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How to love your entrepreneur

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Caleb, Kristy, and Abigail

Caleb, Kristy, and Abigail

Today, I present you with a guest post from my loving and supporting wife, Kristy. She has been right by my side ever since starting my entrepreneurial  journey with Bearded Brothers. It has been amazing to have such a supportive wife by my side over the past three years. We have both learned a lot during that time, and today Kristy shares her advice for other wives of entrepreneurs.

I’m no marriage or business expert, but I have had the privileged of being married to a visionary man and learning from his entrepreneurial spirit. Our journey has not always been easy and most of what I’ve learned so far has been trial and error (mostly error). Every now and then, women will ask me how I do it. I imagine what they mean is how do I stay (somewhat) flexible and (mostly) sane under the pressure of starting a family business. Well, here are just a few lessons I’ve learned along my path of loving my entrepreneur

1- I am his biggest fan, not his critic. This is especially important in the early, formative stages of the business planning. When Caleb first entertained the idea of starting Bearded Brothers, there was a fair amount of uncertainty in both of us. I could have easily pointed out every reason why this was a risky move, but I chose to cheer him on. Thankfully, I had already learned from wiser women that encouraging my husband to follow his dreams does not mean passively saying, “Whatever you want, Dear.” What it does mean is giving him the space and support to figure things out on his own, knowing that I’ve got his back, even if his idea fails completely.

2- I am his sounding board. This one is probably the most difficult for me to master. Caleb and I have always enjoyed recapping our days over dinner. We share our highlights, problems and triumphs. This was all great, until we started a family business. Now, when he comes home with worries and set-backs, it is personal. I mean, if he comes home worried about making payroll or paying rent on the commercial kitchen, I naturally want to freak out. Because not making payroll means we don’t eat. I’ve had to learn the hard way that what he needs in those moments is for me to listen and let him mentally unload. My job is to let his worries be his worries and not take them on and try to solve them myself. Do I occasionally give him my advice? Yes. But I try to choose those moments wisely.

3- I help him separate work from home. It is so easy for entrepreneurs to be workaholics and I understand why. There is never an end to Caleb’s to-do list and, these days, business is happening 24/7. Making sure your family and marriage get quality time is tough, but so worth it. I suggest communicating early on about expectations. Does the phone turn off at 6pm? Are there appropriate/inappropriate times for checking email? Are tweets and status updates considered date night activities? Having these conversations will hopefully keep you from resenting his work and keep him from being consumed by it.

I hope you enjoyed this little peek into our marriage and that you will find some benefit from it. Loving an entrepreneur isn’t always easy, but knowing you are following the man you love on the journey toward his dream job is an amazing experience. I’d love to hear your thoughts and insights from your journey!

Do the hustle

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frydoesthehustle2After my last post, Why I will never work more than 40 hours a week, I thought I should clarify some things and give you a bit of inspiration. I may only work 40 hours a week and have a lot of flexibility in my schedule, but it wasn’t always like that…

  1. I spent 8 years working a J.O.B…I clocked in at 8am and out at 5pm, every day, like clockwork. I was a chronic clock-watcher; I hated my job.
  2. There were a couple of occasions I almost left those full time jobs to pursue photography and web design, but fear held me back.
  3. Fear, REALLY held me back. It also stopped me from even pursuing better 9-5 jobs that were a better fit for me.
  4. Dan Miller of 48Days.net inspired me through his books, 48 Days to the Work you love and No More Dreaded Monday’s, to step out and start doing something I was truly passionate about.
  5. I went through career coaching with Kent Jullian. Kent helped me realize where I was gifted, what my strengths where, and how to pursue jobs that would really matter to me.
  6. I hit the ground running hard. I had a dream of moving to Colorado. I put my house on the market and got a contract on it. I took days off work to travel to Colorado on my own dime and look for work, a place to live, and interview for a job, as well as knock on doors of other companies I wanted to work for.
  7. Keep in mind all this job hunting, career coaching, and book reading I was doing was on top of my full time job, but it was paying off! I even got a job offer in Colorado, but then things took a really interesting turn…my ex-girlfriend made a surprise visit to Denton to let me know she had a change of heart and loved me. As you might imagine, this shook things up, especially since this was coming from the mouth of a woman I had been chasing for over two years.
  8. While the location I ended up living in changed, I still was determined to pursue work I was truly passionate about. Austin was also on my list of places I wanted to live, so I felt like there was really no compromise on that end, plus I got to be with the most amazing woman in the world. Rather than fall into a rut and pursue the typical job in the same field I had been working in, I put in my two weeks notice as soon as I found a renter for my house,  and moved to Austin, without a job and only about $4k in savings.
  9. Once I got to Austin I began to hustle even more. I emailed every person I knew in Austin in the design and photography industry, looking for work. I scheduled appointments with old friends to network. But, as hard as I worked on that, nothing was happening, I wasn’t getting work, savings was running out, and I was getting scared.
  10. Moving to Austin was also the aha moment for me with Bearded Brothers. I had the idea for the energy bar business in the back of my head for quite some time, and my brother-in-law and I had toyed around with the idea of starting a business together. Both of us wanted more freedom in our lives, and wanted to do work we were truly passionate about.
  11. Seeing how Austin was the perfect place to launch the business (athletic people, healthy-minded individuals, lots of vegans and vegetarians) we began to work, and hit the ground running hard.
  12. My wife and I decided to make a huge sacrifice and live off just her income while we got the business off the ground. Keep in mind my wife also made considerably less than I did when I was single, but yet we still made it work. We had originally thought I would at least start pulling in some income at the 6-month mark, but it really wasn’t until we hit 2 years that we were able to pay me anything.
  13. We grinded it out and worked hard. We recruited friends to help us, we had late nights packaging tiny samples into little green foil bags, we had “labeling parties” where we slapped labels on the bar wrappers during family time, or when we had friends over – I’m sure they loved getting put to work. There were plenty of days during our formative years over 40 hours a week, but even then I strived to keep overtime to a minimum.
  14. Chris and I visited every store in those early days, and still do a majority of the sales. Every account we have gained has been from hard work and pure hustle. The accounts didn’t start coming to us until we had close to 200 stores carrying our products.
  15. Even now, 3 years into running Bearded Brothers, we are busting our tails. We work hard, so we can enjoy time with our family and friends, and do other things we love. Our work isn’t a cakewalk; there are plenty of aspects about our business we don’t enjoy. Being a small business means you have to wear MANY hats and do pretty much a little bit of everything.

