I will start be emphatically saying that I don't claim to be a massive success, but I have learned a tremendous amount over the last 7-8 years of creating Almond Surfboards. So, I am feeling compelled to share a few of those things, for anyone who cares to read on.
In different seasons of life, different themes seem to stick with me. Right now, we're amidst an exciting new store launch here in Eastside Costa Mesa, something that we didn't really plan for, but when a building this good opens up, sometimes you need to act first and sort out the details later. I get asked questions about starting a brand fairly often, and I get the sense that my answers generally surprise the people who ask them. I am very grateful to get to do this, we all are, but the reality is, it isn't all photoshoots and shop parties. A majority of the time is spent doing things that really aren't very fun at all. Taxes, shipping documents, paying bills, counting inventory, projecting production quantities for next season, creating a budget, etc... These are all tasks that are required of nearly every business, regardless of the field. The subject matter happens to be surfboards and clothing, which is rad, and it makes the fun days more fun; but it doesn't make the menial tasks easier, in a lot of ways, it makes them tougher. I was listening to an "Art of Manliness" podcast while I ate breakfast this morning, and the guest, Kyle Eschenroeder was talking about the "sexy tax" which was a term he made up for working in an attractive industry. The idea is that you actually have to work even harder to work in a "sexy" industry, there is more competition for people who want to work in that field. The barrier to entry to start shaping surfboards or printing t-shirts is exceptionally low, which basically ensures that 95% of people who attempt it, won't make money at it, because competition is high, and opportunities are relatively few. The difference-maker? Be willing to do the work that others aren't willing to do. If there is an unlimited supply of people who wish they had your job, you had better out-work 99% of them. There's no shortcut or hot-tip there, the reality is, if you want to work in an industry that tons of other people would love to be in, you have to do the work they aren't willing to do, and invest the time into becoming an expert.