, I just kind of, it puts things very quickly in a perspective of what’s important and what’s not. And some people, you know, live their whole lives and have to be on their death bed to say, I wish I would have, you know, Reached out to this person, or I wish I would have traveled or whatever.
And one, that was just my mom’s personality, whether or not she had a terminal cancer or not, you know, she was always going to live her life. And then just to pair it with that kind of little time left, it just really opened my eyes to just how short life is, can be, unpredictable. And that you just really got to do things that make you happy.
And if you’re not happy, then you got to readjust something, cause it’s not, it’s ultimately not worth it. You know? So probably the biggest thing that just kind of has led me to just be like, okay, if this makes me happy, that’s what I’m going to try to do.
Kathy: [00:18:04] Life is too short. Isn’t it? What a beautiful tribute to your mother.
And I’m so sorry you lost her so young, but it sounds like you also have created your own narrative out of that.
Caitlin: [00:18:20] Yes, Definitely. And I was super fortunate. I mean, of course , if I could wave a wand, I would have my mom here and not gone, but I believe that, I mean, the love that I got and the experiences and memories I got with my mom can fill a lifetime.
So I’m super fortunate for that. Cause I know some people don’t have that, you know, So given the, given the circumstances, I’m very fortunate that I have so many wonderful things to like look back on and all these things to continue to kind of, what you said, just kind of continue to contribute to her memory, I guess.
Kathy: [00:18:52] Yeah. And on your website, on CC’s website, ccsflowertruck.com is your website. You talk a little bit about that and about that as part of your inspiration. So tell us more about how the idea for CC’s flower truck came about.
Caitlin: [00:19:15] Yeah, well, it really came about with very little planning and the idea came into mind, just kind of haphazardly. Nate and I had moved back to Fort Collins, my mom had passed away in may of 2019. We moved back to Fort Collins in October or September of 2019. And, you know, I, how I had mentioned that my mom had struggled with this cancer this terminal cancer off and on for a decade. And that’s a really weird position to be in because most people, if they get diagnosed with a terminal cancer, then it’s kind of, you know, you get your affairs in order, you spend time with your loved ones and you know what, the next step will be. Well with my mom, which is wonderful, that was a gift we were given, but she kept exceeding these, these timeframes that she was given. You know, she kept proving doctors wrong. Which was wonderful. And so. For 10 years, we kind of went back and forth between living our life, just living it, because it seemed like she was doing really well. And we were out of, you know, in the clear and everything was going to be fine to then going back to like, Oh, she has a limited amount of time.
I need to spend as much time as I can with my mom. So we were just in limbo for a decade, I was, you know, as well as my mom and my dad. And so that puts you into a weird position as a young adult. And so, you know, I was, I, I can’t blame it on my mother’s disease though, to an extent, because I naturally was just kind of a bit of a free spirit.
I didn’t graduate college wanting to go start a career and get this job. I had no clue what I wanted to do. The degree I got, I just kind of got, because it seemed like a good idea, but I would never use it now to this day.
Kathy: [00:20:54] What’s your degree?
Caitlin: [00:20:55] It was in international affairs, political science. So at the time I really wanted to do aid work like overseas, which would be awesome and I would still love to do that, but I, I realized that you kind of have to pick and choose what you do with that and with the current state of the world, it didn’t seem like a good option and you don’t make money doing that often. You know, that wasn’t the best choice to go fly across the world ,for free kind of.
So Yeah, I guess I got off track there, but ultimately I came back to Fort Collins in the fall and my resume showed that I was reliable, a good employee and could make a great martini, you know, bartending resume, but that’s it, and I was just 32, I didn’t want to go back into the bar scene. I was kind of over that, and I was feeling very discouraged, very kind of down on myself as to like, why hadn’t I gotten some professional job experience?
You know, not that bartending wasn’t a good job and paid my bills and was great. But you lack just professional experience when you go to make that switch into a totally different realm outside of hospitality, you know? And so I just felt very, yeah, inexperienced, down on myself about it, was really frustrated with looking for jobs, but they were either jobs I didn’t want to do or jobs I didn’t qualify for.
And so Nate, you know, I was, I was really just having a rough week and Nate was like, what was the, I alwaysget it wrong, what you said?
Nate: [00:22:24] I think I stole this quote but,” if you can’t find a job to make one”.
Caitlin: [00:22:27] Yeah. Yeah. He just like very quickly, well, if he can’t find a job, make one, to, which I scoffed at, you know, I was almost offended that he liked just so nonchalantly was like, Oh, just make a job, as if that was so easy to do.
Nate: [00:22:39] Like when you’re flipping in a house and if you do the work yourself, you’re, you’re, you’re buying yourself a job. That’s what I was, this real estate group. I’m in. They always say, Oh, you’re just buying yourself a job. So buy yourself a job, buy, buy a business. That’s buying yourself a job.
Caitlin: [00:22:52] And my mind doesn’t really think like that. So I, that seemed very far-fetched to me, but I believe in signs and that things are kind of placed in front of you when you need them, and I think just a couple of days later, like that same week, I found myself, you know, on social media, scrolling through something and I came across a girl that had started a, it was like an article, it wasn’t even, I didn’t even know what a flower truck was, really. It was an article about just a girl that had started a business and that business was a flower truck, like in Atlanta or something. And I remember, you know, you kind of subconsciously have that thought process where you’re like, Oh, well, isn’t that the perfect job?
