From Small Town Alabama To Silicon Valley: The Epic Struggle Of The Clueless CEO

On May 5, 2015

From Small Town Alabama To Silicon Valley: The Epic Struggle Of The Clueless CEO

Do you feel completely clueless about how to grow your organization beyond where it is?  Welcome to the club.

A little bit of the back story: I spent 3 years driving around in my 1998 Ford pick-up truck trying to help churches.  I was so “successful” that we went $80,000 in debt and almost out of business.

Then we got lucky & changed our model to something that was very needed in 2011.

This year we will serve around 7,000 churches with helpful online coaching & products.  There was obviously a need for this type of help in our space because the growth of our company has landed us back-to-back trips to the Inc. 5000 list (the 5,000 fastest growing companies in the USA).

As I sit in my office, I stare at a big Alabama football sign in my office & think, “I still feel just as clueless as I did when we started.”

I have more questions than answers.  I wake up & feel uncertain some days.  I wrestle with fear.  My fear has changed from, “Will I get a paycheck?” to “How do we preserve our core, but expand our offerings to customers?”

I get asked a lot, “What’s next?”  Well, after a terribly pain 2014, we birthed a clear vision & direction for the next 4 years.  Here is the simple version of our next mission:

To Create 10,000 Financial Breakthroughs 

Welcome back the clueless CEO – me.  I don’t know HOW we will accomplish this mission, but I know we will.  I am totally clueless on HOW, but we aren’t clueless on WHY.

Ever since my granddad shot himself when I was 13 years old, I have had a heart to see people & organizations NOT struggle financially.  That pain marked me deeply & I feel a deep passion to help as many people as possible financially.

To make matters more interesting, we picked at the end of 2014 the route we would take to help organizations breakthrough financially – building our own donation solution & processing company.

We want to not just coach 10,000 organizations to financial breakthrough, we want to provide the software tools to get there.  After we studied what exists in the market, we determined that software is just part of the answer.

I can’t believe I am saying this, but we are a few weeks away from launching our live software in 14 churches.  From Pleasant Grove, Alabama to building software solutions for thousands… I just can’t believe it.  Silicon Valley eat your heart out, here we come 🙂

I am well aware that this post doesn’t have 5 practical tips and is more about us than you.  So, let me tell you why I wrote it:

  • Even if you feel clueless about HOW to do something, start doing it anyway.
  • Even though you feel scared about losing what you have, take the risk anyway.
  • Even though you don’t have the staff you need, publicly commit yourself to something big.
  • Even though you hear people telling you to stay with what you are good at it, do something new anyway.
  • Even though you have been told “no” over and over, keep asking for the sell anyway.

Something I learned in small town Alabama was this, never quit.  I promise, determination is more important than a doctorate.  You don’t have to be the smartest to make big things happen; you just need to be the last one standing.  If you feel in over your head today, I’m right there with ya.


  • By caseygraham  0 Comments   


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