In all my years as an athlete in many different sports it was never hard to find someone to look up to. Older athletes, coaches and even ones on TV always seemed to be around in some capacity to offer advice on how to get better and get to the next level. As I got older and played a higher level of sport I tried to give back to the younger athletes who were coming up and who were hungry to be like us. And now as I coach infielders at the college level I try and impart what wisdom I can to the next generation of college athletes.
However in the business world I am finding this this kind of support much harder to come by. Now I do not want to sound like I’m complaining about skate shops not carrying my brand because I’m a new brand and I don’t have “skate roots”. Or that I expect every shop or person I email or call about my brand to answer or be interested. I am simply noticing that advice and business relationships seem to be harder to form than those on a field or a court. Give me a chance to show you what I can do, or give me feedback on what I need to do. The athlete and competitor in me wants to get better.
Now my email isn’t overflowing yet, but the ones I do get I make sure to read and respond to. I feel this is an important habit to get into and that it helps form relationships that may turn into something down the road. If they don’t, well then I hope that by responding I have shown that person respect and if nothing else, that is the right thing to do. Who am I to say that someone who has taken a few minutes to email me isn’t worth my time to email back because I own my own business. Perhaps this is just me remembering the advice given to me about staying humble and remembering where you came from.
It should be noted that Tony V (business mentor), Linda Lindsay (U of L Professor), Tom Peever (Noon30), Jeff Barrett (Customs Print & Stitch), Dave Carlton (Light&Soul), Evan Lewicki (Ink Addiction), Aaron Keeling (photographer), Cousin Wilson, Steven Florendine (Lawyer), and Alain Nobert (Volution Tax) have all been instrumental in helping me get started as well as grow my brand. And of course all the customers who have taken a chance on a new brand because it offers something different than your regular t-shirt. These are the names of a few special people, but for all these names there are many more who for whatever reason didn’t answer or provide any type of feedback. Now I am not about to call people out over a blog, but it should be noted that the list of those who have ignored me only serves to motivate me as GFI moves forward.