Famous for college basketball, horse racing, bourbon, coal, and bluegrass music, the Commonwealth of Kentucky is also home to industries and opportunities not normally associated with it. Compiled by Kentucky’s Entrepreneur Hall of Fame, Unbridled Spirit, shares the success stories of 20 of its members, business leaders who dare to think beyond the region’s best-known institutions, to encourage the next generation of entrepreneurs from the bluegrass state.
Welcome back to the Author Hour Podcast. I’m your host, Hussein Al-Baiaty, and my next guest is Garrett Fahrbach, who is here to talk with us about his new book, Unbridled Spirit. Let’s dive in.
The Trajectory of a Kentucky Entrepreneur
Hussein Al-Baiaty: All right, everyone, I am here with my friend Garrett Fahrbach, and I’m so excited to have him today on the show because this beautiful book that is now coming through Scribe is about something—usually, when entrepreneurs join us, they write about their thing that they’re experts at and it’s amazing to watch all these entrepreneurs, business people, real estate—
But what I thought was really unique about this book is that, this idea of bringing together a Hall of Fame, a group of these individuals together to inspire and lead future generations. I have an incredible story from Garrett that I really want to share with all of you. So Garrett, thank you for joining me today. I really appreciate you. Garrett, can you tell us a little bit about, sort of your background, how you got into the network, growing up in Kentucky, and what that was like for you, and kind of how you fell into this work?
Garrett Fahrbach: Yeah, absolutely. Well first off, thanks so much for carving out some time just to talk with some old Kentucky boy, I appreciate it. Quick background on my vitals. So I’m originally from Kentucky, had never left the state, and grew up in city of Louisville, that’s where most people are familiar with Kentucky. So that’s where the University of Louisville is, it’s like a museum, all that.
And then, I went east about 75 miles to Lexington when I started college, and I’ve just been really fortunate with a lot of things. I’ve been able to give my time to, I did a really prestigious program here in the State of Kentucky called The Governor’s Scholar Program and that afforded me a very handsome scholarship to go to college and kept me instate, and there’s this national program that a lot of these varying states have to keep their young talent local.
I went through this program in high school, got a great scholarship to go to the University of Kentucky. I went back in college actually and spent two summers as an RA for the governor’s scholar program. I had a blast, really just got paid to love on a bunch of high schoolers, which is so much fun.
Then, my story with what we’re talking about today, so we’re talking about a company called Awesome Inc. out of Lexington, Kentucky, and we’re focusing on a handful of entrepreneurs who also came from the University of Kentucky and really, their dream and you know, we are now 13 years later after that company started and I come into play a handful of years ago, but background is, I was really involved at a campus ministry at the University of Kentucky called Christian Student Fellowship, CSF and one of my current teammates was an old staff member of this ministry.
I think my—well yeah, my sophomore and junior year, he was my spawn group leader. He left halfway through my junior year of college, and then I didn’t see him for about a year and a half, and so it was the springtime of 2018, I was graduating college. I went through a career fair and I needed my buddy, Keith, who I’m speaking off.
Keith works for Awesome Inc. and another friend did as well, and I was going to look into a couple of companies local to Lexington that were focused on web design, building websites, frontend web development, and I was like, “Oh hey, these guys will be here. I’m going to go say hey to them.”
So I go to this career fair, go say “Hey” to my buddy Keith, we catch up. I was like, “Hey man, good seeing you, it’s been, you know, a year or so.” Does a double take, looks back at me and says, “Oh, you’re dressed up a little bit, you have resumes, you’re looking for a job?” And I was like, “Yeah, that’s why I’m here. I know that you guys do stuff with entrepreneurs in the tech scene.”
He goes, “Cool, well, let me come and introduce you to the boss.” And so he introduces me to a man named Brian Raney, who we’ll talk quite a bit about, and Brian is our CEO. He runs two companies, Inc. 5,000 Company, APAX software, and then Awesome Inc.
So he introduces me to Brian, he goes, “Hey Brian, this is my buddy Garrett, he sells the best weed at UK,” and then just walks away and I was like, “What the heck did you just do?” And again, yeah, I’m like 21, 22, 23 you know, in my young 20s and that was not true, obviously, but it was one of those moments my buddy pulled one over on me and I just froze and it was maybe, like a two second interaction but it felt like I was just shaking some stranger’s hand, a bomb got dropped for an hour.
So, it was great. To speed the story up, what happened was, I talked to Brian and said, “Hey, I have an older brother who I watched leverage multiple job offers to go get the best offer he could at Google. My brother’s awesome, awesome software engineer, and I’ve learned so much from him.” And I said, “Hey, I’m graduating college in a few months, how do I put myself in the spot to have three to five job offers, and I could pick what’s best for me? How do I network as a college student?” Because I realized, most people probably won’t take me too seriously.
