Dear Pipeline Family, Thank You.
January 24, 2016
A little over a year ago today, I found myself applying for an organization I knew almost nothing about. While I wouldn’t have admitted that the past 12 months, I feel like now that I’ve graduated and become a member, it’s ok to admit such naivety.(sorry, guys…)
Advisors and mentors of Rawxies all pushed me to apply for Pipeline, because they said I was in a perfect position to take advantage of such an entrepreneurial program. Again, not knowing anything, I just went for it. Plus, when I mentioned to a fellow entrepreneur that I had applied and his response was “good luck, you’ll never get in”, I made it my mission to prove him wrong. Tell me I can’t do something and I’ll do it 120%.
What I’ve never told anyone, is that in 2014 I pulled out a calendar and with a red sharpie drew a big circle around December 31st. I promised myself that if things didn’t turn around by that time, I would throw in the towel for good on Rawxies. I was tired, I had a team of 1 and I constantly felt like I was paddling upstream. Behind closed doors, I was breaking down and questioning what I had gotten myself in to. When I got the acceptance email from Pipeline in mid-December, I declared that as a sign and threw out the circled calendar.
And boy am I glad I did…
It was in the first module when Pipeline National Advisor, Bob Jones, had us stand up and pitch our business market. I went last, so I was able to hear Bob’s feedback on the other business pitches. It was in the moment, it all clicked and I remembered why I started Rawxies. I stood up and in a shaky and uncertain tone, I hesitantly told my story. I explained what it was like to be 21 and to spend every Friday morning with an endocrinologist reviewing blood test and giving more blood. Then I transitioned that story to finding a naturopath who put me on a plant-based diet and freed me from lab test, prescription pills and feeling like crap every single day. It was a completely shitty version of the story, because I had become so scared that by sharing my own personal story I would limit Rawxies audience. When I say I had lost myself, I’m not kidding. The sole reason that I had started my company, I had put in a box and buried 8ft under ground… But that day, I dug it back up.
Over the course of the year, each module was driven by me remembering why I started. I remember standing up at the financial module and stating “I’m going to tell you a story of why I hate my business.” I laugh now, but in the moment, it took everything out of me not to cry. I had gained my market and my story back, but I couldn’t quite figure out a low margin/high volume business model. That module forced me to take all of our numbers and break them down to skus, margins, accounts, you name it, I spent hours on end analyzing 3.5 years of financial data. And guess what? I stood up 3 days later (on 1 hour of sleep) and stated “I’m now going to tell you a story of how I’m going to financially grow and scale the Rawxies brand.”
After the last Module in November, we were left with two tasks; to write a business plan and to create our pitch for the Innovator of the Year. When I left that module, I knew only one thing was certain — my pitch was going to be personal. See, Pipeline provides its entrepreneurs with tremendous resources and national advisors that most people could only dream of having access to. While we were encouraged to reach out to this network while working on our pitch, I did the complete opposite. I holed up in my condo and night after night, stood in front of my mirror practicing telling my story.
My pitch came from my heart. My pitch was the accumulation of one year of work and self discovery. My pitch was me proving to myself that I’m doing what I’m supposed to do. My pitch was me saying to the world this is who I am, this is what I believe and this is why I wake up every morning fighting like hell to grow and scale this company. But most importantly, my pitch was a thank you note to a room full of people who have helped me get to where I am today — to my employees, to my family, to my investors and to Pipeline.
Fast forward to Thursday where I poured my heart and soul into a pitch that I’m pretty sure achieved all of those things. For the first time in my life, I was almost nerveless as I stood up in front of a room full of people and delivered a story of stories. I left every fucking thing I had, on that stage. Something that 12 months ago, I wouldn’t have been able to do.
Thanks to Pipeline, I now have a new December 31st red circle on my calendar, one that makes me smile as opposed cry. A circle correlated to goals and milestones that I created for myself to achieve this year. And I’m pretty sure with my new entrepreneurial family, I will accomplish just that.
Pipeline Staff, National Advisors, Team Buddies, Members, and Fellows — Thank you.
Callie England | Rawxies