5 Lessons learned in 5 Years
WOLACO founder Terry White (@terrywhitenyc) started this business five years ago with a simple idea for a more efficient short. Now, he's looking back on everything he has learned and sharing his five greatest takeaways. Read below or listen above.
Half a decade is a good chunk of time. A lot can change, plenty can happen and so much can be learned. And yet, it is also still short enough to digest, take a step back and look at it as a whole.
1) Stick to your Vision
Start from a place of purpose. A purpose is what has given me the strength to stick to my vision over a five-year span. From the start, I've cared deeply about positively impacting people by promoting a healthy and active lifestyle. Ultimately, vision is the accumulation of many many decisions made over a period of time, so being steadfast in a purpose is what has guided me in all of the decision makings.
As a founder, it's really important to trust yourself. I know it sounds a little funny to hear that, but being the founder of a business puts you in a vulnerable position. Building a business typically takes longer than you originally expected, and I have received no shortage of suggestions and critiques along the way. I have welcomed and valued all of these perspectives, but through it all, you cannot get lost in other people's opinions. Always listen and digest, but make the decision for yourself.
2) Your Team is Everything
It might take time to find a truly cohesive unit of people that believe in the vision, but patience will pay off. There is something to learn from every relationship along the way, and the people you surround yourself with are the ones that will take you the distance.
I have an extremely special team working with me at WOLACO. I have made passion the non-negotiable quality when evaluating new team members because a passion for the mission will draw the best out of anyone. At the end of the day, I am only as good as the people that I surround myself with. I am fortunate that WOLACO’s mission has helped to attract such a great group of people.
3) People are the Best
The truth is: The overwhelming majority of people want you to succeed. People will respect that you are doing something that is meaningful to you. Ignore the haters. Focus on the supporters.
I’ve come to find through experience that “haters” are fleeting and the “supporters” are loyal. It’s really important to remember this throughout your journey because in most instances the haters will be the loudest. If your intent is correct and pure to you, then feel free to put in the earplugs and shut out the haters. Hopefully, it is encouraging to know that the extreme majority of the population is there to support and rally behind whatever you decide to pursue as an individual.
4) It's Hard
My perception of the word 'hard' has regularly been redefined over the course of the past five years.
It is a word that can carry heavy connotations, but I’ve learned not to look at it as a negative one. In the context of business, it usually means that you are being challenged. What I have learned is that there will always be new challenges and that 'hard' will have a normal place in the career path that I have chosen. It can be cliché, but as they say, “this is what you signed up for.” As an ambitious person, I’ve grown to appreciate how hard building a business can be. It has ensured me that I am constantly challenged, and consequently, constantly growing.
5) Take Care of Yourself
Most importantly, if you don't have your health, you have nothing.
Your family needs you and so does your team. After over five years of running this business, I've learned first hand how important it is that I do everything in my power to remain functional and healthy. Life often tries to pull you away from your health, but it is so important to stay disciplined and committed. I often say that being selfish about your health is what will truly enable you to be selfless for the ones that you care about and love.