Isn’t she so lucky, you know, like what, how, good for her! And then I just kind of stopped myself and was like, wait, you know , what if that could be me? What if I could do that? You know, whats stopping me from doing that? So I just immediately. Researched a flower truck, Colorado, Fort Collins, and nothing seemed to exist.
There was kind of similar concepts in Denver, but nothing that would be, I mean, you know, Denver to us as a whole different world, right here. Yeah. So I, there seemed to be a market for it, and I got that idea because I remember it was the beginning of November and I had to leave town. My dad and I went on a, like a little trip and
on that trip just three days later, my dad and I were driving to South Carolina. And I remember, because I’d only told Nate about it and Nate was like, yeah, that’s great. You should do it. You know, of course, yeah. And I didnt want to tell anyone else. But I really liked this idea that I was kind of getting excited about it, but I don’t like to put a lot of things out there if I’m not going to follow through with them.
And so,,, I ended up feeling it out with my dad and same thing. My dad was like, yeah, that’s great. Let me know how I can help. Like you should. That sounds wonderful. And then I think it was by Thanksgiving, that I was like, I think I’m going to do it. I think, I think we should do it. I mean, we were coming up with names and then it just snowballed, like we bought the truck, I think by Christmas, I registered as an LLC, bought books on how to run a business.
And I had my first pop-up and on Valentine’s day of 2020, so one year ago. Yup . So it just really, I didn’t give it that much thought. I mean, I had, you know, like the idea came into mind and I think within like two weeks, I was just convinced that I was just going to try it and see, you know?
Kathy: [00:25:09] Yeah. So Nate, what part did you play as she was in this early process beyond pitching “well, just make a job”?.
Nate: [00:25:20] Yeah, I don’t mean to back out of the question, but it was mostly just encouragement. I think probably the main thing I added is I’ve got a, and this has been such a blessing in real estate and real estate has really developed this mindset in me as well as just the people that I’ve been around, is risk is like, it’s just not that big of a deal. It’s usually just a perception. It’s you know, you talk, trying to talk yourself into it. So, you know, when or saw I’m sorry, out of something. So when she would try and talk herself out of it, I would basically just be like, I mean, worst case scenario, you buy the truck, the business makes no money. A 1968 vW fully restored is not going down in value anytime soon. It’s a breakeven. You waste a little bit of time. That is literally the worst thing that can happen. So I think it’s just really putting the risk into perspective and just that this is not a big deal. You just got to do it.
I mean, and, and also, you know, reminding her that if all these other people, there’s, there’s your proof of concept, just piggyback off of what they’ve, you know, just observe what they’ve done and you know, there’s your proof , that it’s doable. Surely you can do it.
Caitlin: [00:26:27] Yeah, he was, I mean, honestly, he was just mostly the encouragement. And like I said, I, I’m a little guarded on like things I put out there. I just, I kind of don’t want people to, well, you know, it was my friends and family. I didn’t want to say, “Oh, I’m going to do this” and have this big grand idea and act like it was going to be perfect. So I didn’t really put it out there to a lot of people until I felt confident in it.
But Nate, from the get-go, if I was having doubts or, I mean , I had every reason to be doubtful. I had zero business experience, did not know how to drive a stick shift. And knew nothing about the floral industry.
Nate: [00:27:02] Actually that’s the most I added was teaching you how to drive a stick. That was one of the biggest challenges of the entire business.
Kathy: [00:27:10] That’s funny.
Caitlin: [00:27:10] So yeah, he was just constantly just saying like, yeah, yeah, just keep, you’re fine. You know, do it, like, he was always just getting ready to rid of any doubts that I had and just kind of minimizing those doubts. And like he said, just making me realize that, you know, there wasn’t a huge cost of entry to start this business necessarily.
The truck was my biggest expense. And outside of that, it wouldn’t be like I would, you know, I was investing every, my whole life savings, we’re gonna lose the house. Like, it was kind of minimal, so..
Nate: [00:27:40] I just think it comes down to- most risks, and, and I think this carries over to most businesses really, are, either in material or they’re such outliers, that they shouldn’t even be a consideration.
I mean, that’s probably an unpopular opinion, but that’s just where I land in it. Yeah.
Kathy: [00:27:57] Nate, what’s your background in terms of like, you’ve talked about being in real estate and flipping houses, that sort of thing. Did you grow up, did anyone in your family have a business model entrepreneur?
Nate: [00:28:09] So both of my parents were, they always had businesses. They were, I mean, when you think of a small business, you think of like a storefront or some sort of small manufacturer, something that really requires a multifaceted owner that can just, you know, do all these things. My parents’ business was more like that, so they had a, when I was really young, they had a house cleaning business.
And my dad, he’s one of the very rare people that actually did really well with multilevel marketing, back before everyone considered it a pyramid scheme. But yeah, so, I mean, he started a website that became very successful with one of those companies. So that’s what he’s done for the last 30 years, probably.
