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Fatherpreneurship, six tips for being a great business owner and father

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First of all I’m super excited to announce the birth of my son Joshua. He was born on Friday, May 16 at 3:44 p.m. He weighted 10lbs 9oz. My wife is a super woman, and has done something infinitely harder than any Ultra Marathon I will ever run.

Hello, World!

Hello, World!

The birth of Joshua got me thinking a lot about how much of a privilege it is to have a family and be an entrepreneur. Running your own business essentially allows you to set your own schedule so that you can have more time with family.

Here are six tips for being an awesome father and entrepreneur. For some entrepreneurs, this might not be easy, but I can tell you from personal experience these things work, and are totally worth it. It will strengthen your relationship with your kids, and your spouse.

1. Don’t make 50-60 hour workweeks the norm. Limit your workweeks to 40 hours or less on a normal week. If you do find yourself needing extra hours to get things done, wake up early in the morning to complete those tasks, rather than cutting into family time in the evening.

2. Establish a work cut off time. For me this is typically 5pm, but I sometimes take calls until 6pm because of time zone differences. Once I’m home, that time is family time. I even have my phone scheduled to enter do not disturb mode every day at 6pm, and it stays that way until 7am the next day.

3. The home life is your sanctuary. Guard the time you have with your family in the evening. Resist checking email, and don’t check social media. I admit these are actually hard ones fore me to be consistent with, but when I do I find the time with my daughter and newborn son much more rich, and my wife appreciates it A LOT as well.

4. Take your kids along for the ride. We all have hobbies, so include them in your hobbies with you. I love running and rock climbing, so I try to take my daughter on a run with me at least once a week, and I bring her to the crag to go climbing whenever I can. The running actually ends up giving my wife a break from taking care of the little one, and the trips to the crag give the entire family time to bond. Sure, your training plans are going to look different with a little one in tow, but sharing the joys you have with your children are far more important than setting a new PR in your next race.

5. Stop being selfish. Just as you have to focus on the needs of your team to have a successful business, you have to focus on the needs of your family to have a rocking family life. If you focus less on yourself and more on your little ones and wife, life will be much more rich.

6. Get your work life organized. If you struggle working 50-60 hours a week, chances are you are not working efficiently, and are wasting lots of time. The most valuable thing you can do for yourself and your family is to get organized so that you can peacefully leave work at the end of each day and be devoted to family time. I highly recommend the KanBan system for organization, as well as reading Getting Things Done by David Allen.

Being overworked sucks! Being in control of your work and spending time with your family is awesome. How do you manage running a business and carving out quality time with your family?

When the situation is out of your control

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Expo West Booth

Bearded Brothers at Expo West in Anaheim California.

Sometimes things are just out of your control, and you have to accept that, but at the same time I believe everything is for a reason. This past weekend Bearded Brothers attended its first Expo West Show in Anaheim California. This is THE largest trade show for natural product brands in the country, possibly the world.

We were super excited about exhibiting this year, but when we signed up all that was left was 6ft table spaces in an area that was two stories above the main expo floor. A place we really didn’t want to be because traffic was low. We were on the waiting list for a full sized booth, and a couple months later they decided to open up a new area called, ‘The Arena;” and we secured an awesome corner both space!

Little did I know, nobody would think to come to the Arena area, just like nobody thought to attend the 6ft tables at last years show. It turns out the area we passed up presenting in was swarming with attendees, and the arena was a snooze fest in terms of traffic compared to the rest of the show.

Our second day ended up being much better than the first after word got out that the Arena was there, but even on the third day just about everybody I ran into on the main show floor didn’t even know the Arena existed.

Despite the disappointment we made the best of it. We enjoyed higher quality conversations with the attendees that did come by, and when we returned home to cull through our leads list. It turns out we had way more promising leads than we actually thought.

I also have to believe we ended up exactly where we were supposed to be, despite how much I complained to show management about the poor job they did at promoting the new space. Even though it seemed dismal in the moment, it seems as though we are going to end up doing very well as a result of attending the show. We even had a big grocery chain contact us that we never even know stopped by the booth. Their buyer must have been incognito.

Things often times may seem bleak, but remember you never know what will happen as a result of your current situation. At the very least you will learn a life lesson, what not to do the next time, or how to overcome a difficult situation.

