Opportunity Looks Like Work
Welcome to Southbound RV Park and Cabins and our journey of entrepreneurism. We hope that our story will inspired you to dream big, work hard, and lean into your goals. The journey may not always be smooth, but it is worth it!
When Chris and I met in a psychology class in community college, he had in his mind that he wanted to be a career Walmart manager. I had another career in mind, nursing. So, I went off to University to get my Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing, and he continued his path toward becoming a Wal-Mart manager. Shortly after I returned to Victoria, Chris left his Wal-Mart manager position and moved back to Victoria also. Still just friends at first, I quickly realized that the older, wiser Chris had the most potential of any guy I had ever met. It did not take long before I knew he was “the one”. He recently told me that winning me gave him the confidence that he could do anything he set his mind to. And so, it began.
I did know what I was getting into, sorta.
Entrepreneurism was a topic of discussion from the very beginning of our relationship. It was a foreign idea to me as a recent BSN grad, but Chris was good at selling the dream. As we were planning our wedding, Chris found an old mobile home for sale that was “a steal” and somehow talked me into living in it. As newly marrieds, we were making good money while living very economically. This allowed us the extra cash flow to get my student debt paid off (because I went to school without financial assistance), and work on some debts he had brought into the marriage also.
This was after we replaced the siding. It was a good first home.
One Year In
With the goal of starting “our” own business, we went with a realtor to look at piece of land that we thought would be a good location for an auto salvage yard startup. After looking at that property and ruling it out, our realtor suggested another property we might be interested in just down the road. As we drove into the first tract of what is now our current property, I told Chris that there was no way we could turn this beautiful property into a junk yard. The other business we had discussed was an RV park. Chris had lived in an RV park in Aransas Pass while working as a Walmart manager and had that idea still bubbling on a back burner in his brain. If we purchased this land, that would be the business to pursue. We put in an offer and waited. Because Chris negotiates everything, his offer was not asking price, if I recall correctly. I specifically remember arguing about the offer we placed. I just wanted to secure the land, he wanted to make sure we got a good deal. He was Ok whether we got the land or not.
I took this picture as we were driving on to the property the first time!
Providences along the way
They accepted our offer (there may have been some back and forth. I cannot remember now.) We closed in February of 2009, a couple weeks after our first wedding anniversary. The original tract was approximately 7 acres with a mobile home and was landlocked with an easement agreement to use the neighbor’s driveway for access. Not long after settling in, we realized that to build an RV park, we would need our own access to the highway. We contacted the owner of the adjacent property that touched our property on one side and the highway on another and were able to purchase from him 7 acres joining the two points. This was an essential part of our being able to build a successful park. Had he refused, we would have at best been delayed.
The People woven into our journey
It was at some point during that first year of owning the property that my older brother Travis, visited. This is the brother that I had thrown early morning paper routes with and worked in his lawncare business while he was a senior in high school, and I was 14. He had more to do with the development of my work ethic than anyone else in my life. He also had a great sense of humor. When listening to our dream and looking around at the property, he nodded his head and said, “I think I can see it.” He died suddenly at 34 years old the following year . To this day I wonder what he would think of the place now, and I miss him.
Building from the ground up
Chris and I knew when we purchased the land that we wanted to develop an RV park, but our business plan was still a bit crude. We were yet forming our vision, but we knew that tracking every penny and making our dollars work for us was essential. If we were not spending every night laying pipes or pulling wire, we were developing our 10-year financial plan in Excel. In the early days I dreaded “budget meetings”. It seemed there was never enough money to accomplish our goals and as the “keeper of the numbers”, stress was abundant for me. But this man I married never wavered. He was confident that if we persisted, we would in the end reach our goals and realize our dream of being self-employed business owners with a beautiful RV park that served well the needs of our guests. We felt our way along all while we both continued working day jobs, living on site in the existing mobile home, welcoming our first, second, third, then fourth child, navigating a new insulin dependent diabetes diagnosis, and pouring every extra penny into the yet forming dream. These days were intense to say the least, and Chris had to talk me through more than one melt down along the way. I was a reluctant momprenuer to say the least.
Thomas Edison is quoted as saying “Opportunity is missed by most because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.” Both of us having grown up in poor families we were already accustomed to hard work. This was God’s grace to us and certainly prepared us to “see” the opportunities before us. And although we have enjoyed a measure of success, pressing forward has become a habit and I don’t anticipate our slowing down anytime soon.
What is the one goal that you’re not quite sure you can accomplish? Can I encourage you to dream big work hard, work smart, and don’t quit? Find those people who know more about your field than you do and pick their brains. Never stop asking questions. Lean into God’s plan for you. With His help, you can do this!
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