“How did you START?” “How did you and Jenny meet?” This is the number one question I get asked. I have talked about it here and there but have never summarized it. I am going to start blogging and sharing more, so if you guys have questions, ask me! What drives me is helping others. That is my passion. I feel like my life and business experiences have taught me lessons so I can be a courier to help others through my message! I thrive off helping, no lie. Pushing others pushes me!
Okay, how did we START? It goes way back to when Jenny and I met. Jenny was running an educational magazine for photographers. I was teaching photographers and creatives how to run their business and I was invited to write articles on that topic for that magazine. (that is an article above that I wrote back in 2014)
Over the course of a year, Jenny and I casually got to know each other through working together on articles, traveling to conferences in different cities and magazine events. Long story short, we had both had issues with the owner of the magazine and when I was pregnant with Silas, I decided that I was ready to leave that stress behind and no longer produce educational content for them under any contract. In late 2014, Jenny followed suit and decided to leave the magazine as an employee in search of a healthier work environment, more balance and to pursue something of her own. She called me one afternoon looking for assurance that she was making the right decision and I knew she could find a better fit for her life, so I encouraged her to follow her gut. Jenny by trade was a graphic designer, so I started hiring her for design work (holiday cards, business documents, and templates that I was selling or giving away when teaching) and we started getting to know each other a little better.
Fast forward to April 2015, while talking about another project, I casually mentioned that one day I wanted to write a book which included productivity hacks, finances, and tools that others could use to find balance in their lives. She responded with, “I love it, I have a dream to create a planner with a more modern design one day.” She proceeded to send me a mock-up planner page that she had already designed. BOOM. Without even thinking, I said, “Jenny, what if we combine our skills and methods to create one organizational tool?” We didn’t have a business plan or even a clear direction, but together, we had a vision and jumped all in.
So in a nutshell, WE HARDLY KNEW EACH OTHER, and to make things even more challenging we lived across the country–She was in Portland, OR and I was in Atlanta, GA. We had plenty of other challenges too, I had a three-month-old, two more young boys and a husband who was not supportive of the idea because he thought I was just going to waste my time on a hobby and he didn’t understand why I would quit a career (photography) that I worked so hard to build. Jenny was a single mom and countless other obstacles were in our way. Regardless, we had a gut feeling, our intuition was nudging us along, so with zero start-up capital and no roadmap, we decided that together we could figure it all out.
These last three years have been a whirlwind, a roller coaster of learning experiences, missed paychecks, publications of being featured, and digging deep to discover our grit. Even though Jenny and I didn’t know each other when we started, she is now one of my best friends! If you are considering going into business with someone else, I would recommend taking personality tests, go on a trip together, and/or pencil out roles, responsibilities, and goals. We didn’t do any of that…. we just both just moved forward blindly and we fully acknowledge that we lucked out as far as finding a business partner goes!
A business partner is like a marriage, or any other relationship you have to maintain, communication is essential in order to work together long term. Although Jenny and I are SO different in many ways, at our core, our hearts are in the same place, our goal and work ethic are the same, we both do what needs to be done to get the job done.
Here are some throwback of Jenny and me over the last three years. And I also feel like we are just getting STARTed in a lot of ways!
This was the first planner. We sold preorders of a product we didn’t have to the startup capital to then order the product! This was tthat first sample!
Besides the penis cactus in the background, (haha) this is in Arizona at a conference I was teaching October of 2015 when we doubled our order. I fully thought we would never sell them all but it was the number we needed in order to be able to start making money at that could sustain us. So although we are smiling here….. we were both scared shitless. We sold out that year 100% of all products.
On the left is when we could finally afford to get Jenny a laptop…. and she sent me a picture cheesing it up outside of the mall!
On the right… me geeking out because we signed a lease and moved our operation outside of my garage! I got my garage back and no longer had to walk up and down 14 stairs everyday carrying planners to my front porch!
Left: Trademarks! If you are thinking about creating a product or service make sure you check that you are not impending on anyone else’s “property”.
Right: Jenny and I buying START HQ earlier this year! Our own office that we built out and transformed!
Our team growing and our own warehouse!
Currently our core team. We roughly have 9 people that work on our team but here are the full-timers that eat, sleep and breath START!
You just have to beleive!
You have to be willing to push fear aside. Step into the unknown and figure it out. Learn what you don’t know. Thankful for you Jenny! Let’s keep going friend! One person at a time… we are GOING to keep changing lives! I can feel it!