Running your own business and being your own boss is amazing, especially when you really believe in the work you are doing, and that it truly matters. But it takes hard work and hustle to get there. It takes letting go of fear and believing that you are truly capable of great things.

For me, it took letting go of fear. Fear of how I would survive on a smaller income, how I would go without insurance… fear of succeeding was even plaguing my mind. I had always been an underling, how would I possibly be able to start a business from the ground up and manage people? The idea of doing something great, or even working for myself and setting my own schedule was paralyzing in a lot of ways, but when I finally decided to leap – the freedom I experienced was amazing. The burden I felt lifted off my shoulders was heavier than I thought, and the feeling of freedom was, and still is intoxicating!

Maybe you are somebody stuck in a traditional 9-5 job and want out. Maybe it’s because you just want work that is a better fit for you, or to work less hours, or maybe you have the entrepreneur bug like me and want to start your own business. Well, I’m here to tell you today, that you probably think it’s impossible, but It’s NOT.

Below are a few motivational resources that were VERY beneficial to me when it came to figuring out the next steps and how to make my dream a reality. Heck, it even helped me find my dream. When I first started the career coaching process I only wanted to find a better 9-5 job, but by the end I was almost in tears at times because I realized just how much I wanted to work for myself, and serve others in the way I was gifted to.

Books and other resources to help advance your dream

  • Dan Miller – 48 Days.net (listen to the Podcast and join the community forum)
  • Dan Miller – 48 Days to the Work You Love (book)
  • Dan Miller – No More Mondays (book)
  • Jon Acuff – Start – (Although I read this recently It’s highly encouraging)
  • Kent Jullian – Career Coaching (really helped me to know how to find jobs, and ultimately how to find what I really want to do). It doesn’t have to be Kent, but I’m a firm believer in the power of Career Coaching.
  • Strengths Finder 2.0 – Helps you find your strengths so you know good job fits, and just know yourself better
  • DISC Assesment – Another great and more detailed tool to help you find you strengths and work you are best suited for
  • Dave Ramsey – The Total Money Makeover – I include him on here because debt may be hindering you from pursuing your dream, also check out his book EntreLeadership as well. It provides great wisdom for business owners, based on his 20 years of experience.

Why I will never work more than 40 hours a week

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In today’s society being a workaholic is esteemed. People that burn the midnight oil to get a project done wear their accomplishment as a badge of honor, but is it really an accomplishment? How is working MORE something we should aspire to? If you are putting in more hours at the office you are putting in less time with family, friends, and exercising. Something we all need to stay healthy.

Now let me clarify this. I’m not saying I NEVER work more than 40 hours a week, because there are certainly times where that is necessary, but it’s not the norm. Family, friends, and life are far more important than any amount of work you can do at the office, or building a business, even if that project can cure cancer. Time spent working comes at a cost, many times that is neglected relationships and/or personal health. Below are eight reasons why I chose not to overwork myself, in pictures.

 

Horseshoe Canyon Ranch Camping

My daughter Abby at 8 months.

 Weekend rock climbing trips with my wife and daughter.

 

Town Lake - Austtin

Town Lake from the Lamar St. pedestrian bridge.

Running Town Lake with my daughter. Every other weekend we go on an 11 mile run around the lake.

Galveston Sea Wall Biking

Family biking weekend along the Galveston Sea Wall

 Weekend bike rides at the beach with my wife and daughter.

 

Fun photo at a friend's wedding.

Fun photo at a friend’s wedding.

 Date nights with my wife.

 

Baby Swing

Abby, enjoying the swing. Once she’s in, it’s hard to get her out.

Play time with my daughter.

 

Cactus Rose Ultramarathon

45.5 miles into a 50 mile race, and happy as a clam! Had I been working too much I wouldn’t have been able to train for this race, TWICE!

