In a little over a week, June 6 will mark the two-year anniversary of my opening Google Docs and creating the file that would become the Fireforge Crafted Beer business plan.
It began as Croxbone Brewing Company. I was in Tampa, Florida. If you had told me on that day in 2014 that in two years I would be typing this blog post while on my porch back in Greenville, South Carolina, the company name would now be Fireforge, LLC and we’re still a minimum of six months from opening, I’m not sure if I would have been excited or if I would have stopped before typing the first word in the document.
It’s been an educational, scary, exciting, frustrating and joyful journey. Sometimes you’re better off not knowing everything that will happen along the way before you take that first step.
While I would have loved to have completed our fundraising, found our building and been open 12 months ago, I realize now we wouldn’t have been ready. Everything happens for a reason, and we needed to learn a lot more before we opened. It will vastly increase our chances of success in the long run.
The obstacles and detours also test your passion, determination, commitment and belief in what you’re doing. We will face greater challenges than these once we are up and running, and if it came too easily at the beginning, we would not be hardened in our resolve to make it work no matter what. It would be too easy to quit when things seem hopeless.
The biggest lesson that I’ve learned in this process is that anything worthwhile cannot be done alone. I’m the oldest child in my family, fiercely independent, stubborn and a perfectionist. For most of my life, if I couldn’t do something perfectly by myself, I wouldn’t do it.
Running a business by yourself is not sustainable in any industry. Even though Fireforge has no employees right now, we’ve been blessed to have a great team of professionals that has supported us to get to this point. I’ve had the opportunity to work with and learn from accountants, attorneys, real estate brokers, architects, engineers, city officials, brewers, business owners, designers, programmers, printers, chefs, farmers, musicians, blacksmiths, bankers and event planners.
There are dark days, when I question if it’s worth it, I feel like I don’t know shit about anything, and wonder why I quit my job five months ago.
But it’s been totally worth it. It’s been the most enriching experience of my life, and I couldn’t imagine what I would be doing if it wasn’t this. In the immortal words of John Elway, “There is no Plan B, we’re going with Plan A!”
Thank you to everyone that’s helped us and supported Fireforge. We’ve come so far in two years, and we’re so close. I can’t wait to pour you a pint.