Let’s be honest, most businesses will fail and every business will go through challenging times. How do you maintain resiliency through your entrepreneurial journey?
Just because your business fails, doesn’t make you a failure.
I’m joined by Keith Kohler and Kristoffer Quiaoit as we each share our story of shutting down a business and reinventing ourselves afterward.
Startup to Scale is a podcast by Foodbevy, an online community to connect emerging food, beverage, and CPG founders to great resources and partners to grow their business. Visit us at Foodbevy.com to learn about becoming a member or an industry partner today.
Failure and Resiliency: Lessons From Closing 3 Businesses
Jordan Buckner: [00:00:00] So welcome everyone to today's session where we are talking everything failure and resiliency in both your business and your personal lives, because as founders and people in the industry, those often overlap and Keith reached out to me in talking about this topic because of , the environment that we're all going through in the market and just where the world is right now, there's been a lot of challenges that we've all been experiencing.
And so I think one thing that we wanted to do was to. really open up and share some of our stories with you here today of navigating through various experiences life navigating through quote failures and also sharing the not just the facts around it but really . How it affected us and how we were able to move through some of those challenges and where we kind of are on the other side and use that both as a point of inspiration.
And then also just of a really connection to let you [00:01:00] know that no matter what you're going through, everyone has different experiences, but you're not alone on this journey. You're not. The only 1 things are happening to and being able to really talk about things that we normally don't talk through in this community at the end.
So what we'll do is open up and to share stories amongst 3 people Keith Kohler, who an and has a lot of experiences in the food space to share as well from his own journey. I've invited Kristoffer Quiaoit who is now the founder of Good journey and previously had a brand that was on shark tank and can talk through the experience of launching and being pitching on shark tank on the aftermath and how that affected his journey.
And then we love to tell my story as well in Teasquares and the experiences that I went to through and then open it up to you, our community to share your story and anything that's been impacting you or that's on your mind. So we have a lot to cover. So I'd love to jump in and introduce Keith and have him tell some of his story.
You [00:02:00] know, I met Keith almost a year ago now for the first time, and he's really been instrumental in my personal journey and my business journey as well to really talk about things that we tend to keep close , in the founder community. Topics of financial challenges, limiting beliefs, really uncovering the mindset that we are stuck in that prevent us from often moving forward and finding that success and prosperity.
So Keith I love for you just to give a quick intro and then tell your story.
Keith Kohler: Yeah, thank you Jordan. Really glad to be with you today and sharing the stage with Kristoffer as well. And thank you all for stopping by to spend some time with us. And I'm excited to talk about this because I think as Jordan mentioned, it's not a topic that we often address in a form such as this or and sometimes it's because we're perhaps afraid of what others might think, or that it might show weakness or some other vulnerability that we might not want to be.
Have other people be made aware of and yet in my own journey to get to the end and then kind of come back is I [00:03:00] have found through doing the work and coming to grips with these aspects of my own journey. It makes me show up better for others. It makes me more vulnerable, more willing to be available.
Present all of those different things, which I think now makes me a better person in the world of financing broadly defined, which I do in debt financing and alternative financing space, helping people find the right financing the right time. And then I have a retreat product that.
Helps those struggling with finance better manage that and that it was as a result and a bit of an optimization of this 1 particular story I'm going to share with you. So, my original reason why. Of getting into financing in our broader space, natural, organic food and beverage was when I was diagnosed celiac in 2005.
so celiac for those you don't know is gluten intolerance and, you know, celiac disease very top of mind today. Almost everybody in this room probably is aware of gluten free or is actively eating gluten free products in 2005, 18 years ago. It was a few stone ages ago, as I like to call it, because it was still at nascent and not a lot of people were aware of it.
And so here I was in [00:04:00] 2005, and I started supporting founders by learning about gluten free. What I could do is very disparate. The United States had not yet defined what the gluten free standard was. That didn't come until 2008, by the way, which was far behind the rest of the world. And when I was diagnosed, and I started working for the gluten free certification program, that stamp that you see on labels, I was so excited and talking to founders that I said, well, I want to be a founder.
1 day I worked in finance and I did that. And I love it. And I still, of course, love it. But I had really craved to be a founder. And that came from the fact that when I worked in corporate, I realized I was never meant to be in corporate because I really didn't like being told what to do to just quintessentialize it.
That was not my path, but the opportunity arose and through a lot of. Events coming together meeting people that could be a co founder with me and I had a formulator. It winds up that in 2014, I, with others assembled a company called GF solutions and we leased a space, a large space in Massachusetts, which is about 45 minutes northwest of Boston, close to the New Hampshire border and I finally felt like I belonged.