And he did a great job of just taking me under his wing and saying, “Cool, I’m going to send you a couple of emails a few times a week, let’s meet up once a month.” Oh my gosh, once a month, there we go, in person. Essentially, whatever he said to do, I did.
So, I would show up to a career fair or a local networking event and he said, “Hey, that person, that person, that person, I want you to go up, introduce yourself, shake their hand, let them know what your skillset, what you do and then simply ask them the question, ‘How can I help you?’” I didn’t realize how foundational that was to where I am now and what we’re talking about and, long story short, I had a couple of offers in Louisville, Kentucky, Nashville, Tennessee for music.
And ended up turning some stuff down and getting rejected in a few jobs, and the job in Louisville, I thought it was a shoo in for. I got told no and that night, my buddy, Brian, he sent me an email and said, “Hey, let’s talk tomorrow, I think we’re going to create a role for you.” And essentially because for, I think, two or three months, I was just sought out someone who was wiser than me and listened to what they encouraged me to do.
And because he saw my competence and I just simply did what he said, he ended up creating a role for me at Awesome Inc. and funny enough, the role was focused on one of our programs called The Kentucky Entrepreneur Hall of Fame and my very first project was to turn our first book that we wrote, so Unbridled Spirit: Lessons in Life and Business from Kentucky’s Most Successful Entrepreneurs, to turn that book into an audio book.
Then, a handful of years later, I ran point for everything related to this second volume, which is why we’re talking today. That’s my background of how I got to where I am in Kentucky and then, real quickly, because I know I’ve talked a little bit longer than I should have. On just the intro, with Awesome Inc. Our company is kind of funny, but it’s also really cool about, this is why people are just incredible.
Our whole mantra as a business is to help entrepreneurs pursue their definition of awesome and again, it’s kind of silly, our name is Awesome Inc. We help inspire people, and we are a great resource and a physical location to spur on the Kentucky entrepreneurial community, and the story of that was when our company’s cofounders were in college at UK, they started a company called bookexchange.com.
Essentially, you know, for years and years, people paid way too much money for college textbooks that they would never crack. When you go back to the store to sell it, you realized, “Hey, I paid $150 for this book, you’re going to give me $18.30 back? How did this depreciate almost 90% in value?”
They created one of the first online businesses that took credit card payments and mobile, all the cool stuff. Ended up being somewhat populous and having a couple of partnerships with some surrounding states, had I think about a 10,000, somewhere between 10 and 20,000 user base and had a couple other varying partnerships.
They spent two years building this company, right? In their grad school days. One of the founders is like, “Hey, we should tell Facebook to buy us.” At the time, that’s when Facebook was only accessible to people with, I think, .edu or whatever college email addresses. Yup, whatever college addresses ended in.
So, pull up to Facebook, made their pitch, Facebook, long story short said, “No, you’re not much money in the bank account, you’re not worth that much. In fact, some of our team did the same thing but on a larger scale than you guys, so we’re just giving you that two cents.” They come back crushed, and they had a really important conversation that changed, I’d say, the trajectory of these two guys, Brian and Luke.
Brian’s my current employer who I referenced earlier. In grad school, Brian had done well, went the e-con and computer science were out and grad school and got some other degrees. Luke was going to go be a doctor. So they had a conversation with the University of Kentucky’s former president, a man named Dr. Lee Todd, and he was a very, very successful entrepreneur, sold two companies before he became employee of the University.
I forget what year they were in school but for, I’m not kidding when I say this, about a year, they went every day or every other day to his office, knocked on the door, became—I say this somewhat sarcastically—best friends with his receptionist because they’re just trying to get a meeting with him and say, “Hey, we know he’s a successful entrepreneur, we want to pick his brain and…”
“He’s not here.” Yada-yada, you know, just all that stuff.
Finally got a meeting with him, and when they did, they said, “Hey, Dr. Todd, my name’s Brian, my name’s Luke, here’s what we want to do.” Long story short, “We want to be entrepreneurs but have this cushy job to go chase computer science, and I have this really good opportunity to go to med school and be a doctor.”
“But, we had a taste of building a company, and we want to do that for Kentucky, but I got this thing with this local X mark company that deduced and I could go to grad school and med school and be a doctor.” Anyways, it’s just they had back doors and Dr. Todd, in all his wisdom just said, “Hey guys, it’s clear what you want to do, just go start a company for a year, maybe two, go fail, go fall on your face, and if nothing comes from it, guess what? We’re going to need doctors in a year from now. We are going to need software developers in a year from now.”
They got permission from someone they looked up to, they greatly respected to just go fail and try something. What’s cool is Dr. Lee Todd has been a very, very strong partner, supporter of our company because a lot of the work that we do at Awesome Inc. revolves around serving entrepreneurs and really being a resource for entrepreneurs that not only our founding team did not have access to about 13 years ago.
A lot of, actually, every single entrepreneur that is in our program called the Kentucky Entrepreneur Hall of Fame, some of the biggest names that most people on this platform would know about, they didn’t have the same resources, access to capital, network opportunities, access to VCs back in those days, you know, more access to tech, all that. So, it’s just cool to see some people’s pain point, who toughed out the battle, made it.
