Here’s what I’ve learned from 2015: starting a business is not all that different than an endurance race. There are small victories and milestones, much like pulling into an aid station. And there are setbacks – the small stumbles and the big, dirty falls flat on your face.
Ultimately, it’s the ability to keep putting one foot in front of the other, to keep waking up day after day working toward your dream that will get you to the finish line. Also, there’s the deeper desire to push beyond your own perceived limitations and truly discover what you’re capable of.
For me launching Garage Grown Gear has been a vehicle for transformation – personal, professional and spiritual. This year, I’ve come face to face with my own limiting beliefs. Some of the limiting beliefs I’ve grappled with this year include ...
- Having a successful business requires a constantly stressed lifestyle
- I need to make everyone like me
- I don’t have what it takes to find investors
- Asking for help is scary and I don’t want to do it
With each of these beliefs I’ve been backed into a corner until I had no choice but to confront them, move through them and then realize they don’t have an iron clad grip on me. These beliefs, I’ve discovered, are only the dictators of my reality, if I let them be.
In 2015, I also learned that I can do anything – whether or not I want to. I can use complex spreadsheets, troubleshoot e-commerce conversion rates, and make tough leadership decisions. Turns out, I even have some graphic design skills up my sleeve. I probably will cry a few more times over spreadsheets before all is said and done, but it’s hugely empowering to know that I can meet any challenge.
So yes, 2015 had some rough patches – sometimes deep, dark ones involving failed presentations and poor decision making – but it had its highlights too – moments when all felt right with the world and moments when I felt on top of the world.
Hands down, one of the best parts of this business is the team that makes it happen. Chris Jensen, Erica Rice, Brooks Bostick and Chuck Trout have gone above and beyond in so many ways. They took the lead on holiday promotions, stood behind me when we hit a financial road bump, and always managed to find the humor in every situation.
We also have tremendous advisers and coaches helping us chart our path. I’m overwhelmed with gratitude by the amount of time, expertise and wisdom freely shared with us this year.
One of the more fun parts of 2015 was the opportunity to write for Outside Magazine and Gear Junkie, and be the interviewee on the Intrepid Entrepreneur podcast. With my background in journalism, I seriously geeked out over this.
Also, watching our online store blossom this year has been amazing. It's hard to believe it’s been just over a year since we launched the e-commerce side of the site. In that time, we’ve grown from 20 to 65 partnering brands. A huge thanks to all of you for trusting us with your business.
Which brings me to this year’s biggest and best highlight: getting to know you, our readers and customers. You have a zest for life and a desire to feel connected to the world around you. We thrive on the energy you share with us. Cheers to a great 2015 and even better 2016, with LOTS of time spent playing outside.
Curious to learn more about our roots? Check out the reflections I wrote last year on 2014.