When I was in middle school, my granddad committed suicide. He was facing tons of debt and felt buried by the pressures of leading a small business. On the day he killed himself, I vowed to live in financial freedom. At 14 years old, I started investing $50 a month in the stock market. Not long after, I began my first lawn care business to fund the money that was being withdrawn from my account. Fast forward to college. During my junior year at Samford University, I founded a company called College Load Out. We focused on moving sorority girls into and out of their dorms. Yes, this was our business model. And, yes, I ended up marrying one of the sorority girls. (Mission accomplished.) A few years later, I turned the company over to my co-founder and joined the staff of Mountain Lake Church in Atlanta, GA. There, I eventually became the Chief Financial Officer. It was in this role that I saw how critically churches needed help with fundraising and growth.
In 2008, I had, as my wife so delicately put it, a pee-or-get-off-the-pot moment. I could either figure out a way to meet churches’ needs, or I could shut up about it and keep doing the job I was doing.
And that’s how The Rocket Company was born. The Rocket Company reaches church leaders worldwide with free downloads and paid resources and subscriptions. We’ve created a new niche in the church space to help pastors get top-shelf coaching for bottom-shelf prices. Starting my own business was exhilarating. But it was also lonely and scary, too. There was so much anticipation wrapped up in my desire to help pastors be better speakers, fundraisers, and leaders.
It’s easy to romanticize about what it would be like to chase your dreams. But for me, the reality was that I was sitting in a closet-sized office in my house with a shelf of books, a laptop, and zero clients. I started cold calling churches I found on the Internet by driving to them in my red truck. I’d talk to the front desk person in an attempt to get a meeting with the senior pastor so I could get hired to help their church. The first year our budget was $70K, and we ended up with $114K. I felt like we had struck gold! All those dreams were becoming a reality. And, for a while, we saw exponential growth. But that didn’t last. After a series of bad business decisions, we ended up $80K in debt. I had to lay off three people in one day for no other reason than I couldn’t pay them. I was left feeling desperate. And it was that desperation that led me to seek innovative ways to rework The Rocket Company.