The Three "S's" - How I Redefined Success

Perception is everything. Especially in a world where we're surrounded by successful athletes, entrepreneurs, models, actors & musicians on every form of media from print to radio to TV. Overnight successes are instantly created by shows like Shark Tank, and we're left to thinking that one day....just one day our "big break" will happen and we'll fit the necessary criteria to be labeled as successful.

Just like many other "wantrepreneurs," I was fascinated by the success of well-known entrepreneurs like Richard Branson (Virgin), Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook) & Tim Ferriss (4 Hour Work Week) and the value that they were able to create through their business. I was striving to observe and soak in as much as possible during my years studying Entrepreneurship at college hoping that one of my crazy ideas would launch me into the realm of successful innovators.

As I mentioned in a previous post, my opportunity for success happened at the intersection of timing, opportunity (market) & choice. I made the decision to help the farmers and begin on a journey that would hopefully lead to success, recognition & appreciation. Since that time almost a year ago, my perception of success has evolved and matured in ways giving me the opportunity to create value in ways I never envisioned.

The 3 S's - How I Now Define Success.

1. Simple

While studying Entrepreneurship in college, I wanted to create value and build a business that changed lives on a large scale. After spending the last year traveling & building the business, I've realized what I value most. Not the recognition, being labeled as successful or the opportunity to massively scale the business, but the freedom that owning a business gives me. Obviously not all businesses will provide freedom (think brick & mortar), but I've increasingly noticed my passion for freedom because of the time that's created to do what I love most - be with friends and family. As I approach my wedding date & look to start a family, I know I will value this even more to spend as much time as possible with my wife and kids.

2. Smart

Sometimes the most powerful thing you can say is "no." It's exciting to be presented with opportunities to expand and grow a business, but it's not always the smartest decision to do that. Recently, we were presented with the opportunity to expand globally, but we realized that this would bring more stress and take away our freedom. We value the compliment that the opportunities gave us, but we value our freedom more.

3. Significant

Einstein said it best: "try not to become a man of success, but rather try to become a man of value." Starting down this path almost a year ago has enlightened me on what it means to create something of significance. Being able to help rural coffee farmers abroad is our purpose, and being able to do that while working for myself is an added bonus. Waking up every day & knowing that every cold call, e-mail, meeting, demonstration, etc. is not only benefiting my future, but the future of people 8,000 miles away, gives purpose to everything that I do. This purpose is something that initially ignited the flame within me to start the business and has continued to push me through the toughest days and longest nights.

Define Your Success.

Before starting any adventure, whether it be starting a business, traveling or accepting a new job, take the time to write what it means to achieve success. For me, success encompasses an accomplishment that is simple, smart & significant. For you, it might be financial or creative freedom, world travel or helping the needy, but it all starts with the simple question: how do I define success? Don't let others define success for you. Define it yourself and do whatever it takes to achieve and embrace it wholeheartedly.

10 Truths Why I Was Unqualified to Start a Business

After spending the last year working towards the goal of prepping, launching & building a business, I've learned a lot about what it means to be a business owner, fundraiser, importer, marketer, designer & more, so I wanted to find a way to share with others the tools, tricks & lessons I've learned to help others start something no matter a person's experience level. To start, I want to debunk any myths related to the skills I had previous to launching the business because honestly...I was just in the right place at the right time and decided to make a change.

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All great successes, regardless of what they are, happen in one place: at the intersection of timing, opportunity & choice, and the only thing we have control over is choice. Whether I was crazy or just had a lot of self-confidence, I convinced Meg that the best choice was to say "yes," and the rest is history.

I want to kick this blog off by admitting how unqualified I was for starting this business, but due to faith, persistence & focus, I've been blessed to be on the right track to building a fully sustainable business.

The 10 Truths

1. I designed our logo using Powerpoint (and still use it to do some design work)

2. I didn't know coffee was the seed of a "fruit" or cherry until last October

3. I studied Entrepreneurship in college, but my real business education occurred virtually...by Googling

4. I've never sold anything before except ballroom dancing lessons, so...I've never sold anything

5. I didn't know how to do ANYTHING marketing related: utilize social media, create content marketing, build e-mail marketing campaigns, send press releases, etc.

6. I never used any business software (CRM, Accounting, etc.) and still organize all contacts, finance, etc. using Google Docs

7. I never roasted coffee or knew what "single-origin" or "blended" coffee was

8. I had zero experience doing design work, and my original designs are relatively atrocious. I still don't own Photoshop but use the free software Canva and Powerpoint to do all design.

9.  I've never imported anything before or worked with the FDA, and learned everything I know from Googling and cold calling people

10. I had no clue how difficult it was to actually start a business

Get Going.

Starting a business is just like running for the first time in months. You huff, puff & awkwardly run along, but you know that every day after that first day will get easier. Confidence is a result of persistence, repetition & focus, and no matter the task, from running to starting a business, this feeling of confidence will come over time.

To say that I've had a fair amount of late nights and stressful days would be an understatement, but because of these I've seen what I'm capable of. I'm beyond excited to share tips, tricks & lessons learned over the last year to hopefully encourage and inspire those interested in starting something from scratch to do just that.

Just like running for the first time, it all starts with the first step, so why not take that first step today? Buy your domain, begin building your website or start designing your logo, and I can promise that each step after that will get easier with time.