Saturday, November 28, 2015

Celebrating RuffleButts Retailers this Small Business Saturday

Today we celebrate the thousands of small business retailers that are such an important part of the RuffleButts family! There are many paths in life and the path of small business ownership is not for the faint of heart, but without those that choose to take it on, our communities would be much different. Here are a few stats from

- Almost half of U.S. jobs are held in companies of fewer than 500 employees.
- 54% of U.S. sales happen at small businesses.
- Small business donate 250% more than larger business to nonprofits and community causes.

At RuffleButts, we work with the most amazing boutiques all around the world. These boutiques contribute to their communities, from jobs, to relationships with the neighborhood, to giving back in so many ways. The people that we work with on a daily basis at these stores touch our lives regularly, many of them carrying RuffleButts since the very beginning. So, today we would like to share with you 5 reasons you should shop your local boutiques this Small Business Saturday:

1. Because the owner is likely your neighbor and maybe even your friend. Small business owners are not those Executives working to purchase a 3rd lake house and 10th car. They are your neighbor, working to put their kids through college and pay off their home. Small business owners wear many, many hats, and their work is often never done, but they do their jobs with passion and commitment, dedicated to their business.

2. Because boutique owners, unlike most big box chains, often spend time talking with their customers and discussing their needs. They then find the best brands to carry in their stores to fill these needs. These brands may not be the cheapest options out there, but they are often small businesses themselves and many, many of them create goods of a quality level that far surpass those of the big box RuffleButts =)

3. Because local boutiques create local jobs employing local residents. It is likely that your teenager will someday be looking for a part-time job and these local boutiques are the places they will work and grow. I worked in a local dance shop called Not Just Dancewear as a teenager and learned so much about running an apparel store. I also used the money to purchase my 1st car. I will never forget that experience.

4. Because most local boutiques give back to the communities that support their business. As noted above, small businesses donate significantly more to community causes than large business. Many of the boutique owners we work with here at RuffleButts sit on boards of local nonprofits and organize community events for local charities. At RuffleButts, childhood cancer is something near and dear to our hearts. While today, we are talking about local boutiques, RuffleButts is also a small business. We are involved with our local community here in Dallas/Fort Worth, and are currently working with Cook's Children's Hospital to pay it forward and touch as many lives as we possibly can. Like many other entrepreneurs and small business owners, I started RuffleButts with big dreams, but very high up the list of those dreams was using this business to do something bigger than myself. Our customers enable us to pursue that dream daily.

5. Because they care. I can't speak for every single boutique out there, but I can speak for many of the boutiques that are a part of the RuffleButt family. These boutiques care about their customers. They work hard to ensure they stock the best brands and that those brands meet the quality expectations of their customers. They will go above and beyond to ensure a fabulous experience for their customers. When we come out with new styles, our boutiques will select styles based on individual customers, and they often even know them by name. There is something wonderful about buying from someone who knows your name!

With all of the hustle and bustle of Black Friday, today, we celebrate Small Business Saturday and the RuffleButts Retailers that are a part of it. Without them, our dreams would not be possible and your communities would not be the same. We celebrate the small business owners, their determination, commitment, generosity, and love for their communities. To find your local boutique that carries RuffleButts and/or RuggedButts click here. If your local boutique doesn't yet carry the brands, please send us a quick message here and we'll reach out to them. Happy Small Business Saturday!

Friday, October 16, 2015

Candy Bar Board

Most people read me as fairly non-emotional at 1st interaction. I'm not super social, but consider myself to be friendly. It is certainly rare that I get emotional in front of others. I want to say it is because I have spent the last 8 years as a CEO that has to pull it together and put on a brave face while we conquer goals bigger than ourselves. In an honest retrospect, I guess I've really always been this way, just mostly even keel, and ready for a challenge. When my closest friend heard that I started RuffleButts, her response was "of course you did." At the time, her response caught me a little off guard, but after a short explanation, I knew exactly what she meant. In a way, my life path prepared and led me right to this journey. In a way, I always knew what I wanted to do, without having any idea what that was...if that makes any sense to anyone!