[00:05:00] Like, I was legit, not that I was feeling illegitimate, but to have been speaking to founders, finally, to be 1 of them to be part of a club to have some identity and knowing and thinking, hey, I can do this as a founder. And so here I was, this was my dream come true. I was going to make better for you, gluten free products.
And that's exactly what we did. We had. Superb formulations really better for you than the starches and the sugars that you often see. It was kind of gluten free 2. 0 cleaner products, everything. And I was excited because I brought that formulator and I brought the industry knowledge and the credibility.
My founding partner, a woman from Massachusetts had the equity raise experience, the operations experience, et cetera. And so we were the logical co founders. And then the role was, I was to be a bit more of kind of the market expert who could talk to companies on a larger basis and say, hey, this is the time to get excited about gluten free.
You should have gluten free products in your store, blah, blah, blah. But my 1st mistake. Was I was aware of my contributions. I was aware of my co founders contributions, but I did not put it in writing. I didn't have any type of [00:06:00] operating agreement. Which spelled out to the best of our ability. This is what I'm really contributing.
This is what she's contributing and this is what others would contribute. So 1st, lesson that clarity up front. Was I was so kind of diluted by the thought of, I'm a founder, I'm going to change the world. I love my products that I neglected that. Memorialization and that documentation of what is important and get and ignoring the need for clarity.
Jordan Buckner: If I find this is so common, and I've experienced have, do you think there's a sense of, like, losing some of magic and purpose when you get into some of those, like, technical details of spelling out exactly what someone's going to do, even when you might not even know it yourself.
Keith Kohler: 100%. And I think when we think about what motivates us, right.
High purpose driven people with a huge reason why and I see that in so many founders I talked to in financing when I asked them to do structure, you know, documentation operating agreement bylaws. I often get a lot of resistance because they're often people , high purpose driven, they jump into the behavior.
I'm so excited. I'm so motivated. I'm gonna do this and this and this, but structure will often be the [00:07:00] last thing to drop in. And that indeed is me, I move around from purpose to behavior and structure is the least there's a thing. I don't like that. I resist the most, but it does fall in place. If the other 2 parts of the triangle are strong enough.
And are committed so again, I encourage for all of you, if you're strong purpose driven founders, please put the structure to support it so that you can continue to really act on your purpose and your mission. So that was 1 of the 1st lessons. We were successful in raising equity. Because the timing was good, 2014 gluten free was really among the shiniest of objects in the natural world.
It was totally top of mind. The industry reports said, yes, go. It was no longer. This is a fad. That's well, it was kind of half the community was saying it's a fad. That's going to fade away. Well, we've proven them wrong. But the other half was excited and there was investment dollars. So my co founder was involved in raising the equity.
And my job was to show up on calls and talk just about these are the industry trends. This is what's going on. These are some customers we could pursue. This is how I will show up as a face of the company in this [00:08:00] way through media, whatever. And what I did not do. Was I did not insist on inserting myself in the nitty gritty of the dealmaking and the equity side, like, really getting, I knew the financial projections and I participated in those, but I was not involved in the dealmaking.
And again, that was an era where I think that it was so critical and so foundational because we got the relationship in place, but I only knew these people. In a kind of peripheral way, I didn't really understand their criteria for investment. What were the numbers they were looking at? What was really, really on their mind?
So my 2nd lesson was, hey, this is the money. And in fact, I put my own money in. I've got to know the full criteria. I've got to really know what makes them get excited. What makes them frightened, et cetera. And that proved to be a big blow down the line. As well, because the money was quite a little bit easy for us to get and we started along on a good process and yet.
Probably when I say what's next, almost everybody's going to nod their head. It takes longer than you expect. Right? The only thing we know about projections is that they're wrong. And so where we [00:09:00] underestimated the problem was, we got a lot of interest, but for people to pull the trigger and say, yes, we're going to commit to you.
We're going to do our gluten free products. We did a lot of private label. And I know if any of you live in the Northeast United States, and specifically in Massachusetts, there was a place called market basket and we wound up doing their gluten free line of products. But to get into that store was not 6 months.
It was 12, right? So here were all these fixed costs. And by the way, renting a 50, 000 square foot facility. Where we could have done it with 1, less 0, we could have done it at 5000. there was so much space. I could have moved in with a family of 8000 and still, we would have had room for the manufacturing equipment.
So another big mistake. But the real thing I'm leading to is knowing that things often do take longer than you expect our fatal mistake. Was we did not tell our equity investors fast enough that we were going to run out of money. So we kind of hit them with a curve ball too late and it wound up completely souring the relationship because they were like, holy shit.
You're going to run out of money. And I think that was about 6 to 8 weeks. And it's [00:10:00] not like we're going to get it anywhere else. Right. So, they really their hand was forced and they did put money in, but me, not understanding that, except from a relationship perspective. Oh, everything must be great. They agreed to give us the money.
