What Keeps You Up At Night?

Last Monday (June 16th) I had my first big investor meeting. I had spoken with many people along the way and secured a few verbal commitments, but this one was more formal. I had the opportunity to stand in front of 15 well established and successful Washington, DC based entrepreneurs and convince them their next investment should be with a company that has yet to make its first sale. This was for the big money, the amount that would really get Atayne off the ground.

Overall, things went pretty well. Being an unwavering optimist, I walked into the event hoping to hit a home run and walk away with $350,000 in signed checks. Those expectations are not realistic when you are asking people to hand over such substantial sums of money. However, there is no doubt I hit a triple. I have a man in scoring position, and now I just have to step back up to the plate and knock him in.

But I want to get beyond the outcome of the event. The point of this post is to talk about one simple question that one of the attendees asked me, “What keeps you up at night?” My first thought, “What doesn’t?” I could have named a long string of things, but I spared the room of my stories that lead to sleep deprived, coffee fueled days. I mentioned a couple things, and we moved on to other topics.

I should have known that the question was foreshadowing what was to become of my evening. Mentally and physically exhausted, I laid my head on my pillow at about 11:45pm that night. And it was like I turned on a switch, a switch that instantly filled my head with a wide array of thoughts. I lay there replaying the entire evening in my head: I could have done this, I should have said that. We all know hindsight is 20/20, but knowing does not prevent one from thinking how things could have played differently.

For 5 hours I lay there. When my alarm clock went off at 4:45am to start another day, I did not want to get up. I wanted to make up for the 4 hours of sleep I had gotten the last two nights combined. But I didn’t stay in bed. I made the very hard first step of the day. And after a quick run, a shower, and few cups of coffee, I was once again energized and filled with passion for the 16+ hour work day that awaited me.

Why do I tell this story? It is not to say that a run, shower, and coffee give me my energy (although they all sure do help). I tell this story because as I was taking step 1, then 2, then 3, I thought to myself, “Does it really matter what keeps me up at night?” The answer to me was simple, “No.” Staying up at night is easy. I do it once or twice a week and ultimately the reason is always different. What is really hard: taking the first step of the day after being up all night. Getting out of bed and putting every ounce of energy and passion into building a dream. That is the hard part.

So in my mind I should not have been asked, “What keeps you up at night?” but rather “What gets you up in the morning?” Because getting up in the morning is the true test.

I hope that you are now asking what gets me up in the morning. Here are just a few things:

  • An advisor who forgoes paid work to fly across the country on a red eye, sleep on a basement floor, and then fly back across the country at 6am in order to support me at the investor dinner.
  • Friends who make room in their basement for another “son”, adding to the 4 sons they already have. And a college buddy who has recently volunteered to support me financially until the dream takes off, so that I can move out of the basement.
  • A girlfriend who has spent countless hours reviewing and editing multiple versions of business plans, executive summaries, website copy, and blog entries.
  • A family that understands why I had to miss the first family vacation that we have planned in over 20 years.
  • The people I tell the Atayne story to and then they pledge to be the first customer.
  • The strangers and soon to be friends who read and comment on my blog.

These can all be simplified to one thing, PEOPLE. The people who believe in Atayne. The people who believe there is a better way to do things. The people who believe that if you do good by people and the planet, profits will follow. Every day that I struggle to take the first step out of bed in the morning, it becomes easy when I think of all those people that believe in me. And I refuse to let them down.

Over the next couple weeks I need to close on a substantial amount of financing to bring Atayne to the market on schedule. I have to convince people with the money that I don’t have, to put it in my pocket. Now more than ever is the time to show these potential investors how many people believe in Atayne. So, just as I have asked investors to show their faith in me through direct investments, I’m asking you to voice your support by posting a simple response to this entry – “I BELIEVE AND I WILL BUY.“ To add even more impact, include your city and state and forward to friends you think will believe.

And always remember:
“Dreams are like the paints of a great artist. Your dreams are your paints, the world is your canvas. Believing is the brush that converts your dreams into a masterpiece of reality.”

37 responses to “What Keeps You Up At Night?

  1. Rock on, Jeremy. I enjoy and appreciate the honesty and hope that come through loud and clear in your blog entries. And your re-phrasing of the question is spot-on. A re-run of “Die Hard” can keep you up at night; getting you up in the morning is the magic mojo.

    Count me in in Easton, MD. And I can think of plenty others who are looking for a company, a corporate ethic, and a stellar product, all of which Atayne seems to be going for.

  2. I’m waiting to replace my old and worn out running apparel with Atayne gear!

    New York, NY

  3. Nice read Jeremy; I need to re-think my mornings and use them to my advantage instead of lying in bed not wanting to get up because I’m too tired. I should be grateful I’m able to get up…you’ve given me some food for thought. I BELIEVE…I’LL BUY and use your product in Durham, ME. Jill

  4. You continue to amaze me and I continue to support you in all that you do. I BELIEVE and I will certainly buy – looking forward to seeing the next phase for you!

  5. Inspiration is the fuel for budding dreams Jeremy. Everything about you is inspirational and I am always seeking those that have the gift to stir the passions within others. I BELIEVE & I WILL BUY and will share all things good with all I come in contact with. ATAYNE is DEFINITELY a GOOD thing:)

  6. Patrick Gallavin- Michigan

    WOW! I’ve been waiting for someone to come out with products like these. Please let me know when these come out. I WILL ABSOLUTELY BUY YOUR PRODUCT!! Good luck on the launch an I look forward to using your products!

    Patrick Gallavin
    Grand Rapids- Michigan

  7. Erin Krivicky

    Jeremy! Of course, I BELIEVE AND I WILL BUY!!! Bring it on. Keep up the good work. I look forward to wearing Atayne apparel in both Baltimore and DC!

