Starting a company that makes physical goods in the USA and is competing with cheaply made products from China sounds like a bad idea. And yes, it still kind of is.
When I started my business someone asked me, “what kind of company do you want build? Do you want to be rich or do you want to be king, because you can’t be both.
I didn’t really understand what he meant by that until I got to the point where I was running out of space, the garage was full of inventory and I was working 60 to 70 hours a week. Renting a commercial space and hiring my first employee was the next logical step, but that would have raised the cost of doing business dramatically. I would either need to take on a bank loan, which I would most likely not qualify for or raise some funds from investors. Meaning I would no longer be King as I would have to answer and listen to investors.
If I wanted to be rich I would have had to outsource our production to overseas and take on outside investments. Well, that is not what I did and I guess you can call me King J.
Unlike Uber or Lyft my little company was actually making a profit.
I am still a one person company without employees working out of the garage.
I can make a living at this is because of my extreme low overhead. Someone once told me, “ it’s not how much you make, it’s how much you get to keep.” Smart man.
Putting in 60 hour work weeks was the norm, but after 5 years, I started to burn out.
This startup life had taken it’s toll on me.
Stolen trademarks, manufacturers not delivering, many broken promises, Trumps steel tariffs and Chinese copycats had taken the fun out of grinding it out and building my dream into a successful company.
I am not rich, but I also don’t have any debts. I have had many jobs over the years and everything I have, is because of what I did and hard work.
What is success? Isn’t it up to me to decide what my success looks like?
How much do I need, or what do I want?
For too many years I had only been able to take time to travel between Christmas and New Years. I didn’t traveled out west for eight years, and I love riding my bike on sweet Colorado single track. It had been too long. I don’t care that I am still riding a ten year old 26” Mountain Bike. The bike is not important, it’s the experience that was missing.
Fulltime Vanlife wasn’t what I was looking for, but adding parts of a nomadic lifestyle is what changed everything and I can truly say: “my life right now, is as good as it gets”
I built out our work van into a camper, bought a trailer and "Bam", I am able to take the whole show on the road.
Everybody wants it. Work life balance? Or is it Work-life balance? You know what I mean, having enough time and money to travel, but also a job that provides you with a steady income and enough vacation time to experience life.
Time is the ultimate equalizer, no matter how much money you have. It is time that you will be eventually running out of.
Everybody makes decisions based on their life experiences and what is important to some, has no value to others.
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