In 2013, I said goodbye to my work family after serving thousands of people across Tennessee for almost 7 years. Everyone that has spent any time in the marketplace understands the pain, heartache, and anxiety this can cause. Leaving your daily routine. Transitioning from one job to the next. It’s never easy. And it’s always difficult.
But this transition was different. Because the next job was the one that was going to change my life forever.
I was leaving a stable, secure income for a startup — my own company, Soulheart.
In a pun-filled way, you could say I was on the start of my success. Enter reality check. Bills don’t pay themselves. Clients don’t operate with your own sense of urgency when it comes to spending money. And people will always fail you, even great friends. In fact, friends and family will doubt you are doing the right thing and encourage you to quit, to leave, to get a real job again.
And yet here I am today and I wouldn’t change it worth anything.
The journey to success is a roller coaster of emotions
Deciding to run my own company was a great chance to fulfill a dream – to start my own company before I turned 30. I succeeded with 17 days to spare! Everyone loves the excitement and energy that dreams provide, but no one is prepared for the emotional roller coaster of the business world.
One minute everything is going great. The next minute a key client leaves and you can’t pay your employees or contractors. Today your clients are secure and safe. Tomorrow your client experiences an emergency and reneges on a contract in order to keep afloat.
I’ve experienced the highs and lows of business from major profitability to debt to so much work I could barely keep up to such a loss of work I’ve wondered if I should fold and get a job instead. This roller coaster is one you have to handle with care and manage well. Surround yourself with the right team. The right support group. And take every moment as a significant one to further build the dream and vision you had in the beginning.
The key to lasting success is a lasting vision
When I started Soulheart, I began by building a lasting vision – to design and build products that make a positive impact on people’s lives.
Everything we do follows this. And if we want to pursue something that doesn’t fulfill this, we say no or end the relationship.
In the middle of a successful run of new business, I had to let go of some really good paying opportunities. I walked away from a $60K client and a $20K client. People around me were questioning if I was doing the right thing, but they fell out of our focus and vision.
Making tough choices is something you do every single day when running a successful company.
But it’s not easy. And it takes a rock-solid mission to help ground those decisions and allow me to make them with confidence.
Confidence will allow you to build something beautiful
People need leaders. Leaders need leaders. And the only thing separating someone from the top is usually a lack of confidence.
People want to belong to something, and, as a leader, I’ve had to learn to inspire confidence in my team during the tough times. But confidence is not always pretending to know the answer. Sometimes it is relying on your team to help with the answer when you are struggling with a decision.
Confidence is vulnerability that builds trust mixed with faith and risk.
This is how I operate every single day. If I am not forced to make decisions about my business, our future, and our potential partnerships that are out of my comfort zone, then I believe I am playing it too safe. I routinely put us in a position where all the cards are on the table because I believe walking by faith is so much more rewarding. That kind of vulnerability gives you the backbone to make tough decisions which is the confidence you need to build something great.
Making America Great Again
How can you not use the most overused slogan in our country at this time? 🙂
I believe one of the best parts of our country is how simple it is for entrepreneurs to start something new and build something that helps improve people’s lives.
And that’s why I am so thankful to you. To our clients. To those who have gone before. And those who will carry on long after we’re gone. The spirit of dreaming big and walking on the edge of faith, risk, reward, opportunity, and bet-the-farm thinking is my passion. My heartbeat. It wakes me up and keeps me up. Because we aren’t guaranteed tomorrow. Some of us don’t even get much more out of today. But the one thing we can control is what we are doing right now.
I challenge each of you to listen to your heart. Follow your dream. Pursue your passions. Don’t wait until a time in the future when everything is perfectly fitting your life plans. Do it, now. And never look back again on what could have been. Look back and smile for what is.
The Next Chapter of a Never Ending Story
So what now? What do we turn ourselves to at this point of the story?
When I started this company, our goal was to build websites, apps, and products. We started with the web, moved into apps, and this past year we launched our first product. It’s been a great run and we’re just getting started.
We believe in progressing forward and the next phase of the journey starts with WE.
I decided to lay out the next phase of our journey so that the entire world could see and celebrate when we accomplish our milestones:
- We will continue to design and build websites, apps, and products
- We will begin using inbound marketing techniques to help fuel growth and revenue for websites, apps, and products
- We will convert our contractors into employees in 2016
- We will keep creating training for businesses, churches, and nonprofits to help them take advantage of digital marketing
Why does this matter? It is the moment we reinvent ourselves again. Steve Jobs once stood on a stage and famously declared, “Today Apple is going to reinvent the phone.” The rest was history and Apple is now the single largest company in the world.
Big vision requires consistent iteration. Pivots. Tweaks.
This is what we hope to accomplish. Becoming that company that makes a positive impact on people’s lives. That progresses with hope and a goal-driven future. And that allows us to still pursue dreams years after we started our journey.
Follow our journey. Start your own if you haven’t yet. And if you are on your own journey down the long road of entrepreneurship and success, know we are with you, for you, and believe in you.
And the best is yet to come!