When I was in my teens, I remember watching my two entrepreneurial grandfathers run their businesses. Both of them employed their children and at one point or another they all worked in the family business, including me.
I saw all the benefits of running those family businesses …. they had more time with family, they have more flexibility, and more of the reward.
They also created and built something from scratch — something that truly inspired me. (One grandfather ran a wholesale minnow business and the other a motorcycle dealership.)
But they also had ALL of the risk … all of the headaches … all of the worries that came with it.
Observing them in their businesses and all the amazing benefits that living life as an entrepreneur would produce, it was worth it all though.
Thus, during those days a dream began in my heart … to one day, own my own business, to be an entrepreneur, to launch my own startup.
In 2008, I had that distinct privilege and opportunity, starting iThemes in my home, which has now grown to over 15 team members, an office, hundreds of products and thousands of customers around the globe. (And yes, we’re in the black!)
After living my own lifelong dream and the one modeled for me by those grandfathers, I wanted to create a community for aspiring entrepreneurs who want to start businesses and startup rookies who want to take their existing businesses to the next level.
When reflecting on my own journey, I always tell people that “I was at the right place, at the right time, with the right audience … and I was ready.”
At StartupSofa, I want to share all of my personal experiences and lessons learned (as well as that of other successful entrepreneurs) with those who have a fire in their hearts to start and launch their own businesses.
One of my favorite quotes about passion is from John Wesley, paraphrased a bit: “Light yourself on fire and people will come watch you burn.”
That’s what I intend to do here … share unabashedly my passion — starting and launching businesses — and what drives me — the principles, values, lessons, philosophies, quotes and stories I’ve gathered or experienced.
So here, at StartupSofa, we’ll be rolling out:
- live online training — via webinars where we present more in-depth content
- an active blog — with tips and lessons, along with interviews and reviews
- a community forum — get on the sofa forum and talk and interact
WHY THE NAME ‘STARTUP SOFA’?
One last thing … you probably get the “startup” part but not the “sofa.”
Here are a couple of reasons…..
- I love sofas and we use them regularly -- at my company, iThemes, we even have an idea lounge with sofas and whiteboards and our weekly live show is on blue sofas. As I reflected back on the great times with my team (often retreats and intense brainstorming sessions) at our startup, they typically have often happened with our team on sofas … with laptops, notepads and whiteboards all around us. They are comfortable, allow the free flow of ideas, and minimize distractions that would happen around our desks.
- It all started on a sofa – when dreaming and planning my own startup adventure I was often on my home sofa. With my laptop, I’d sit on my couch (terrible for ergonomics by the way) and dream, plan and launch my first blogs and sites that lead to starting my own business. But they aren’t just for solo surfers, they are for interaction, brainstorming, and whiteboarding with your critical partners (your team, your partners, your spouse, etc)
- They symbolize community to me -- my favorite times are with my favorite people huddled around sofas, laughing, talking and enjoying life … and building a great one together.
- Sofas mean action, not laziness to me – we don’t sit and bask in our glory on our sofas. We mastermind launches of products services and new ventures on them. When we are on them, they mean implementable ideas that lead to action with deadlines attached. After you plan it on the sofa, launch it from your desk, website or [insert wherever you serve customers].