19 Apr Adam Schwartz (Ep. 44): Navigating fatherhood and entrepreneurship
Adam Schwartz is the co-founder and COO of TeePublic an e-commerce platform for independent creators. TeePublic is a high growth company with 50+ employees yet is completely self-funded. Is it a lifestyle business? We explore the negative connotation of the term and how it translates into constraints, profitability, and the “life” part of lifestyle. One thing’s for sure, irrespective of the name, entrepreneurs have very little mindspace for anything but their companies. And therein lies some of Adam’s anxiety around becoming a new father. How does one make room for a new person, when life and work are already all consuming? And consistent with the RadReads ethos, it comes down to the repeated topics of time scarcity, financial security, achievement and how this all ties into our sense of self worth.
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What does a lifestyle business mean to you?
Who doesn’t want a lifestyle? When people talk about a lifestyle business, it means it’s a business that’s not going to be that big. It may make some money for the founders but it’s not going to scale. So I don’t think of us as a lifestyle business because we’re scaling, we can play ball with anybody, and our trajectory isn’t slower than anyone who’s taken more money than us. It’s not a lifestyle business, it’s a business that makes profit.[We made an intentional decision to] decide what this looks like, how many people work here and when it’s over. We don’t want anyone telling us what to do. As a result of not raising money, there’s never been that moment when we’ve said “If this doesn’t get to X, we’re dead.” That creates a different work environment, this isn’t going to zero, nobody is shutting us down, we have time to figure this out. This has helped keep it more reasonable. I tell new employees, that “this is like a start up every day, but there’s no unhealthy urgency.”
What Adam’s 50 year old mentor would tell his 30 year old self
“I’m looking at you, you’re starting this company, you’ve positioned yourself in [this] way, you’re already on the path you want to be on. The path will go where you think it’s going. We’re all terrified that the path isn’t going where we want it to go. But it is [actually going there.]”
Salvation lies not at the end of a checklist
“But I need to slow the F down… even if you do all the things you wanna do, it doesn’t feel good when a month goes by and you’re like ‘what just happened?’”
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