Let’s go back 5 years, to when I took the biggest risk of my life.
I set out to build a t-shirt brand. So I quit my job and went full on, headfirst into one of the most competitive industries out there, and launched True Rivalry. Maybe it was my blindness, lack of experience or naivete that didn’t even make me question certain things — you know, such as the market, the industry — and made me just do.
For those of you who are just starting things for the first time: I envy you.
That die-hard optimism and naivete get lost somewhere down the road. The success, the failures, the happiness, the hurting… they all shape your perspective and chip away at that “I am going to conquer it all” mindset.
OK so last thing I want to do is be a downer, so let me flip it back to the start of my company.
When I first started, people always asked me about my end goal. “What store do I want to my tees to get into that would prove to me that I made it?” Without even thinking, I said Urban Outfitters. Less than 1 year into my business, I struck a deal with Urban Outfitters. Since then, the True Rivalry brand has grown to over 250 stores across North America, picked up a ton of press along the way, and had athletes, celebrities, TV shows and movies asking for the brand. I even private labelled for some major professional sports teams. I don’t say this to impress you, but it impresses me. I have grown something from nothing, and I’m proud of the way I did it.
Today, I’m even more proud of how I’m walking away from it.
Yes, you read correctly.
For the last year, I have not been content. While growing the brand, I always thought that it was the stress and problems of growing a business that was making me feel this way. However, in the past few months, I’ve started to reflect and think about things. Seems I wasn’t content because I wasn’t happy about what I was doing. I lost the passion for clothing.
So, you might be asking: “Dude, WTF are you crazy? How can you walk away from a company that has never had a down year and has experienced annual growth, to start from scratch AGAIN?”
And the other obvious question: what now?
Well, the “HOW” is the more complex answer, so I’ll answer that in a bit.
What now? For those of you who know me well, you know that when it comes to business strategy and branding, I can talk and debate for hours. I grew True Rivalry through social media and I have become a true practitioner. Always playing and always learning. I have consulted and worked with a bunch of companies to help grow their branding, and I’m now making my push to build the ultimate digital media agency (ugh, I hate that word… agency). I’m going to help companies grow their branding EXPONENTIALLY because I truly believe I understand and have what it takes.
So how can I walk away from TR? Simple. You only have one life and sadly too many people wait until something goes wrong to make a change.
I’m personally done waiting. Actually, I’ve been done waiting a long time ago, but I let fear get in my way. What will everyone think? What will my loved ones and close friends think? What if I fail?
But I think I’ve come to terms with the fact that fear is normal and fine, but you can’t let it keep you from doing things you love. You also can’t worry about what everyone else thinks. Eventually, you just have to do.
Look, I’m going to fail. I’ll probably fail every single day. But I also know I won’t stop. I’ll get right back up and go at it again.
I’m also going to document the journey. Too many people think the entrepreneurial life is the good life. The easy life. The beauty of starting from scratch is that I can document the journey and hopefully shed some light on other aspiring hustlers.
It’s a lonely road as an entrepreneur and truthfully, the documentation will hold me accountable. It will also mean getting over insecurities. Putting yourself out there means opening yourself up to a lot. However, the things you’re worried that others will say about you, tend to be the worst things you think about yourself. Now some of you will get annoyed with all the posts and think I’m cluttering your feed. Some of you will unfollow. Fuck, some of you will watch just to hope and wait for me to fail. All of that is OK. (Note: I hope you don’t unfollow. I hope you cheer me on or even better, get inspired.)
As much as I don’t care what any of you think, I equally want you to be by my side.
The biggest lesson I learned in this decision is that if you’re 100% honest with yourself and who you are, as well as your beliefs and values, you really can’t go wrong. You just gotta get out of your head and start doing.
One step at a time.