About four years ago, Sean Davis was a successful regional sales manager at an innovative machinery company. A rising star at the company, he could have led a comfortable life working for someone else – but he had other plans. Sean had always admired entrepreneurs who step out on their own and build something themselves. He was also inspired by his father who was himself a small business owner. Willing to take risks to pursue his passion, Sean partnered with best friend Brendan Pettit to start their own business, Youphoria, selling premium outdoor and yoga products online. In January 2014, the company had its first full month of sales and in February 2014 Sean quit his job and became a full-time entrepreneur and has never looked back.
Not really motivated by money, Sean feels fulfilled by creating something that adds value to the world. He truly believes in the products that Youphoria sells and wants to improve the overall experience people get from being outdoors and from finding one’s inner balance through yoga. His company wants to bring a sense of Youphoria to its customers which they define as “a personal feeling or state of intense excitement or happiness.” It’s this innovative approach that has helped Youphoria build a loyal customer base as well as a respected brand.
Youphoria had previously used business funding from other lenders, however, the durations of these loans were very short, typically just six months. While this may fit the needs of some businesses, Sean felt that the high monthly payments were causing pressure on the company’s cash flow and restricting his ability to grow the business. That’s when he started looking for other options and found LendingClub. Originally skeptical of how quickly he would get funding, he was delighted when his business loan through LendingClub was issued in less than a week. Previously Youphoria was paying close to $30,000 in monthly loan payments but after a loan through LendingClub, they were able to reduce their monthly payments to just $6,500 a month easing the burden on their cash flow and allowing them to expand their business.
Improving the company’s operations allows Sean to focus his time on other efforts. Sean, Brendan, and the team at Youphoria are not just committed to building a great brand they also believe in doing good for others – part of finding the balance. Their business has already helped improve the lives of several people by providing employment and improving their quality of life. Sean strives to do this and more on a bigger scale. This is what excites Sean about being a small business owner. He loves the constant learning for himself but he also loves building a team, watching them grow professionally, and in turn seeing them fulfilled. He wants his company to be socially conscious and make a broader impact on the world. As part of this mission, Sean is getting to know a few nonprofit organizations and their management teams, ensuring that any funding provided by Youphoria is properly and efficiently allocated toward the nonprofit’s mission.
This is just the beginning for Youphoria. Sean has big plans to develop the company further: not just increasing revenue but solidifying a company culture where people feel empowered, developing even more employees, and creating a new “product line” based on experiences. He envisions hosting Youphoria branded events based on yoga as well as an element of community outreach. As Sean says, “If you’re not full, you can’t feed other people.” Again, it’s all about the balance…if you don’t have the balance within yourself then you can’t serve others at the optimal level.
Of course, Youphoria has also has had to weather a few storms just like all new businesses. However, these hard times can also be a great learning experience. When resources are strapped, get scrappy – learn how to streamline operations and be more efficient. As a business owner, you’ll be faced with some tough decisions, like when Sean decided to forgo a paycheck during his company’s first year of operation. Additionally, there will always be obstacles that you can’t foresee or control. Through it all, stay positive, be patient and use these challenges to become more resourceful and resilient.
Sean also advises new entrepreneurs to take a chance. Don’t just focus on mitigating risks otherwise you’ll never reach the real reward. Of course, don’t jump blindly into launching a business – do your homework first and listen to your instincts but be willing to take a calculated risk. Be realistic and optimistic at the same time – find the balance.
We are proud to support small business owners as they pursue their passion. If you’re a business owner looking for capital to invest in your business, we encourage you to consider a business loan through LendingClub. It takes just a few minutes to get a quote, there’s no cost, and no impact to your credit score to apply.
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