Jeremey Lawson

Founder of Homestead Builders Iowa

Jeremey Lawson is committed to Iowa, the place where he was born and grew up. He was raised there, attended college in a nearby town and has even started a business in the area. Jeremey plans to nourish those roots and find ways to enrich his impact on the community.

Jeremey attended college at Indian Hills Community College in nearby Ottumwa, Iowa. The campus itself could not be in a more picturesque setting in between a plentiful forest with a view of the Des Moines River. Bloomfield, Iowa, is a smaller town that is rich in history. The population is quite small, less than 3,000. In a town like Bloomfield neighbors often become more like family. That, along with the beautiful scenery makes for a great place to expand or to build a new home.

Homestead Builders is a contracting company that specializes in barns, cabins, and turnkey homes. They have built in over 300 counties across the Midwest area. Jeremey himself has over 20 years of experience working construction and knows just how important all the nuances of the process are. Contractors do more than just put a few nails in a board. They help with the entire building process, from the design to the planning and finally the building. It takes a great deal of skill and patience to take a project from an idea to reality. But that is what Jeremey loves the most about the whole process, standing back and looking at a building knowing that he had a hand in creating something that someone else is going to enjoy for a very long time.

Where did the idea for Homestead Builders Drakesville come from?

I started in the field of contracting right out of college. I kind of just always had the plan to do this as a business and then when the opportunity presented itself, I knew I wanted to start my own business, I always to be my own boss.

What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?

I am either planning or working on site. My days can be very long, so it is easy to stay productive because I am very busy. One thing I think is key is limiting distractions so I will often have my headphones in, sometimes I am not even listening to anything, I am just blocking out the noise so I can stay focused.

How do you bring ideas to life?

I bring my customers ideas to life all the time by making blueprints of their ideas. Other times, I like to do the same kind of thing by getting ideas onto paper, turning them into some kind of an image because I am a very visual learner.

What’s one trend that excites you?

People still seem to be really into these tiny homes, and I am all for it. They are much quicker to build so I would love to have more jobs building smaller homes for customers.

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?

I am always working, I constantly put in days that are 12 to 14 hours.

What advice would you give your younger self?

I started in the field of contracting right out of college. I kind of just always had the plan to do this as a business and then when the opportunity presented itself, I knew I wanted to start my own business, I always to be my own boss.

Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.

That you don’t have to be rich to be successful. You can be doing everything right and your business may not be profitable yet or maybe you just don’t make a ton of money in your profession but that doesn’t mean you aren’t successful. I think what makes a person successful is being a hard worker that gives their business all they possibly can.

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

Buy materials from the same place. If you can have a regular supplier for materials it is really great to build a relationship with one vendor and it can save you a lot of money.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?

I have used Facebook for my business page, it can be a great tool for posting updates about the business. I can post when I am hiring, and it is also a good way to stay connected with the community by posting regularly.

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

When I was first starting out I had some trouble managing everything because I was trying to do it all on my own but when I finally realized that I needed to hire someone to manage the books for me and assist with the record keeping, things got a lot easier. Sometimes as a business owner you need to be wise enough to know when you need help.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

Drones for construction. They can be used to map out land, survey construction sites, and more. I think someone should target them to construction companies and make them more accessible price wise so that they could be used a lot more by contractors.

What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?

I recently bought a good pair of work boots that are workplace compliant and I know they will last through the winter. It’s important to have the right tools for the job, and sometimes that includes things like shoes.

What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?

There is a software called CDR which stands for Construction Daily reports. It is a daily reporting solution for the construction industry. It streamlines the reporting process for all of your projects.

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers by Ben Horowitz. It is an essential book if you are thinking of starting your own business.

What is your favorite quote?

“Be so good they can’t ignore you.”- Steve Martin

Key Learnings:

• Stay focused by staying busy and use headphones to tune out the noise.
• Don’t let the negativity of others stop you from following your gut.
• Buy materials from the same place and build a strong vendor relationship whenever possible.
• Don’t be afraid to spend top dollar on quality work gear including shoes.