In his new book Capital Gaines, Chip Gaines revealed that his relationship with Joanna was almost over before it really even began, all because of a trip to Mexico.
It all started when Chip and Joanna were only about six months into their relationship. Chip took a trip to Mexico for a Spanish language immersion program. He recounted that he worked with a “close-knit crew” of Mexican nationals who almost exclusively spoke Spanish.
“I was knee-deep in three different businesses, and I’d been working with the same group of Mexican guys on all of them,” Chip says in the book. “These were my boys, and something about their culture and work ethic really resonated with me.”
Gaines struggled with the language though, calling his skill level “inadequate” and comparing communication with his crew to “a bad game of charades.” So he took it upon himself to learn the language better, signing up for a three-month immersion program in Mexico.
He had an ulterior motive too, however.
“Sure, my intentions in going to Mexico to learn Spanish were sincerely admirable,” Gaines writes. “But to be honest, I was also excited about taking a few months off at the beach.”
His plans backfired on him in a big way, however, and almost cost him his relationship with his future wife.
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The problem was that Gaines had left Joanna in charge of all his business affairs while he was away, without fully preparing her for the chaos that was his daily life.
At the time, he was running a landscaping business, a laundry operation and a home rentals business.
“This may be a good time to fill you in on how I kept up with my finances back then,” he wrote. “I was pretty much self-taught in all my operating procedures as a business owner.”
He hadn’t taught Joanna, though.
“Although her talent for bookkeeping was unmatched,” Gaines wrote, “I had sorely underprepared her for the events that were about to unfold.”
So when Gaines paychecks to his crew started to bounce, they showed up at JoAnna’s father’s tire shop, demanding the money they had earned.
JoAnna ended up on the phone with Chip yelling that he had better get back home and quick. He writes of the incident in his book:
“‘Your business is a joke!’ she yelled. “‘All these people are coming to my dad’s shop demanding to be paid, and there’s no money! Lucky for you, your dad is bailing your sorry butt out. You have three days to get back to Texas, or this relationship is over.'”
Luckily, Chip took it as a growing experience and realized that entrepreneurs don’t get to hang out on the beach for three months, even if they’re there to learn Spanish.