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Tag Archives: startup

Overcome your fears and stop believing lies

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The biggest thing you can do to overcome your fear of starting a business is to stop believing the lies. The lie that a new venture is less secure than your current 9-5 desk job, the lie that the new venture will never succeed, the lie that you don’t have what it takes.

Step out in faith, take a risk (not a risk taker by nature?, neither was I), but make a plan! Read books like Start and Quitter by John Acuff to inspire you to action. They key is to start NOW. Don’t wait for the right time, it will never come.

Make a plan, and work your plan….death by 1,000 cuts is the name of the game. Overnight success never happens, and startups don’t happen overnight either. Even though startups seem like a dime a dozen, they were all born out of an idea that was incubated over time.

So, stop believing that starting a business is out of reach, or too risky. With a little bit of planning and a leap of faith, your dreams can become reality.

My three favorite Austin based companies

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Kammok LogoIf you are looking to start a business, Austin is a great place to launch from. The city is full of entrepreneurs. Even though a lot of those new businesses are tech related, there are also several amazing consumer packaged good companies started out of Austin, including my own company, Bearded Brothers.

Tech companies are a dime a dozen, but entrepreneurs producing tangible products are far fewer, so if you plan on starting a business for the world’s next greatest widget then Austin, Texas is a great place to launch from. They city is full of like minded entrepreneurs, which makes for a great pool of friends to draw from for support and encouragement.

Since starting Bearded Brothers I have meet the owners of several other companies. All of them have interesting and inspiring stories. Below is a list of my three favorite Austin based companies in the consumer packaged goods market.

Kammok
Kammok makes the most comfortable and easy to use hammock you will ever lay in. Prior to meeting these guys and trying out their product I could care less about hammocks, but now I love my Kammok.

Kammok is a 1% For The Planet member, and they donate their 1% of total sales to CTC International, as well as helping children receive life saving treatments through Malaria No More. Their mission is to Equip and Inspire for Life Changing Adventure.

SPIbelt
The world’s first, and best Small Personal Item Belt. Developed by Austin local Kim Overton to solve the problem of not having a good place to store keys while running. After her, “there has to be a better way” epiphany, she created the first SPIbelt: a small no bounce waist belt to hold small personal items such as keys and cell phones.

Her company has strong local roots. In the early days of her company she provided jobs to people in the local community that allowed them to work from home producing the belts. Kim has since moved her production process to a warehouse close to downtown, but still provides jobs for people in the local community.

Chameleon Cold-Brew
This is hands down the best cold brew coffee on the super market shelves. Started by the owners of Bennu Coffee as a side project, this small company is taking off like wild fire, and now has its product on the shelves of Target in the Southwest Region. While Chameleon is still fairly small, they are available across the nation in select stores.

I have had the pleasure to meet both of the owners, and both are very generous and always willing to talk business and offer advice. Chameleon and Bearded Brothers actually recently attended Expo West in Anaheim California and were just two both spaces down from each other!


There are many other amazing companies in Austin, making it an excellent place to start a business. The community here is very supportive of local products, making it easier to get your business off the ground by getting support from the people you live closest to.

Although you will find the cost of living in Austin quite a bit higher than a lot of places, the trade off is worth it for the community of like-minded entrepreneurs you will have access to. If you are thinking of starting a consumer packaged goods business, Austin is the place!

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?

How running a fast race is like running a new business

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The first 5K I ever ran, I ran in just over 17 minutes, or a 5 minute 30 second pace (prior to this I had run many other longer distances). I don’t remember the exact time because the race was not chip timed (digitally recorded). The craziest part of my time is, I have never run that fast in my life, not even downhill. Anybody that runs with me in my running group wouldn’t believe it if I told them.

But the reason why I ran this race so well applies directly to business startups. I went into the race without any real expectations other than to not let certain people pass me (yeah, I size up other runners). I also left my GPS behind and just ran! I had fun, and I just did it. I didn’t have a GPS unit displaying my pace to let me know I was going to fast. All I had was my own will and determination to keep up with a few other runners. As it turns out those runners were FAST.

Young and old entrepreneurs alike should enter a new business venture with the same mindset: to just run the race! You shouldn’t care if you are doing everything right, or if you are on pace to meet a certain goal. You should just pursue your venture with abandon and have fun. Doing so will get you farther and faster.

Had I gone into this particular race with a goal, (I’m not saying goals are not good) I would have set the bar much lower. I would have constantly looked at my GPS and kept a pace to help me meet that goal, not exceed it. Sometimes you just have to get out there and hammer away and enjoy the process without thinking so much.

 

8 Reasons to start your business in Austin and 4 reasons you may want to reconsider

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So, you want to choose the best city to start your new business? If you have asked yourself that question, I’m sure you have thought about Austin. Having lived in Dallas before moving here I firmly believe Austin is one of the best places for any startup, whether it be tech, product oriented, or food.

Here are 8 compelling reasons to start your business in Austin.

  1. The community screams, “Support Local.” With several farmers markets, several organic farms, and hundreds of locally owned coffee shops (as well as other businesses), this community is local proud, and loves supporting local brands.
  2. Business incubators abound, and not just tech incubators. It’s home to Incubation Station, a business incubator geared towards consumer packaged goods, and there are plenty of office spaces geared towards co-working.
  3. High net worth community. If you are looking for investors, Austin is filled with people of high net worth in a relatively small area. Austin may be big, but it has a small town feel.
  4. Networking is a breeze. Because Austin has a small town feel it’s easy to network and meet new people to partner with. And, since the community is so supportive of local you won’t have a problem finding somebody willing to give you a moment of their time to help you with your startup.
  5. Looking to start a consumer goods food business? Austin is the Silicon Valley of food. There are numerous packaged food companies in Austin, some already large, some on the rise. A few of them are: Sweet Leaf Tea, Oatmega Bar (Boundless Nutrition), Bearded Brothers, Kosmic Kombucha, Daily Greens, Food for Lovers, Zhi Tea, and many more.
  6. Festivals abound! Aside from the business side of things, there is some sort of festival going on nearly every weekend. There is not shortage of quality entertainment here in Austin, and many of the events are free.
  7. If you love the outdoors then Austin is a wonderful place to live. There is access to the Greenbelt trail system from downtown, cycling routes through the beautiful hill country, and you have loads of State Parks within an hour and a half driving distance from town.
  8. Food trucks, food trucks, food trucks. LOTS of them, on every other corner! Not only that but Austin is also home to several other fine eateries. Austin is often known as the music capital of the US, but it is also a great place to eat!
Town Lake Austin

Austin’s Town Lake from the I35 pedestrian walkway.

 But Austin also has its drawbacks; here are some reasons you might make you reconsider

  1. Traffic is a nightmare. If you think traffic is bad where you live, Dallas I’m talking to you, try living in Austin. It may take you forty-five minutes to an hour to drive 35 miles in DFW, but in Austin it will take you an hour just to drive 12 miles during rush hour.
  2. The population is BOOMING. Hundreds of people are moving to Austin every day, condos are going up on every other corner, especially near downtown. Yet nothing is done to improve the roads. The population is getting dense.
  3. If you need your own office or production facility built, the city is currently backlogged with permits. It may take months to get your plans approved.
  4. Even finding already existing office/production space can be difficult because so many other startups are looking for the same type of space.

 

There will be cons anywhere you live, but even in locations like Austin that have a list of cons, the pros far outweigh them. Otherwise, why would people flock there? I love Austin, it’s one of two places in Texas I would want to live, the other being Denton. But, as a business owner and a lover of the outdoors I feel Austin is the perfect home in Texas.