Success On Someone Else’s Terms (Don’t Mean a Thing)

February 15, 2015 By Tom

the fans are all clappin’ screamin’ and squealin’
and I wont lie to you that’s a pretty sweet feeling
and I might butt heads with the guys in my band
but I never once went to work for the man
but the men and the women like you him and her
we’re sharin’ this night that’ll soon be a blur
“Over the Cliff”-Old 97’s

There was a time less than 18 months ago where it seemed like Nine13 could only generate 10% of a 6 figure projection for an entire year.

We closed 6 figures of revenue in January of 2015. In 3 weeks. Some of them were deals that had been a few months in the works…but the reality is, we generated 6 figures worth of cash in an incredibly short amount of time.

It’s taken two weeks for that to sink in. Part of it was not really believing it till the checks were in the bank. Some of it is disbelief over growth that I lost many nights of sleep over worrying if it would ever come.

Here’s the thing, what I’m doing now is the exact same thing I was doing two years ago and the exact same vision I had four years ago. It’s been amazing to see this grow from the “crazy idea that will never work” into a viable and successful organization that has allowed me to combine a product and service into a single offering that benefits thousands of our community’s most underserved children.

Earlier this week I was interviewed for my Mira Award nomination in the Rising Star Copy of TCPT_Mira 2015 Badge-Nomineecategory. I’m one of seven finalists and I am a little bit different than any of the others in terms of not being a tech sector company/let alone a nonprofit. I did what I do best, I rolled into my meeting wearing Converse Chucks, jeans and a sport coat with a t-shirt and talked about what Nine13sports does and how we have made a difference in the community and have the growth projections over the next few years to knock the socks off the nonprofit sector.


all smiles and thumbs up on the fast paced IndyCar of life

It’s been a surreal last few weeks. I feel like I’ve had people reaching out to me from multiple work sectors being incredibly complimentary with my successes. Between Mira, positive press, a bunch of emails from some of the previous “this will never work” contingent and more—I’m stuck in the paradox where what I do isn’t for me, but for the community we serve. At the same time, the growth we’ve experienced is directly tied to me and the decisions I’ve made over the last few years that got us from no revenue to 6-figures and a march into 7-figure territory over the next 18 months. Needless to say, I still feel like I’m getting comfy in the skin of success and the quickly changing attitude of many of our harshest critics from the early days.

I’ve been far from perfect in this journey that has seen me go from a 23 year old kid into a 28 year old man—but it’s a journey that has made me define what I value as important in life and to have the work ethic to make it happen. “Success on someone else’s terms doesn’t mean a fucking thing” has been my motto since day one and I think I’ve held true to that, especially over the last 18 months.

I have no idea how long this positive momentum will last—I hope eternity—but I know better than anyone that life can change in a moment and I need to enjoy and be humble for the moment in time.

Because at this moment…it’s pretty great!