But what I didn't realize it was 2 things were going on. We kind of busted their ratios. Right and what I mean by that is , no longer was their return on investment that they predicted for themselves going to be as rosy as they once thought. So we kind of cut off their analytics and their, their numbers.
Right and that triggered them internally. To sour on us, right? Because and again, I didn't understand how equity worked in the sense that they have 10 investments. We look like a nice little shiny star. Now, we no longer look like it. What happens? They pay attention to the other 9 a lot more, right?
Suddenly you're not top of mind. The other thing, and I'm going to be very honest with all of you is. There was some misogyny going happened to be all men in this group and things came out in the wash where she's not the right person, or she's too aggressive or she's to that. And the reason I say that, and I bring it up is because we all face that we all face bias, particularly on the [00:11:00] equity side.
And everyone I'm sure has their story on that good and bad and ugly. And the reason I know this for sure is because I got a call from the lead investor saying. We want to kick her out. Would you move to Massachusetts and run the company?
I mean, can you imagine getting that call? Right? And I didn't know what to do. I just totally fumbled and I basically said, no, I wouldn't do that. I wouldn't do that. And so things continued to roll downhill and. It got to a point where the equity folks said, we're done, you know, we've done as far as we'll do.
We're willing to take a 0 and. My again, I'm taking accountability for everything. I could have certainly been more involved from the beginning understanding what that would look like. Right? What would trigger them to get more? What would trigger them to say we're out and tapped out? I didn't know any of that.
And I had put. You know, 6 figures of my own money into this. I sold my house not to do the investment, but the timing was there anyway, and I took the proceeds and I put it into this and then it got snowballed and got worse because my co founder and I became quite emotional with each other and this and this is going to happen.
I'm emotional. And what are we going to do? How are we going to save this? And every month, what was I doing? I was taking. Advances [00:12:00] on my credit card to fund the business and to make payroll and it just snowballed and snowballed because I didn't have any limits. Like, an equity investor said, this is we're done.
Right? And it was just a horrible moment. And so it came to a head such that we were desperate and we found a local investor in the Boston area. And he was not a experienced investor. He was kind of someone I have some money. Let's see what happens. So , he looked at this as kind of a hobby.
Like, if you were going somehow to Las Vegas and putting it on black and say, . I'll try this now. And he was a bit wild, and then he just got 1 day to say, oh, I'm just done. Even though honestly, we were on a 4Million dollar run rate and we had a line of sight to profitability, but because he was quite capricious.
It was gone from 1 day to the next. So I blew it and I take accountability because I was afraid to ask questions honestly, because in my head, I had this mind that equity people were these gods and goddesses of finance that were so untouchable, unapproachable, smarter than me. And that I asking a question that would be like, it's just so, you know, I mean, so far removed, like, you just don't feel kind of you're in their same league.
And that was the bullshit story. [00:13:00] I was telling myself, but that's where I was then. It's certainly not where I am now, but that's where I was then. And so to and the other layer is. My mother and my brother invested. I asked them. , however, what I'm proud of is I'm willing to take bullets. You know, I'm a big boy.
I can be accountable to myself. But what I'm proud of is I've made sure that my mother and my brother's investment was put in on a secured note. So, when we liquidated, and we did, and it went through the courts, and it was all done in that actually, the liquidation process was the only process I really actually understood.
Because I had more notifications in the mail than late bill payments when I was a college student. So the funny part was at the end of the day, my brother and my mother made money. They each put in 10, 000 bucks. They got 12, 000 checks. And I was proud of that. So if there was some saving grace, I protected the ones I cared about.
But what I did wrong is I didn't protect myself. I didn't exercise enough self care because I didn't know what that was. I was immature in that whole side. And so I'm really sharing this story with you because how it became a resilient story for me is by having gone through this. [00:14:00] What it helped me develop in my financing work is, even though I don't work on equity, it helped me developed a real sense of empathy for all of you because I know your journeys are not straight lines.
They're crooked and their pivots. And there's all these things. And yet I'm glad that I've had these experiences because the alchemy I get to have is now. Hey, I can meet you where you are. I can guide you through some of these areas. So really, that's what I've got. Wanted to share that story and I'm glad to do it in this form.
And I hope it is of service to some of you or all of you in some way.
Jordan Buckner: Thank you for sharing that and for being vulnerable on taking responsibility in this world where there are so many other people involved. But seeing what you've learned from the process and making sure you're taking that into what you're doing now and not just helping yourself better, but helping others.
And I think that's really well, they're doing that.
Keith Kohler: I think you appreciate that. Jordan.
