When I decided to write a book about co-founding BushSmarts.com it wasn’t because I was famous, rich or had some secret sauce that allowed us to get to the top. In fact, we are so very much in the thick of things that even though we’ve crossed some major “fail” benchmarks there’s still no certainty of light at the end of the tunnel.
I decided to write it because I find there’s a huge deficit of in-the-trenches business books that comprehensively assess the vital nuances of starting out.
In my case, I had just gotten married and found out my wife was pregnant 6 months after saying “I do.” She had a contract job that was ending mid-way through the pregnancy and I had just started out on my own as a freelancer, that meant our income was about to get cut in half with very little warning. It wasn’t the smartest and most prudent time to partner with someone else in a business venture but we made it work. Besides being #blessed, I attribute our survival to my lifestyle design addiction, allowing us to navigate some very rough seas–for at least 3 years now.
It’s been a little over a month since I started the book process and I’ve already seen two major podcasts interviewing businesses during their pre/post inflection point.
Huckberry on The Art of Manliness
Coincidentally Bush Smarts and Huckberry have worked together on a few projects in the past couple of years. Their company is a little bit older than ours and has experienced significant growth, despite also being bootstrapped. Their founders Richard Greiner and Andy Forch come from a finance background and filled the need in the market for discovering mens brands riding the line of heritage and style. They discuss their reasons for launching, how they funded and what competitors rose up in the process. A highly recommended listen, as they are also very much in the thick of it. Listen here >
Tracy DiNunzio of Tradesy
on Tim Ferriss Podcast
Her story is fascinating: no business background and a wandering artist with no interest (initially) in tech. She leveraged her understanding of the sharing economy to fund her ideas and was eventually accepted into the LA-based incubator LaunchPad. From there she received $1.5 million in initial funding and has grown since. It was especially interesting to hear how she decided to take the funding route, how it changed things and what her opportunities are for continued growth. In true Tim Ferriss fashion he digs deep and it’s a 3-part podcast. Listen here >
The value of in-the-trenches stories
In childbirth, at the final moment when a woman’s pain is most severe, there is an intense release of oxytocin which not only numbs the pain (barely) and bonds the mother to the child, but also scrubs her memory of the agony. Women joke that this is the only reason that they are willing to have a second child.
When founders acquire their wealth and write in hindsight, it’s almost impossible not to gloss over the fog of war, the fear, the ecstasy and hardships that can go into building a business. Were decisions based on data? When there were equal opportunities or challenges, how were decisions made? What was your family like? There’s so much texture in hearing things first-hand.
Since launching Bush Smarts, I’ve been approached by multiple friends, associates, students and sometimes strangers about what the process looks like, how to fund, how to leave your job, have kids and all sorts of topics. They could easily read the whole business section of Barnes & Nobles but again, that doesn’t give the same effect of someone telling the story at “step one.”
Quitting has its merits
There’s a growing trend highlighting stories of founders, CEO’s and other successful business persons explaining why the left their ventures despite significant income prospects. These don’t often become books, but maybe that will change too.
Marcus Nelson left his startup: Addvocate
Tech Crunch Article
I found Marcus via his brother, in a Dad Blogger’s network that we’re both in. He wrote a magnificent story “Facing Hard Truths” about his decision to leave the Bay Area, specifically to build a better life for his family.
CEO Mohamed El-Erian Quits After Receiving Note from his Daughter
He resigned with much speculation in January, but it just came out that he quit after receiving a note from his daughter highlighting the missed moments of her life. Granted he’s not a small business or startup founder (PIMCO is a trillion-dollar business) but the principle stands that his most-memorable career takeaway will be choosing his daughter over seeing his business endeavors go to full fruition – if such state applies at that level.
Where Things Are Going
Principle, will always matter. Life and business will always require constant reminders of things we already know, because we’re apt to forget, and those texts will sustain as “classics.” They’re the Druckers, Buffetts, Welches and Ferriss’ of the world. But the detail gaps they establish will be filled at one level by the 15 Godin books, the 3 Vaynerchuk books, etc. and at an emerging level by the stories of Huckberry, Tradesy, and I hope soon, Bush Smarts. Written in the youth of their ventures, the stories grow and emerge–providing insight, relevance and direction along the way.Follow worklifedad