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Ep 147: Building cute backyard cottages - A STARTUP story



I'm always fascinated and delighted when new startups pop up that, literally solve for dreams I've had. And when I say solve for, they literally bring the dream to life by providing a path to get there. In my current home, we live on half an acre of land and have a fair amount of space in the backyard. Being that our house was built as new construction almost 11 years ago, I gave it the landscaping love and attention all these years, and every year considered, "how could I better use the space, what would be functional?" The number one thought...a getaway space in the backyard! But how to make that happen, how much would it cost, how long would it take...all details I didn't dig too far into. But this Startup, Node, has taken to space overloaded consumers like me and made a business of giving them a path to those backyard ideas.

In this episode, we'll talk about...

  • Inspiration: Think outside the box to help other people with their dreams

  • Node's business model

  • The role Pinterest can play in discovering your customer's needs and desires

This company, Node, when I came across them, it brought back so many memories for me of my Pinterest board and endless pinning of like backyard cottages and I forgot what they call them for women, like cottages for women and the backyard. I don't know, you know how men have men caves. There was something for women, and I can't recall what it is at the time, but I wanted to make some good use of my backyard space. And so I was going through on Pinterest and I was finding all these cute little things that you could build in the backyard, I was thinking, "Well, I could use a shed and turn it into something interesting." I recall walking through Costco one day and seeing one of their super large sheds and I think it was like $2,000 or something like that. And I'm like, "Oh my gosh, I think this is what I need. She shed, that's what it's called." I remember seeing it and thinking, "Oh, okay. I can make my she shed, my own little she space in the backyard." Well, that never really came to fruition, but I kept the idea in my head.

Then at one point in time, I was really adamant about going to get some land and just buying some land up north and then just getting like a super tiny off-the-grid like a cabin built and I could go and live primitively and fully sustainable, fully off the grid, all this good stuff. Again, never really happened. And when I came across Node, this startup there, they're all about a sustainable design, affordable homes, modular homes that you can easily just sort of put up anywhere, whether it's in your backyard or if it's on some land in some remote place, wherever it is.

These beautifully designed homes are also affordable. They're on the smaller side of course, but you can just put them up. So my pay problem was aside from the fact that I did not buy the land or I did not really go through with getting my back yard prepared for a shed part of the problem is being able to actually execute an idea like that. So if you want to get this dwelling in the back of your house, Oh, who's going to build it and how's that gonna work and what are the material costs and who are you going to get for labor? And just a bunch of things added up. So seeing Node, I'm now thinking to myself, "Huh, well I at least have a path forward." Node, this particular startup, I love what they've done and what they're doing. Right now they really just serve on the West coast side of the U S but their homes, one of which is about 264 square feet, with a bathroom, a kitchen, a sleeping area, and 264 overall square feet. It goes for $90,000. If you identified an area where you want to put this house up, they will come in, you will do some of the design and they will just make it happen. I'm sure that there are a lot of happy Pinterest users out there right now. Everybody who's been searching for she sheds and kitting inspiration on she sheds, there is a good option for you to actually go forward and execute.

Just in doing the research around this startup and thinking back to my own experiences, it really made me think long and hard about Pinterest in general. If you're running your own business, and I'm going to talk a little bit from the lens of customer research cause I'm big on finding ways to understand your ideal customer and finding ways to understand what it is that you can offer a value that people really want or that people are interested in. And so thinking about my experiences with Pinterest and pinning all the different she sheds I could find and then thinking about Node was like magically come in to fulfill all my pins in my one wonderful board where I'm imagining what my life would be like when I can just walk outside my back door and have a whole another world. That's another good way for you as you're building your business to take a look at what people are pinning or go ahead and search in the search bar on Pinterest a certain keywords and see what else is popping up and utilize that as inspiration in your business either if you're trying to find a new offering that's relevant, you can use it that way. If you're trying to really get things off the ground and find out what people want more of, that's another way to use it. So for Node, I don't know if that was their strategy at all. All I know is my Pinterest dreams are now fulfilled with this company. So always remember to think outside the box and let Node be an inspiration to you on that front.

Always remember to think outside the box. (Click to tweet)

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