Jordan Buckner: There's a lot more there, but I also want to make sure we have time to share Kristoffer story. And so I'd love for you to share your journey from your [00:15:00] previous brand, Nui Foods. To what you're doing now with good journey and the experience along , that way.
Kristoffer Quiaoit: Awesome. Thank you. Well, first I just want to acknowledge everybody here for being here. It takes a, a certain type of person , to see that, Hey, I want to be this person and it's going to take some resilience. I want to get to this place and it's going to take that resilience. So I want to acknowledge you in that.
And like Keith and Jordan said, the road isn't smooth. And so how I got started in food in 2016 I started on the ketogenic diet. And I heard about it on a podcast and I was like, Oh, this is amazing. Got one of my friends on it and he lost 40 pounds in a matter of weeks. And then we were like, Hey, this is great, but there isn't anything out there that's sweet and all there are protein bars.
And so we said, Hey, what would be a great. I guess middle finger to diets and that's when we thought of a cookie and we're like okay cookie's an epitome of junk food right and so we had no idea what it takes to make a food product so we just started googling how to make a cookie from [00:16:00] scratch found a paleo recipe like well let's remove the sugary stuff all the starches And replaced it, went to Whole Foods, bought ingredients, went to my mom's kitchen, started baking and then had people try it out.
And then our friends and family liked it. So we're like, Hey, who else would like this? We, okay, let's get a website, got a stock image online, put a buy button, bought 15 of ads on Reddit. Then one person bought and we got excited. And then a few days later, 50 people bought within a matter of like an hour or two.
And so then I reached out to the customers and asked them, Hey, How'd you hear about us? It turns out someone posted on a Facebook group, a ketogenic diet Facebook group. And then from there we stopped and ran a Kickstarter. And it was an amazing feeling knowing that, Hey, maybe there's something here.
And we started with six grand, right? Me and my co founder each put in three. And it grew to a million dollars in 18 months, all e commerce. And it was wild. We're like, all right, we're going to be in like the next 12 months. We're going to be at 10 million. You know, this is like this, you know, amazing, like [00:17:00] vision of what's possible and as exciting at the same time, there's a lot of different challenges of growing that fast is like, all right, we're sold out half the month.
How do we get to the next level? and in the middle of that, we rented out a kitchen from another brand, and we are growing this space. And eventually there's, they said, Hey you are taking up too much space. We're going to have to ask you to leave and we're going to sell our company too. And so we only had a few months to find the next solution.
We were scrambling. We were talking with a co man for a few months and they finally said, yes, we'll work with you all. So then we went to the co man and the thing , is. We didn't understand that our recipe that we could use and hand scoop or hand scooping, you know, couldn't be used in their manufacturing facility.
Cause it doesn't work where their equipment, we would go over there, bringing all the ingredients, hundreds of pounds of dough, and it'd go through the machine and just be like crumbs and oil gushing out of the machine. And they're like, it's not going to work. And so. We were really panicking at that moment because like, well, we're not going to have a home, you know, [00:18:00] for, to make our product.
And we got to get this, otherwise we're not going to have any sales. So then we hired a food scientist. We hired the wrong food scientist cause our product was low carb. This food scientist didn't understand the mechanics of low carb. And so we reformulated and reformulated thousands of dollars , out the window.
And then we finally got a recipe that we thought would work. And you know, we tested it, the water activity water activity is what determines your shelf stability or part of it and all right. Okay. Our product can be shelf stable. So we tested it once, right? All right. This can be solid.
Meanwhile, we went. Onto Shark Tank and that was pretty exciting. We got on there, we got a deal with A Rod and then we had to get them samples really quickly. We're like, oh man, we're scrambling, you know, to get it working with a manufacturer. So we sent up whatever product we could make from there.
And unfortunately the product was subpar. We gave up a lot in terms of taste and texture to get it to work with the machinery. And so in that they backed out and due diligence but because of that show, we got like a six figure day, like 24 hours, we got a hundred K. And [00:19:00] sales and then 300 K and then we had a long wait list and we were just scrambling like, Oh man, there's like, you know, a month and a half wait just to get it a product out to the customers.
So we were doing our best to get it out there. And in that we skip some quality assurance, you know, steps, we made all the product for those customers, start shipping it out. And so we shipped out about 300 grand worth of product. And then a few weeks later, started getting emails like, Hey I'm sorry.
You know, I saw some fuzz , on my cookie. I think it's mold. And then we started to get another email, another email. And pretty soon we realized that the whole batch was bad. And so we started issuing refunds. We didn't raise that much capital. He's raised a small family and friends around , just to get product in for those customers.