So I did have that to go off of, although it wasn’t really a small business in the traditional sense. And then my mom was a massage therapist, who had her own practice. So not a whole lot to go off of as far as just like your traditional view of, what a, what a small business owner does and the roles that they play.
But really where, I mean, I’ve always had the entrepreneurial spirit. I’ve never wanted a traditional professional life. It’s never appealed to me. And I think that comes from observing my parents, just not depending on anyone. Not having to answer to anyone, not having a schedule that their jobs set out.
So I think that’s where the attitude came from where really, you know, more or less solidified was when I got my real estate license. And again, that’s not a small business in the traditional sense. But you are, you know , you’re depending on your own skills and actions to make an income. So that, and then my mentor in real estate is really where the whole entrepreneurial thing happened for me.
And that, that just kind of segwayed into investing in real estate. And, and it’s you know, same thing, never been like a small business owner in the traditional sense. It’s mostly them. Yeah.
Kathy: [00:29:57] And there are different types of entrepreneurs, right? I mean, there’s solo preneurs. I was a solo preneur for many years, had my own practice, but I had no desire to build a company the way that Mark has.
And then there are people who, like there are a lot of people that are in multi-level businesses. I’m trying to think of some, Rhodan and fields, for instance, and I don’t know, there’s, there’s some disagreement about whether or not that’s really entrepreneurial. I mean, the entrepreneur in that are the women that created the products, right?
The others are sales people. Yeah. But, but it is their own business. And if they don’t sell it, then they don’t, they don’t have a business. So it is, it does come down to, you know, you’re the one that’s driving the sales and the creative energy. So you had some background, Caitlin what, Was there anyone in your life that had a small business or worked for themselves or…
Caitlin: [00:30:59] Yeah my parents, and, you know, I actually, I, when I was reading your website and how you mentioned, you know, 40 years ago or 30 years ago, when you guys started your first business, the word entrepreneur, you know, you wouldn’t have called yourself that, it wasn’t as much of a you know, like a trigger word now, like it is now, but.
So, I guess my parents were entrepreneurs, they would have, I don’t think ever called themselves that, but my mom was a waitress, dad was a lawn and landscaper and he decided to branch off and start his own lawn and landscaping business. And mom, so she quit waitressing and she was kind of, you know, dad was more of like the workhorse and mom was kind of the brains that, you know, the, the accounting side of it, the business side of it.
So they just, they did that and they started this little bitty lawn and landscaping business that in the area we’re from, it became one of the, you know, one of the bigger ones in town. And at one point they had anywhere from eight employees, and now my dad actually still does that, it’s been his job for the past 30 years?
Well, 25 years probably. And he still does that now. It’s just him. So he’s, they’ve grown it, they scaled it way back and yeah. So, you know, looking back, I don’t think at the time I realized, I just thought my parents mowed grass for a living and that was that, but you know, looking back. Yeah, they, they, I guess were entrepreneurs.
So I saw that in them, kind of what Nate said, like seeing them make their own schedules, not have to report to anyone. The other side of that coin though, is you see all the stress you see the scary times of, you know, we lived in the Midwest, so, when drought hit or something. And there was from mid July to late August and no rain and things get kind of scary.
Winters were hard. So you kind of see that at the both sides of it, you know, the good and the stressful sides of it. But yeah, so I did have that to, to kind of, I guess, influenced me a little.
Kathy: [00:32:46] Yeah. But it sounds like it wasn’t scary enough to scare you away.
Caitlin: [00:32:50] No, no. I mean, which looking back on it, maybe it should have been because my mom would always joke, you know, like I hope, because finances were not their thing.
My parents were not financially organized every month that it came to doing billing. They essentially just kind of were winging it and, you know, and that was like for 25 years they had a system, but it probably could have been much more organized and she even joked about that. She was like, don’t, don’t get your, don’t do it like we’ve done it. You know, like figure out a better system. So I know that, you know, you gotta kind of have some organization and some systems in place to make your life a little easier, but yeah.
Kathy: [00:33:26] Yeah. And the sooner you can figure out what pieces of the business to have someone else do and do what you do well, Then the sooner you can grow your business too. So there’s, there’s a lot to it. So currently is the business, are you bootstrapping this or do you have investors?
Caitlin: [00:33:47] I don’t have any investors. No. I mean, my dad initially, because, you know, I didn’t work for- from 2015 when Nate and I left Fort Collins, that’s when my mom was rediagnosed with this cancer, right that I said that she was, you know, always on and off with. And when she was rediagnosed in 2015, they again gave her less than a year to live, essentially. And so, I pretty much dropped everything. I had two bartending jobs here in town. I quit those jobs. This was at the same time that Nate had a real estate opportunity in the Springs.
And so he was going down there to do this and we joke, but that’s kind of how we inadvertently moved in together, because I was going to go to the Midwest for a couple months just to kind of get a grip with everything with my mom, see what the situation was like, be there in person and you know, but I moved out of my apartment here in Fort Collins.
So I put everything in the same U hall as his stuff to the Springs, it went in the house he was flipping and, that’s how we moved in together.
Kathy: [00:34:45] That’s a good story.
