From the Ground Up

“There are two significant characteristics of every great life. The first is capacity to make a good beginning and the second is courage to push on to a good ending.”   – Harold B. Walker


Small business ownership has its fair share of ups and downs and so has my life. I recently just started GroundUp Coffee, a mobile coffee trailer with the help of UnBoundRVA. My childhood was a pretty typical one– playing soccer, attending school, dating, and of course being socially awkward. I discovered alcohol, and I lost all of that normal life in a very short time period. I went from attending college to living in the Healing Place, which is a part of the CARITAS homeless shelter. There, I was introduced to UnBoundRVA and became a member of their first class of entrepreneurs. Through this process, I have learned a lot and continue to learn every day. Here are some important things to note.


Running a small business is a marathon, not a sprint. There was a ton of excitement when I first realized I had made the cut. Starting a business takes time. I watched as members of class two started their business, and class three members were chosen.   I persevered and launched my business two years after being accepted into the program in September of 2016.


The marathon didn’t stop after I opened.   I had dreams of the business taking off immediately. It did not. My main goal is to remain open. If an opportunity arises tomorrow, I will be ready to capitalize on it. This is not a “get rich quick” scheme and great financial success will take time. I am not looking for that one big win. I will take my time and slowly chip away at that mountain. Most overnight success stories I read about did not occur over night, but after many years of perseverance in the face of adversity.


Just like in a marathon, how you win is also very important. I am the business and the business is me. I am a representative of CARITAS, UnBoundRVA, GroundUp Coffee, my family, and myself. My actions will reflect on all of those organizations and people. I strive to put my best foot forward and handle myself accordingly. I have made mistakes and will make many more. How I react to these mistakes is what is important. Addressing mistakes, admitting my faults, and making amends to the best of my ability are all I can do.


I am about to complete my first year as a small business owner. I compare this to the first mile in a marathon. I have many miles to go and look forward to each of them. There will be ups and downs, wins and losses.   If my past is any indication of my future, I will survive and eventually thrive. I have proven to myself that I am a survivor and that will show in my business. Perseverance in the face of adversity is the key to true success.


About the Blogger:

John is a native of Richmond, Va.  He enjoys traveling, playing soccer, and taking photos on his handy dandy cell phone.  He recently married his wonderful wife Paige, and got to enjoy his first jaunt into the Mediterranean aboard a cruise ship.  He enjoys the simpler things in life and can always improve his mood with food or sleep, which delights Paige.  He is a do it yourself kinda guy, a jack of all trades, but master of none. Did I mention he also loves coffee?


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