By now everyone has heard of start up companies and their stories have made buzz all over the world. From lawsuits worth millions of dollars to companies that transcend the world through a platform or service. Some popular start ups that you may have heard of are Facebook, Snapchat, Uber, Instagram. And there are so many more that you’ve never heard of that have in a few years gotten billion dollar valuations!
I love the growth story of Air BnB because it accurately reflects what the start up life is about. AirBnB like a lot of start ups when they’re young are low on funds. This is truly a make it / break it point for a lot of companies. You’ve been trying to prove your model for a few months and have been losing money, not making money or worse, both. Companies will try a couple of different options at this stage but the fact of the matter is either you’re going to hustle and find a way or you’re not and die as a company. It’s that cut throat.
AirBnB was in this exact situation, not making money and time had been passing. They needed to raise money ASAP or their dream along with their company were going to die. So they got creative and created limited edition cereal boxes which they sold at conventions for $40 a pop. What cereal boxes did they create? It was 2008, and well these apparently became pretty popular. Popular to the tune of 30K which is what they made off the selling cereal boxes! (Pivot and sell cereal boxes instead of AirBnB??? Lol jk)
Pretty cool though huh? The best part about this story which is what holds true for so many start ups is this wasn’t what got them the initial funding/partner that sprung them into success and a multi-billion dollar evaluation!! BUT it did buy them time. Time to continue to figure it out and chase a wild dream. A dream that they put everything as risk for. Start ups are a beautiful thing when they work out, but there are many dark sides to it. But yeah, that’s AirBnB’s quick story of how they stayed alive and got funding that eventually blew them up to the TEN billion dollar biz it is today. Now I will tell you a little bit about our lives… (spoiler alert: no billions yet)
This is typically what an evening at our house looks like. Stephanie on her iPad answering emails, setting up her next day at work at her start up. And myself on the laptop working to juggle my Soccer Shots franchises and my start up which I Co-Founded with two of my best friends – Biznobo. The last 48 hours were kind of crazy for Steph and I. We both made what I would say are significant strides as a start up today! Thank God 🙂
The quick backstory is that we’re both currently apart of start ups that have a countdown clock to expiration. This is a very very real thing. There is X number of months left for the company that Steph is apart of to prove it’s validity as a business model before it goes under.
Well, today they made big steps in getting one step closer to the point that many start ups dream of. Getting acquired!! An acquisition sometimes are the sole motive for why start ups are created. Then there’s people like Snapchat who get offered 1 Billion Cash buyout from Facebook and you turn them down! Lol, that story is always crazy to me!
But to dive in a little bit deeper, Stephanie has always worked for corporations and been very successful at it, so much so she managed a million dollar business! That’s no small feat and what goes into that is tough, the best thing that worked in Stephanie’s favor was that this corporation had it’s structure and processes down packed and allowed her room for creativity. The perfect set up IMO for someone like her. Now? Now she must come up with EVERY single detail, color, letter, quote and mission statement for her start up that she is apart of. Oh and there’s nobody to call to for support or to guide you on how to do something, in fact she is that person and she must guide all her employee’s through her expertise and experience. Big change.
Stephanie deals with a much different set up now. She has to manage a remote team of 30 that’s spread out across the country. This is no small task, and you can imagine the frustrations from someone who is used to physically managing and motivating people. Either way, she makes it work. Through the arguments, the long drives to and from work, the stress of not knowing if she’ll have a job a month from now, mixed with the planning of a wedding and bills on top of that. There’s a lot of not so fun stuff that are associated with start ups. And this is really only scratching the surface.
Nonetheless, my personality (much more start up like mentality) lend a helping hand, her family and friends supports her through encouragement and maybe most importantly the word of God reaffirms her. Reaffirms her through life that she is EXACTLY where she is suppose to be right now. What’s the long term plan? Shoot, I wish we knew but what we do know is that God is in control. And that mixed with her work ethic is more than enough to get through any circumstance. So we’ll see what the next month brings whether it be an acquisition or they continue to build on the success and traction they’re now beginning to have!
My side: I feel like start up life was built for me! Long hours, week sprints to get something done, betting on yourself and your team to overcome the odds. I love it! Every side of it is so appealing to me and it’s not for the faint of heart! I want to mention in regards to Stephanie that I am so proud of how open minded, how adaptive and great she has become through this process. She really has grown so much as a business person and personally as well. This has made our relationship deeper and more thought provoking than ever before.
Anyways, my start up life started back in June 2013 when I bought my first Soccer Shots franchise. I moved to Boca Raton, FL with my buddy to start it up and we would do coaching at night to compliment our income since we weren’t making much money. I’m going to highlight a few moments and turning points for me that change everything really and take you to where I am today.
