ERIC RANGE- Member Since 2013
I’ve known Eric the better part of the past decade. He hired me as a university resident assistant while I was studying abroad in England. He was my first paying graphic design client. He helped me get my first full-time job with the American Cancer Society. And we’ve been friends ever since. Someone I could always reach out to in times of feast and of famine. A shoulder to cry on and a buddy that’s always got my back; and I, his.
So it’s no wonder why he chose to help launch Griffin Corners, LLC in April 2013. His early investment allowed me to get a jump start on my first “real” business. Having freelanced for several years the move to an incorporated entity was a milestone after having completed a Bachelor’s degree in Business Management with a specialisation in Entrepreneurial Studies in 2010. I was fresh out of a job and the time felt right to take seriously an idea I had brewing on a backburner for 2 years.
Starting a business is easy. The online document processing services make it simple to navigate the legal workings of incorporation and sales tax.
Keeping a business alive, to grow and thrive, is quite a different story.
I was temporarily unemployed back in 2011 and I went to the required retraining meeting with a facilitator (himself previously unemployed before starting at New Jersey Unemployment Insurance office). His sincere first recommendation to the dozen or so emotionally distraught and recently unemployed in the room, backed up with state/locally funded resources, was that now would be a great time to start a business.
Contemplate that for a moment. A man, a state employee, who has never owned a business, earnestly told a group of commiserating, distressed adults that now- recently unemployed and in the middle of the greatest global recession – would be a lovely time for someone with no training or experience in owning or running a business, to take $6k of state money and take a 5-week course at the county college, then start their own life-changing lemonade stand of a business. You too can be a Steve Jobs. The next Apple could be sitting at this table.
I was shocked. Dumbfounded. Having spent 4 years in business school, 12 credits of which were specifically focused on the matters facing small businesses and entrepreneurial startups, I knew this man was outright lying to these desperate people, searching in the darkness for answers to their unemployment.
That’s probably why the fail rate of new small businesses is so high. Because a vast majority of these small businesses are started by people who have been misguided into thinking their version of the mousetrap is the best. I’ve been doing design & business consulting on a freelance basis for the past 5 years. Of the startups I’ve worked with, many aspiring artists or idea-people just have no clue how “the system” works: how type of incorporation affects your bottom-line, how licensing and bookkeeping has to be done, how to brand/market/sell your widget to the world. And that’s how I’ve managed to scrape together a living since graduating.
I’ve travelled from El Salvador to India working with small businesses, statewide fundraising events, national campaigns, and with multinational corporate charitable foundations. All along the way the challenge facing new entrepreneurs is having the knowledge to engage their target audience with a comprehensive strategy. And I’ve helped overcome those challenges. Whether it was by good design, a new website, branding tools, back-end data collection and processing, or social media assets; we worked together to change the direction of what would otherwise have been an ailing and failing business. I like to think that my work is a shot in the arm for businesses- an inoculation against stupid mistakes that I’ve already learned in my personal and corporate life.
Eric has seen me in action these past years. The dramatic highs, the devastating lows- the roller coaster ride of a creative entrepreneur. And he’s held the Faith, holding a candle to my ideas, providing the burning ember to reignite my passion for Life and my life’s work when all I might want to do is cuddle on the couch with my cat and a hot mug of Earl Grey.
Last year Eric stepped up to the plate. He put his hard-earned cash money down on my idea. And I want to make good on my promise that this time is for real. That there will be no more false starts with Griffin Corners and Chasing Honey Farm. I’m putting forward what I want – not diminishing what I have. Hostility is no substitute for True enthusiasm. And I am absolutely sincere when I say I’ve started this business. That it’s starting as a honey farm. And will grow to include an orchard, vineyard, herb farm, and brewery. And then we’re going to license out our formula and replicate our success regionally, across the nation; and around the world.
An adage I follow is this- “IF YOU DON’T LIKE THE SCRIPT THAT LIFE HANDED YOU, THEN WRITE YOUR OWN. MAKE YOURSELF SO ENTERTAINING THAT EVEN YOU’RE DELIGHTED. YOU’VE BEEN A BIT PLAYER IN SOMEONE ELSE’S PRODUCTION FAR TOO LONG. IT’S TIME TO BE THE STAR.”
And that comes to you from my friends Doc and Ritu at the AJNA Center, where I transformed their online presence with considerable success.
Life is too short to take the safe route to the grave. Fortunately, my still-kicking as-sharp-as-ever grandmother is 98 years old and her brother (my Great-Uncle John, who was the lay minister and family farmer in Upper Saddle River) passed on at 103.
I’m 26, soon to be 27 (29 Dec if you’re getting me a gift ;). I’ve got another 80 years (hopefully) on the face of this Earth, in this body, to do all the things I wish to see in my lifetime. Heck, we’ll all be half-bionic robots by then anyway. And this venture- Griffin Corners and Chasing Honey Farm, is the first major link in a chain of related businesses I hope to craft over the next century.
I hope you’ll join me today in seeing this thing off the ground. Because right now it’s just me and a couple hives. To get some traction I really need the vested interest of people who like super-premium honey products, sustainable community agriculture, and wish to help out a boy with a dream.
Buy-in for as little as $1. Or belly up to the bar and grab the bull by the horns. $800 will get you a stake in a whole hive- that’s a $1,600.00 value – HALF OFF. October 1st, it’s all over for this MoolaHoop Campaign. There might be another crowdfunding opportunity before the start of Season 2015. There might not be. Mark my words, orders must be in by January- then the price on a hive share jumps 50%. So why wait? Get in on the ground floor. Buy in for half the price. And get your share of the honey and the money from Chasing Honey Farm.
Loving regards on this sunny New Jersey Friday,