I recently spent the past few days in California, attending Expo West, the largest natural and organic foods expo in the nation. The exhibits expand five large exhibit halls in the Anaheim Convention Center, in Anaheim California. The expo attracts small and large companies, alike. It was pretty amazing to see companies not much larger than mine (Bearded Brothers), and to see similar companies producing on a large scale.
It was daunting on one hand to see companies like Kind bar with a HUGE booth passing out loads of free samples, giving out t-shirts and displaying large HD screens with promo reels running highlighting all the awards they have won from various media sources. On one hand I was intimidated by the large corporation and their massive amount of “success”, and part of me was fearful of having the kind of success myself. Being a small startup company, it’s hard to immagine becoming, “big”.
I wondered If I could even handle being that successful? But, when it comes down to it, as we grow – our staff will grow. Responsibilities will be shared, and I will go from working in the business, to working ON the business. I think it’s actually the fear of success that kept me from going into business for myself a lot earlier. I think it’s the same fear that holds many people back from doing something bold and new.
I was particularly inspired by the company Go Raw. They are an organic raw energy bar – though very different than ours. But, their process is still done by hand. Parts of the process have been automated, such as the packaging of the bars, but the actually making of the bars is still done by humans. It’s a process Bearded Brothers aspires to keep, and it’s encouraging to know it’s possible to do on such a large scale.
Two Mom’s in the Raw is another company that was inspiring. Though smaller than Go Raw, it was started up by two individuals that just enjoyed making raw snacks, sort of like Bearded Brothers. They are also still producing their product by hand. Voices in my head, as well as outside voices have told me to automate and make it more efficient, but I don’t think doing that would be holding true to what we truly believe in.
There is something to be said for food that is not produced by a robot. As I browsed around the show and checked out the massive amounts of other products, including MANY energy bars. I was reminded of how unique our product is. We have been blessed with great branding, and have started off with four amazing flavors. I’m also proud to say that we are just two individuals without any seed funding, investors, or massive amounts of personal income, doing something amazing.
Many of the other bar companies I looked at this week were started as a branch off of another company (thus they already had money), or started by a group of people that were already wealthy from other jobs (doctors to be exact). So, to say that we are bootstrapping our company feels pretty amazing. When we look back on this in a few more years we will have a lot of pride in what we have become, and how it was done.
Is there anything you are inspired to do, but are fearful of? Perhaps you actually fear success like I do at times. Or maybe you fear failure? Truthfully I think both types of fear can be motivating, but also paralyzing. I would say in most cases, though it paralyzes. It explains why so many people say they have an idea for a business, but never act. But it can be inspiring when you use the fear to propel you forward. Don’t let fear keep you from doing something amazing, you are capable of far more than you realize.
Another company I am encouraged by is one of our biggest competitors, right here in Austin. The founders still continue to work their day jobs while growing the company. Those guys are truly working hard to make something they believe in come to life. It just goes to show that you don’t have to quit your day job to start a business. If the idea is really worth pursuing you will find a way to make it work; but it won’t be easy at first.
Any GREAT idea truly worth pursuing will take LOTS of hard work. Anybody who tells you that you can make six figures working four hours a week is a joke in my opinion. Sure, you can probably make that kind of money outsourcing web design gigs to India, but what value is that adding to your life? It’s essentially just another J.O.B. Worth while pursuits take time, but the best part is you enjoy all the time spend on that project because you know it’s truly adding value to people’s lives. So, get out there and CRUSH IT, pursue those great ideas and give them life!