This article was originally published on August 18, 2023, in ProRemodeler. Written by Drew Barto.

During a recent recording of my Rock Stars of Remodeling podcast, my guest, San Antonio-based Southwest Exteriors CEO Ryan Shutt, shared a phrase that resonated with me: choose your hard.

Ryan was referring to home improvement companies picking a marketing vehicle that works best for them and it being difficult no matter their choice. Canvassing? Hard. Events? Hard. Content marketing? Hard.

Ryan’s right. To do anything well takes a lot of work, and no two companies are exactly the same when it comes to marketing and running their businesses. 

But contractors can choose to actively participate in things that make their paths to success a little shorter and maybe a little less stressful.

Here are a few activities I found most helpful during my time as a marketing director in the industry. 

1. Listen to Home Improvement Podcasts

I’ve connected with a lot of interesting people from the industry just by having a podcast listed in places like SoundCloud and Spotify.

Go to your favorite podcast platform and search for industry-related terms like “home improvement,” “contractors,” “construction,” or “remodeling,” and you’ll come across all kinds of programs designed to help you grow your business.

If you’re strapped for time, use your dedicated lunch hour or travel time as opportunities to listen to—and learn from—other home improvement pros who’ve navigated the obstacles you currently face. 

2. Join or Create Mastermind Groups

There are industry associations that have developed mastermind groups where business owners and managers of contracting companies can crowdsource marketing, sales, production, and business operations advice.

Certified Contractors Network (CCN) is one example of an association offering such services. As an employee of a window and door company that was a member of CCN, I took advantage of several of their opportunities.

Even if you aren’t a member of an organization like CCN, you can start your own version of a mastermind. I had a half dozen marketing directors from companies across the country who I turned to for ideas when lead flow lightened. 

3. Attend Industry Events

How did I assemble a group of like-minded marketing professionals that I could turn to? I attended industry events on leadership, lead gen, and sales.

I love learning from the experts on stage at these events, but I find the most value in rubbing shoulders with fellow attendees at lunch, dinner, or during after-hour festivities. This is where I learned the most and connected with people willing to help me when I was stuck.

The networking alone is worth attending industry events on at least a quarterly basis. 

4. Read Industry Publications

Of course, the guy writing for a magazine suggests reading industry publications, but where else can you get tips from industry experts without leaving the comfort of your office chair?

The information you get from the pages of this magazine and online comes directly from the brains of some of the best and brightest home improvement professionals in the country.

I think it should be supplemental to attending events and meeting people. But if you’re the shy type, reading magazines and listening to podcasts will help shorten your path to success. 

5. Connect with Contractors on Social Media

The easiest way to see what your competitors and industry idols do to grow their businesses is to follow them on social media. By following the Facebook and Instagram pages of companies that are where you eventually want to be, you gain free insight into their blueprints for business success. Then, you can swipe and deploy their ideas across areas of your own business.