Getting Back on the Horse

Just as the downfall of my first business began to wrap up, I stumbled upon a new opportunity. Being that failure is really just a fancy word for experience, I took advantage of what I gained from my first venture (lessons learned, connections made, work ethic established) and began fleshing out a friend's idea for a business sock. I finally felt comfortable getting back on the horse. Chris is a passionate salesman with a busy job. He's on his feet all day dashing between work, business school, and family. He and his friends share the sentiment that the current offering of business socks simply don't meet the needs of business professionals. He was enthusiastic about rocking the boat within the industry, but he needed help. So he asked his brother Tim and I to launch the concept with him since we had run businesses before and brought other unique skills to the table.

For months we laid the groundwork: we contacted sock mills, spoke with retail and e-commerce professionals, crafted a brand identity, and studied sock materials and lingo. We vowed to be selling socks in 2014.

Two weeks ago, we launched a Kickstarter for GoodFoot to raise the funds for our first production run. It made sense for us to crowd-source the concept as a way to simultaneously validate the need and establish a presence. It has been a great learning experience in utilizing our networks, creating digital reach and virality, and building relationships with our consumers.

A month from now our campaign closes, and we hope to hit the ground running with our first production run shipping out in June! It's going to be a whirlwind for a few months, but I, for one, am ready to take on the challenges and the roller coaster that is entrepreneurship. I've missed it.

Entrepreneurship and Endurance Sports

When I was 15, I tore out a beginner’s triathlon training guide from one of my mom’s fitness magazines, signed up for a race in Luray, VA, bought a bike, and jumped in the pool. It was the summer before my junior year of high school, and my friends had all left for the summer to study marine biology in Florida. I was lonely, bored, and didn’t really like my job as a research assistant in a lab. I still didn’t really know what entrepreneurship was, although I had dabbled in child-level businesses for a few years. For one reason or another, though, I was drawn to the idea of accomplishing a race that required such diverse skills and such a high level of commitment and intensity. It was a challenge I couldn’t pass up. My first race was incredibly satisfying – I took 1st in my age group and felt very accomplished when I crossed the finish line. The feeling was addictive. Over the next few years I continued to keep up my training and to compete about once a year.

During my senior year of college, I competed in the Global Student Entrepreneur Awards, which occurs in conjunction with a conference for regional entrepreneurs. I had the opportunity to attend several seminars and lectures given by successful entrepreneurs. I got to hear their stories, listen to their advice, and absorb their management style. Through their talks, they would always share a portion of their personal journey that accompanied their professional success. It was shocking to me how many of these successful, busy entrepreneurs were also Ironmen, or some type of endurance athlete.

But it was through this experience that I realized that at our core, all entrepreneurs are the same type of people operating on the same values; that we prime ourselves to be these durable, enduring beings – not for the sake of vanity but for the sake of success. To some degree, I believe that we all believe the fitter we are, the more productive we are. And the stronger we are, the more confident we become in our ability to lead, and the closer to success our team becomes with us to look up to.

Diving into Personal Branding

Welcome to SarahHaselkorn.com and thank you for taking a look at my site! I will be using this as a forum for sharing my thoughts on entrepreneurship, startups, and early-stage investments - my first foray into the world of personal branding. I've been involved in entrepreneurial endeavors since I was a kid - selling lemonade, crafts, and anything I could think of out of the back driveway. I really hit the ground running with startups during my sophomore year of college when I left school to work with the two cofounders of a mobile analytics company in Boston called Media Armor. Eric and Liz taught me what it meant to show passion through business, and that really fueled my entrepreneurship.

When I left Boston, I began to raise money to open a fast-casual restaurant near campus in St. Louis. That fall I launched Green Bean, a sustainable salad shop that became the first true venture that I founded. For two years I learned the ins and outs of running a brick-and-mortar business, and dealt with the struggles that come up in that industry.

In May, I graduated from Washington University in St. Louis with a degree in Systems Science and a minor in Entrepreneurship, and began a rotational management program at Anheuser-Busch InBev. I've been traveling around the country training and doing projects within every part of the business, from supply to sales to IT support. The corporate perspective has certainly increased and enhanced my business knowledge.

Please feel free to contact me through the contact form on the Connect tab, and to connect with me via social media. Thank you again for visiting my site!