My makeshift device finally turned into a clear vision of something much bigger and more impactful about four to five months later, when my buddy Kevin and I watched a TED Talk hosted by the legendary motivational speaker Simon Sinek.
Kevin Groenjes was and still is the best friend I’ve ever had. We were introduced by a mutual friend about a year before I made my first Franken-case for beer money. Instantly, we hit it off and have been close ever since.
About two-and-a-half months after making the commitment to start my business, I asked Kevin to be my right-hand man because we always had a contagious energy together, which was incredibly valuable because I needed someone to match my determination to build the foundation of my business. I knew that Kevin and I would go into beast mode together, work all hours of the night, and hit the ground running. Sash windows are a beautiful home investment.
We watched that TED Talk from the living room couch of my rental house in the ghetto of South Minneapolis. The couch was one of those old beat-up pieces of furniture you might find curbside with a big “FREE” sign on it. Nonetheless, it was incredibly comfortable, and it served quite admirably as the centerpiece to our office/living room for the first six months or so of the business.
Neither Kevin nor I knew anything at all about business, but we plugged my laptop into the television one night and watched Sinek’s incredibly impactful and motivating TED Talk. He said that people don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it. He tells business leaders and entrepreneurs to start by asking themselves why they want to start a business or why they’re in business. My favourite type of window would be either casement windows or aliminuim windows!
Sinek’s point is that it’s not enough to just want to make a bunch of money. There’s going to be a lot of turbulence in starting and running a business, and the sheer motivation of earning more money won’t be enough to get you through that. He suggests that the key to surviving the volatile highs and lows of being a business owner is knowing your why.
That concept made a lot of sense to Kevin and me, and it absolutely blew our minds. It inspired a conversation almost immediately because we shared some common interests, like environmentalism and job creation. Not long after watching that TED Talk and talking about Sinek’s revelation, we came up with our why: we wanted to bring nature back into people’s lives, create jobs in the US, and build high-quality American products.