And so we burned a lot of customers just by sending out multi prime. I mean, imagine you're getting multi product, like who would, you're like, I'm not going to buy another cookie again, you know, so new company. Never heard of exactly. Exactly. And Meanwhile, we're scrambling. I'm taking out my credit cards just to be able to pay, you [00:20:00] know, our team members.
and get some more product. Meanwhile, we're working on the R and D side, trying to solve this formulation. It was a lot of stress. And I was like, how am I going to deal with all this stress? So I started picking up meditation I was like, I was that type of person who didn't believe in meditation.
I thought it was a whole lot of woo woo. Cause I was like, well, I, my mind's all over the place. How can I quiet my mind? There's no way. But I took it upon myself to, you know, just Start with like two minutes of meditation and then gradually build my practice. And , that in a way kind of helped me through that stress.
Meanwhile, we're trying to figure out what are we gonna do for capital? Because we're taking out expensive debt, 18 percent debt just to cover it. And we're like, we got to find an equity investor so we can clear the debt table. But it's becoming a debt spiral and it's like, you know, we're running out of cash.
I'm looking at our books. , our bank account and you can just see the numbers just go down, lower, lower, lower, lower. So it's like kind of seeing, knowing that your engines, like if you're on a plane, the engine is no longer working, just watching yourself just [00:21:00] die, nosedive. And you're just trying to figure it out.
And then eventually is 2020 where. It was just so much, we had taken a lot of debt just to be able to keep the business going. And I was getting phone calls from creditors every single day, every single day. And , it's crazy. Cause like I do my meditation practice and then I'm good. Then I check my voicemail and it's like, Hey, we're calling about this payment, you know?
And then instantly I'm in fight or flight mode. And then I would get the surge of rush. Like, I'm going to figure this out when I call the next person, get this investment and have these pitches. But the hard thing was, is like, all these things were burning in the background and I go into these meetings knowing like stuff is broken.
And like, I'm sure it came out as I was pitching just of the anxiety. Like we need money now, you know? And so , that definitely had an impact on our ability to raise. And also I wasn't very good at it. I was fairly new to raising capital. And that was like every single day is like, you know, just like groundhogs day is like, all right, meditate, feel [00:22:00] good, doing great.
And then get phone calls from creditors. And it was just a lot of anxiety and stress. Meanwhile, you know, it's hard because growing up, I'm the oldest child of three and so I don't know why I did this, but I created , this persona that I had to have my shit together, at least in, you know in the forefront, like I couldn't be vulnerable.
I couldn't like reach out to somebody and say, Hey, I need help with this and this, and so all the while I had to, I kept a straight face, you know, family and friends were like, Hey, how are things are going? I'm like, Oh yeah, things are good. And then in my head, I'm like, things are terrible right now. And it was so exhausting just carrying this amount of armor, right?
Like, I was like, all right, I'm going to protect myself. But in reality is just so exhausting because I couldn't be fully authentic about it. , and then eventually we had to shut down the company in 2020, right before the pandemic. And we filed bankruptcy towards the end of that 2020. We had no more money that we could buy put another purchase order for product.
And that was tough, like me having [00:23:00] to call family and friends, telling them, Hey, thank you. For investing us and believing us, but we, you know, you're going to lose your money. We were filing bankruptcy. Meanwhile, I have like , a friendship that you know, was destroyed in the process. They loaned us a quite a bit amount of money and that was on me too, because I didn't.
Like I think Keith alluded to like communicating and asking for help. Right. And I didn't communicate very well. Like I would get on calls with my friend. He's like, Hey, when are you going to pay us back? And I'm like, I'm working on it, you know, , and, but I didn't really. I was so afraid to share all the stuff that was happening because like, I felt like a failure that I didn't fully share , the situation where, you know, maybe they could have helped me out.
Right. And I felt like I had to figure it out on my own, like for me. I created this image of myself of, I have to be the smart one to figure this out, but in reality, you know, who I can be is someone that reaches out smart enough to reach out to people that know more than I do and can help me [00:24:00] out.
Jordan Buckner: Reminds me of a there's a saying, I see people posting this on LinkedIn and other places, especially right now that. As a founder, your startup doesn't fail it until you quit. And it's interesting because I think some people mean that in a encouraging way and that like it empowers you to keep going as long as you believe in it.
On the other side, there's also situations where , you know, like things aren't working as they are now, but as you said, like you felt like you had to keep trying to save face and keep going because you didn't want to be the person that quits to look bad because you felt like it was all , on you and it was almost like a decision that you could make as if there weren't all these other external factors.
Kristoffer Quiaoit: Yeah, no, absolutely. I mean, like. I didn't think of myself as that quitter, right? And so I did everything I could to hold on to it. But at some point it just became too much mentally and emotionally. And then thankfully I had put myself in personal development. I was like[00:25:00] Who? I am at this point in time is what got me this result.