Caitlin: [00:34:47] Yeah, but so from that time from 2015 to 2019, , when I decided to start CCS, I worked on and off at bartending jobs. Nothing was consistent, at one point, we were Airbnb hosts in the spring.
So that was nice. I did the whole, trying to sell doTERRA oils a little, like I was trying to do anything that could give me flexibility to where if my dad called and said, you need to get home. I would jump on a plane and not worry about burning any bridges, you know, with, with work. But still obviously have some income coming in.
So for those four years, things were tough, you know, for me financially. And so my dad, when last fall, when it came time to start, you know, he said, you know, whatever I can do, let me know. So he helped with the truck. Cause like I said, that was the biggest expense. And then outside of that, I’ve just. I had a little bit of a savings.
And in fact, I recently found a note that I made to myself last year. I like to leave future me notes. I guess I left a note that just said like,” Hey, remember you started with less than this amount in your bank account”. And it wasn’t a big amount. So I think it’s like an encouragement, like. If this works a year from now, like, remember you didn’t start out like having a whole lot in the bank and it’s worked out.
So, no, I didn’t have any real investors to answer that question.
Kathy: [00:36:03] Okay . So you launched almost a year ago and immediately were faced with a pandemic.
Caitlin: [00:36:11] Yeah.
Kathy: [00:36:13] And maybe that was the hardest thing you faced, maybe not, but what, what has been the most challenging thing that you have faced in your business this year?
Caitlin: [00:36:25] I think which, you know, wouldn’t be the expected answer, but I think probably just myself would be the biggest challenge is just me. I’ve never been in this type of role. I’ve never, while I’m the person that always had jobs and always supported myself and worked, you know, I worked two, three jobs at times.
So the work ethic is there, but to be the person that has to be, you know, the work ethic, the organizer, the social media person, the finance person, which finance is so not my realm. Thankfully I have Nate for help with that. Just to wear all these hats, that’s been really just hard for me to adapt to.
When you do feel discouraged, when there’s days where I’m like, who allowed me to run a business? You know, I was like, this isn’t going to work, but then, you know, I get over it. And the next week I feel great and I’m like, this is great. I’m killing it. You know, there’s that, that graph that shows you like the life of an entrepreneur where it shows you the peaks and it’s like one day you feel like you’re doing great.
And then the next you’re like this is going to fail. I’m never going to make it. And I mean, I constantly feel, that where I’m doing great and then the next week, I have all these doubts, but continues to move forward. So I’m thankful for that. So ironically, it wasn’t necessarily the pandemic, because I think in a weird way, the pandemic forced me to change my business model quickly. I don’t think I would’ve changed it. You know, I don’t, I didn’t think that I would be doing flower deliveries, to me when I had this business idea delivering flowers a because I wasn’t a florist that seemed not probable. That seemed like why not? You know, there’s other florists in town that deliver flowers.
I’m going to have a flower truck. But it made me realize that delivering flowers is great. You need that for, I think, any floral business, it’s just a good bread and butter every week it’s steady, relatively steady. So actually COVID kind of forced me to adapt into that. You know, I, I remember thinking, because I had a bunch of flowers for like a pop-up I was going to do, so I had a garage full of flowers and I was like, well, and I just posted on my Facebook or Instagram was like, who needs flowers this week?
And, you know, silly me. I was like, just going to give people flowers. And then people started just saying like, Oh, can you take some to my grandma? And like, what about nursing home? So then that this whole thing kind of exploded. And I think that’s how I kind of crossed paths with you, Kathy is because then I just had people just donating all this money for me to put together bouquets, to take to the nursing homes and then just
haphazardly, next thing I know I was just doing full blown flower delivery. So I was thankful for that. And then obviously when things kind of settled down a little over the summer, I could actually start doing pop-ups with the truck again. But I definitely, I realized how important the deliveries were
so I didn’t take that away. I just kept that into my business model. And now that’s a main part of the business is doing weekly delivery. So. Yeah, totally. I mean, it was hard, but it definitely forced me to pivot and looking in hindsight, I’m glad that I made those pivots because I don’t know if I would have done them as quickly otherwise.
Kathy: [00:39:25] Yeah. How, how have you guys encouraged or supported each other in the midst of those? Like you said, Caitlin, that up and down, that is, it is the life of the entrepreneur that is not often talked about. That is part of the purpose of this podcast is to talk about the whole of the entrepreneur experience, not just the, the highlight reel and the Inc 5,000 look, we made it.
It’s like, there’s a lot that went into it before then. And a couple of things I’ve heard about you just to affirm your incredible strength as an individual is number one, the ability to go into something you’d had no training for. You weren’t a florist, but you figured it out. And two that you were able to pivot so quickly.
And yes, that is how we connected. I. I’m on Instagram. That’s really the only social media that I can stomach at this point. And I think Fort Collins, there was a hashtag or something. And so you came up and I was like, Oh, she’s delivering flowers. And you know, that’s, our business is assisted living. And my mom had Alzheimer’s and the community that we cared for her in was right next to a wedding venue.
And so many times they would bring the flowers over and it just, you could just see their eyes light up. So yes, I donated and I ordered and we have yet, I have yet to buy your flowers. I, I wanted to make the pop-up this past week and the weather did not cooperate. And If you don’t live in the Fort Collins area, I mean, when they have high winds, like you better secure small animals because it is crazy.
