If a business has a birthday, what day is it? Some would say…most would say it’s the day the business first opens. But perhaps it’s the day you start to take action. The day when you become determined to make the idea a reality.
For many who dream of starting a business, there is quite a lag between the moment of idea conception and the start of real action. They ponder the idea, analyze the market, get their ducks in a row and, most of the time, do nothing. These are Ready, Aim, Aim, Aim…people who never get to the point of firing.
My style is Ready, FIRE, Aim. The time between conceiving an idea and acting on it can be ridiculously fast. I mean, to my thinking, if an idea is a good one then get on it! This can be a good thing because stuff happens and gets done. But it’s not always a good thing because it creates a bit of chaos.
I peg the date of birth for Gratitude Garb to February 5, 2021. The birth location? Our homeschool room.
February 5 was a Friday, and Friday is my day (this is Tim here, by the way) to teach homeschool. Liz, my wife, does the heavy lifting the rest of the week. My homeschool agenda on Friday is pretty straightforward. We start with gratitude and post something on the gratitude tree I painted in my office. After that, we read and discuss classical literature. We’ve read tons of Shakespeare this year, as well as Darwin, Mark Twain, H.G. Wells, Herman Melville, and the rest.
Later in the morning, we focus on math and art. Often we end with a lesson on self-reliance skills, everything from wilderness survival and shelter building to self-defense and situational awareness. It makes sense to spend so much time with her on this since we already embrace a simple, relatively self-reliant lifestyle. But our real aim is to make sure she has the confidence and skills to fully take care of herself and make sound decisions once she reaches adulthood. That way we don’t have to worry so much while we’re (hopefully) sipping daiquiris on the beach. Somewhere.
It doesn’t matter to me if our daughter one day gets a job that she loves or if she starts a business. Or if she volunteers. It matters to me that she has options, has the confidence to make decisions, and is happy. So one thing I’ve really been spending time on with her is finance and business. To learn what money is, how to get it, and how to wisely use it. And, as a long-time entrepreneur (I haven’t had a paycheck since 1995) I wanted to teach her, step-by-step, how to conceive and start a business.
Many parents want to encourage their children to start a business. But often it’s a purely “kid thing”…the proverbial lemonade stand. And my daughter has done a fair amount of that over the past couple of years, having earned hundreds of dollars breeding and selling baby chickens, sheep and rabbits. That’s fun, and cute…but it’s not a real business. And I wanted to teach her how to build that.
So, on that particular day, February 5, 2021, we devoted the writing portion of our homeschool class to conceiving a business idea and writing a business plan. I told her that’s what we were going to work on together.
We had started the day with our gratitude tree so we began a conversation about how expressing gratitude made us feel. It made us feel happy and content. We talked about the opposite too. About how we would feel if we didn’t feel grateful. Lonely, depressed, sad, angry, unfulfilled. We don’t want to feel that way. We don’t want anyone to feel that way.
You can create a business model based purely on the aim of maximizing profit, of course. But my goal was to come up with an idea that inspired us, would allow us to inspire others, and that was one where my daughter, her mother, and I could do together. To play equal parts.
The idea for Gratitude Garb simply emerged organically from that conversation. Sort of a “what if” kind of notion.
“What if we could find a way to spread gratitude so others could feel as happy as we do when we feel grateful?”
We settled on the idea of spreading gratitude by wearing gratitude. It was a little later, with the help of my wife, before we settled on that cute tagline. But the idea was there from the start. To make the world a happier place by encouraging others to focus not on what they don’t have, but on all they do have. To be grateful.
Gratitude Garb: Date of Birth, February 5, 2021