So who can I be to get a different result? So I put myself personal development And then also I became a new dad, you know at that point in time So all this is happening. I become a new dad And the thought was like who will my son know me to be right and so put me down this path To really look internally of what I can change about myself and did that.
I did ayahuasca, like I was just going for it, did everything. And part of the learnings I got from all of that is just being self forgiving in the process. Right. Cause I had so much self judgment even through the last company, like when things broke down, I would judge myself like, man, I'm a tell person.
We're not that good enough. Right. We were doing a million dollars at that time. And I had not acknowledged that I was like, all right, do a million dollars. But this other company that our competitor is doing, you know, 10 million, 20 million, and I had no idea that they had raised like 12 million. Right. And I was comparing us to them.
[00:26:00] And so a lot of this process realizing, like, is one to have self compassion throughout it. And after the bankruptcy, I kind of like even before that I went silent social media, you know, and cause I had internalized a lot of shame because of that failure and what I realized is the more open I'm about it, the less shame is placed.
And you know, Keith talked about being accountable is for , me learning how to be responsible for the situation, but also at the same time, removing the self judgment around it. Right. How can I be responsible for it and also be self compassionate at the same time? And because we're all human beings and I had put myself at this stand, unrealistic standard that I had to be perfect every single way.
And so just by being open about it has been very freeing. Right. And it's also allowed me to have an impact on other people that are going through similar situations and then with a good journey, it definitely was a hard process. I had, you know, we've been two years in, I had to break on [00:27:00] for most of the time That we were there.
We have a pretty innovative product the product tastes amazing and it's low carb. And now I was wondering, like, should I keep going like down this food path? Like, this is really hard. Should I do it again and give a shot at it? So I had a dream, a vision of my friend, my good friend, his son is four years old, but he, in that dream, he's now a 30 something year old and he's 300 pounds and he's.
Now shooting insulin. And at that moment, the message was the work continues. And so I wouldn't be here if the Y wasn't big enough. Right. And so our whole thing is how do we empower people to be happy and healthy? And so the reason why you call it good journey is because not only do we want to help people enjoy their journey, but I want to enjoy this journey as well, and what can I do to enjoy it along the way?
Self acknowledgement to one of the big things got from this whole failure is acknowledging myself because I didn't acknowledge my team in the past, mainly because I didn't acknowledge myself. I couldn't do that for myself. And so practicing that, like, all right, you know, I acknowledge myself [00:28:00] for, you know, being resilient , and by doing that, I was able to acknowledge people on my team, people that we work with. And our whole thing is like, you know, at the end of the day, we're all whole, perfect and complete. Right. And yes, there's stuff that happens along the way, but at our core is that we're enough.
And that was the message I had, you know, that I got is that I'm enough as a human being and then whatever the outcomes are, those are the outcomes. But what I'm standing for is this commitment to this bigger vision as beyond myself. And so in terms of resilience, I would say, you know, when things get tough is what's helped is self compassion, but, and having a big enough, why?
Right. Cause like, even now you know, sometimes I get disappointed, like at a no show for a sales call today. Right. And in the past I would have like internalized that, but now it's like, okay. That's fine. Like, you know because the Y is big enough that the no's don't mean as big. They're not as significant.
The rejections aren't significant, right? But what's important is who I continue to show up as. But yeah, that's pretty much it. And I'm still in discovery [00:29:00] what this next chapter is going to look like, you know, and it is exciting. And I know it's going to be a bumpy road at the same time.
Jordan Buckner: Kristoffer , thank you for sharing, that story. And, you know, one thing that's really resonated , with me recently here, you share that is. You were on a journey that wasn't fully yours with your past company and now as you're thinking about, do I want to start the company again? How am I building it?
You're really being conscious on what's the life that you want to live and not just. You're a grand vision , for the company, right? You have a big why that you're searching after, and then also combining that with the journey that you want to experience along the way. And I think that's really powerful.
Kristoffer Quiaoit: Yeah. Thank you. I mean, the biggest thing was like, I can't take care of other people if I can't take care of myself. Right. And I can't empower , other people, if I can't empower my own self. And so our philosophy is like at least with me is start with me. And by starting with me, then it branches out to our team members and it branches out to our customers and our partners.
So I can show up in a certain way, then that [00:30:00] allows and empowers other people to show up differently.
Jordan Buckner: I'm curious when your new journey now one common fear that I know I've had is if I'm no longer like such a, so much of my personality was tied up in my previous company at the time. And I had this feeling that if I'm no longer the founder of Teasquares.
Who will I be? And like, how will people see me? Right. How have you found that to be in terms of what you felt in the reality of it?