 Trail races, by myself, and sometimes with family.

 

Kristy and at Emerald Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park.

Kristy and at Emerald Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park.

Breathtaking views of the mountains.

 

Day of the Dead Festival that we randomly stumbled into during a family walk.

Day of the Dead Festival that we randomly stumbled into during a family walk.

Impromptu , family fun times.

Even if you don’t have a family; overworking only causes you stress and to miss out on more important things in life – people! Even if you do something for a living that you absolutely love (like myself), burning the midnight oil just to grow faster or get ahead always comes at a cost.

If you struggle to get lots done in an eight hour day I would suggest trying the KanBan system for prioritizing and organizing work. Since implementing this system my productivity has gone up significantly, thus leaving me more time to spend with family and do other things I love.

The Mountains are Calling and I must Go

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Hallet Peak - Dream Lake

My wife, Kristy (5 months pregnant with Abby) at Dream Lake, below Hallet Peak in Rocky Mountain National Park

“The Mountains are Calling and I must Go”, the quote is from famous naturalist and mountaineer John Muir. It’s a beautiful quote that adequately proclaims my love and enjoyment of the mountains. My love for the outdoors was instilled in my by my father, who from a very early age took me fishing, hunting, and camping in Colorado. Although we never took backpacking or climbing trips, my love for mountains eventually took me there, and now it has taken me from road running to trail running.

On a trip last Summer to Estes Park with my wife, we passed a placed called Hermit Junction, a place I was destined for had I not gotten married two years earlier. At times I envy the free spirt dirt bags that do nothing but climb rocks hike and sleep under the stars, but then I remember nature was often times medicine for when I felt lonely, confused, or frustrated with life. But now, we have a beautiful daughter and one more child on the way. I can’t wait to share the outdoors with them.

Abby has already survived numerous camping trips with us, and she is not even one year old yet (she turns one next week). There is just something about being outdoors, especially in the mountains that soothes the soul. There is something about being in nature that I feel draws one closer to God. I can’t say that everybody that enjoys the outdoors experiences the same thing, but for me it’s an undeniable experience. I have yet to take a trip to the mountains and not return refreshed with new perspective.

The outdoors provides something you don’t normally get while living in the city….silence! The opportunity to dialogue with yourself, to talk to God, to enjoy the beauty of creation. It gives you the opportunity to slow down (even when you are running). Trail running has become a way of escape for me, as opposed to road running where I would just plug in my headphones and jam out for 4-13 miles. Now, I’m running 6-25+ miles on the trails, sans headphones. Granted a lot of my focus and attention is on the run, but at times I’m able to just zone out, let the worries of the week fade away and enjoy nature. This is especially true on mountain runs, as I’m more focused on taking in the scenery than on how fast I am going.

Experiencing the outdoors is something I would encourage everybody to do. Even if it’s a short two mile hike from the trail head, you can see and experience things that most of the world never will. It changes your perspective, it makes you realized how small you really are, it helps clear the mind, it refreshes the spirit, and renews the mind. So, get outdoors, enjoy nature, let loose of the hustle and bustle.

Personal thoughts after Senate Bill 5 failed to pass

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Pro Life

My 9 month old daughter. She is the result of an unplanned pregnancy, but is the joy of my life!

In the wake of Senate Bill 5 (restricting abortions after 20 weeks) not passing I thought I would share a bit of a personal story… My daughter was an unplanned pregnancy.

At the time my wife and I became pregnant we were in the middle of a launching a startup business, so we only had one income, which was my wife’s. We both wanted to have children, but our plan was to wait until the business took off and was paying my salary.

But life rarely goes as planned. In January of 2012 we found out we were pregnant. I was scared out of my mind at first. I had no idea how we were going to afford supporting a child on the income my wife was earning from a non-profit organization. But even with all the fear the thought of abortion never entered our minds.

Our goal was also to have my wife become a stay at home mom when we had children. That seemed impossible, but never did my wife tell me to sacrifice my own dream and get a “real job”. She remained steadfast and supportive and carried our child. My wife perhaps was more hopeful than I was, but we both stepped out in faith, having confidence that God was going to provide for us and take care of us.

Having a child when we did didn’t fall in line with our plans, yet here we are today with a beautiful 9 month old baby girl. We love her so much, and I’m confident if we did not have her we would have regretted it. Our daughter brings us so much joy and life.

During our pregnancy we first began feeling our child kick at 19 weeks. But even before that my wife and I both felt a connection with our little girl (although at the time both assumed she was a boy). The child that grew within my wife is a life, and always was. But before she was born she didn’t have a voice of her own, and that is why I’m suddenly becoming so vocal about this issue I once rarely spoke out on.

Unborn children need a voice. It seems more people speak out against the life of a house pet (at least I see that a lot in Austin) more than they do in favor of allowing children to live. Life is life no matter how you look at it. It doesn’t matter if the mother of that child lives below the poverty line, or if the child is at risk for downs syndrome… the child deserves to live and experience life!

I will continue speaking up for tiny unborn children until their cries are heard.