Hi, my name is Tawn Holstra Auston and I am delighted to meet you.
As a speaker, consultant, author, and most importantly, a creative entrepreneur, I have learned so much in the past 40 years. I have been in business for about 40 years and have also had jobs that allowed me to learn business. I have always been a teacher in some way, manager; faculty for a large international educational company; teacher; business manager; mom; designer; business consultant; and author; each had aspect of business and aspects of teaching others that really gave me the opportunity to support others in accomplishing their dreams.
Currently I have two thriving businesses, one a real estate investment company and, the other, a business management company. At this point in my life I have 2 homes, yearly travel, a healthy grandchild, and 5 amazing, grown children. I can tell you – believe me, I did not start here.
I grew up very poor, my incredible mother was under 18 when I was born and our early years as a family were pretty lean. We lived in rougher neighbourhoods (where we could afford to live) and my dresser was cardboard boxes and my mattress was on the floor. I always had enough from my point of view, but that was from a child’s perspective. Being poor taught me a lot about being self-sufficient and getting creative, which continue to serve me today. I did not learn much about money until I was an adult, in my mid-forties. I bootstrapped everything, read everything I could get my hands on, and fought hard for my success… and at the same time, I wished with all my heart to have a coach; someone who would stand in my corner with me and guide me on the terrifying, risky path of building a business from nothing. As a business owner with small children, I was scared all the time, stressed plenty, and constantly juggling the bills between the need for all things related to raising 4 small children and the demands of a growing business.
I bootstrapped everything, read everything I could get my hands on, and fought hard for my success…
I will never forget this one lesson that changed my life. I started a clothing design company in the early 90’s called Live in Art. Fashion design was my first love and we sold high end children’s clothes through up-scale boutiques. The stores sold out all the time, which was a wonderful problem, except that I could not figure out how to scale it up. When I looked for help, the coaches (and this was the early 90’s), wanted $400 an hour. I was a single mom with four small children and a fledgling business… I could not imagine how to pay for it. I attempted to go it alone, talking to manufacturing companies, banks, and home sew-ers. I spent months experimenting with different solutions, doing it all alone and stressed beyond measure, but could not figure it out and eventually, even with a high demand for our products, I closed our doors —
Once I dug myself out of that hole, I started again… this time more prudent. In 2006-ish my dad, who was a historical restoration builder in a major city, wanted to retire and offered me his tools. Now, I grew up as a contractor’s kid and my grandfather also built a house by himself, I felt like I could do it… and said yes. I always wanted to flip houses, so I talked with my husband and we jumped… it was 2007 when we bought our first house. Timing is everything!!
Even as novices, we did great with the buying and fixing, but because of the real estate crash, could not sell them… so we kept them – all. Now we have 14 rental properties. As we kept buying and working during a terrible downturn in building, I started getting questions from other builders about how I was still so busy, with the bad economy (remember the crash of 2007-2009). I would sit down with them and share what I did and how I did it so reliably… and they would go off on their own. It was great.
I did start to notice that I said the same thing over and over… many of the questions were the same. More requests, more of the same information… I started to video tape the answers and send them the videos before meeting with them. Within 2 years, I had started Business 101 for Creative Entrepreneurs, at first, with just the basics of business. Eight years later it has grown so much and has been such an amazing ride. At the time, when I was meeting with folks who just wanted to “ask me some questions”, I had no idea this would become my life’s work.
At the time, when I was meeting with folks who just wanted to “ask me some questions”, I had no idea this would become my life’s work.
I discovered that I love working with small businesses, particularly with people who are in the same boat I was in… want to grow, but cannot figure out how to get out of my own way. Folks who have the drive and they are great at what they do, landscaping, real estate development, running a school, or cabinet maker, but did not know much about how to build a business that works.
If I look back now, I would say I learned the most from the hardest times. What I really learned, and has become my mantra, is Success is Not a Mystery! And what works are Methods, Not Miracles. I have dedicated my life to creating reliable methods to build a small business that allows creative folks to have confidence in their path and support all along the way…
As I said, it is really nice to meet you and I look forward to our next conversation!