Meet Josh Bingaman. He’s a serial entrepreneur (six businesses!), and the founder of Helm Boots in Austin, TX.
Josh was born and raised in Oklahoma City but moved to Los Angeles as a teenager to pursue music. He did some recording and touring but ultimately ended up opening a shoe store in San Francisco with his brother—his first business. Two years later, the brothers decided to franchise the store. After eventually selling his part of the business to his brother, Josh and his wife decided to move to Austin where he opened a coffee shop, started a coffee roasting company, and then started Helm Boots.
Josh joined us on What’s the Factor? to talk about his entrepreneurial journey. Here’s what Josh wishes he had known when he was starting out:
Be Sure It’s Something You Want To Do
When talking about starting a business, Josh stresses that it has to be something you really want to do. You have to be willing to work harder and sacrifice more than you’ve ever thought yourself capable of. Before starting a business from the ground up, raising money, and opening various lines of credit, be sure you know what the true cost of starting the business is.
If you don’t think you are that builder (and Josh emphasizes there’s nothing wrong with that) he suggests saving yourself the headache, heartache, and possible financial ruin. If you are sure the business is your passion, find people to take on the jobs that you’re not the best at so that you can be the passion and driving force of your business.
Learn How To Raise Money In The Beginning
Josh says that if he had learned how to raise money in the beginning, he wouldn’t have been in his fourth business with barely enough cash flow to scrape by. Being able to raise money because people believe in your product, not because of the bottom line or projections, says Josh, shows a true belief in the founder and the team behind the product.
Put your accounting on autopilot.
Don’t Try To Be Every Position
As an entrepreneur, don’t try to wear eight different hats, especially in the beginning. Instead, prioritize finding help and invest in it. It is going to be invaluable a year or two from now. “Don’t try to be everything for everybody,” stresses Josh.
If you’re not good at managing people, don’t try to manage people. If you have no clue how to install a POS system—find someone who knows how. If you don’t know how to use spreadsheets for financials, then find a spreadsheet master. As a founder, you should wear one hat and find other people to wear the others. Josh says if someone could have told him that, it could have saved him a lot early on.
Build Your Network
It has been golden for Josh to find community, friendship, and outreach while building his businesses. As an entrepreneur, if you can’t wear all eight hats in your business, then you need to find great people that can help you wear them.
Josh gives this example. If you need help with your coffee roasting company, then you need someone who is a master coffee roaster. The catch is that you can’t pay very much. So, what do you do? You go to your network. Because when you really have the heart and passion, your network will see that and help you. Then you can be a helpful person, in return.
What’s the Factor?
At the end of every episode, we ask our guests what the factor to their success is, and Josh’s is being able to provide for his family. His family has helped him realize and define what he is willing to commit his life to in terms of work. If you don’t know for sure that your business is something you want to do, says Josh, then don’t do it. There are enough mediocre businesses to go around.
For Josh, the factor is something that you’re committed to, care about, and are passionate about. It’s when you not only make a living but better people’s lives.
To check out more episodes of What’s The Factor? and hear from more visionary entrepreneurs, visit our podcast page here.