Thursday, June 20, 2019

what i've learned about entrepreneurship from my dad

I am absolutely and completely obsessed with self-improvement, business, success and entrepreneurship. I love reading books, website articles, listening to podcasts, or watching YouTube videos… anything that has to do with a great success story.  

However, my greatest inspiration has always been, and always will be…my dad.

 My dad is a self-made entrepreneur and businessman. For all intents and purposes, he came from nothing. He started his business from the ground up completely by himself almost 30 years ago. He’s had this business since I was a baby—so I’ve seen, heard, and watched the highs and the lows, the good and the bad, and the reality of what it takes to become a successful entrepreneur. Here is what I’ve learned from watching my dad:

You Don’t Have to Be a Rocket Scientist
Many people would be surprised to know that my dad barely made it out of high school. In fact, many people assumed he would never amount to much. He didn’t go to college and has no other formal education besides a basic high school diploma. What he did have though was ambition, drive, a strong work ethic, focus, dedication, a good gut instinct and common sense. You don't need to be a braniac, but you do need to be willing to work.

There Will Always Be Another Party
This is something my dad has always said to my sister and I. He was told this by his mother when he was a kid. The gist behind this is that anything you want in life is going to require sacrifice. When my dad first started out in his early twenties, he didn’t have much of a life besides work. From dawn till dusk, he was working. He missed parties, birthdays, nights at the bar, etc.. because he was working. Throughout my own journey, I’ve learned to switch my mindset from “I’m missing out” to “look at what I’m trying to gain.” Success requires sacrifice, and sometimes you will miss out, but there will always be another party.

Entrepreneurship is a Lifestyle 
Growing up, I always remember my dad being up at 5 am and out the door no later than 6:30-7. He would return home almost 12 hours later to eat dinner with my mom, sister and I. Fast forward 20 years later and not much has changed, except now we have advanced technology. My dad’s phone is ALWAYS on—answering phone calls and texts. As well as checking, sending and receiving emails. There’s been birthdays, holidays, even Christmas morning when my dad has had to take emergency phone calls or jump in his truck and head into the office. Entrepreneurship requires you to be “on” most of the time.  There is always interrupted sleep, continuous stress and a huge weight of responsibility on your shoulders 24/7. Just because the day ends, doesn’t mean the work stops. 

Pay Attention 
This is probably one of things I admire most about my dad—his dedication, commitment and loyalty he has always had to his business. It’s taken him almost 25 years to be okay with leaving his business for a week, or taking an afternoon off in the summer. However, I think it’s been a huge reason for his success—he pays attention. He knows absolutely everything that goes in and out of his office, he opens every piece of mail and knows the statistics and numbers behind his business like the back of his hand. Almost always has my dad chosen being in the office over attending a golf tournament or a business lunch. He’s the first one to arrive in the morning and the last one to leave. 

Willingness to Take Intelligent Risks and Make Quick Decisions 
Entrepreneurship involves taking risks, there’s no doubt about that (I mean, starting your own business is a risk in itself)…but my dad has always been great about taking intelligent risks. He has never thrown himself into a project just for the thrill of it. He identifies the outcome he’s looking for, calculates the logistics, actions, and timeframe, executes a plan, then gets going. He is also a strong, smart and quick decision maker. He does not waste time going back and forth about a decision. He’s more of a, “if we’re going to do it, we’re going to do it now,” type of person. In his eyes, time is money and it shouldn’t be wasted.
Perseverance and Time
I’m sure many of you have seen the “Success Iceberg” on the internet. It’s a picture about success that shows a small visible part of an iceberg sticking out of the water representing “what people see,” versus the huge other half under the water of “what really happens.” The part of the iceberg under the water represents the part of success that nobody sees: the failure, the setbacks, the naysayers, doubts, hard work, more hard work, more failures, sacrifices, risks, late nights, early mornings, courage, persistence and action. This is also the half of the iceberg that people talk about the least. I have heard my whole life people say that my dad got “lucky.” However, luck only comes to those who have paid their dues. It took my dad many years and a whole lot of patience and perseverance to get where he is today. Quitting was never an option. I learned from my dad that more often than not, the only difference between those that succeed and those who don’t… is that the successful never give up.

The Importance of Teamwork 
This is something I didn’t really notice until I got older, but when you are the boss/owner/CEO of a company, you are responsible for the livelihood of so many people. Not only does your family depend on you, but your employees count on you. They count on you for a job, they count on you for income, they count on you for leadership, they count on you for instruction. It’s a lot of pressure but also kind of a neat dynamic—the boss depends on the employees, but the employees also depend on the boss. There is no one without the other.  My dad has always emphasized the importance of being a team and working together. Morale, communication, appreciation and sense of support is so important when it comes to running a successful business. It’s true what they say, teamwork makes the dream work. 

You Have to be Willing to be Mocked, Hated, and Misunderstood
There’s a lot of people who love and admire my dad (like myself), but there’s also a lot of people who strongly dislike him. Unfortunately, criticism and hate are two major things that come when running your own business. When you’re first starting out, there will be people who won’t believe in you. As you gain momentum, there will be people waiting for you to fail. And when you’ve made it, they still won’t be happy for you. However, I’ve learned from my dad that haters are one of your greatest assets. Haters should be used as fuel to take you to the next level. 

What I’ve learned  the most from watching my dad on his entrepreneurship journey is that, it’s not easy.  It’s hard as sh* t and it’s not for everybody. Owning your own business is stressful, time consuming, and a hell of a lot of responsibility. However, the outcome and satisfaction of watching a vision come together is priceless. 

