For nearly a decade, I pursued a career in rap music as I worked other jobs to make ends meet. Then, after graduating from UFC in Orlando, Florida, with a marketing degree, I entered the corporate world at GolfNow and worked my way up from Client Support to Pricing Analyst. Though this may have seemed like a detour from the entrepreneurial life I wanted, the opposite was true. Instead, it taught me more about myself and my skills, giving me the confidence I needed to take risks.
In 2016, I crafted a business plan for a kayak tour company and took a $12,000 loan to get started. I truly dove headfirst into the process of building a stand-out website and social media presence. A year and a half later, Get Up And Go Kayaking had generated enough buzz and revenue, allowing me to leave my corporate job and devote my time to my first real entrepreneurship endeavor. After just a few months, the company went viral after Insider posted a video of ours – in three days, it had amassed over 5 million views. Other big-name outlets soon followed suit – Buzzfeed, Unilad, VisitTheUSA, Travel & Leisure, and more.
Now, the business is a booming franchise with 20 locations and over $14 million in total revenue. We’ve received multiple honors, including TripAdvisor’s #1 Outdoor Activity in the World in 2021 and Top Hottest Trending Franchises in 2023 from Entrepreneur Magazine. Although the numbers and accolades are certainly welcome, it was the feeling of fulfillment that hooked me. Returning to my entrepreneurial spirit felt like coming home after a long journey. But it’s far from over.
The pursuit of more has always driven me to push myself and those around me. I first picked up a camera many years ago and immediately found that I loved to shoot videos and photos. Along the way I’ve found a great passion in travel and adventure photography. I’ve been able to utilize this skill with Get Up And Go Kayaking in shooting content for each of our new and existing locations. Whether it’s flying my DJI Mavic 3 Cine over the crystal clear blue spring waters in Florida from my kayak or hanging out of a moving car window with my Sony Alpha 1 to capture majestic bison in the plains of Yellowstone, or even knee deep in the pitch darkness with my Sony A7Siii to capture the bioluminescence in the middle of the night, I’m always up for pushing my abilities.
It’s not just capturing the right shot that gives me joy but the process of capturing it that really excites me.
The common theme of my journey has always been about networking and expanding my reach. When I was making music daily I was able to network in so many different settings that it allowed me to adapt to many different business and ‘non-business’ environments. I’ve been fortunate enough to carry this skill over into the podcasting world. I find myself having an immense passion for talking to people and learning about different businesses, cultures, religions, and so much more. Traveling has also taught me to appreciate the differences in our world. Podcast is the culmination of all that – the experiences and relationships I’ve gained over the years are innumerable.