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Women Who Went for It! is a bi-weekly podcast, hosted by Career Change Agent, Sara McArdle. The show features inspiring chats with successful industry changers who share how they found the clarity, courage and motivation to step into a deeper vocation and a life of meaning and fulfillment. We hope you'll see just how many before you have GONE for it—and they're eternally grateful that they took the risk!

Jan 20, 2019

Women Who Went for It Podcast Guest: Dee Williams

In this episode, Sara talks with Dee Williams about her tiny house business and minimalist lifestyle. After building and moving into her own 84 square foot tiny house in 2004, Dee saved enough money and time to cut back her hours as a hazardous waste inspector at Washington State Department of Ecology and to start a business helping others to build their own tiny homes. Dee shares a couple of big "life events" that led her to minimize, talks about redefining "success" for herself, and reveals what it's like living in someone else's backyard. Today, Dee co-owns Portland Alternative Dwellings (PAD Tiny Houses), which offers ebooks, construction plans, and in-person education to teach do-it-yourselfers to create homes that support the lives they want to live.
Want to make your own career change? Download Sara's Seven Cs of Successful Career Change Chart.
Sara and Dee Discuss:
  • How they got connected
  • Dee starting out in mathematics
  • Getting into hazardous waste
  • Working for the Department of Ecology as a Hazardous Waste Inspector
  • Starting Portland Alternative Dwellings (PAD) Tiny Houses and teaching people how to build
  • Moving into an 84 square foot house in 2004
  • Mistakes that she made building her home that she didn't want others to repeat
  • How she got into building in the first place
  • How she approaches teaching others to build
  • What led her to downsize
  • A life-changing trip to help build a school in Guatemala
  • How moving into a tiny home saved her incredible amounts of time and money
  • How she decided to spend that extra time
  • Being diagnosed with congestive heart failure
  • The sense of community—and humility!—that came with living in her friends' backyard
  • How she defines success
  • The messages that she got from her family about "career" and work when she was growing up
  • Losing her sense of autonomy while living in her friends' backyard
  • Her sense of collaboration with others and with her natural environment
  • The story of her tiny house going viral and the impact of that on her life
  • What it was like living with her husband in a 56 square foot home
  • Moving into a "huge" 500 square foot house
  • Her good fortune of keeping her health insurance while working part time at Department of Ecology
  • Going from a $1,200 mortgage and utilities to almost no housing costs
  • The adventure of living so close to nature
  • Other peoples reactions' to her moving into her tiny home
  • The sense of peace Dee felt, just "knowing" it would all work out in the end
  • Discovering her new sense of identity
  • The advice she'd give someone who's on the cusp of starting a side business in something she loves
  • ...and more! 
Dee's Full Bio:
For the last 15 years, alongside her work with the Washington State Department of Ecology, Dee Williams has been a leader in the sustainable building community with a focus on small homes and affordable housing. She co-owns Portland Alternative Dwellings (PAD), which offers ebooks, construction plans, and in-person education to teach do-it-yourselfers to create homes that support the lives they want to live. Dee has had the privilege of working with thousands of cities, counties, individuals, and the media to further green building and community design. In 2004, Dee radically downsized into a home-made 84-square foot house. Stories of her downsize have been featured in the New York Times, TIME Magazine, NPR, and other syndicated media. Coupled with the release of her book, The Big Tiny, published by Penguin/Random House, over 30 million people have either literally or virtually visited her in her tiny house.
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Phone: 503.893.2043
Want to make your own career change? Download Sara's Seven Cs of Successful Career Change Chart.