So I’m going to get out there yet. But anyway, how did, how do you guys support each other in those downtimes?
Caitlin: [00:41:25] Yeah, I mean, I think it just goes back to kind of what I said, how Nate helped me just kind of when I had this idea and was just in the idea, ideation form of this, you know is he just constantly just encourages me , even when I’m like, You know, like recently sales tax were due for businesses in Fort Collins, you know, middle of January.
And I’ve been putting that off all year. I had no idea, finances and anything related to numbers is a weak point for me. And so, you know, I was just feeling super stressed and doubtful, of course, Nate had already said like, I’ll help you, you know, it’s fine. And I was just really down on myself though. I felt very unorganized.
I felt like I hadn’t done certain things, right. Or that I should have done financially or, you know, whatever. And, and Nate just constantly was like, he’s just always reminding me. It’s like, listen, like, you didn’t even know what you were doing. Like if you can do this in one year of just kind of winging it, like imagine if you can get systems in place and,
he’s just always kind of saying like, yeah, okay. Maybe you should have done that differently, but you can adjust and capitalize on that now and it’s going to be even better. So he’s just constantly kind of knocking doubts, I think down for me, which is good. I need that.
Kathy: [00:42:35] He’s your truth sayer.
Caitlin: [00:42:37] Yes.
Nate: [00:42:39] You know, for my, the stuff that I’m involved in you know, one of, I mean is just so supportive.
There’s just not, I just don’t think there’s many people out there that would give me the level of support for some of the, you know, what some people may perceive as risky deals that I do sometimes you know, they, can seem like they’re, you know, just a little bit out there and, and she supports them no matter what.
And you know, through, through some of the, I mean, sometimes I get caught up in and the summers are a great example with COVID. You know, as far as business and real estate, it did end up Making things pretty good this year. Of course, just, you know, with the disclaimer, that COVID is an awful thing that I would never wish to happen, but it was good for real estate, if we’re just looking at numbers.
I didn’t know it was going to be like that when I was in the middle of buying a small portfolio, basically putting any money I had into that deal. And basically the end all be all was one house that I was flipping out of this portfolio. Had to get the cash out of it. And I was afraid that everything was going to get shut down, home Depot, everything.
I wasn’t going to be able to sell it. Credits was going to freeze up and we’re going to have a new 2008. So I worked on this place personally to conserve cash when I was scared and I was gone probably 16 hours a day, seven days a week, and that’s she fully supported through the whole thing. So just believing in me is really the, you know, one of the biggest things that Caitlin does for me when when someone else may think I’m being a little crazy.
Yeah, no, it works out now.
Kathy: [00:44:09] Yeah. And clearly there, there are a lot of people that they want the security of a job. And a salary and all of that. And Mark and I have been married long enough and been like, when we married in 1980 interest rates were 18 to 21% for a home. We didn’t think we would ever own a home.
And now look at it, you know, it’s way down in two or 3% or something. So the advantage to living a few decades is like we saw 2008 and the impact it had in many ways, but it also, what is interesting is that, several of the people that I have interviewed for this podcast, guess when they launched their business? 2007, 2008, again, they just, they had to pivot.
They had to make some adjustments, but they, they didn’t miss an opportunity because of something external .
Nate: [00:45:09] There’s always a way to, to do well in any market, I believe. It’s just I always say that it’s just all about moving forward. One step, one day at a time, the strategy there’s always an appropriate strategy for any situation.
Kathy: [00:45:25] Right? Right.
What, what have you guys learned about yourself and about your relationship in the past year of starting this business and Nate, you taking some risk with this portfolio?
Nate: [00:45:41] That’s kind of a tough one. I really, I didn’t learn much that I didn’t already know. The big take home for this year for me is just how much I value making income from means other than a W2 job. It’s I mean, I I’ve had an absolute blast this year, business-wise and you know, well post the, the scary times in the beginning of the year, but yeah, I’ve had a complete ball with it. It’s been great. And I think Caitlin has too I’ve, I’ve loved watching her, her growth.
So I think, you know, my takeaway is just that. I think our personalities and what we want out of life and what makes us happy can really be nurtured by what we’re doing by, by entrepreneurial pursuits. And it’s just, it’s, it’s the lifestyle that is totally for us. That’s been solidified this year.
Kathy: [00:46:32] You’re creating the life you want.
Nate: [00:46:35] Right. Yeah. Yeah. It’s fun. It’s, it’s fun. I don’t know any other word to describe it.
Caitlin: [00:46:42] That is where Nate and I differ because if I could just not work, then I would choose to do that. But if I am going to work, then of course I want it to be something, you know, that’s kind of my own and that I love.
And even though that probably is going to mean it’s going to be more work, I would rather do that , than what he said than the alternative, you know, of working for someone else. But I just don’t, I think I’m to the age where it just kind of realize that to myself. It’s not that like, Oh, I don’t like this job.
I think it’s, I don’t like, I don’t think any job that probably isn’t going to be kind of my own
Nate: [00:47:12] to me what it is is, is like you no matter what, like this is arguable because if you put in enough effort, I’m sure you’ll, you’ll climb the ladder in any given company. But I don’t like the fact that somebody, somewhere up the line has to make a decision that affects how much I can earn.
