Morgan Molitor is half of the dynamic duo behind construction2style, a home improvement blog, and residential remodeling company. Voted “workaholic” in high school, Morgan grew up getting her hands dirty in her parent’s and grandparent’s restaurant and hotels.
Never one to waste time, she started a business, got engaged, and married her husband Jamie in less than two years! Read more to discover how Morgan balances her thriving business with family life and how a personal tragedy taught her to work hard, keep her head down, move forward, and get through professional challenges.
Tell us about construction2style.
My husband, Jamie, and I run the home improvement blog and residential remodeling company, construction2style. Our goal with every blog or social media post we write is to serve our readers, giving them the resources and inspiration they need to create their home.
What was your first job growing up, and what did you learn from it.
I grew up in the small town of Roseau, MN within the hospitality industry and in a political family. My parents owned the local breakfast restaurant and motel; my grandparents owned the other main restaurant and the only other two hotels. My other grandparents served in Congress. I grew up in a family that firmly believed no dream was too big.
As you can imagine, my first job was washing dishes at my parent’s restaurant (probably before it was even legal). I don’t remember a time in my life when I wasn’t working! I thought it was a curse at first, but now realize it was a big blessing. I know how to get my hands dirty, work hard and fast to get jobs done, and serve others.
When I wasn’t working at my parent’s restaurant, I was cleaning the rooms at my grandparent’s hotels. During the summers I, of course, had to work at the cool hangout. I car hopped and flipped burgers at our local small-town Drive-In. In the winter, my job was at the local coffee and gift shop. I had all of those jobs at the same time! From a very young age, I was hardwired to work three jobs minimum at once. I’m proud to say my senior year of high school, I was voted “Workaholic.”
Tell us about your career path before starting your own company.
Coming from a very small town, I was ready for a BIG change. I had no idea what I wanted to do. First, I wanted to be a hairdresser. Then a fashion designer. Next, I thought up an interior stylist. I’m pretty sure no one knew what that was at the time – nor did I. Whatever insane idea or move I threw out there, I will always remember that without a doubt, my parents had my back and told me to go for it.
I applied to the small private school Brooks College in Long Beach, CA to get a degree in Fashion Merchandising. I had no car, hardly any money, and didn’t know a soul. Upon graduating, I worked for a wholesale company called Newbreed Girl. We did private labeling for Nordstroms, Forever 21, among many more. I was also a server at a Seafood Restaurant, Gladstones.
Long story short, my dad unexpectedly died. Anyone who’s gone through a sudden death like that knows life changes fast. Within three months of his death, I packed my bags and headed back to the largest city that was close to home: Minneapolis.
I was unsure what I was going to do for work. I got a job at Townhall Brewery and went back to school at Concordia to get my marketing degree. I then started working as an Operations Manager for a merchandising company called Lawrence Merchandising. We were in charge of setting displays in big box retailers such as Target, Walmart, Cost Plus World Market, etc. nationwide.
During that time, I met Jamie. We quickly started our business, got engaged, and were married in less than two years. We didn’t waste any time!
Tell us the story of why and how you started your business.
While we were newly dating, Jamie bought his first investment property. I was blown away by his talents and wanted to show them to the world, so I suggested a blog. Not really knowing what a blog was, he was onboard. We came up with the name, construction2style (very clever, I know). He provides the construction, there are two of us, and I do the styling. After watching a lot of YouTube videos, we launched the blog. (That’s how I figured out how to make a website).
Shortly after, brands started reaching out to us about collaborations, and we realized you could make money on a blog. Then we started getting local remodeling inquiries, so Jamie got his contractor’s license, and here we are!
Jamie always wanted to be a builder and went to school for carpentry. However, he graduated during the recession when no jobs were available. He always envisioned himself building homes and not remodeling. We’re proud to say; we just finished up our first custom home build for a client this past month. So here we are today, doing remodels, new custom home builds, and brand collaborations.
What is a typical day like for you?
Complete and utter controlled chaos. Ha! Most days, it seriously feels like we run around like crazies with our heads cut off. But I think any parent who also runs their own business would tell you that. You never know what the day will entail – you have to be ready to roll with the punches.