When things are out of your control you simply make the best of the situation and learn to work around the problem that it presents, rather than passively hoping something changes. Running and growing a business presents constant challenges. It never truly gets easier; the types of challenges merely change. I used to me envious of people because I thought there job was easy, but the more I grow my business the more I realize there will always be things out of your control and that challenges and difficulties present themselves in a plethora of different ways.

So, I encourage you to look at setbacks and challenges as a good thing. When a situation is beyond your control, accept that and figure out a creative solution to make your situation better or just see it as a sign that something better is coming, or that it’s simply providential for a reason unknown to you.

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.

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.

Being a father rocks, 7 reasons why fatherhood is so amazing

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Horseshoe Canyon Ranch

Abby and I at Horseshoe Canyon Ranch in Arkansas. Photo Credit: Brandon Hall

When I first got married I thought I wanted kids almost right away, but soon after Kristy and I were wed, fear hit me over the head and I saw what I thought would be a life that took away rather than give life. But the truth is that being a father is one of the most rewarding, life-giving things on this side of eternity. Here are my top seven reasons for why being a father is so amazing.

Selflessness by force

Are you selfish? Chances are, YES. Well, being a father will help you die to yourself and start living for another human being. If getting married didn’t help you with that enough, having a child will totally change your perspective on life.

A child will help you stop living for yourself and start investing in another. You spent the first 20 something years of your life living for yourself. Children allow you to grow beyond that and start investing/mentoring, just like your parents (hopefully) did with you.

Waking up to a smiling face

Waking up to your child smiling and bouncing around is pure joy. In the middle of writing this paragraph I actually got up just to see my daughter whom I heard spouting baby babble in the other room. She was excited to start the day and was ready to see her parents. It was a joy to take a break from writing to see her standing up in her crib smiling.

Teaching values

Just as your parents and mentors throughout life taught you the values that shaped who you are, parenthood gives you that opportunity to shape the life of another human being. As scary as it sound, it’s a huge privilege and should be taken seriously. And don’t be afraid of teaching YOUR values to your child. Just because you teach them what you believe to be right doesn’t mean they will go up accepting every single bit of it. Though I hold to many of the values my dad taught me through the years, there are some issues we don’t agree on.

Sharing your passions

When I grew up my dad would always take me camping, fishing, and hunting. I loved the outdoors. I always looked forward to our family trips to places like Colorado and Yellowstone National Park. I no longer fish or hunt, but my involvement in the outdoors lead to my love for camping, backcountry hiking, and rock climbing.

It’s these passions that I have already started sharing with my daughter. She is only eight months old and we have already taken her camping three times, and another trip already on the calendar.

Watching a human life grow

There is something amazing about watching a human life develop. From the moment my daughter emerged from the womb she has been learning, growing and observing life. It seems like every single day she develops a new skill or awareness. I’m in awe of how much a simple child can know. It’s an amazing reflection of God’s sovereign design and work in creation. The mountains, trees and streams have always blown my mind, but nothing is more mind-blowing and inspiring than watching a child grow.

Your worldview changes

Having a child helps you understand love in a whole new way. Scripture says God loves people like a father loves his child and it becomes clear just how deep that love is when you have a child. Depending on the household you grew up in, you might have experienced a great amount of love from your father, but you can’t truly know the extent of that love until you become a father.

Having a daughter of my own has helped me to value life in ways I never have before. I felt like I began to know her even when she was in the womb. Our relationship began before she even emerged to see the light of the world. Her activity in the womb gave us a pretty good indication of how she would be; active and happy, and that is just how she is today.

Joy in so many little things

There are countless little things that bring you joy. Seeing my daughter laugh and smile from getting tossed into the air, hearing her let out shrieks of excitement for no apparent reason, watching her pull up and stand for the first time, seeing her climb up the sides of the couch before she can even walk (hoping this is an indicator she will be a climber), and many other things are a simple delight.

When I first found out we were pregnant I was hesitant to accept the roll of fatherhood, and it was mostly for selfish reasons. But now that I have a child I wouldn’t trade her for the world, or any other experience. I love my daughter and am extremely thankful for her. I look forward to sharing many great and exciting experiences with her.