Nomad has been full time now for four months! Some of you may wonder why we chose to do an official, full time launch in Lynchburg at the beginning of summer - the season that nearly all small business owners dread and bunker in for a significant loss of potential customers and clients due to summer break for college students. AND the most miserably hot time to do food truck work 40-60 hours a week. Well, I wanted to give a quick recap to all of our fellow nomads to deliver some background story, some of the things we have learned along the way, and give the inside scoop on what we are working on going forward.
Nomad has been around now for almost three years. Before April of this year, it was mainly a special event and weekend business due to both Jeanne and I having full time jobs. The trailer was something I looked at every day, Monday through Friday, while getting in my truck to go to work and getting out of my truck when I arrived back home at the end of the day. It was something that I talked about almost non-stop. It was something I dreamed about while working my day job. It was my hobby and my side hustle on the weekends. Some weeks, Jeanne and I would work a total of 80-90 hours, including the time spent on keeping Nomad running, trying slowly to gain recognition in the community as well as a social media presence, while being somewhat frustrated due to not knowing when I was going to be able to make this dream and passion a full time endeavor. You, like others, may ask, "well, why not just do it? Stop working for 'The Man' and take the leap!"
Well, to answer that question is not difficult. I was comfortable. I was working a fully benefited, salaried job, and frankly, I was good at it. After five and a half years working for this organization, I learned the leadership and management structure, I found a way to be useful and helpful with the talents that I both naturally had and learned along the way, and found myself being promoted to higher leadership positions three times in three of the five years that I was there. I worked with a great team of peers, had excellent workers under me, and leadership directly above me who believed and appreciated me. So, I was comfortable. I had a decent salary that allowed us to comfortably pay our mortgage on our new house, good insurance that made us feel safe and protected, and I saw it as too much of a risk to abandon to go after my dream, even though I would day dream of doing just that.
Without going into much detail, a lot of things rapidly changed in our division and a significant amount of people in leadership were informed that due to a change in leadership and departmental structure, we were no longer needed in our current roles. The decision was effective immediately.
I will admit that there was an initial impact of fear, but due to some of the things that were included in the elimination of my position (including a severance package) I couldn't help to think of the opportunity this presented me to transition to focus immediately on my dream and finally do it full time. The very next day, Nomad became a mobile coffee business that was open 6 days a week. There has been so much I have learned about running a small business, but there is so much more that I know I need to learn as well.
One of the most important things that have been affirmed to me in the last few months is that in order to be any type of successful with a small business, you have to be fully committed, have dedicated support, and make your visits more than just business transactions. We aim to make every interaction one where it is more than just our product, but it's about a connection to where we have been chosen to be a part of someone's day. When a customer goes out of their way to find us, or changes their commute route to work to grab a drink - that is significant, and our aim is to make you feel appreciated for making that decision.
Without our customers, some who come nearly every day we are open, some who come whenever they get the chance, and some who are just passing through, we wouldn't have been able to survive a summer in Lynchburg. I would have had to find another full time, salaried and benefited job, and again looked at the trailer while getting into my truck to go to work, and again when I got home at the end of the day, wondering if/when Nomad would be a full time venture again. We haven't arrived by any means. There's still a lot of work to be done, but we wouldn't have made it this far without you all. Thank you.
Looking forward, we have a very busy fall season coming up. Chances are, thoughts of expansion will surface, the potential of more members of the Nomad team will increase, more partnerships with other small businesses will form, and we may be able to dabble into our next goal for our business a little - roasting at least some of our own coffee... and using that to connect more with the humanitarian vein of our business by building relationships with and doing good for the coffee farmers and their families overseas.
We wouldn't have made it this far without you and we know we wouldn't make it the next step without you either. So here's to the "Flower Childs", "Train Hoppers", "Chai-a LeBoufs", and all other nomads out there. We are on this journey and we invite you to continue to take it with us. Cheers!