Small business owner… Learning through mistakes

You may or may not know we bought a couple houses in Reno in 2017 and 2018. This was the start of our small business Rhyolight, LLC. After tooling around in the RV for a year we did our research and decided to start a business that could help us get income without having to be in one place all the time. Reno was shifting and growing with new businesses moving in and there was a shortage of rentals. The second house we bought was a fixer upper, we bought way under market value and was in a supposedly “good neighborhood.” We are able to make a bit of money on that one and have kept the original tenants for two years so far. That was the “good business decision.”On the other hand, the first house we bought was in a neighborhood known locally as “dangerous.” We were unaware of this perception. To us, it’s a cute little house on a large property. It’s close to the interstate, University, etc. We thought it was great and bought it at market price. Buying at market price is the part that bit us in the butt! By doing this, and then spending about $25,000 adding HVAC, new garage door, new fence, new flooring, etc we priced ourselves out of the rental market. Not out of the market for Reno, just for this neighborhood. Basically, the rent we had to charge was too high because of the perception that this is a “bad neighborhood.” Which, it’s not.
So, I (it was all up to me as I am the manager of the company; Andrew has a full time job) took chances on risky tenants, with improper ratios of income to rent and less than stellar credit scores. Out of the three sets of tenants we had at this house one group was solid. They paid on time and cleaned out as they left. The other two basically had to be evicted. This was VERY difficult for me as I am a bleeding heart by nature (I was an elementary school teacher).I’m now in the process of repairing the damage, painting and prepping the property one last time. Fortunately, we completed the upgrades slowly and matched the money we put into the property with the increasing sales price of homes in the neighborhood (good business decisions I made, yay!). We are still above water and will likey make money on the sale. All in all it was a good business opportunity.
This house also provided me so many great opportunities to learn. I’ve learned that sometimes giving people the benefit of the doubt works out well and other times not. I’ve learned that people lie (even if they don’t mean to or don’t think they are). I’ve learned not to take insults, lies and disrespectful behavior personally. I’ve learned a ton about being a small business owner and manager, making morally and emotionally draining decisions, and getting help from legal and other professionals as needed. I’m so grateful for all our tenants (especially the difficult ones) and this house! I am also grateful for the really wonderful neighbors in this neighborhood.
We will put the house on the market soon.

***Update: We had a full price offer on the day we listed the house! Closing is scheduled for March 17!!

Repairs after tenants

Old clothes to new looks!

I’m not the greatest seamstress, however, I’ve enjoyed finding old fabrics and clothing items at thrift stores and even in my closet to create new things to wear. This way I get to learn new ways of putting fabric together, make mistakes, practice basic sewing skills and don’t spend much money.Here are a couple recent projects…I’ve owned and loved this shirt for more than 5 years. I bought it at a thrift store somewhere; I don’t even remember! Anyway, when I was 30 pounds lighter it was long enough, now, not so much. To fix this length situation I took another old shirt (I didn’t like the fit of the second shirt very much but I loved the fabric) and cut off the bottom. It doesn’t really lengthen the back, but it makes a world of difference in the front!

Favorite old shirt with a length situation in the front.
I also kept the front of this shirt for a possible future project.
A line of stitches and I’m ready to go!

After cutting the fabric from the bottom of the shirt I used my zigzag stitch to be sure it wouldn’t fall apart in the wash. As I was sewing it on I realized there were some pulled stitches near the armhole so I fixed that up, too!The next project was as simple as adding a button to a thrift store top. This fabric is amazing but the tie in the back always sticks out at funny angles. I decided to add a button and put a couple stitches in the tie so it will hang the way I want even after washing! The button is pretty old and it came from my Mom’s stash. Last winter when I was there visiting I thought I was going to be making a bunch of cup cozies… I wanted buttons to add to them and so this in one of the oddball buttons I brought home.

This sweater I recently made with clearance fabric from JoAnn Fabrics. It was the end of the bolt and so soft I decided to get it without a plan! Using the pattern Simplicity 8658 I made the sweater and realized how bulky the sleeves were with this fabric! I of course only partially follow directions… The pattern is for lightweight fabrics but I thought this would be cute. This is super easy pattern and I love that there are hacks suggested. Anyway, the sleeves needed help at the cuffs.

Left: new sweater cuff in need of finishing. Right: old turtleneck cuff to be reused

Even with elastic it looked unfinished. I have three old turtlenecks that are soft and warm but require line drying to be long enough in the arms and body. To be honest, I’m not willing to do this in the RV… Space and time often don’t allow this when stopping at an RV park for 24 hours to do laundry. I decided to cut off the neck, cuffs and bottoms to be used in the future and also saved the shirts to be reworked in some other way too (maybe a 3/4 length sleeves?)After a but of playing around I got the cuffs to work on this sweater and it feels perfect! Almost like I planned it!

The new cuffs!
The back is too cute with the tails and button not to show.

So these are my recent old to new. I’ll update with pics of me in the cloths if I can remember to take pictures!