It’s the lack of control. It just kills me.
Kathy: [00:47:30] Yeah. And Caitlin, you said you’d rather not work. What would you be doing instead?
Caitlin: [00:47:37] Oh, I think I’d be on a beach somewhere, just relaxing with a book exploring traveling which I think, you know, when we have, you know, when we talk about our goals for the future, I mean, that is kind of, a lot of it is to get it to where nate and I, I think can live kind of minimally kind of minimally. I mean, I’m not going to say we can live like in a tent or something, you know, and be happy and content.
We still like some of the finer things in life and not, you know, our accommodations, but I think ultimately we have kind of different end goals than maybe other people, our age in the sense of we, I think we would just, we value hopefully getting to a point in the near future where we can still work and have things that are our own and our businesses, but hopefully be able to take a good amount of time every year to travel and to take off.
And, you know, we, in fact, we bought an RV in 2018? 17 whenever. And that period of time where we were kind of in this limbo phase and we bought an RV and Nate like remodeled the inside and we were going to just live in the RV. We were going to figure out how to work from the road and…
Nate: [00:48:47] I dont think that would work.
Caitlin: [00:48:48] Yeah, it’s probably good it didn’t happen, but we did it all. We drove it to Illinois. My parents’ home was going to kind of be our home base. That was going to be a chance to kind of, you know, be near mom, kind of come and go. Cause a big thing is my mom never wanted me to put my life on hold for that.
You know, she still wanted me to live. Where my parents lived in Southern Illinois is not, I mean, there’s no opportunity there, you know? So like if I went and lived there, it would almost be taking steps back, you know, which… so I would just go there for a couple months at a time. So this seems like a good in between where we could come and go and we could have experiences and we could work remotely.
And ultimately that never happened. My mom’s condition kind of, right after we took it to Illinois, it became evident within like two months. It was like, okay, I need to stay home. And then things started to kind of quickly decline from there. And that RV is still at my parents house, Oh my, we never did anything with it, but that was like name of ours, you know?
So we still want to do that kind of travel, live on the road, take some time off. And we’ve learned we’ve solidified. I think we always knew that, that we had. That that’s what we wanted out of life. But I think we solidified that this year kind of knowing like what we want, our, you know, what we want out of life that we want our end goals to look like.
Nate: [00:50:01] I made some very, very ambitious work-life balance goals. That’s a major problem for me. I just, you know, kick the ball down the court and run to it and, you know, figure, figure when I get there. I’ll relax. And then I just end up kicking it again. But yeah, that’s some very serious work-life balance goals coming up here.
Kathy: [00:50:20] Okay. And as far as the business would you say, well, proof of concept had been there, like you said, with some other examples that you had found would you say that you’ve proven the concept yet? Or are you still maybe trying to prove is this sustainable?
Caitlin: [00:50:40] So yeah, I think, I think I’m more now to, to scaling. I know that there’s a demand for this and yeah. You know, I think that I have a great position because there isn’t a business like this in a, at least a 30 mile radius, you know, maybe I think Denver’s the next closest like flower truck. And even then they’re still different than, than what I’m doing. So I think that the market’s there, I think the demand is there.
People seem to love it. Right now, just the most overwhelming thing is, you know, every morning I open emails and inboxes and you know, people are asking questions for things that I haven’t even.. they, you know, want to know if I do this and if I can provide this with the truck and do this wedding, and I don’t know, and everything that I’ve done with this business is funny because I’ve only done it because I’ve either been forced to pivot or because someone has asked me and I haven’t said no, because I want to keep saying yes to as many things as possible, but you know, like last year I designed flowers for weddings and
I’m not a florist, you know, I mean, I guess I should start referring to myself one as now, but it still feels a little weird, but I wouldn’t have, you know, someone asks you to do weddings and I’m very honest with them and say, I don’t know, you know, like it depends what you’re looking for and, you know, and they ended up going with me and it turned up beautifully and it was fine, but that’s kind of been the, a lot of the business is I’m just calm.
I feel like I’m constantly playing catch up. And then I get somewhere and then there’s this new idea that, or a new kind of need out there so that I’m trying to meet that. And I hired two employees over the summer fall, you know, most, very part-time, but nonetheless, just to help me. So I think that’s kinda my biggest challenge now is like scaling is trying to not be a wedding florist, a delivery flower service, a flower truck, a everyday florist.
I need to kind of find my niche. I’m not quite sure what that is yet, but right now, in these times, I’m just happy to say yes to as much stuff as possible and kind of hopefully let it navigate itself and let the rest kind of, that isn’t going to fit fall.
Kathy: [00:52:44] But I also hear that you’ve, you’ve come into it, not with a rigid, the business has to be this way, which a lot of times when people start a business, they
they are too rigid. Like it has to be this and they’re not listening to their customers. Just yesterday there was a whole thread on Instagram with a friend of mine about Instagram- are you listening? Quit introducing new things that we can’t keep up with, you know? And so there was this whole conversation about, is Instagram listening to their customers.
