What I’ve learned investing $67,000 into my startup

If you’ve never heard Eric Thomas’s motivational video, “How Bad Do You Want It?”, go,  watch it now.

I can tell you from my own experience that the reason most people don’t have great lives is because its so easy to settle for a good life. Now, I’m not about to tell you how I think you should live your life. “Success” means a lot of different things to a lot of different people, but whatever your definition is, I can tell you without any doubt that if you really want it, you’ve got to be willing to give up sleep. You’ve got to be willing to lay everything on the line and know that it will all pay off in the end. If you’re playing a big enough game in life, people will tell you you’re crazy. They’ll tell you that what you’re doing won’t work. If you really want to be successful you’ve got to be willing to push past all of that and venture far beyond your comfort zone into the unknown, often with nothing other than your own intuition guiding you.

To date, I’ve invested just over $67,000 into my startup, Pursuit. Pre-sales on Kickstarter accounted for roughly $18,000 of that investment after the site fees and transaction fees on my campaign that raised $21,000 in 30 days. So that left just $49,000 for me to invest out of my own pocket. (for context, that amount represented my life savings and then some)

Investing all of this money, and more so simply taking such a massive risk and stepping so far outside of my comfort zone, has taught me a lot. The biggest lesson I’ve learned by putting up my life’s savings, going into debt for the first time in my life, and investing countless hours of my time into Pursuit, is that growth only happens outside of your comfort zone. I had a hard time admitting it to myself, but I was scared. Not scared of my life savings being gone, it’s just money to me. Not scared of the debt, I know I can pay it off. Not scared of all the time I’ve invested, I’ve loved every minute of it. Scared of failure.

For the first time in a long time, I’m pushing waaay outside of my comfort zone (my risk tolerance is astronomically high so it takes a lot).

What if my business doesn’t take off? What if I don’t hit my goals? What if I can’t figure it all out? For a while, these were the questions that were going through the back of my mind pretty regularly. Now, fear will always be there, for some more than for others. One thing I’ve learned is that pursuing your passion doesn’t mean that the fear goes away, it just means that you stop letting it have power over you. Essentially, you tell that fear to shut the f*ck up and you take action anyway. Nevertheless, I’ve often found that a shift in perspective can make a big difference and help me to regain power in the face of whatever obstacles I’m up against. So I started thinking about what it was that I was really afraid of. After a while, it hit me. Even if everything were to go South, my worst case scenario would be that I’d have to chalk up another $67,000 as an investment into my education.

It’s been just shy of 1 year since I first had the idea to start Pursuit, and in the past 11 months I’ve learned more about business, entrepreneurship, product development, manufacturing, marketing, and life, than I could have ever imagined. Looking back, $67K was a steal. I’d have paid a whole lot more if I’d needed to. Something worth noting however, is that it can often be a whole lot nicer to learn from other people’s mistakes than it is to learn from your own.

So buckle up. As I started writing this very sentence I set myself a goal of writing one blog post every week for the remainder of 2016. In these posts, I’ll share some of the lessons I’ve learned throughout my entrepreneurial journey as well as some of the lessons that are still to come in 2016. If you’ve got questions for me, or would like to see me post on a specific topic, feel free to reach out to james@pursuitbrand.com or let me know in the comments section.

Ready, set, action.

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