Defining Entrepreneurial Success in Year 1

Photo by Isaiah Rustad on Unsplash

John Wooden is known for defining success as “peace of mind attained only through through self-satisfaction in knowing you made the effort to become the best of which you’re capable.” Such a humble definition from perhaps the most successful college basketball coach of all time.

Looking back at my first year as a small business, I am constantly asking the question “what is it for us to be successful?”. When we become a larger company, perhaps we will have a lot of performance data to help us drill down into the numbers to answer that question in terms of revenue growth and customer acquisition. But as a two-person husband and wife team, we tend to like Wooden’s metric of “peace of mind”.

As a little background, I think it’s important to note that I love thinking big (I am a planner after all) and for years would assess how I wanted to navigate my career by asking the questions “If I could do anything in the world right now, what would I do?” and “If I were to die tomorrow, what would I wish I had done differently?”. Always there seemed to rise a clear answer at the depth of my heart, reflecting where I was in life and my career. At times, when that answer has been “I want to be a city planner” or “I want to manage a team” and there has been a gap of knowledge and experience, bridging that gap was my task over the coming months or years.

Over the last few years, that overwhelming desire in my heart has been “I want to start my own business”. But what? How? To serve whom? These were questions that needed to be worked through before I could subject my family to making “the leap.”

And then last year with a part-time faculty position at Texas A&M University and LLC in hand, it was finally time! And for certain, it hasn’t been easy. I didn’t anticipate that my launch would also correspond with the launch of the Covid-19 pandemic. Finding my way, I’ve spent countless hours learning the latest design software as well as simply how the business world works (wait I have to market myself to get new customers?). Certainly, I’ve never been so challenged and faced such uncertainty. Yet at the same time, as John Wooden put it, I’ve never been so at peace in my heart and had such satisfaction in the knowledge that I am doing exactly what I’m called to do with this work.

As I look back over the past year, I’d like to particularly thank those who have been so supportive of me. Particularly Deacon Dave Mayes who gave me my first professional opportunity to turn his 70-acre ranch into a retreat center (coming Fall 2021) and for St. Mary’s Catholic Church for entrusting me with managing their new Church project (coming Winter 2022). But most of all, I’d like to thank God and my wife Paula for their constant guidance throughout this past year. Now on to Year 2!