Do You Have To Risk It All To Become An Entrepreneur?

Safe and Steady

I consider myself a pretty risk averse person. I’ve taken the safe route most of life.  I went to a good college hoping to put myself on the right track.  I went into a stable industry post undergrad to ensure I had a steady paycheck to pay bills and save.  After a while, I wanted to push for more, so I applied to business school to try to get me to the next level.  Even after business school, I decided to go to one of the largest companies in the world to learn marketing. 

Entrepreneurship wasn’t even on my radar when I went to USC for business school. They had an entrepreneurship program and I didn’t even look to take one class.  I was headed for safety and stability.  Things changed in my second year when I came up with the idea for Sloane with my co-founders, Jason and Danielle.  Something clicked in my head and I just knew the idea had legs.  That’s when I entered the realities of entrepreneurship.

That's when I had to ask, "do I have to risk it all to become an entrepreneur?"


The Power of the Idea  

We had the idea. We had the energy.  We now needed to START.  Starting takes money.  Our parents weren’t going to bankroll us.  We didn’t have rich friends.  It became clear early that we were going to have to go into our savings to make this happen.  Instead of the nice car, the Roth IRA investment, the vacation, etc…..the money was going into making prototypes, designing a logo and getting a website up and running. 

A decision had to be made at that point. Are you in this or are you not?  If you are in this, you will start making financial decisions that will hurt your stomach.  The calls you have to make will get more and more expensive as time goes by.  They will get to the point where you will feel like you are risking everything.

My transformation from a risk averse guy looking for the safest path possible to making financial calls that would make my mom sick was a pretty quick one. It happened when I got the idea for Sloane and flipped a switch in my brain that I was going to do everything I could to make it successful.  If I failed, then I would at least do it chasing my passion!  No regrets. 


Risk Averse And Risk Taking

Having a full time job while I got Sloane off the ground was the only way I could balance my risk averse nature with my desire to create and build. If things really totally fell apart, then I would still have my salary to keep me going.  I see this as the model for people to actually start their dream business.

Going “all in” is a hot thing to say right now. You’re not a corporate square.  You’re controlling your own destiny.  That’s all well and good until your startup fails and you lost it all!  I’ve seen too many startups fail to believe that’s a sound decision.  Refer to my earlier article about the dream vs. reality of becoming an entrepreneur to get the exact numbers on your likelihood for success as an entrepreneur!

Working a full time job will absolutely slow down the process. You just aren’t able to spend enough hours on your startup to get it quickly off the ground.  There is a downside to that, but there is also an upside.  You are not making rash decisions.  The pressure to accelerate hyper quickly to get revenue producing ASAP isn’t there. 


The Power of Time

If you start your own business, there are going to be a lot of decisions you’ll have to make where you will balance the consumer experience versus your need for cash. Do you have time to do the extra revision on the website, undershirt stitching, new logo design, etc? 

If you are forced to make decisions solely based on speed in these areas, then you are exposing yourself for a poor consumer experience with your product.  Once the consumer isn’t happy, you are dead in the water.  We found on Sloane that it was worth doing the extra revision.  It was worth delaying the Kickstarter campaign.  It was worth taking an extra 2 months to get the logo perfect.  Without the need for cash we could make those decisions with a clearer head. 

You don’t want to be slow and do 400 revisions before you finally get something out. That won’t work either.  Feeling forced to push the first version is where the risk is.  Sometimes things need a little time to breathe.  You need time to think about what’s the right thing to do. 


The Decision

What if you knew you could start your own company and not risk it all? I think a lot of people would consider giving their idea a shot.  Working a full time job while getting things off the ground is the way to go.  The next question would be how badly do you want it?  Are you willing to put in those nights and weekends?  Sloane has grown while I’ve worked some of the most demanding jobs of my life.  It can absolutely be done! 

Taking out the financial risk removes a big barrier. Now you need to look in the mirror and think about how valuable your free time is to you.  That’s a question only you can answer. 

Read More

2 Ways An Undershirt Can Help Stop Sweat At Work


Sweating at work is the worst, but it doesn't have to kill your confidence. In this article, we look at 2 ways an undershirt can help you stop sweat at work. 

When I start sweating at work, here is that famous quote that always runs through my mind.

“Never let them see you sweat”

And yet there I am...sweating at work. It could happen for multiple reasons.  It’s hot out on my way to work.  I’m rushing into work.  I’m in a warm room.  I get anxious.  I have some unexplained menopause situation where I just miraculously start sweating in front of people (let's hope not).

It happens. And it’s embarrassing.  It kills my confidence.  I often get very quiet and try not to bring any attention to the sweat on my forehead.  I might be in an important meeting and there I am being quiet.  I’ll try to quickly wipe sweat from my face trying to avoid people noticing.  That usually doesn’t work though.  Sweat has been a mortal enemy of mine for pretty much my whole life, and helping to stop sweat and it's damaging affects is the main reason I started Sloane. 

So, how can an undershirt help stop sweat? Two ways. 


1. Breathability

I wanted to create an undershirt that was more breathable than cotton to help prevent you from overheating. The thick cotton undershirt I used to wear felt like a parka when I started getting warm.  It was heavy on me when I NEEDED something light.  It made me sweat even worse!

When you are warm you need that heat moving away from you. If it’s stuck close to you because it can’t escape your body heat will rise.  The standard white cotton undershirts aren’t designed to help with your body heat and stop sweat.  Under Armor has done very well creating moisture wicking material for athletes.  However, there are some people (me!) who need more help with sweat in the office, not while running on the treadmill.

