As much as we wish there was, there is no science to success. There are no shortcuts, no cheat codes, no formula. There is simply no substitute for experience and tenacity. But with that experience comes the possibility of failure. And trust me, amidst all that uncertainty, one thing is actually very certain: You will probably fail. Maybe even more than once. That’s why, as an entrepreneur, the hardest thing is knowing when to have the courage to stick with something. Or when to give it up and move on.
Growing up, football was everything. When the game brought me to the University of Florida, my tolerance for pain and failure was tested like it never had been before. In order to make it at a powerhouse program, surrounded by the best talent in the country, I had to earn my spot. You’d be amazed by what you’re capable of when your back’s against a wall.
After football, I brought that fearlessness to the world of apparel, where I helped my dad take the Starter Brand to the next level. Starter revolutionized the sports merchandising world by offering authentic sports apparel baring the names and logos of all your favorite MLB, NBA, NFL, NHL, and NCAA teams. Business was off the charts. I loved the brand but deep down, I wasn’t fulfilled. There was still an unsatisfied burning desire to build something on my own.
My first solo venture was a rollercoaster. Using all the knowledge and resources I acquired from Starter, I created a private label entertainment merchandise company. Even though I was able to generate business from globally recognized brands it was a modest operation run out of my apartment. Unfortunately, I made the mistake of putting too many eggs in one basket. When my biggest account filed Chapter 11, my business was forced to shut down. Costly, yet valuable lessons learned. It took time for me to reflect back on the lessons learned.
You can only control the things you can control.
This put me at a crossroads: To rebuild myself or to go back to a more familiar family business. I chose to hit back and this time, it was the Wild Wild West of the dot-com world. In perhaps my greatest learning moment, I joined a group that sought to take advantage of this new digital territory. Despite partnering with successful entertainment executives and raising $10 million dollars, we failed. Simply building it, with no revenue model, did not mean people would come.
My next venture was TRUNK LTD, a music lifestyle brand of limited edition rock & roll merchandise. I put my heart, my soul, my everything into it and it eventually paid off in a way that allows me to take on other challenges. Now, my baby is Stillhouse – America’s Finest. I’m privileged to work with some of the smartest people in the game. Every step along the way led me to where I am today.
If I hadn’t walked away from a sure thing, I would’ve never known what I’m capable of. Don’t be afraid to quit. Don’t be afraid to fail. Embrace both and seek out opportunities that truly test your full potential.