Quick note: I might have been and might still be the youngest buyer of a Soccer Shots franchise ever and on top of that I had ZERO college experience. But much like AirBnB you hustle, hustle, hustle and figure out a way to convince people to bet on you. To this day I’m not sure how I made it happen, but in a cocky way I guess I kind of always knew it was going to happen. What God has planned for you nobody can take away, and I really just wasn’t going to take no for an answer. I convinced three owners to take a shot on a kid with no job experience (besides playing Pro Soccer), no college experience but damn did I show my hustle and desire to want this. So I got my franchise in June of 2012 and so one of my other very good friends and I moved in together and decided let’s build this bad boy up!
1 1/2 months in: We’re living at his sisters 2BR apt with her roommate sleeping on the floor and using FAU’s color printer to get stuff printed out. Having papers all over the living room floor, trying to get our business off the ground while still looking for a place.
6 months in: I made about 8K and spent it all, either from paying staff, royalties and really just managing money poorly. So after 6 months the business account was at $128.
9 months in: I meet with a fellow owner who really just inspires me. I talk to my co-founders (just friends at the time) who motivate me, I begin to take an interest in reading more books about entrepreneurs. The book that’s helps me “get it” Delivering Happiness by Tony Hsieh.
12 months in: We start to get traction and begin growing.
15 months in: I get fired from my night coaching job that was supplementing my income (long story). Take a week to get a security license and work Soccer Shots all day and work security guard shifts from 11PM – 7AM so that it wouldn’t interfere with my Soccer Shots schedule while making enough to money to keep the business growing fast.
17 months in: We become a 6 figure business.
22 months in: I purchase a 2nd franchise
Today: We have 6 figure run business that I oversee and I have staff that leads it and is still growing. I work about 6-8 hours a week on Soccer Shots now as the majority of time is dedicated to Biznobo.
So where does my current venture land? How does it even come about if everything was going good. Well, Biznobo comes to life in a cliche Miami setting. An evening over drinks. My Co-Founders came to visit me in Fort Lauderdale and we hit a popular taco spot near my home. Not expecting anything, just catching up we get into talks of business and how we wish we could all do something together which is where Danny (one of the Co-Founders) pitches to me joining him and Alex (the other Co-Founder) in this new venture. Long story short, we discussed all the details and decided we can make it this work and we have to give it a shot! So I come on for an equity / no salary stake. And one month later they move into my building together so none of us have to commute to work and turn their apartment into our start up office space. Oh yeah, you read that right by the way no salary. I’m planning for a wedding too, so don’t ask my fiance how she feels about this!
It’s now been 3 months going on 4 @ Biznobo and work weeks don’t really exist. This is the true feeling of a start up. Some people can’t deal with this feeling of no structure (although it is actually structured internally but it’s the way we work). It usually goes something along the lines of “We need to get this done and we have one week to get it done before our meeting that we just got with this big company!” and the team proceeds to put in something ridiculous like 100 hours of work in 5 days.
To tell you that today we just finished a 30+ hour day where nobody really slept if at all, straight into our meeting and made a BIG LEAP as far as start ups are concerned. We’re leveraging a really big influencer/company to be on our side and work together with us. FYI, this is a company that makes 50MM+ per year yet, they’re interested in working together with us.
Do you see why I love start ups?! Where else can you find that?!
So yeah, that’s just a cool update on where we currently are as far as work goes and we wanted to share that today. It happened almost simultaneously and it was just amazing to see us taking big steps after a lot of hard work. I leave to San Diego on Monday for a conference which should be another big step for us in hopefully solidifying some partnerships. And Stephanie leaves on Tuesday to Virginia to go oversee the current operations of two of their clinics.
Lastly, I just want to be clear we’re not those people who want to stay in start up life. Our dreams, goals and ambitions are very clear. Get OUT of start up life as fast as possible and get to the point of a real viable successful company. But we just wanted to share with you a little bit about us and how are lives are kind of crazy right now. We still make time for blogging, taking pictures, spending time together, cooking dinner, going to the gym, reading, spending time with family and friends, reading the bible and pretty much anything we want. The trick to this is and the only real way this works is that you have to understand there is time where things will have to be sacrificed. And that’s okay, we will make time for everything that is important to us. Our favorite trick/tip is we always try to do everything that we do consciously and with intent. If there is purpose behind your every action, your actions will be true and hold weight therefore making them more authentic and enjoyable.
If you made it this far, I appreciate it. Closing the laptop now! Night…