Kristoffer Quiaoit: That's a great point. Like, so attaching identity to whatever we're up to, right. That's a challenge. Like before this, I was actually a basketball player. So five, eight, I'm five, eight, but I had this passion for basketball and I had it that I was.
a basketball player. Went to the Philippines, played professionally. I was on the practice squad for a team over there. And then when I got hurt, there was this identity crisis, you know, like, Oh, who am I now? Right. And it's like this kind of death to this person that I knew. And then with this business, with Nui is like, [00:31:00] okay, this business known.
So now who am I right. And what I've realized is now it's, what am I committed to? Or who am I as my core being right? Like acknowledging that, okay, who am I as someone that, that is going to empower, that is empowering leadership, right? That's who am I at my core and then everything else, like. You know, whether it's this business or another thing, that's who I am at my core, right?
And not attaching myself, like I am the owner of good journey, right? And so that's been a process of figuring it out. So like, no matter what I do, you know , what is my. Commitment, right? Who am I as a commitment as opposed to being attached to my identity and role?
Jordan Buckner: Yeah, I think that's a really great insight and learning that sometimes even just comes from having to experience those changes and realize that you are someone bigger than those.
And, you know, that's a good transition , to my story with Teasquares and where I am today. And some of you have heard parts of this story before in reflecting back when I started Teasquares in 2015, we were making energy bars. It was [00:32:00] actually my roll into from another business because before that I had a meal kit business called chop box that was running that it's kind of funny identity wise, like few people even know about.
Right? And coming from a business, like my first business that wasn't successful, a lot of my journey in hindsight, I realized was driven by ego of wanting to build a successful business, not Even from the standpoint of like, you know, we had this story of like the change that we wanted to make in the world, but when I really reflect on it, I wanted to be known as a successful founder by having a hundred million dollar exit, right?
Like, it was even less about the money for me and more just around the time that success to myself worth, you know, I came from a family of entrepreneurs. And so I think that led a lot of my mindset. And along the course of that journey, right? Like me, a ton of learnings and mistakes in the business.
It took us a while to find product market fit. We launched in whole foods and then had some success, but ultimately pulled out [00:33:00] because we weren't driving enough revenue there. And. Lots of things kind of snowball together to the point when it was 2020, we have gone through like at the beginning of the pandemic, just found product market fit, but selling to corporate offices.
Right, like the beginning of the pandemic and so that was like a huge pressure where we finally found a great customer group who are buying like pallets from us every week and then the pandemic shut down offices. And so our entire compact market was shut down and. Ended up in a point where I was literally like came home, fell on the floor and had trouble breathing and luckily my now wife was there, but recognized like I was having a panic attack and this was the first time in my life and the only time that ever had a panic attack like that.
And I realized at that point that the business and my mindset around the business wasn't serving me. And in fact, it was. Detrimental to my health in ways that I didn't realize at the time, and that [00:34:00] led to a process of saying, you know, the way that we're running things and how the business is structured.
And even like my goal for having the business are misaligned and at that point, realize that I needed to make a change, but. You know, similar Kristoffer , right? Like I didn't want, my identity was tied up , in Teasquares. All the friends I had were in the industry and knew me as the CEO of Teasquares. And what would my life become if this wasn't attached to me and I had to shut the company down.
But ultimately that was kind of a wake up moment where I knew things had to change. And. Subsidy took a couple months, but ultimately we decided to close down the company and in that self reflection time, as you mentioned as well, really took those moments to understand what now I had my 1st kid at the time as well at.
You know, family that was also relying on me. And so I thought, you know, what impact do I want to make in the world? And where do I find the most meeting? And that's ultimately what led to starting the Foodbevy community, because I love working with founders. They [00:35:00] love working with entrepreneurs.
And how can I build a life around doing that? And my mindset has shifted where instead of with Teasquares, it was all around. How can I have a successful exit in business and be well known now it's really shifted to how can I help as many of you, as many founders as possible to succeed. Because I don't want anyone to go through that same pain and trauma that I did from that process.
And it's definitely been a learning journey. And it's a challenge every day of really, you know, finding , that place. But by doing so, it's also relieved a lot of , the stress and the pressure. And one thing just, That I've noticed around across many journeys and Keith, I know you see this as well, but 1 of the biggest challenges to businesses failing or feeling that needs to change is financial, right? Like, yes. Sometimes the team's not right. Sometimes the product's not right. That usually at the very core, it's like, there's not enough money to continue running the business. And money is one of those things [00:36:00] that we don't talk about. We don't want to share. We feel the most shame about the most embarrassment about when things aren't going, aren't going well.
And so I think that's one of the things to really think about is your relationship , with money Keith, I know you've talked a lot in the chair with me around like some of the limiting beliefs with money and finance and how that's kind of a core of what we're doing. Do you have any thoughts just around how founders can really open up to start thinking about their money stories?
