Do you ever have those moments where you stop and think, “How the hell am I qualified to do this?” The first time I can remember this happening to John and I is when we got into the car to leave the hospital with our oldest… and I can vividly remember thinking, “We have NO IDEA what we’re doing, why are they letting us leave with a tiny human that we have to keep alive?” As many of you know, parenting has many of these such moments…and (I can now tell you with certainty), so does owning a business. In fact, one of these “How the hell am I qualified to do this” moments happened this week.
John and I were asked to participate on a panel for Entrepreneur 101 for the Young Leaders of Licking County, which happened yesterday. As we were getting ourselves ready for this we both kind of looked at each other with that same wide eyed look from the hospital… “how are we qualified for this?” (A sure indicator is how many times I had to use spell check to spell entrepreneur.) But then, I remembered how important it was for us to collect people’s stories about making it all work. And I realized, by some miracle we are making it work, and we might have something worth sharing.
I talked a few weeks ago about how our family life is surviving (maybe even thriving?) as our business is young. And that is one of the HARDEST parts of this all for sure. But what about the business stuff? And, how does one work with their spouse and create something that’s working? Is there anything that we do that we would recommend when starting your own adventure?
One of the things that we were asked to talk about yesterday was the unique perspective of working with your spouse. Let me be the first to tell you that it isn’t all sunshine and rainbows. However, I can say with 1000% certainty that this adventure has made our marriage stronger. John and I are lucky (sometimes this is a sarcastic lucky) that we’re blessed with almost completely opposite gifts. While I’m outgoing, he’s reserved. Where he’s strong in math and science, I gravitate toward literacy and the arts. While I make most of my decisions based on emotions, he makes most of his based on logic. Our core values are absolutely on the same page though, and that helps us find a good sweet spot on the rest of these things.
One of the things we realized VERY EARLY on in the foundation of Trek is that we were going to have to find ways to use our strong suits and “stay in our lane”. There was a period at the beginning stages of Trek where we were both trying to do everything. We finally realized that that wasn’t helping anyone and while we still talk through all major decisions together, we independently run our own sides of the business. If you’re going to go into business with a spouse, relative, or even a friend I’d highly recommend this tactic. We both feel valuable and we depend on each other to do a good job.
Early on we also jumped on the G-suite for business. We have a Google Calendar that we both update with Brewery Events, Event Space bookings, Food Trucks, Live Music, and anything else we’ve got going on. We share a Google Drive, so we have equal access to important docs. It helps keep a little bit of sanity in what is a constant scheduling nightmare.
Another thing that we’ve found that helps our success is having an actual meeting. It sounds silly to have a “meeting” with your spouse but it’s been really helpful for us. When you own your own business you live it. Even if we’re not physically at Trek, it occupies a phenomenal amount of brain space. Honestly, we’re thinking about ways we can improve Trek every waking moment, and most of our sleeping ones too. Having a weekly meeting means we’ve got a time set aside that we can “brain dump” everything we’ve been thinking about. It means we stay on the same page with all our ideas and that we try to make sure that they all get met with some form of follow through. It also allows us to try to have an actual “family night” and keep that night mostly sacred.
Finally, we try to always come back to our philosophy, “At Trek we believe great beer and great people can come together to do incredible things.” Everything comes back to this statement, and we measure ideas by if it will help us achieve our goal of the triple bottom line. We’re in business to make a difference in our community while doing something that we love. We hire people that believe these same ideals.
Much like being a parent, owning a business has us feeling like sometimes we’re rocking it and sometimes we’re woefully under-prepared. The “how the hell am I qualified to do this” moments come with less frequency now, but they are very much a presence in our lives. Every single day we’re learning something new. We’re growing and changing and adapting new ideas and nurturing this big adventure. We’re still very much at the beginning, and it gets more exciting all the time. Come and join our journey. It’s worth the Trek.