Anyhow, there are many things about this journey that I completely expected and many more that I did not. One of the things I didn't really see coming was how much I would be impacted by those that signed up to walk along side me in this RuffleButt journey. They affect and impact me more than I ever knew possible. Back to my non-emotional statement earlier, while I may come across fairly non-emotional, I am actually affected quite deeply by those closest to me. As an only child, I don't have a large family, so in a lot of ways, this company has become my family. They are certainly the people that I spend the vast majority of my time with.

Today, these people truly made my day! I had no idea it was bosses day and quite frankly, what is "bosses day" anyway?! While I may technically fall under that definition in some ways, I don't ever considerate it my title in any way. While I may come across as bossy...let me try that again...while I do come across as bossy in many ways, I never think of myself as "the boss". I mostly think of myself as the captain, but a ship without mates would certainly not be a successful one. I carry the responsibility of captain quite seriously, considering that more than 25 people have trusted me enough to put their career in my hands. And, it goes without saying, that I absolutely could not do it without my co-captain (and hubby).

So, this morning our team told me that something was serious and we were needed in the conference room. When we arrived, this incredibly creative creation awaited on the table. As I looked up, our team joined us in the conference room to celebrate "bosses day". I was not only touched by the kind words, but also by the obvious effort that went into such a gift. I have to say I have never seen anything like this candy bar poster before, but what a great idea!!

To my team, THANK YOU!! Thank you for making this dream possible. Thank you for your loyalty to our vision. Thank you for your commitment to helping make it happen. Thank you for your forgiveness that I am far from perfect. Thank you for your understanding when we make mistakes. Thank you for your determination when our goals seem out of reach. Thank you for making us laugh with your clever slack commentaries. Thank you for the in-office entertainment. Thank you for your positive attitudes. Thank you for your lack of drama (seriously, this is a big one!). Thank you for all that you do!

Monday, October 5, 2015


As I walked past the large TV in the gym locker room, my son sat in a chair waiting for me to check him into the kids activity area before my yoga class. My day went on, but my mind kept rewinding to that sight. I tend to use yoga as a time for gratitude prayer. That day, I just kept asking what I was supposed to do to change this world we live in. The sight of the parents and students in tears, the sight of the college that had just become the next major news story, the sight of another day discussing these acts of violence just replayed in my head. As with most Americans, my evening went on. That evening I prayed for those involved, I prayed for the boy/man that felt compelled to kill and hurt other human beings, but I still felt with the rest of the world, confused and frustrated. 

Then, this Sunday I went to church, as we do every Sunday, but this day was a little different. There was a guest speaker by the name of Samuel Rodriguez and he spoke on "light". While I love attending church, it is not often that I leave with written notes from the service. This week was again different there. While Reverend Rodriguez was speaking, he said something that really resonated with me..."For when light stands next to darkness, light always wins." Following this week and that vision stuck in my head from the gym TV, this is exactly the answer I needed to hear. So, how do we create more light in a world that is struggling with darkness? 

From the very beginning of RuffleButts, I felt led to do something more than create adorable clothes for adorable kiddos around the world. While that job description is certainly an honor, I have always wanted to use this company as a platform to do good. Sometimes that "good" is obvious and other times it is not. Sometimes it is complex and often times it is quite simple. 

While our business is a business for profit, which means we do have to make a profit to stay in business, it is truly built on a foundation of love, goodness, honesty, and optimism. While we mostly talk about products, as most companies do, this week, I want to do something a little different. Many would not consider this to be the best business decision, as it will not drive sales, won't contribute to our revenue goals, and won't help to spread the word about RuffleButts. With that said, I feel like it will do something even more important. We have the most AMAZING customers ever! Our customers have had my back since the very beginning. They have supported this dream, the business, they have sang our praises and decorated their loved ones in our creations. Even those that have outgrown our sizes still show their loyalty with baby shower gifts and notes on our social media pages. I know that our customers have so much light to shine, so this week, I am calling on you to shine it. 

