looking back, sometimes i think starting this company was just like what i think it will be like to have kiddos. you really have no idea what you’re getting yourself into, never prepared for what each day may hold, the joys outweigh the struggles, and despite the ups + downs, the love is unconditional. so as my baby (company-personified) turns 5, i thought i’d reflect, reminisce + give you a little insight into who i am, and then what it’s truly like to follow your passion, become an entrepreneur at young age + then stick with it for 5 years.
5 things you may not know about me
down-home country girl
in case you haven’t figured it out from a few of my hick-inspired blog posts, i am a country girl at heart. raised on 4 acres outside a town of 8000 people. i was the prowers county rodeo princess and (yeehaw) did high school rodeo, albeit like-mother-like-daughter, i was the prissiest cowgirl out there. and get this, i’m in the guiness book of world records for being part of the world’s largest square dancing club. all the cool kids did it, think about that one for a minute. yep, small town usa. and proud of it!
from donut girl to fitbook
growing up my daddy owned daylight donut, which of course was my first job starting at the age of 7. you can imagine how ironic i find it now that people call me “fitbook”, going from years of being the “donut girl”. i’m sure one could do some psycho-analysis on that one, but it’s just my life. grateful to have come from a long line of business owners, i knew from a very young age what i was going to be when i grew up: an entrepreneur.
tech geek streak
going to college in 1998 at the height of the tech boom, and the fact that my ridiculously smart big brother had just landed a high-paying IT job, was just enough for my momma to “encourage” me to go into IT. that combined with the fact that there were like no girls doing it, i accepted the challenge because well, i love when people say i can’t do something. so after i got my business degree in information systems, i worked in IT for about 4 years before transitioning into marketing in high-tech which was a natural fit for me. i was born to brand! funny thing: i hate computers + all things technology to this day (and they don’t like me very much either).
i’m a quitter
at the ripe young of age of 27 after getting my MBA, i landed my first six-figure job, complete with benefits and a 401k. my poor momma about passed out when after only 3 months i told her i was quitting to start my own marketing firm. and i did. and it was the best thing i’ve ever done. i had this crazy idea for this thing called fitbook and i knew i couldn’t pursue it working 80 hour weeks. so i started manzana creative which allowed me to consult with clients during the day and work on fitlosophy at night. in january 2008, fitlosophy was founded and july of that year, fitbook was born
struggles make you stronger
from the age of 15 until well into my 20s, i battled multiple eating disorders; of course i could look back on it as a negative experience but because it was a driving factor behind why i created fitbook, i see it as just a catalyst to where i am today.
5 things they don’t tell you about being an entrepreneur
it’s not all that glamorous
don’t let the facebook posts fool you. if only our lives were as picture-perfect of what you see on social media! the things i don’t post? sometimes i want to give up (but i don’t). i question myself all the time (and there’s no one to give me an answer). sometimes i panic wondering what the heck i’m doing (and then i get an email about how fitbook changed someone’s life).
you never really take vacation
i knew that owning your own business was a lot of work, but you really don’t know until you’re there. i work crazy hours and don’t sleep all that much. yes, i can run errands during the day if i need to and have the flexibility to come and go, to and fro, which i love. but i also work weekends, take “holiday” days to get caught up while the rest of the world checks out, and truly never check out 100% even when i’m on vacation. this is not exclusive to me – this is the life of an entrepreneur. we are fueled by passion, driven by achievement, and somewhat just crazy.
cash is king
revenue and growth rate do not matter if you cannot pay the bills – period. and i thought as the business grew bigger that i could relax a bit on watching cashflow. but the truth is, the bigger the biz, the bigger the bills. if for one minute you take your eye off cashflow it will creep up on you quickly. yes it’s glamorous to see a company grow quickly, but you don’t really know the success of a business until you see it’s bottom line.
people + partners matter
the success of your business is truly defined by the quality of people you bring on board to support your vision; people that believe in you even on days that you don’t. and the importance of having strong partnerships in place can’t be stressed enough. especially in a product business, our success is highly dependent on solid manufacturing, distribution, and fulfillment partners in place. this is not always a smooth road and a big part of my learning has been fostering these relationships and treating them like an extension of our team (because they are).
it’s all worth it
starting fitlosophy is hands-down the most rewarding thing i’ve ever done. you would think landing big accounts and seeing our products on store shelves would be what drives me. but it’s not. it’s knowing that what we’re doing every single day truly improves the lives of others. that my blood, sweat, and (yes, some) tears are not wasted. there is purpose and passion behind what i do and for me, that is enough. would i love it to pay off some day and sit on a beach drinking mai-tais? absolutely. but do i do this for the money? absolutely not. if you want to be entrepreneur and the money is what drives you, good luck. that won’t be enough to keep you going when the going gets tough. pursuit of passion is.
my top 5 memories + milestones over the past 5 years
launching fitbook in vegas back in 2008
landing target and seeing it on the shelf for the very first time
opening the doors to our little (red) office
doing good + giving back because, well, we can
- seeing the fitbook+ app (beta) come to life…after 3 years of dreaming about it! stay tuned…it’s coming to a phone near you.
just over 5 years ago my business partner (and my friend/angel) took a leap of faith and started this venture with me. and now i look back on all we’ve done and am truly grateful. and proud of my little company, our might team, and the big things ahead in our future. happy 5th birthday, fitbook! momma’s proud.
live life fit.