Risky Moves - How Cherokee Grove Custom Worx Started
Hi! Welcome to our official Cherokee Grove Custom Worx Blog! Amanda here... Starting a business is hard. Learning new skills for your business can be hard... Being a wife, mother a step-mother can be hard in its own right... Now, lets add it all together. Welcome to my life!
So lets back up to the beginning of the story, shall we? I am going to back up a few years. I had just moved in with my now fiancé and two wonderful step-kids. I started a job working as lead CAD/CAM Programmer for a company... The company that hired me was about an hour commute away. At that time, that didn’t bother me a bit. I was set.. I was ready to tackle the world. Or was I? I started settling into my job, which at the time, I was incredibly thankful for. It was definitely a good job, paid decently... I just, wasn’t following my passion. It helped pay the bills, but eventually started falling into a rut that I could not get out of. It had been about two years of juggling, between managing the house, helping to care for the kiddos, working a full time job, and simply life in between; I was burning out quick.
I kept powering through, but honestly, I was just done. Mentally, physically... Summer of 2020, I got a phone call from a private company needing my skills for a very large CAD/CAM - CNC Router Job. It would be a side job that would be a game changer for our family. I discussed my terms with the owner of the private company and we both agreed to the terms. (Verbally) There was a two month deadline on the project and I knew, somehow, I can swing it. After I got home from my day job, I would grab a quick bite to eat and my fiancé and I would roll out to the side hustle.
We completed the job perfectly on time. When it came to the little matter of getting paid however, well that’s a different story. This was the very first, MAJOR lesson in business we learned. We want to believe that we live in a world where your word and a handshake is all a honest man needs to make a deal. Sadly, that’s not the case anymore. I sent the invoice to the private company owner. I received a few emails back from him asking for complete breakdown of how I arrived at the grand total of the invoice. Between interpreting 20 year old blueprints, creating all of the CAD work, programming individual parts. Nesting them into sheets of material, etc. It arrived at a very pricey bill.
Now, when I say pricey, I don’t mean a few hundred dollars. We are talking about a $70,000 job. The owner of the company basically came back with, he was not going to pay the bill. This is where having a written contract would have been incredibly helpful.
During the time of negotiations, late August of 2020, I found out I was pregnant. That obviously made negotiations even harder. Dealing with a business owner that wasn’t going to pay a bill that he originally agreed to, and having the ups and downs of pregnancy made everything worse. We were ready to go to court. We could prove all the time that was spent on this job, the time working on location. The time programming from home, like, it was all there. We definitely didn't want to take it to court, but what were we to do? Eventually, after a lot of back and forth. Several, months later, we finally agreed on a price. the CNC Router Machine and all components that go with it that we used to complete the job, and a small sum of money.
It was late March of 2021 before everything was settled. I was 8 months pregnant when everything was finalized and we brought the machine home. I was relieved that the stress was over. The entire pregnancy had a lot of stress. I am very grateful that despite the stress, we delivered a very healthy little boy less then a month later.
I went on maternity leave at 40 weeks pregnant. Now, I am sure most women would probably be taking that time to rest as much as possible, but you are talking to me, a CHRONIC WORKAHOLIC. I was out in the shop working, well, piddling around doing small projects that I could do with a massive basketball size belly. I loved it.
When our son was born a week later, I spent a good 2-3 weeks to get adjusted to my new life and baby. But I was craving my shop time. I started spending more and more time in the shop working. 4 weeks into maternity leave, one night, I sat down next to my fiancé after the baby went to sleep and said: “So what would you say if I said I didn’t want to go back to work, I want to stay home with our son and start our new business”. You can defiantly imagine his shock, and after a few discussions and planning, he agreed.
That is how Cherokee Grove Custom Worx was born. Taking a leap of faith is a risky move, but my question to you is, who wants to live an average life? A life that’s boring, and simply going through the motions to get through the day, just to do it again tomorrow? That defiantly is not the life I want to live. Do you?