Jamie is always running around from job to job and in the day-to-day grind. I am usually in the office, or if we are cutting it close to deadlines, I’m by his side tiling, cleaning, you name it. On office days I’m project managing, ordering materials, on the phone coordinating, updating clients, creating selection sheets, doing payroll, writing and blogging, and engaging with our followers on social media. There’s never enough hours in the day or week!
Tell us about a hard time in your life, career or personal.
My dad died when I was 23 years old unexpectedly from pneumonia; it’ll be 11 years this October. That’s crazy; it both feels like yesterday and so long ago.
That was the hardest thing I have ever gone through. There are no words, to sum up how painful it is to lose someone you love. Even many years later, it’s just as painful. My dad worked his entire life for my brothers and I. He always told us his only reason for living was us, and he worked so hard to put all of us through college.
His death had a lot of effects on my life, but from a career standpoint, it’s pushed me to work that much harder. Whenever I’m going through a difficult situation, I think about the way my dad worked, and I keep my head down, move forward, and get through it. Nothing will stand in my way. There is no way I will ever let my family down. Every day, I strive to give my family the love and world that my dad gave me.
Another low point was shortly after my dad’s death; my little brother Noah got incarcerated in federal prison. Going through that process was like a slow, painful death. Actually, in comparison to my dad’s death, it was a lot more torturous. For five years now, he’s been in prison, and he still has five more years to go.
Visiting him regularly has given me a new perspective on life. He’s one of the most optimistic and giving people you could ever meet. Learning through Noah about other people’s journeys makes me grateful daily. I’m surrounded by a loving and successful family, which is rare.
Noah reminds me that the biggest challenges I face are opportunities, and are never worth wasting even a minute of my time stressing over.
If you were to start your business over today, what would you do differently?
I don’t like regrets. I’m a firm believer that everything happens for a reason and leads us to what we become. However, I do have things I wish I would have known sooner.
Building my tribe and leaning on my people are the things I wish I would have done sooner. I never wanted to bother anyone, but once I started leaning on my peers and colleagues, it was a game-changer. Man did I save a lot of headaches and time! However, we may not have learned as much as we did from going through it the long and hard way.
What’s next for your business?
Oh gosh, the sky’s the limit, right?! We recently started selling home decor on our website. I have always wanted to own a coffee and gift store, and we’re exploring real estate for that now.
Five years ago, we had no idea we’d be where we are now. With the constant change in technology and marketing, I hope we’re doing something big that doesn’t exist today as soon as next year. We keep our minds open and explore new opportunities as they arise, that’s what we know.
What do you believe is your single strongest skill that’s helped you succeed?
I credit so much of my success from working in the service industry. You’re trained to be nice no matter how mean someone is, have a smile on your face, and genuinely serve others.
I honestly get along with everyone and brush things off quickly. As hard as my father’s death and my brother’s incarceration were, they made me a better person. I don’t get caught up in any drama. I just feel bad for anyone I encounter that has negative energy. Life’s way too short not to love hard.
Tell us about your life outside of your business? What do you like to do?
I love my family and friends; I’m constantly trying to squeeze in time with all of them! I also have serious FOMO (fear of missing out). So, you can find me out adventuring with my family, whether that’s watching Jamie and the boys ride a dirt bike or BMX, or just hanging in his shop. Jamie and I are both golfers too, so we spend a lot of time out on the course together in the summer. I’m also a total wine-o and love a good brewery – I’m always meeting with friends at all the great Minneapolis pubs.
How do you balance your career and family/personal life?
I don’t. I’m always working and a mom and wife. I’ve tried to put time caps on it, but I have a serious disease. One day, maybe, I’ll be able to shut the emails down at 5 pm. But for now, once the boys get to bed at 7, I’m back at it. Whatever fire is going, that’s where my attention is and what I’m putting out.
Quick fun facts…
What’s your favorite charity? Still Kickin.
What age do you want to retire at? When I’m dead.
One travel location on your bucket list? Norway.
Are you an introvert or extrovert? Extrovert.
What is your favorite blog, podcast or book? Too many to say quick! Crush It by Gary Vaynerchuk and Jenna Kutcher Podcast.
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