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Embracing the Unknown

Entrepreneurs are funny people.

Quirky, if you will. Odd, perhaps. Most of you who know me probably just think I'm weird (and you'd probably be right), however, I've noticed that a lot of my characteristics are also found in other entrepreneurs.

One of the key "ingredients" of being in a position like mine is the ability to embrace the unknown. To look into the future and see a huge question mark and to be OK with that. In fact, in a lot of ways, we see that question mark and make it our goal to shape it into something specific. That's the hard part.

Back in December, I had one of my key employees quit. Without notice. What made it worse was that he was also the best man in my wedding just weeks prior. So needless to say I was a bit thrown off! He only gave vague reasons for leaving and then he was gone.

Well, call it part curiosity/part inability to hold a grudge for too long, but I contacted him recently and we had lunch.

After some moments of obvious "weirdness," we finally sat down to eat and I just came out and asked "Why did you quit again?" Nothing like a little time to help both of us look at the situation from a bigger perspective. His answers were honest and clear, something I wish they would have been months earlier! But he attributed most of his reasons for leaving to the inability to stomach the unknown. He simply was not comfortable working for a small, obscure start-up in West Texas.

Granted, his reasons had much merit. Hell, there are many days that I think stomaching the unknown is going to give me an ulcer! And I have a slightly more legit reason to ever be worried than any other of my employees.

So, ironically, while it's the unknown that gets many entrepreneurs all jazzed up, it's also one of our biggest struggles. What if this fails? What if I cause this to fail? Is our success up to this point been based on luck and it's about to run out? What if I make that ONE decision that throws everything off?

OK, a lot of those questions are a bit dramatic... but they are the reality that I face from time to time. And, granted, the future is unknown for everyone, it just seems to be even more unknown to those who take the leap into the life that fights normal conventional wisdom of a 9-5 gig working for someone esle.

I would never trade what I do with a "normal" job. That would drive me insane. I know, because I've tried it! The constant thought of that alternative is one of my biggest motivating factors.

Just felt like sharing these thoughts. Perhaps for no other reason than to just put them out there.

May 27, 2004 | Permalink | Comments (5)

In The Beginning...

This is my blog. Welcome to it.

Just so everyone is on the same page, this blog will be primarily about my journey through the world of entrepreneurship and everything that it might include like business, financials, employees, venture capital, growth, and everything between.

So a little about me and where I'm at now...

I was born on November 14, 1977... that's right, I'm only 26. Just a kid. But I won't give you the ENTIRE life story... so let's skip ahead a little.

I got my bachelor's degree in Marketing with a minor in Public Relations from Texas Tech University in May 2000. I immediately left Lubbock and headed for my favorite city, Seattle. There I worked for a company called C.H. Robinson (the world's largest third-party logistics firm) doing inside sales. I hated that job. I am not a cubical person and that's that.

So I quit, waited tables and constantly thought about "doing my own thing". My passion was (and still is to a point) music. I'm a horrible singer and can't play any instruments. But I loved the inner workings of the business end of the industry. So I pursued that... focusing on concert promoting and eventually artist management. But for some reason, things weren't going well.

Through my involvement in the music industry, however, I met a guy name Justin Barnard (brother to INPOP recording artist Shane Barnard) and Justin offered to sell me his one-unit restaurant called Cilantro's Burrito Grill. I was already a hooked customer and had quick visions of where the brand could go... going against lesser, but more well-known products like Chipotle and Baja Fresh.

So I closed the deal to buy the company on May 9, 2003. Since that date, we have focused our menu even more, opened another unit (which is our "prototype unit"), multiplied revenues by 4, and went from 10 employees to 35.

A lot of that success has come from the involvement of our newest board member, Scott Miller, who created the famed games Duke Nukem and Max Payne.

My passions are my employees and the brand that they essentially make a reality for my company. This game called business is a team sport and there are many days where I can see that we have an amazing team and they make me look like I know more than I do! And let's face it... there's no fun being successful if you can't share that with others who made it possible.

So that's the starting point. I hope to share some thoughts about my experiences on here that will inspire or give hope to anyone else out there who may be wanting to do their own thing as well. Thanks for reading my blog. Give me your feedback!

BJ

May 25, 2004 | Permalink | Comments (6)