Every entrepreneur has a different story for how, when, and why they decided to make the jump to starting their own small business. Whatever your story is, that defining moment when you actually decide to start your own small business stays with you. A lot of our customers wonder how we decided on the name “Cazbah”, and every so often, I like to reflect on the journey my small business has taken through the years.
The following is just a bit of my small business start up story.
How Cazbah Got Started
Just about every fall for almost the past 20 years, I’ve made a trip with a close friend of mine up to a very special place in the Great White North of Canada. That place is Algonquin Provincial Park. The Park is located between Georgian Bay and the Ottawa River in Central Ontario, at roughly the same latitude as Montreal.
It’s the oldest and one of the largest provincial parks in Canada, comprising almost 8,000 square kilometers of back country wilderness. For comparison purposes, it is about the size of the state of Delaware. There are over 2,400 lakes and 1,200 kilometers of streams and rivers throughout the park. In my opinion, it is best experienced in person. And that is precisely what my friend and I do almost every year. We appreciate the great outdoors while we canoe, portage and camp throughout the park for about a week in late September.
It’s a pretty rugged trip which takes preparation and months of (physical) training. We travel between 175 – 200 kilometers during our week in the park. 80% of the time we are on the water and 20% of the time we are (single) carrying our gear and canoes between waterways. We use solo canoes and we each carry about 120 lbs of gear and supplies, including the weight of the canoe, when we portage. Both my friend and I are former military and this is our annual opportunity to see if we’ve still got it. For lack of a better description, this is Extreme Canoeing.
This year was special. It had been 10 years, almost to the day, since my first trip to Algonquin. It was equally special because it was during that first trip in late September, 2000 that I had the idea to start Cazbah. My friend Bob, also an entrepreneur, decided that on this, the 10th anniversary of my insane impulse to become voluntarily unemployed, we needed to go and find the exact spot where I had my epiphany to start Cazbah.
I vividly remembered the brainstorm I had about Cazbah and was sure of the terrain, a very large and particular rock, but not necessarily its actual location. We decided to repeat the trip that we took in 2000 to see if we could find the Rock.
Well, we did it. We found the Rock!
Since then, we’ve built the company into a true contender in the Small Business Internet Marketing industry. Cazbah is thriving with 100s and 100s of customers located all over North America. I am very proud and thankful to be surrounded by so many highly skilled and passionate people who come to work every day to serve the needs of their clients, earning their trust, generating radical results. Their stewardship is a model for how things should be done. Thank you all for helping me make this dream come true!
Where were you when you had your professional moment of clarity? Share with us we would love to know.
My professional moment of clarity took place in July of 2003. I was sitting at a work room table organizing engineered drawings for an offshore crane manufacturing company. I thought to myself, “I really hate this. God did not create me to do this. I am 37 years old and time is passing by me. I need to make a difference. I do not want to look back on my life when I am old and say that I did my best and know it was a lie.” I had recently read articles and saw news reports about the nursing profession experiencing pay increases…60% over the previous 10 years. This piqued my interest as I had worked in the medical field in prior years. I decided at that moment that I was going to school for nursing and registered for the following Spring courses at my local community college. It was much harder than I could have ever imagined and my family made significant sacrifices on my behalf. I knew God called me to do it and He pulled me through until I graduated as an LVN in 2007 and Cum Laude as an RN in 2009. I am so glad I made the decision and followed through. I have been blessed beyond my wildest dreams in numerous ways! Now, I’m taking classes toward my BSN with a goal to have it finished by age 50! “Slow and steady gets it done,” is my motto!
Thank you for sharing your experience. Like you, I made huge sacrifices to start this company. The brunt of which was borne by my immediate family, my wife in particular. I would not have been able to do what I did without their faith in me and their belief in my vision.
Although I didn’t go into a lot of detail on this aspect of the story, I got (and get) stretched way beyond what I thought I could handle, more times than I thought I could handle it. But, that’s fodder for another blog post in the future.
You have done a great thing by following your dream and sticking to it until you see it come true. Frankly, I would expect no less from you (big grin on my face as I say that).
BTW – My motto is “Constant, Steady Pressure.”
Epiphany at the Rock – what a great video and cataloging of your history. Thanks for sharing that. I have had a few moments of clarity during my career journey. My most recent one happened in a shop in Victor NY with me being very frustrated at my current employment. When I asked myself who I want to work for I expected to come up with a business in Rochester that insprired me. Instead, my voice said, “I want to work for Charles Broersma.” And here I am loving it. Thanks Charles. Sue
P.S. Maybe your can wear the hat to work sometime.
I am honored, I truly am. I know that people have choices that they must make regarding where they want to spend their careers. I’ve worked very hard to create an environment within which everybody can succeed. I choose to use Earl Nightingale’s definition of that term, “…the pursuit of a worthy goal.”
We have accomplished much and there is a lot more growth ahead of us. Thank you again, for your contribution.
BTW, I only wear that goofy hat in Algonquin.
I am living my moment of clarity RIGHT NOW! I got a special education teaching degree a long time ago. I went on to teach regular education and then a special needs daughter of my own. Last year I was a job coach for special needs young adults in my daughters school. I loved it, loved teaching such practical skills and loved the age group. This year I have been hired in my own community to start our first ever post high school community based program! The students will be out and about in the community with me learning practical daily living skills and out on job sites with coaches learning employment skills. Some of the students will be starting their own micro-business. All my experiences both professionally and personally are coming together. I feel so blessed!
That is fantastic! What a culmination of events. I love to hear stories like yours. You have truly seized the moment or the day as it were, Carpe Diem!
I think that most of us come to realize at some point, or at least we should, that it’s not what we take but what we give back that is going to define us.
I read a little book recently titled the Go-Giver by Bob Burg and David Mann. In it they detail what they refer to as the 5 Laws of Stratospheric Success, the first of which is the law of value: “Your true worth is determined by how much more you give in value than you take in payment.”
You are priceless Kathy…