Keith Kohler: Yeah what I found in discussing this topic with founders a lot in our space, and some across other businesses is a lot of times when I witness struggle in management of finance, a couple of different things. Fundraising and transaction is 1 thing, right? Also, the way you approach just even managing business finances.
My observation was, is I originally thought. Because, you know, I studied finance. Oh, I just need to give people tips and tools. Right? But it's just a kind of a mechanical type of thing, or something just needs to be studied or implement it. And I was so wrong. And the reason I was wrong is because in talking to people about it, when I said, well, [00:37:00] what do you think of when you think of finance?
I got words like fear and judgment and I did not expect that. So, becoming curious, I really realized that the origin. Often the origin is money stories that were formative in our years as children, as family members, as relatives, and sometimes in business relationships too. And so I often see a connection in if we've not alchemized the stories we tell ourselves about money, such as it can't ever be easy, or people who have money must be evil and there can be stories from abundance too, which is Oh, I grew up with enough money.
It's always going to be there. I never have to worry. It's always just going to magically show up. Right? So I often find that connection and the limiting beliefs that we also share about as a result. Like, hey, I'm good. I have enough money today. Why should I worry about it tomorrow? So all of those types of phrasings are things that I've heard and I think.
Even in our conversations among ourselves as founders, we've heard those from other people, right? As we talk about this topic, or perhaps we've heard ourselves saying it. So if that ever sounds like you, the opportunity is to kind of work through that to get to a spot where [00:38:00] you are feeling a bit more abundant and then the mechanical side kind of drops into.
So it's a combination of the mindset and mechanical that can help you better show up to have a better chance of being prepared. And get all you need to feel supported and to grow your business. So
Jordan Buckner: I appreciate you sharing that, you know, one of the things that was honestly really transformational for me was when earlier this year, I went through the retreat that you hosted Keith around really understanding, you know, how to make, you know, your fight, like figuring out my financial journey and how to make finance work for me.
And it was. You know, honestly, I went in thinking that it would be very like technical around talking about budgets and planning, and I was surprised that it was really around mindset and opening up around the financial stories that we tell ourselves, you know, realizing that a lot of the behaviors to finance for me were from early things that I learned, right?
I have parents that taught me never take on Right. You know that because it's an endless spiral or even watching like, you know, Sunday morning cartoons as a kid. Every other commercial was a [00:39:00] credit card bankruptcy or refinancing commercial. And as I said, such a negative conception of credit cards actually didn't get a credit card until I was like, 22 or something, which isn't super early.
But like, I had opportunities. I only used a debit card before that. And so that really opened up my eyes in terms of. How I'm thinking about finance money for my business and how that's both limiting and also can provide empowerment moving forward. And so I do want to kind of give a call as well to say, you know, as anyone listening to this, if you are experiencing your own thoughts on.
Where's my business currently right now? How do I make, the numbers work for me, both for the business and personally, and how do I find success? I'd love to also invite you to join in Keith's retreat that he's hosting and Keith, you want to give a couple words just on when the retreat is and kind of what you'll be covering.
Keith Kohler: Yeah, so thank you for that. It's actually next week, October, 26 and 27th short notice, but then I'll be having another 1 in the spring. But as Jordan alluded to, I take you through a journey of your mindset. Starting meeting you where [00:40:00] you are, and then kind of breaking you down and bringing you back up a bit.
And to so that you get to an empowering beliefs and a mindset that helps you approach the finance function with a lot more grace and ease. And then there are also some, of course, mechanical tips and tools so that my philosophy is in as little as 15 minutes a day. And not necessarily every day, you can really be on top of your finances and it can be handled in a way so that you'll always feel prepared and in an abundant mindset.
And I want to shout out Kristoffer , because you've really showed up in a big way to. When you were part of it and shared very vulnerably, and I think what we share the 3 of us is a willingness to really tell our stories and to do the work.
Jordan Buckner: Thanks for that. Keith. So I will know Kimberly is asking for keys content information.
Keep you can drop that in the chat real quick. But I'll also say, I'll send out a recording for the webinar after and then information for getting in touch with Keith, or if you're interested in finding more about, the workshop, because it was really transformational. Like, honestly, like, he invited me.
I was like, a little skeptical saying, like, oh, just I'll join and participate, but I wasn't quite sure what I would [00:41:00] get out of it. And it honestly blew me away, which it really done. So, thank you for that. And so great meeting you. Thank you everyone for joining and listening and we didn't get a chance to hear your story, but if there's anything that you would like to share or to go through as you're looking to make decisions for your business, I know we're all open to chatting with you and seeing how we can help.
So have a great rest of your Tuesday and let's find more abundance in the world and in our lives. Thank you.