Today Ete sits down with Rusty Fife. Rusty, who grew up in Orange County and now lives in Gilbert, AZ, is an owner of Built Medical. The company imports medical equipment--typically mobility products--and sells them, most often to VA hospitals. They also sell products that increase sleep comfort.
Built Medical is relatively new, having started about 3 years ago. But in that short time Rusty has learned A LOT of lessons about what it really means to run your own business. One of the important things that Rusty brings home in this interview is the amount of determination, commitment, and willingness to just grind out the hard parts of business ownership, that can be necessary to business success. He loves seeing his plan bloom into a real business, and he loves the freedom that business ownership can eventually provide. But cold calling, knocking doors, navigating bureaucracies, getting conversations going with the right people when you don't have the "necessary" appointments, the unglamorous parts of the sales process, until recently, are exactly how Rusty's had to spend most of his working hours. Leaving his family for weeks at a time (and Rusty's a very family-oriented guy), traveling the country in a van and sleeping in motels have just been part of the job.
Because of his ability to drive through the crappy side of business, he's seeing success, and things have gotten a little easier. He knows that with time and work he'll get where he wants to be and that all this work will pay off. But Rusty is quick to remind budding entrepreneurs that they need to "be ready to get rejected," "be ready for great sacrifices," and that when the difficulties come, "you've gotta push yourself further." It's a great reminder that while business ownership can be worth the struggle, it is also very difficult.