So, here is my simple something kind for someone else this week. Shine your light! Show love, show support, encouragement. Pay for the dinner of a random stranger, maybe pay for their coffee ahead of them in line. Support a co-worker who you do not know well, who may need the support more than you know. Whatever it is, just shine brightly. Then take a moment to stop by our facebook page and share your story. It doesn't even have to have a result that you know of, just let us know what you did to join in our quest for light. Who knows, maybe we'll pay it forward too!

*When searching for his quote, I came across this post on Maria Shriver's website. Looks like she found him inspiring too. Rev. Dr. Samuel Rodriguez was also nominated by TIME Magazine for their "100 Most Influential People in the World" list in 2013. After hearing him speak, I can certainly see why! 

Also turns out that Gateway Church is doing a re-air of Rev. Rodriguez's service at noon Central today. If you would like to view, click here

Monday, September 21, 2015

Two years, really??

When I glanced at the blog and realized that nearly 2 years had passed since my last post, I was half embarrassed and half reflective on how fast life truly flies by. Am I the only one that had at least two dozen moms and grandmoms approach me when I was preggers with the "flies by" advice? They all told me how fast it will fly by and to make sure to take it all in. Last week, I opened my mouth and realized that with complete unintention, those words were pouring out at the sweet pregnant lady I had just met. It was a moment that made me feel older, but also a bit wiser.

Seeing that January 2014 date as the last published post was a moment that stung slightly, as I realized how thin I have been spread over recent years, but also a moment of triumph as a mom, wife and entrepreneur that I have survived and thrived. I am filled with such gratitude that my life is so full, but like many other women, it is a rare minute that I don't feel like I am dropping one ball or the other. Writing has always been something enjoyable to me, a way of paying it forward of sorts, sharing my experience, and selfishly a way to chronicle my journey. Unfortunately writing is one of the things that was sacrificed over the past 2 years as it easily fell below the priority of time with kiddos and time at RuffleButts. It is today that I make the conscious effort to move it back up a few notches on the list.

Oh where to begin? How about a plan? So, it is my plan, going forward from today, to share all parts of me. Or at least all parts that I think you may find of any benefit or interest. I will share 1 piece business journey, 1 piece beneficial business tools, 1 piece motherhood and 1 piece life lessons to pay forward. This has been the blog past in general, but I will do my best to share on a regular basis go-forward. If you have any other questions or requested information, please feel free to post questions and comments here and I will do my best to respond. As always, I am truly grateful for your interest and support along the way! 


Wednesday, January 8, 2014

The Huffington Post Wants to Interview Me?

"How on Earth will I talk about myself for 3 hours?" was my thought when this super sweet reporter asked to schedule 3 hours with me for an interview. First of all, no one wants to hear my whole life story, right? And, I'm not sure I have enough interesting stuff to fill 3 whole hours!

I was stunned to look down at the clock to see that we were actually 5 minutes over! Seriously, did I just talk to this reporter for 3 hours about the start of RuffleButts?? The amazing thing was that she is so good at her job, I felt like I was chatting with a long lost friend. That, and the fact that I was telling the story of my 1st born, my dream come to life. I am so busy running the daily life of this business, it is extremely rare that I take a step back to review the journey. My journey plays out with a mix of drama, a total comedy, and even a little horror (like when my first RuffleButts shipment arrived only half sell-able!). I just never thought that my story was interesting enough to share with millions...but am COMPLETELY flattered that they think otherwise! 

So, to take a step back...that reporter that I speak of is Lori Weiss. She is an amazing writer that covers stories that are very close to my heart. Marlo Thomas has this incredible series on the Huffington Post called It Ain't Over...Till It's Over. The series is also shared on AOL...huge!! The series shares stories of inspirational women of all ages and walks of life. They are all interesting stories that pull you in and remind us that anything is possible at any time. It was when I received a phone call from Lori that I was blown away to even be considered for this series! I have talked about it here on the RuffleBlog for years, but it has been a passion and goal of mine since day one, to share my story (the journey, the celebrations, and the tears) in hopes of inspiring others and sharing an honest journey. We are all at different places with different dreams, but we all share similar fears, obstacles, and intimidations. When I started this business I was not lacking for the glossy entrepreneur story found in magazines and on TV daily, but what I struggled to find was good old honest advice and feedback from someone who had fought from the same trenches. 

