Carving Your Own Niche

Welcome to BW Missions Newsletter 11

Has anyone ever told you this? You are never on anyone else’s timeline but your own.

When it comes to building a company or venturing down a path that differs from the norm, there are so many unknowns — both in the future and in the present.

This unpredictability can make it hard to plan a personal future, especially, when you’re hyper-focused on how to create a viable and sustainable business or career.

For those who decide to take the road less traveled, the tradeoff is often less “security” than a 9-5 job offers, such as a paycheck and clear stepping stones to growth (best case scenario).

On the flip side, entrepreneurs like us have the unique privilege of either enough personal financial stability or the generosity of investors who believe in us to get the luxury of spending every day chasing our own dreams, instead of toiling our days away in the pursuit of someone else’s than our own.

The metaphorical ladder is different for us. As an entrepreneur, it’s really much more like a brainwave that goes up and down erratically on the screen during an EKG test, trying to find a sense of stability in between the peaks and valleys.

Sometimes, this mindset can feel like a hunter-gatherer mentality. Almost as hunter-gatherers had to kill animals in the summer and fall to store for the winter, we need to have the same mentality. We need to put ourselves in a position to sustain 3-6 months out and then hopefully years if we do it right, all with a long-term focus in mind.

At BW Missions, at least, that’s been our focus the past four weeks. We’ve spent the past month ensuring we can support the infrastructure we have built and the plans we have for the future as we head into Q1.

In a perfect world, I’d make my fortune, call it a day, then focus on stuff like starting a family. In today’s reality, I have to wonder: Is that truly realistic? 

Do athletes take a similar path because they’re so focused until their body wears out on them? 

I look at the business my father has built the past 20 years, and I question sometimes, “How did he do it? How was he still always there for us whenever we needed him?”

I wonder how my mom did it, too. How did she always make sure we were at every practice and tutoring session, then still have a delicious dinner ready for us on the table when we got home and then late into the nights?

In personal relationships, I think it can be tough for the other side as well. I remember at a conference last year, someone said, 

“Why isn’t there a show interviewing the entrepreneurs’ spouses, like husbands and wives? Just because our lives are tough, not being able to give clear answers all the time is probably equally hard on the other partner in a relationship.”

I don’t think there’s a clear solution or one perfect way to slice this situation, but it’s definitely a common sentiment I hear amongst some of my closest friends.

Denis Gosnell: Newsletter 11 Featured Mission

Fun Fact: I sought out Denise Gosnell at a conference 4 years ago. We met for breakfast, didn’t speak again for quite some time, and then were randomly re-introduced on an email thread a month ago.

We were both headed to a tech conference in Nashville. I saw her background in the conference app, which was that of a respected data scientist with a focus on machine learning and graph databases.

What does this really mean in laypersons’ terms? She helps build and develop relational (graph) databases to connect things that have more meaning.

At the time we met, I was working on an algorithm with PhD students at the University of Georgia to connect qualitative word clusters together. She was very next-level in this regard. Ever since, she has remained a leading researcher in her field. 

Today, Denise is the Head of the Global Graph Practice at DataStax. Personally, I think what she does is fascinating and might be one of the coolest people I’ve met in the tech space in the past six years.

Growth: Newsletter 11


This answer is going to be different for every person who reads it, but I’m excited to share how I found my own with you. This document I just published on my blog contains a step-by-step guide to my personal field guide to scheduling every aspect of my life and business down to the most nuanced level.

You might have your high-level goals in place already, but it’s ok if you don’t. Taking a data-driven and results-based approach will help you refine and customize these objectives based on what’s doable for you and your business.

It probably feels daunting to conceptualize the time-consuming and taxing process of planning out each business quarter, let alone every month, week, and day down to the morning, evening and afternoon.

That’s why I’ve decided to create an open-source resource that highlights the best findings I’ve gleaned from doing this very process for myself over the past two years. I hope this article saves you time and makes your life a little bit easier. 🙂

Opportunities: Newsletter 11

Givebutter is hiring a Front-End Developer & Customer Success Manager

Have you ever wanted to build products that literally change lives? Here is a once in a lifetime opportunity to help support good causes nationwide at a fast-growing social impact startup.

In a position at Givebutter, you’ll have the flexibility of working remotely and the reward of making a massive impact as one of the company’s very first employees. You can learn more and apply here.

Resources: Newsletter 11

What is it like to live across the country as a CEO for a year?  

David Schnurman will tell you, it is hard to stay focused.  However, after 50 days in Barcelona, the newness is wearing off and he’s settling back into his routines. David shares how he does combats this problem using what he calls a 30-day challenge. Check out his latest post here

Moral Panics Can Range From Pot to Pinterest, Apparently:
Nir Eyal’s Latest Feature In The Atlantic

By promoting the idea that technology is hijacking our braind and getting al of us addicted to our devices, techno-fearmongers promote the exception rather than the rule. They redirect the debate to the product instead of the underlying causes of addiction for the unfortunate few suffering from the pathology. Read his thought leadership in full here

What Does It Really Take to Cultivate A True Leader?
Find Out in a New Podcast From John Eades

Here’s some food for thought: You don’t find leaders, you build them. This is a central tenet of leadership development that John Eades shares on his Follow My Lead podcast.

Recently, he shared a great episode titled, “Pursue the Platform of Leadership.” In this episode, he offers a message of empowerment for those who may be doubting themselves.

Self-doubt can run rampant among the very best of us. If that resonates with you, John’s wise words can help you find calm and peace.  Check out his work here! P.S. John is superb, he isn’t one of those guys who just talks about leadership, he leads a company himself and resembles these core values on the home front.


Join Next Gen for their latest Startup Series!

Where: LMHQ, New York City
When: November 4, 2019
Who: YOU!

Startup Series will bring together NYC’s top entrepreneurs for evenings of growth and community. Join the first event on Monday, November 4th, where they will explore Mindfulness. Engage with other startup founders while learning from leaders in the wellness and mental health space, connecting over food, drinks, and a shared passion for mindfulness.

Click here to apply to join Brex and Next Gen for New York’s premier entrepreneurship happy hour sessions.

“People aren’t either wicked or noble. They’re like chef’s salads, with good things and bad things chopped and mixed together in a vinaigrette of confusion and conflict.”

Lemony Snicket

Navigating life is extremely hard. Finding our path on this confusing road called LIFE is what can make it special. In the process of finding the path is a ton of confusion, self discovery, community and relationship building, and balancing the highs and lows.

The Pathfinder
Catherine Kushan

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