So the plan is to start a blog on the website. Not sure exactly how often there’ll be posts but ideally once a week. It won’t be exclusively skate related, because there are dozens of other companies producing amazing skate content that I can’t. That said, I’ve been an entrepreneur of sorts for over 5 years now (and alive for 26), and while I still have a TON to learn, I believe I can publish a thing or two that people will find useful, or at the very least, may show a perspective they haven’t thought of before.
My goal is for people to come here, read for 5-10 minutes, and uncover one useful piece of information they can act on – because if you can’t (or don’t) act on what you learn, what have you actually learned?
Anyhow, the topics will likely focus on personal development, entrepreneurship, and of course skating – with some psychology, philosophy, history, finance, and whatever I’m particularly interested in at the time sprinkled throughout. There will be a lot of tiebacks to skating, because the lessons I’ve learned through skate progression are valuable, and can be applied to nearly every aspect of life. If you learn to progress at one thing, you can learn to progress at just about anything.
So let’s get to it! This week, I’ll be talking about why we started TrickTape. Whatever it is that you do, it’s crucial to have a reason for why you’re doing it (preferably a good one). The alternative is to be on autopilot – to be unconscious. I have 3.
Belief in Product
TrickTape solves a problem. Every business solves a problem, if it doesn’t then it won’t be in business for long. When my business partner Matt first suggested the idea of a fabric tape to repair holes in our skate shoes, a huge problem-solving opportunity presented itself. While building what became TrickTape was a big undertaking, it seemed realistic to believe we could create a product good enough to bring to market (despite knowing nothing about tape or fabric). The sweet-spot of a challenging, yet attainable goal.
So why wake up and work on TrickTape? Because I believe in our product – which is what business ultimately lives or dies on. How good is your final product? Is it actually useful? Is it actually worth people’s time and money? As long as I can answer yes, I have good reason to continue.
I’ve always wanted to be an entrepreneur – to run my own business. Initially, this was more of a romantic notion, the idea of creating a sick new product everybody loves and to “be your own boss.”
That romanticism all but dies when the reality sets in that it’s going to take a massive amount of time and effort to get to market, and then even more to get people to care. I don’t mind putting in the work (though I’ll admit I didn’t have the best work ethic 2-3 years ago and it took time to become properly self-disciplined), but what really made/makes things tough is the self-doubt that comes when you venture into uncharted territory.
Ironically, there were times when all I wanted was to have a boss that told me what to do – that way I wouldn’t have to basically just guess how to spend my time/allocate resources each day and wonder what was working and what wasn’t. It’s hard to know what to do when you’re only accountable to yourself.
But you get over it. You learn to love the process and let adversity essentially force you to get better. You learn how to set goals and how to reach them through trial and error…it’s a slow process, but if you’re consistent, it gets just a tiiiiiiiiny bit better each day. You still fail a lot, which sucks, but each success gives you a little more solid ground to stand on.
There is real value in walking towards an objective, and even more in the struggle along the way. If you’ve learned how to kickflip, you know exactly what I’m talking about.
There are layers to my motivations. The first, as mentioned, is a useful product, the backbone of any business. Initially, I said was this was my why, but it’s really more of a what. Within that is what you might call my “entrepreneurial spirit”, which I believe most everyone has to one degree or another. That’s the how. But the most important by far, what lies at the heart of all of this, is the why. You can accomplish damn near anything with a strong enough why – without one you will get knocked off your path and might not have the will to find it again.
My “why” for TrickTape is time, specifically, how I want to structure my days because how I spend my day is how I spend my life. TrickTape allows me to set up my day so I get to pursue my interests – not completely, and not everyday, but way more than like 99% of all other job options. So I basically started with what I wanted to do each day – ride a board, develop business skills, travel, meet new people, etc. – and reverse engineered how that could happen.
With that, I want to know that my work actually matters – that the effort I put in each day makes a difference. In a large (or poorly managed) business, it’s often difficult to tell if your work is making an impact on the company, whether it’s meaningful. With TrickTape it’s easy to see. The more I work, the more TrickTape works.
For the most part, I get to do that every day. Be active and outside on a board, pursue meaningful work, and learn about the world and myself along the way. Can’t ask for much more than that.
And do this, write. I wrote this to help sharpen and direct my thoughts, so it’s really for myself more than anything, but I hope moving forward to start a dialogue, see who else is interested in these types of things.
And that’s that! Hope you found this useful. I don’t want to come off as saying, “This is how you should live your life” but rather, “This works for me, maybe this will work for you.” That said, I think if there’s one thing I think everyone can benefit from, it’s living deliberately as Thoreau would say. To live as if what you do matters.
THANK YOU FOR READING!!!