When I decided to do Shark Tank last year, a big part of that decision was to share our true story with the world. To show other mompreneurs that it is totally possible, but not without a climb. I came from nothing, no experience, no connections in the industry, no trust fund. I started this from scratch and am still climbing my mountain (with a super talented team and family beside me today). I have learned a lot of lessons, many the hard way, but it is 100% possible and I have never doubted that. With that said, I have faced every emotion possible, and intimidation certainly was a huge hump I had to put behind me in the beginning. It was when I realized that every successful person that I admire was a newbie at some point, I became determined to make it work. I likely shouldn't admit this, but it is probably monthly that at some point in the day I wonder what in the heck I am doing playing with the big boys. I feel inadequate, uneducated, inexperienced, and in over my head, to be quite honest. It is in those moments when I either go to Mark (my husband, partner, and best friend) for a pep-talk or I shake it off and keep plugging away. I refuse to give in to those thoughts...and to be quite frank, I don't have time for them! 

If you are reading post this with a dream ahead of you, please go read the series. It is not about the experience, the connections, or the glossy story. Don't get me wrong, those things certainly help sometimes, but it really comes down to your will and your attitude. How determined are you? These stories that have captivated me on Marlo's series, they are not of women who had those things, they are of women who had a dream and went for it. Dreams come in all shapes and sizes, they are not necessarily an entrepreneurial dream, but all dreams are worth living. A lesson I learned watching The Little Engine That Could with my kids last night: If you think you can, you will. If you think you can't, you won't. Either way, you are right. A valuable lesson at any age!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Such a baby

Oh my gosh, I feel like such a baby at this very moment...tears are filling my eyes. I truly don't know how I got this lucky! So, I am working in a small temporary office in Southlake, Texas (more on that story here shortly), and have been living away from my RuffleButts team and hubby since Halloween. I have my kiddos, which makes a world of difference, but I have been stretched thin and under a little pressure to say the least. Anyhow, I just got a card in the mail, and it has turned me into a blubbering baby. It is from our RuffleButts team, still back in NC. I had to share, these are just a few of the notes in the card...

"Happy Birthday Super Woman, miss you!

"Have a wonderful birthday. You are one of the best people I've ever met."

Happy, happy birthday Amber! I super miss you and hope your day is Ruffle-tastic!

Happy Birthday, can't wait to see you!

Seriously, I work with the most AMAZING people ever! I don't know what I did to get so family, our RuffleButts team, our customers, my's all a little overwhelming sometimes. I have been tested over these past 2 months in more ways than I can describe in this brief post, but it is times like these that I am emotionally overwhelmed by gratitude.

My sincerest thank you to my AWESOME RuffleButts family back in NC. You inspire me in so many ways and I feel honored to work with each and every one of you. I can't wait to see you VERY soon!!!!!

Friday, October 25, 2013

How to make good business decisions

Following your gut is no way to make business decisions...or is it? What is needed when making an educated business decision? Sound data, detailed analysis, a solid framework and working foundation...right? Big wig business people don't make multi-million dollar decisions on a gut-feel, I'm sure. Well, after 6 years of running this business, I beg to differ. I may not be a "big wig business person" and may not be Ivy-league educated, but over the years, I have found myself making some pretty major, life-altering (and business changing) decisions. 

I remember years back when I would turn to Oprah for my daily dose of inspiration (I DVRed her, as there was no chance of watching a daily afternoon tv show). Anyhow, there are many episodes that come to mind when the guest would reference this 'voice in their head', 'just a feeling' or intuition. So many of them saying they wished they would have listened, but shook it off as it wasn't logical. Which brings me to something my husband would say it SUPER important, logic (defined by Wikipedia as the use of valid reasoning in some activity). Of course you would use valid reasoning when making a huge, life-changing decision. But what if there is good reasoning for either decision? What if the logic says one thing, but your gut says the other?