And I think. We can become too scattered. We can become, you know, try to be everything to everyone. And that will be difficult, but it sounds like, you know, as you’re trying to prove the concept that having some openness about, well, I haven’t done a wedding, but I’ll try it. Oh, how did that go? Hmm. Where do I make more money?
You know, you can make a lot of money doing weddings, but Good to hear. So what are the future plans? Where do you see it going?
Caitlin: [00:53:50] You know, I, with the truck, I would, I’ve kind of realized even just starting back up this season, cause I kind of paused over, you know, December and most of January
Kathy: [00:54:00] hard to do a pop-up in the snow.
Caitlin: [00:54:02] Yeah, exactly. So even just kind of getting started and seeing, you know, that there’s just a demand out there. Fort Collins is a great little city for this. You know, I think people just really appreciate a lot of aspects of what this little business brings. So I, I think that maybe getting a brick and mortar is in my future, but I need to kind of weigh out some things.
I’m just, I definitely know I’m outgrowing my garage. I have a flower cooler there and a workstation and, you know, I have one of my gals that’s going to help me today with designing and delivery and she’s, she comes into my garage and helps me design. So I’d like to have a space. I think. That’s at least, you know, neutral, a little bigger.
But I don’t know. I think mostly it’s just kind of being able to do what I couldn’t do last year with the truck. You know, is I couldn’t get on routines. I couldn’t really get into the event sector because events weren’t happening. So I’d kind of like to solidify that, figure out, I still don’t know for sure.
You know, if someone asks me, Oh, how much is it to rent the truck for my wedding? I still don’t have a for sure answer to give them because I haven’t done it yet. So I’d kind of like to get those things this year and solidify some things and just kind of know. Which like, like you said, like, okay, is there money in this then?
I’m not gonna, I’m not going to continue to go that route. I’m going to go this route and kind of just let the chips fall where they will, you know?
Kathy: [00:55:24] Yeah. Do you guys have, like, do you do an annual plan together?
Caitlin: [00:55:31] No, not really. No.
Nate: [00:55:32] I’ve tried to!
Caitlin: [00:55:34] Nate’s, Nate’s more of the planner. If this isn’t evident, Nate’s the planner Nate’s, you know, likes timelines.
I- if you told me, unless it’s a vacation, unless you’re like, Hey, we’re going on vacation in August. I don’t know, like to know what’s going to happen in August. And I think that’s a lot of, because the last decade of my life I’ve been, I’ve realized that you can plan until you’re blue in the face.
Ultimately you don’t know which way life will take you. And so I just, don’t like to put my energy into planning too far in advance. ’cause I, I don’t know if that will happen or not.
Nate: [00:56:10] You know, as frustrating as this has been this dynamic it’s it is overall a good thing, which I realize now, because I mean, I’m, I’m very, forward-looking, I am constantly planning.
I’m constantly thinking about how I can restructure my debt, sell this and buy that and refinance this and whatever. It’s exhausting, it’s exhausting. And you know, a lot of the times it doesn’t even work out that way. And Yeah. What’d you think is like the end all be all thing that has to happen. It doesn’t happen.
And then something better ends up happening. So Caitlin is a good reminder of that. And you know, it helps me to live in the moment a little bit more because like I said, it’s exhausting. Just, you know, thinking of just forward looking at all times, which is, which is kind of the trap I’ve taught myself.
Caitlin: [00:56:52] As far as like fun things, you know, like vacations. We do want to make more of a goal. We’ll you’ve heard Nate summer last year was just 16 hour days flipping a house. So we want to try to do, we’ve learned if we have something on the books in advance, then we’re going to be more likely to do it as opposed to just being like, Oh, well, March is a really busy month, so we’ll try may or something now.
So I know we’re going to make more goals to just like set things in stone in advance. So therefore we have to do it. We have to get away. We have to go visit these people or..
Nate: [00:57:21] And yeah, I’m still, you know, I’m mad at myself. It makes me sad that I didn’t enjoy the summer at all. I didn’t, I barely went fishing and, you know, after that project was over, I was like never, again, I’m not, I’m never getting myself into this, you know, type of project where you basically stack all of your chips and you know, everything’s riding on it.
That’s, that’s what this was and no more, yeah. More of a living in the moment type of scenario in the future.
Kathy: [00:57:50] But it’s hard when you have your own business also because things come up and yeah, gosh, years ago we had talked about, we were living in Texas and we talked every year about wanting to go to big bend.
We love national parks and we have a little RV and put it on the calendar because there’s times you don’t want to, you don’t want to go during spring break cause everybody’s there. And so there’s kind of a window before it gets just beastly hot and it was on the calendar, but Mark had bought two cheap cheap homes in Waco, Texas.
This was before fixer-uppers and you really could just, I think we bought the first house with nothing down. And we, and we fixed it up and then our daughter lived in it and then we did another one. So anyway, he was in the middle of that renovation when the date on the calendar came and went. And I think we finally made it to big bend two years ago.
So it was probably 10 years that it kept getting kicked down the road. So, yeah. Yeah. Do you guys have a mentor for your business or your relationship?
Nate: [00:59:07] Not for relationship. I mean, I, I definitely have someone who I would consider my mentor in real estate. He’s been with from the very beginning. He acts as the broker on most of the deals that I do.