Dedicated to my dad, who dreamed it then real life’d it.

XX, Laura 

Wednesday, June 19, 2019


Everything around us is made up of energy. Energy cannot be created nor destroyed, only transferred or changed. You are responsible for the energy you bring to the world, the energy you give off to others, and the energy you receive in return.

Here’s what I’ve learned about attracting the right kind of energy into your life:

Realize that energy is contagious. Whatever you surround yourself with, positive or negative, is what you will become. Your environment influences your mindset.

“You must constantly ask yourself these questions: Who am I around? What are they doing to me? What have they got me reading? What have they got me saying? Where do they have me going? What do they have me thinking? And most important, what do they have me becoming? Then ask yourself the big question: Is that okay? Your life does not get better by chance, it gets better by change.”

Surround yourself with people that reflect who you want to be and how you want to feel. Hang out with like-minded people who make you feel alive— people who have dreams, desires, goals and ambition. I believe enthusiasm and passion are two of the most attractive qualities a person can have.These people will subconsciously motivate and encourage you to follow and pursue your own aspirations.

“There is nothing wrong with loving the crap out of everything. Negative people find their walls. So never apologize for your enthusiasm.”

Your vibe attracts your tribe. You can’t complain and be miserable and expect to attract positive and happy people into your life. You have to be the exact energy you want to attract.

“Be around the light bringers, the magic makers, the world shifters, the game shakers. They challenge you, break you open, uplift + expand you. They don't let you play small with your life. These heartbeats are your people. These people are your tribe.”

Where focus goes, energy flows. Wherever your focus is directed, that’s where your energy will go. What you think about expands, so keep your thoughts happy, positive and powerful.

Be the light. Matthew 5:14–16

14 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”

Keep on keepin’ on—
XX, Laura 

Friday, June 14, 2019

lessons I took away from my sister's wedding

I always like to say that Carrie Bradshaw is my spirit animal. I've watched Sex and the City all the way through more times than I'd like to admit, but when you find a character that almost identically mirrors the story of your life, it's hard not to be obsessed. My sister got married this past weekend to the love of her life and it was absolutely magical. Of course, weddings always get you thinking about love and like Carrie Bradshaw, I couldn't wait to share some thoughts from this past weekend...

Distance doesn’t matter if the love is there.

My sister and her boyfriend (now husband) spent 7 years in a long distance relationship—different states, different countries, a different continent. In fact, they were born and raised on completely opposite sides of the United States. Many people throughout those 7 years said to my sister, “Well how is that going to work?” and “Long distance relationships never last.”  Although it hurt her feelings, she never let it change the way she felt about him. There were certainly tears and difficult conversations over the years, but neither one of them ever gave up on each other.  I admire that and now totally believe that if the love is there and you want to make it work, you’ll do whatever it takes. 

Somebody will love you just the way you are.

We are a world full of imperfect people. Not even Kim Kardashian is perfect. We all have flaws, quirks, times we feel unattractive, insecure or not at our best. When you’re in a relationship, you get to know and see everything about another person—when they’re happy, when they’re sad, good moods, bad moods, sick, healthy, winning, losing, the highs, the lows and everything in between. No matter how we might feel about ourselves at times, it’s comforting to know that the right person will love you just the way you are. You don't have to be perfect to be loved.

“The most exciting, challenging and significant relationship of all is the one you have with yourself. And if you can find someone to love the you that you love, well, that's just fabulous.”

-Carrie Bradshaw, Sex and the City

The key to a long, happy marriage…

I am an observer and very inquisitive. I am constantly watching and learning from other people. After talking and getting to know the guests, I was blown away by the amount of happily and long married couples that were at my sisters’ wedding. I’m talking 20+ years, 30 years, 40 years, 50 years (my Grandma & Grandpa)…it was heartwarming to see as sadly, divorce seems to be talked about so frequently now. The one thing that all of these couples had in common was that you could clearly see that they enjoyed each other’s company, that they were still having fun together.

Keep the right people in your life.

Any kind of celebration or loss is always a great reminder of who’s really there for you. It’s so important to have people in your life that are just as excited for your happy moments as you are. My sister’s wedding was in a close location for most of our family and friends, but her husband’s side had people traveling from all over the country to be there to celebrate with him. My best guy friend also flew up from the south with his girlfriend to be there for the weekend. People took the time, spent money, and traveled distances to be there. I had never given it too much thought before this wedding, but it’s actually kind of a big deal. I think when family and friends show up to milestone moments like this, it says, “You are important to me.” 

Good times eventually become good memories.

My family planned for this wedding for what felt like forever. The anticipation leading up to it was even more exciting. Then, the day was finally here. Two different sides of the family meeting for the first time. It's a weird feeling knowing that all of the friends and family that came, will never be in the same room ever again. It was so important to my sister and her husband to be in the moment. I tried to be conscious of that all day long as well, knowing that it would all be a memory by tomorrow. We laughed, we cried, we talked, we drank, we danced... it was an incredibly fun and loving night. The whole weekend was amazing. One of those memories that you wish you could relive a thousand times. 

You will be everything to the right someone.

Lastly, and I think most importantly, it's exciting, romantic and hopeful to know that you will be everything to the right someone. You will be someone’s bright light. You will be someone's forever. You will be the love of someone’s life. 

They say when you know, you know. 
XX, Laura