The material for the Invisible Undershirt from Sloane is a siro micro modal and spandex blend. The siro micro modal is thin, light and 50% more breathable than cotton.  Most people who try it often can’t tell that they even have an undershirt on.  It feels totally different from the heavy cotton most guys are wearing now. 


2. Soaking

There are some situations where you will just sweat. The temperature is just too warm outside.  You’re stuck in a cramped meeting room and the temperature in the room is unbearable.  You might just get so anxious in a situation that you break out sweating. 

The picture below is from a P&G recruiting event that was held outdoors in August. It was one of the hottest days of the year.  The heat index was 100 degrees plus. And, the humidity was no joke.  People there were DYING.  It was impossible not to sweat!

I was out there and was so worried. I was meeting a lot of the new recruits for the first time and was I just going to profusely sweat in front of them?  Was I going to leave hours early to avoid the embarrassment?  I had a Sloane undershirt on, but was worried I was just in an impossible situation where it was TOO hot.  I was blazing hot, but the sweat wasn’t getting to my outer shirt. 

If I had no undershirt on at all my outer shirt wouldn’t gotten totally soaked. I was definitely sweating.  The Sloane undershirt absorbed all that sweat!  I couldn’t believe it absorbed THAT much sweat. 


The Invisible Undershirt keeps you cool. If you do happen to sweat it can absorb a good amount of sweat before it goes to the outer undershirt.  Now you can have that no undershirt look without giving up on the absorption benefits of the undershirt!

Shop The Invisible Undershirt today and stop sweat in it's tracks and feel more confident wherever you are. 

Read More

Don’t Let Your Basic Undershirt Turn You Into A “Basic Brian”

“Basic” has become a somewhat derogatory term recently. There’s the “basic bro” that consumes heavy amounts of protein, grunts when he works out and wears clothes one size too small. There’s the “basic b!&%h” who loves her Uggs, yoga pants and pumpkin spice latte everything. I always laugh when people joke about basic people. Who wants to be grouped into this mass of people who comically do the exact same stuff?

I’ve noticed someone within office culture over the years that deserves a title. I’m going to term him as “Basic Brian”. Here’s the general description of “Basic Brian”:

  • Likes the status quo
  • Doesn’t bring new ideas
  • Always responds that he’s “fine”. He’s never “good”
  • Wears pretty much the same thing to the office everyday. Grey or tan khaki slacks with either a blue or white button down.
  • A “Yes Man”
  • Rarely does anything interesting on the weekends
  • A grey or beige sock guy
  • ALWAYS wears a white cotton crew neck undershirt. Does not leave home without it.

Sadly, I used to be a “Basic Brian”. When I started my career in my 20’s, I really just wanted to blend in. That meant being basic in my actions at work and how I dressed.

I didn’t want to annoy anyone by pushing ideas or draw unnecessary attention to what I wore. I soon found out that the being like everyone else strategy doesn’t work out in the end. The reason is that I WAS LIKE EVERYONE ELSE! How am I supposed to get ahead?

It took me a little while to actually realize I had good ideas. That I could lead the thinking of teams and drive change. I could act fast. I was willing to work harder than other people. People actually liked working with me. I was better than “Basic Brian”!

As my confidence grew, I wanted to make sure people recognized me around the office. I wanted to be known as different. Before someone even said one word to me, I wanted them to think I looked sharp and put together. Those first impressions are very important! I started shopping a little differently from there.

The Change

When I went shopping, instead of going right for the basic wear, I walked right past it. I walked by the tan khakis piled on more tan khakis. I walked by the standard fitting blue button downs. Instead, I bought slim fitting clothes that worked better with my body. I got some bolder colors in both my shirts and my pants. I then made changes in my socks and undershirt.

I threw every sock and undershirt I had into the trash. My standard Gold Toe beige socks and white cotton crew neck Hanes basic undershirt HAD to go. What I wanted out of each of those items of clothing changed.

Socks: I wanted to go from blending in to now actually popping out. I am a fun and energetic guy. I wanted my socks to represent that a bit.

Undershirt: The white cotton basic undershirt is the definition of basic. I needed an undershirt because I would sweat a lot, but it was something I didn’t want anyone to see. I wanted my new clothing to stand out and not my undershirt.

This was a Super Bowl TV commercial making fun of a basic guy who had a white undershirt on AND beige socks. 


Over a 6 month period, I looked like a new person. I became known as “stylish”. People actually came to me for tips on clothing. I walked around more confidently knowing that I looked and felt great. My skillset that I brought to work was now matched by the correct exterior appearance.

I look back on my “Basic Brian” days and shake my head. I was better than that. The talent was always in me, but I needed a mental transition as well as an exterior one. I felt like I was only as good as my $2 white cotton basic undershirt and beige socks.

I work at a major corporation and see “Basic Brians” throughout the halls all day. I think it’s fine if your personality is one of conformation and you’re comfortable there. I want to urge people that if you’re not a “ Basic Brian” to make changes. Speak up more in meetings. Challenge the status quo a bit. It’s 2017 and the business world is in massive transformation. New and different ideas are needed!

Once you find that voice, start changing your wardrobe to the point where you look in the mirror and see the guy you want to become. And hopefully, that man does not have a basic white cotton undershirt on!


Read More