Caitlin: [00:59:17] I mean, he’s, you know, he’s changed my life. So I got a mentor for that. Yeah. Yeah. I don’t have like a, you know, a thought of this in my adult life. Cause I hear people refer to them like, Oh, that’d be nice. You know? But no, I don’t have any really like a person that I would call my mentor. I do. I will say that, you know, my parents just set a really great example for me, especially now as an adult, you look back on things and you kind of see them differently than when you were a kid, you know, but just that, just seeing them run a little business that at times was strapped at times was flourishing. So seeing all that happen, seeing them get through good times, bad times.
Seeing my mom have this terminal cancer, which was not fun. A lot of the time seeing my dad’s stick by her and just seeing them work through so many things where I think it would have been very easy to just say, all right, this isn’t, this isn’t working out.
Kathy: [01:00:08] This isn’t fun. I’m walking away and we’ve seen people do that.
Caitlin: [01:00:12] Yeah, Nate and I know that’s come through with our relationship for me at least. Cause we’ve been through a lot. As not even a married couple yet, you know, I mean, we’ve my, my mom’s, you know, illness and then death, that alone was just a huge thing to take on as.. . You know, I remember when Nate and I think had been dating maybe two years, my mom was rediagnosed and I told him, I was like, listen, This isn’t going to be good.
You know, like I know what the end goal is going to be. This is not going to be an easy time for me, if you need out, you know, if you don’t think that this is a longterm thing, no hard feelings. I get it. You know, I was kind of just saying like, if you don’t want to sign on to this, I understand, you know, and he didn’t even hesitate.
He was like, of course not. And he there’s been a lot of un-fun situations. You know, like I said, I’ve been gone for months at a time where I’ve just been in Illinois. He’s come to Illinois, stayed there. You know, with my parents. Well, I also saw this on your website, Kathy that you guys were in your parent’s like small little, one level home or something.
And we did that, you know, my parents’ two bedroom farmhouse. We all lived there together for months and yeah, there was just a lot of challenging times, times where I wasn’t working. I feel like I wasn’t being necessarily like the best version of me. I wasn’t able to contribute a lot, but he’s just kind of stuck by it.
So there’s been a lot of times where I think it would have been very easy for us both to, just to kind of say like, okay, you know, like we’re young, this isn’t really fun anymore. Let’s let’s check out. But I think my parents instilled that in me that if it’s something worth it, you know, if you have that foundation there, like you don’t know nothing’s going to be easy, nothing’s going to be perfect.
You really have to just like ride things out and have the faith. Hm, you know that it will work out
Kathy: [01:01:48] the commitment.
Caitlin: [01:01:49] Yeah, exactly.
Kathy: [01:01:51] Yeah. Yep. Having weathered some of those things together is incredibly bonding. You guys have, probably, because of the hard things you’ve been through, have found a depth in your relationship that some couples never find.
So I honor that in your relationship. As far as mentors go, like living here in Fort Collins, one of the reasons that we wanted to be in a city again is the access to CSU. And Mark is in conversation with, the business school at CSU, has all kinds of resources and he’s signing up to keep office hours and be available too.
Cause he absolutely loves people like you, people that are entrepreneurial, eager to learn, open to learn, but I have found over the years, we wish that we had had some mentors earlier on. And again, part of the motivation for this podcast is to let people know that you’re not alone in this journey. And goodness, cause we, we just hit some times that tried our marriage. They tried the business, but we literally did not know anyone else doing it. And we thought we were a little crazy. Something was wrong with us because you know, in our early days, like you said, you read on my website, you know, we didn’t, we didn’t even have, we didn’t know the term entrepreneur, but.
Found out there wasn’t anything wrong with Mark. He was just wired differently. And now he’s very passionate about being that person that we’re a little farther down the road. Not perfect. Don’t have all the answers, but I would just encourage you guys to seek out a mentor for both your relationship and, and your business.
Just somebody that’ll sit and have coffee with you and be a friend, ask questions, be willing to share their story. Cause it’s not a one-way thing. Right. So, well, I wish you guys all the best and I hope we can check back in maybe a year or two and just see all the things that you’ve grown and how you’ve grown.
And so thank you guys for coming on. It has been just a joy to hear your story and get to know you.
Nate: [01:04:25] Yeah. Thank you.
Caitlin: [01:04:26] Thank you for having us. And I’ve just enjoyed getting to know you, even though it’s just mostly been through Instagram, you know? No, but, but I’ve enjoyed it. So thank you.
Kathy: [01:04:35] Good. We’re going to meet in person real soon.
Caitlin: [01:04:37] Yes. Look forward to it. All right.
Kathy: [01:04:46] Hey, thanks for listening through to the end. I really enjoyed getting to know more of Katelyn and Nate story. You can follow her on Instagram. Her handle is at CC S flower truck, and just take a look at the beautiful bouquets that she’s creating for our community here in Fort Collins. If you enjoyed this episode, please share it with someone else.
Who is on this entrepreneurial journey, subscribe and give us a review. All of that helps others to find this podcast. Also. Thank you. Now you’re building a life together. Make it a great one. See you next time. . .