I speak for me personally, as I know this statement is likely to garner criticism, but in business, I have learned that my gut wins. In retrospect, when my gut has told me not do to something and I decided otherwise, I paid the price...and vice versa. Take for instance the decision to follow my dream and start a business. I was employed in real estate (in 2006...the heyday!). My work day started at 10am, who gets to do that?? The money was ridiculous and my opportunities were limitless. I should be loving life. The logic says stay. My gut said run, run, as far as you can...and just go for it. All through college when my friends wanted to be doctors & lawyers, my little voice kept telling me to do something different, I just couldn't quite understand what. My path was not clear, which made logical decision making a bit difficult. It was when I finally listened to my gut, and did A LOT of prayer, that my answer was crystal clear. 

Sometimes in life, your answer does not seem logical. Do you have the opportunity to move hundreds of miles away? Leave your friends, family, and everything you have worked so hard to build? Your parents think it is the wrong decision, but your gut keeps telling you it is right? How to you clear the noise and make the 'right' decision? I remember when I was on the Anderson Show with Sara Blakely. She was telling the story of when she started Spanx. She said she waited for a year before telling anyone her idea. She knew this is what she was supposed to do and did not want to hear their opinions. While I did not go that route, it makes so much sense. Clearly there are major life decisions when you need the opinion of your loved ones, but I truly think sometimes your gut is so clear that you just have to listen. When I told my dad that I wanted to start RuffleButts, his 1st response was "Why on Earth would you want to start an apparel company? What's to stop anyone from copying what you do?" He was completely right and I knew it, but I still knew, deep down, that this is what I was supposed to do. Sometimes our best decisions are not the most logical; sometimes the very best decisions are the ones that come from within. 

Don't get me wrong here, I'm certainly not saying to throw logic out the window and make brash decisions doing whatever you want. I'm also not saying to disregard the opinion of your loved ones. I think logic is super important, as is family. What I am saying is that sometimes the gut tells us exactly what to do. Just be sure you are listening. 

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Shark Tank is so much more than what you see on TV

RuffleButts Amber & Mark Schaub deal on Shark TankI mean this statement in more ways than one, but the one that I want to share today is the most important. I realized after our show aired on TV that we all tune in every week to see both the business side and the personal side - the people. This is obvious, right? It is a show about people AND their businesses after all. But is it really? After watching I quickly realized that in reality, it is just another reality TV show. There is A LOT that you don't see. The key,  and where the reality comes in, is actually much more important than I ever realized. The part that is realer than real is the support and enthusiasm from people EVERYWHERE. We were truly blown away by the tweets, emails, facebook posts and good old fashion phone calls! We were flooded with kind words from current customers, new customers, strangers, stores, moms, grandmas, dads, fellow entrepreneurs, family members, friends, even old college roommates. It was truly a once in a lifetime kind of moment.

It's 9:10ish on the east coast. The episode is airing, I'm really not even watching (oddly enough I still have not gone back to watch it), as I'm trying to manage the flood of tweets and customers on the website. Analytics just keeps going up, and up, and up...then down. Yep, the worse-case scenario, the website crashed. My worst fear...and I'm pretty sure my phone call to our web team was their worst fear. In moments like this, you have a decision to make. I was determined to do everything in my control to manage the situation, do everything in my power to fix it, and understand that when you can't fix something, you do the very best to make the most of it. I was stressed to the max, to say the least, but amid the stress, my phone continued to pop up message after message of support and congratulations.

I knew there would be some out there with something negative to say...this is "reality" TV after all, but I was amazed by the love that completely overshadowed the few out there ready to criticize. I will be forever grateful that Mark and I were given the opportunity to share our business (and our babies) on national TV in front of 6.5 Million people Friday night! I am literally (and a bit embarrassingly) in tears typing this last paragraph. There are truly not words to describe our gratitude. I am just an average girl who grew up in KY. I had a dream and worked really hard to make it come true, like so many others. I'm still in shock that I had the opportunity to share that dream with so many of you.