  8. WOW!

    I belive, I will buy and I am so proud to know you!

    Keep up the amazing work and words!!!


  9. jennysansouci

    i believe and i will buy. check my blog too, i wrote a little something about you! best of luck jeremy!

  10. JL – Your passion for Atayne and all that Atayne represents is an inspiration. You better believe that I WILL BUY! Now, I just have to get myself in shape enough to do the apparel justice!

    Silver Spring, MD

  11. I WILL BUY many eco-friendly, fresh smelling, running shirts for my husband, I can’t wait!!!

  12. I believe and I will buy.

  13. Linda Litchfield

    Jeremy, I have always believed in everything you have ever done- and you’ve never let me down. I BELIEVE and I’LL BUY! Also I will be sending info about ATAYNE to everyone I know. love mom

  14. J – I’ve known you for about 10yrs now and if I had the cash, I’d invest. You’re a winner…with a conscience. You can count me in for a running shirt, shorts, socks, hat, headband, wristband, sneakers, jacket, winter gear, and whatever the heck you’re creative mind comes up with.


    Chicago, IL

  15. I expect one free – considering I’m going to be your ‘sugar daddy’ when I move to DC. That said, obviously I believe in you and can’t wait to help launch Atayne. Your blog entry reminds of a great scene in Jerry Maguire when he gets fired and is leaving the office:

    Jerry Maguire: “But if anybody else wants to come with me, this moment will be the ground floor of something real and fun and inspiring and true in this godforsaken business and we will do it together! Who’s coming with me? WHO’S COMING WITH ME? … beside ‘Flipper’ here?”

    Too funny.


    Relocating to Washington DC

  16. Greg Scarborough

    I don’t know Jeremy, but I know a little of Mike and what he’s about which leads me to say – I believe and I will buy! In addition, I’ll tell my mountaineering community here in Colorado about your pursuit and ask for their support!

  17. Guy! I believed since the first time you told me! I hope you can ship them out to the West Coast!

    Jeff Taylor
    Manhattan Beach, CA

  18. You’re filling a much needed niche. I’m sure this’ll be a great success. Looking forward to buying some gear and spreading the word to my fellow outdoorsmen and triathletes in Oregon.

  19. Tim Lindstedt

    The world needs believers as much as Atayne will need buyers. Consider me both buddy. Thank you for working to give athletes a better choice, for forwarding your story and keeping me posted on your progress!

  20. Mike introduced me to Atayne and what a great idea. The world needs more people like you and people who follows their dreams. I can’t wait to try the line of products. More power to you!!!!

    Charlotte, NC

  21. Christina Schettini


    I will support you and Michael 100% . I will wear Atayne apparell as soon as you launch this site! you two have such amazing potential and passion – i’m proud of you. this is the line that made me really know you will find success….

    “I think of all those people that believe in me. And I refuse to let them down”

  22. I will buy! I believe! And I’ll spread the word in Memphis, TN…

  23. Your journey is an inspiration and I BELIEVE. The world needs more people like you that not only want to make a change but take ACTION. I will certainly be the first in line and help spread the word about Atayne!

    Arlington, VA

  24. Jeremy,

    I believe and I WILL BUY! I’ve put off updating my running wardrobe so I can get my hands on some Atayne. I got your blog from a post from Mike on our Beer Runners board (Chicago, IL), and I check in here everyday to see if you’ve written more. I really like what you’ve got here and I’m so excited to read more and more about it. If you ever need some midwest support, let me know. This sounds like something I need to be a part of 🙂 I’m forwarding your blog to my 200+ Fleet Feet Sports running club; they would love it!

    Keep it up, and I look forward to the next entry!


  25. I’m a friend of Rebecca’s in Austin, TX … I will definitely buy when it comes out and will evangelize it to all of my friends here. When you’re further along, get a Facebook page for Atayne and start getting fans … I’m a big fan of the word of mouth marketing. 🙂

  26. Jeremy – you are doing great work and I cannot wait until your line launches. I will certainly buy your products!

  27. What a great niche! I agree…much needed. I look forward to buying your active wear.


    so proud of you jeremy!

    -+> dinah garcia, carson, ca.

  29. What up Jeremy! Dinah, a HS alumni of mine, hehehe, turned me on to u and your dream. I believe, and I will buy.

    Our stories are very similar. I’m building my dream right now. Very grass-roots approach and loving it all the way…

    I feel u. ‘Cuz that is the hardest part. Getting up. And my people are a big part of what does it for me. Well said. Thanks for the inspiration.

    Much alofaZ (Samoan style),
    Long Beach, CA

    ps > hope ATAYNE is ready for my 5th LA Marathon. First Sunday of March ’09. If it is , I’ll rock it!

  30. I think this is a fantastic idea! I really like reading your blog and learning more about you and your company. I can’t wait until I can try one of your shirts…I believe and will buy.


  31. Bryon Powell from Arlington, Virginia here. Count me in to buy a shirt for me, my sister, and my girlfriend. In the future, I also hope to buy many more for the races I hope to direct in the near future.

    I also intend to provide Atayne media exposure over at iRunFar.com .

  32. Thank you all for your support. We have gotten a nice piece of funding in and are in the final sprint to launching sales in mid August. Stay Tuned!

  33. Pingback: Atayne Launches with Some Trashy Competition « The Story of a Red Shirt

  34. Pingback: The Milestones I Live For « The Story of a Red Shirt

  35. I googled something for a work project and ended up here. Fu&*ing a’, man. very inspiring and wise words. I know it’s been a year since you wrote this, but I hope things are only looking up.

    Good luck.

  36. Pingback: Reflections and Lessons from Two Years as an Entrepreneur « The Story of a Red Shirt

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s