So often light is presented as the flip side of darkness, but entrepreneurship is seldom that simple.
Case in point: meet Riley Strickland, a third of the founding team at Lume Cube, who sat down for a few minutes recently to walk through the winding adventure he's seen, and helped navigate.
We learn what it's like to pivot—hard—and what it means when the entire world essentially redefines their perspective overnight. In between, we canvass supply chains, a wacky idea that didn't land (and why those experiments matter), and how we stitch together our experiences to connect, learn, and inspire.
We hear how there is perhaps a Venn Diagram that includes both content creators and business guys that just want to look presentable on Zoom calls. We ask questions about what's next, and where the shadows lurk.
At LumeCube, it's pretty apparent that they're not out of bright ideas.
Expanding our product line (both new product categories and upgrade paths for current products), as well as focusing on really enhancing and building our community (ambassadors, user groups, providing education & inspiration to our customers, etc)
Leading with a People-First mentality & building a safe, fun, and exciting environment to work in where employees can see growth opportunities for both themselves & the company. I've had many key employees be poached by recruiters this year, and most have stayed because of the culture we've created and the opportunities that lie ahead.
Letting other people (who aren't involved in my business) influence key decisions over the years. I used to think if someone had more success than me or had sold their company for a lot of money, they knew all the answers & I would sometimes allow their opinions to hold more weight than my own, take their word as gospel & make a decision that wasn't right for the business. The reality is nobody knows your business like you do. Once I understood that (after a few hard lessons), I continued to seek all the advice, insight, and perspective from other founders, but was able to sort through which components fit our business model and which didn't, help it shape my own thoughts/ideas, then take action from there.
The KING of YouTube right now is Mr. Beast. He's proving to be much more than a creator, he's a business guru and the things he's achieving in both content and community are unreal. As a top tier creator who's got a super creative mind, I'd love to see what we could do together if we gave him unlimited access to lighting.
It's going to be a much longer, harder, more grueling process than you ever thought. In the beginning, I was focused on the destination (building a company that did X million in revenue). Over the years (and mainly the last 18-24 months which have been some of the toughest), I've learned that it's all about the process. Waking up in the morning and loving what you do, recognizing how much you're learning everyday, and enjoying those you do it with. Once I started to enjoy the journey and focus less on the destination, it all started to become more fun. I believe if I truly become in love with the journey, the rest will fall into place.
Supporting my team in every way I can. As the CEO of Lume Cube, I believe I work for my team. My job is to make sure I have the right people in the right seat, and then ensure they have the resources, the training, the support, and the tools they need to succeed at their jobs.
Don't be afraid to get your hands dirty in all aspects of the business, it'll teach you intimately how each aspect of your business works, as well as give you a better understanding of the roles each of your team members will play. I've spent the last 18 months dipping my toe in every category. From jumping on the phone with customers handling support calls, to visiting our fulfillment centers, to auditing Freight Bills & helping create content for Facebook ads.
I have a deep appreciation and understanding for each area of the business which has allowed me a deeper connection with the individuals responsible for those areas. I've become a much better operator over the last 18 months as I have a deeper knowledge on how the entire machine works & how when one thing changes at the top, there is a trickle down effect across all departments. It's a powerful thing to understand how your decisions impact all those downstream, it's really helped shape my decision making process & what I take into consideration before executing on an idea.
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