What happens now? So, this is the question posed by many. My answer - the same thing that was happening the day before we were on national TV. We have been super fortunate to work with some AWESOME stores before Shark Tank and we will continue to add to the list after. We have been blessed with THE most awesome, supportive, enthusiastic customers (moms, grandmas, aunts, and dads too) from the day I launched this business in 2007. We are still the same people, running the same business, with the same principles, and same customer service. We just have more people to share it all with - what more could I ask for?!

Below is just a small sampling of the super sweet comments that we received. The very first tee that I ever designed for RuffleButts says 'So Blessed' on the front. It is still our best selling shirt today, and I must say that this experience just reconfirms it!

Aurora Maria Garza You guys did great !!!!!! Awesome product ; ))

Amy Price Smith I'm excited for you! My daughter has had her rear covered in RB's for her entire life!!!! Here's to proving quality ruffles only come from one place! RUFFLE BUTTS OR DIE! 

CaSandra Packard I'm a retailer for the both lines and was a customer buying online before I started a store last year. It is one of my favorite brands and one of the first I got in the store, love the products, love the quality, the price, and you have the best customer service of any brand we carry by far! Congratulations and best wishes for continued success! Dolce Vita Children's Boutique

Kelly Simmons Sherman So excited for you guys. You did wonderful. I am so proud to be a long time Rufflebutts customer. Congrats 

Cara Jean Eckerman Yay RuffleButts!!! Been buying and giving your products away since the very beginning .. Love your story and admire your entrepreneurial spirit!! Good for y'all

Heather Bowman Just saw you on shark tank! Congratulations. You were well spoken, smart, and beautiful. So happy for you guys!

KristeenLynnae @RuffleButts @LoriGreiner @ABCSharkTank I love your products! I've been a fan for my 2 yr old and 6 mos old. Loved seeing you on the show.

ZellaRoseBoutiq @ZellaRoseBoutiq loves @RuffleButts Congrats-what a great company! #sharktank

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

RuffleButts on Shark Tank?!?

RuffleButts on ABC's Shark Tank
I truly don't have the right words to open this blog post...holy moly, seriously?, OMG! I have watched Shark Tank from the very first season. I can pretty much remember every single entrepreneur that I witnessed pitching and ultimately defending their baby, their dream. Some more successful at it than others, but all laying it all on the line. Entrepreneurship is pretty much an all or nothing thing. Some people get that and some people don't, but to take something you've created and put it out there for the world to see has always seemed a nearly-impossible task to me. I cannot tell you the number of times that Mark and I have sat on the couch when the show goes to commercial and I am yelling aloud, "I could NEVER do that!". I know and love my business, but I am not that great at speaking publicly. I don't have an ivy-league education, prefer to be in my office over in front of a crowd and am certainly not clever, so I just knew I would get up there and not know what to say. Well....crazy enough, a single phone call from a Shark Tank producer changed my mind pretty quickly! 

RuffleButts Founder Amber Schaub and Co-Owner Mark Schaub pitch on Shark Tank
It all happened so fast! One minute we were on the phone, the next preparing our 'pitch' video and just a few short weeks later, on a plane to LA, both kids in tow. Holy _____! What were we doing, it was all just going so fast! What was our company worth?? Well, isn't that a great question, because a 'thing' only has value when you are trying to sell it, and I wasn't! At the same time, our company has been growing quickly for years now. RuffleButts, Inc landed on the Inc 500 list last year and added Neiman Marcus, buybuyBaby, and one other mass retailer to our customer list just this year. With growth like that, cash is king, and Shark Tank could be an awesome place to get it. More importantly, it would be an awesome place to score a high-profile and super experienced investor. Oh how awesome it would be to call up someone like Mark Cuban, Lori Greiner, Barbara Corcoran, Kevin O’Leary, Robert Herjavec, or Daymond John when I need advice on a distributor, new back office computer system, or even to knock on the door of a big box retailer for us! Seriously, does that really happen to people?
RuffleButts and RuggedButts Face Off with Shark Tank Entreprenuers
Long story short, our trip to LA lasted about a week. Our little 2 year old Jonas spent half a day in Disney Land first aid station and then ended up in urgent care the day before filming. Aubrey was a trooper and definitely helped to keep our mind too fixated on what was happening around us. Mark and I grilled each other with every question we could think of, practicing how we would defend this business that is like a 3rd child to us (born before both of our children). How to keep your emotions in check? What if they didn't like it? What if they thought RuffleButts & RuggedButts were stupid names? What if they picked it apart and made people question our business on national TV? We decided that we believe 100% in what we are doing and it was worth the chance. What an incredible opportunity, and we MUST take it! So there we were, the doors opened and we found ourselves walking down the aquarium filled hallway we've seen a million times on TV and we came face to face with the Sharks. We were honest, genuine and shared our business and dreams that we love so much and have poured so much into. It was only after answering what felt like a barrage of questions that they finally said...
What, did you think I was going to give it all away?? You'll have to watch RuffleButts ABC this Friday, October 18th! I can't give it away, but I will tell you that it is one experience that my family will NEVER forget.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Newbie Shmoobie - Motivated by Mark Cuban

