I’ve been doing Dog Tired as a business since 2013. And when I say “business”, I mean a venture that pays taxes, has customers, and earns money from those customers. Pretty much the basic definition of “business.” Sure, I’ve had daydreams for how I want DT to grow and how I want it to look — and these have been some pretty big, serious dreams — but the truth is, I’ve always felt more comfortable keeping those thoughts as dreams. I’ve never considered myself a true entrepreneur because I’m just too big a chicken. And though I like to dream big, taking action to make those dreams a reality has always been somewhat frightening.
Things have been going well. I’m constantly booked with commissioned guitars and have a major label band playing stuff on tour and in the studio, strap sales have been decent, and I’m enjoying myself. The current situation would never allow me to make tons of money, but it’s affording me opportunities that I would never have had otherwise. I’ve enjoyed the creative outlet on the guitar builds, and the entire process of product design, material sourcing, prototyping, and manufacturing has been a rush.
Well, now something has changed. I have a friend who is about a decade younger than me but has vastly more business savvy. He’s got a business degree and has already started several other businesses. As he and I were talking one day, I mentioned my new straps and how excited I was about them. He asked how my planning was going and how I was going to fund the development. I mentioned that I had another friend who I thought would invest the startup capital so I could get it off the ground. Without hesitation he said, “I’m in.”
Wait, what? No, I have a different friend who I was going to… “Nope. I’m your guy. How much do you need and when?”
I was a bit dumbstruck. I didn’t expect that. I mean, I knew he enjoyed business development, but just with the nature of our friendship, I would never have even approached him.
I’ve been listening to tons of business start-up podcasts, and almost to a person, they all mentioned how important having a partner was. Not only do you need someone else to bounce ideas off of, but you need someone to help feed your enthusiasm and share the load when things are getting tougher. You also need someone who possesses traits you don’t and who can see the things you can’t.
As things moved forward, I couldn’t help but think about how well he and I worked together. Our personalities are completely different but complementary. Where I'm weakest, he's strongest. Where he's weak, I'm strong. And because of his business schooling, he has some great contacts. Things just really made a lot of sense.
Fast forward a couple of months, and I’m beyond stoked to say that he’s officially part of Dog Tired. I have a business partner, which means he’s going to help me keep the business end in-line. And now things are moving quickly. There are lots of new developments on the horizon, and I’m more excited about the future of DT than ever before. This just feels right.
And quite possibly the best thing about having a partner: my poor wife won’t have to bear the full burden of hearing me talk endlessly about Dog Tired. I now have someone who has a vested interest in hearing me talk about it. The more enthusiastic I am, the happier he is.
This feels good.
I realize I’ve probably disappointed those of you who’ve read this by not naming my new partner. And for that, I apologize. I just don’t think it’s prudent at this point. We’ll be able to do it at some point, but until then, I’ll just refer to him as Kid (and now you understand the relevance of the image). Is that me taking a bit of a jab at our age difference? Yes. But I write the blog, so…