No matter how long I do this, it is always surprising to me when people look to me as an 'expert' in the industry or entrepreneurship. Although I feel like I've been doing this forever in some ways, I still feel like a total newbie in others. I remember so clearly in the beginning...

I sat at my little make-shift desk in my little make-shift office in our 2-bdrm Ft. Lauderdale condo. I was in full blown fake-it-till-you-make-it mode. I don't think I would have survived otherwise. Completely intimidated, but even more determined, I picked up the phone and pretended to know what they were talking about...I had no clue! Sure, a full package manufacturing quote is what I idea what full package meant. Was there a partial-package? Oh sure, HTS codes, of course I knew what category I was producing...not really! Interlock vs jersey...yes, that one. I just rolled with it, and then as soon as I got off the phone, I would scour the internet and books trying to figure out what the heck they were saying. 

Is this you?? Do you sometimes question whether you are good enough, know enough, or are strong enough to pursue your idea? I may not know you personally, but I am telling you, dig deep, you already know the answer. When it comes down to it, you (and no one else) know if you are strong enough. As for the good enough and know enough, that is up to you. Are you willing to do whatever it takes to figure it out?? Then you know enough! Here's the fact...for every single expert out there, at some point, they were a newbie. At some point they didn't know as much as others in their industry. They were willing to put in the work. Are you? 

Although I have come a long way when it comes to what I do, I still know that I have miles and miles to go on my journey to becoming a successful business leader and entrepreneur. I am really just like so many other people out there. I have a dream; I have faith in God; I have love in my heart; I am determined to create something bigger than myself; I want to pay it forward; I yearn to leave a legacy for my children. The only thing that makes me a little different from some is that I am willing to sacrifice and work more hours than some to make it happen. If this sounds familiar. If you are one of those people, don't you dare let them make you feel like a newbie. 

I am constantly inspired by other successful people. Mark Cuban is often one of them. I met him at the Dallas W Hotel launch event I worked back in 2006, and as I have pursued my dream of entrepreneurship, I often turn to him to figure things out (of course I don't mean personally...I wish!). 

What he says usually just makes sense to me. I think we're both stubborn as all get out. He's got the gift of being social, which I missed out on, but I think we're alike in various ways...minus the billions of dollars and private jet ;) Anyhow, in his book How to Win at the Sport of Business, he tells the story of when he was a newbie. He just dove in, determined to know more than the people he was selling to, so he read the manuals. Seriously, he would spend hours pouring through the manuals that come with the software. Seems basic right? I think it's genius! He took the information that was available to him and put in the hours to learn it. It is just my opinion, but I think that is a characteristic of many successful people, they are just willing to work and put in the hours to figure it out. So, we're all newbies in one way or another and it repeats itself over and over again. Life is boring if we aren't challenged. It's the only way to grow, so embrace being a newbie, but don't ever allow yourself to feel not good enough just because you may not be as tenured. Put in the work to become an expert, go for your dreams, and love what you do.