Also, our founding team who has some of the same issues realized, “Hey, like, we can create a cool company that does X, Y and Z, but we’re more focused on serving and helping people and offering our resources, offering our time, helping people when they’re starting a company when it’s really, really tough to make it easier for them.” It’s just been wild to come out of college.
My first job, well, this is a job, yes, is working with entrepreneurs. So, that’s mostly people that say, “Hey, I’m sticking it to the man,” or “I’ve had my run at corporate America, and I’m done,” things along that nature, and so it’s just been very eye opening and it’s very, I would say, it’s very different than what a lot of my friends do for a career, but it also has given me a very different perspective on not just relationships but why work is important and how to add value. So, that’s about a 10 to 12-minute rant. I’m going to stop and let you ask some more questions.
Hussein Al-Baiaty: When people like yourself come on and you know, you’re obviously extremely passionate about what you do, that’s what I attribute that to. You know, your energy and your enthusiasm is an amazing thing and you should always have that. I just appreciate you coming on the show and just kind of educating the audience about, sort of, not only about what it is that you do but how you’re able to get to do that work and who you get to do it with. I think there’s nothing better than that, right?
It’s just the stories that are embedded in how we come to what we’re doing. It’s really cool and really profound. I love that you really sought your way through and navigated your way through how to be able to position yourself in the right place, so that the opportunities – that you’re selective about the opportunities that arises as supposed to like feeling your pigeonholed and you have to do X, Y or Z.
So I just appreciate that story, and I’m glad you told it but, you know, so what you all do at Awesome Inc., it sounds fun, it sounds like an incredible place to go work. It sounds like a place where entrepreneurs can get all kinds of advice and help and potentially some therapy, just being able to share the ups and downs of the entrepreneur journey because we know that’s full.
Full of not only traps and things, but it’s also could be really exciting when you’re surrounded by the right people who can help guide you, and it sounds like you putting this book together is also a journey of itself, right? So getting this Hall of Fame sort of ideology up and going was one thing. That was their hero’s journey, right? To build that company and, of course, they were faced with the idea of like, “Well, are you even legitimate?”
“Who are you? You’re a bunch of kids right now.” I think it’s really cool because even within building that, there is a hardship and there is a pushback a little bit from the Kentucky community but perseverance, obviously, proves otherwise and now you know, it’s a growing, thriving company with over 22 employees and all these amazing things, so it continues to grow and it really looks like it’s paying homage to the Kentucky community.
Entrepreneurs in the Kentucky Community
Can you share maybe perhaps some of your favorite people that you got to meet and their stories and what are some of the things that you’ve learned and picked up and I saw that you’ve added a lot of lessons from these amazing entrepreneurs. Can you share some of your favorite highlights in working in this space?
Garrett Fahrbach: Yeah, most definitely. I got the Kentucky Entrepreneur Hall of Fame website pulled up, and I’m not sure if you have this but I’m going to throw it in the message features. So that way, you can look at this if you want to while I’m talking, and I’m going to do my due diligence to pay some homage just to some incredible folks.
With the Kentucky Entrepreneur Hall of Fame, this is also really important, and I’m going to share about 50% of the story just to leave a little mystery. So, when Brian and our other team, Brian, Luke, Nick, and another guy named Nathan, these are the four Awesome Inc. cofounders. So when they first started back in April of 2009, they opened their company, April 1, 2009, on April Fool’s Day, that’s not a joke, that’s actually the truth, and every year, we always joke, “Hey, we should change our name to Amazing Inc.” or just you know, something stupid but it’s funny.
That’s also the day that Coach John Calipari, however you want to pronounce it because everyone’s different, potato, potato, became the coach at UK for basketball. We always say that we were his inspiration but these guys, again, wants to reach out to a lot of these entrepreneurs and just pick their brain like “Hey, can I buy you a cup of coffee?” “Can I buy you lunch and ask you about your company, your business, how you persevered?”
And no disrespect to these amazing men and women who built massive, massive companies, they would often either have a cold call, not get returned or respond with no or their secretary would say, “Hey no, he’s in a meeting,” or something. It’s just a different level when somebody has a thousand to 50,000 employees and they’re focused on their team, helping them keep their jobs, keep their homes, and they’re thinking, “Hey, this next decision could impact a thousand plus people.”
“This next decision could impact our entire company’s revenue model.” So again, not saying human interaction is not important but there are just different things that required different attention. So talking to a 24-year-old college student for maybe an hour and a half at lunch might not be your best use of time, and so that’s something they realized over time and got some feedback on.
So grateful for people who had both wonderful people skills, were also gentle with saying no and giving some kind rejection as I’ll say it. Our team realized, “Hey, maybe we need to change our approach? Instead of asking of them and, ‘Hey, can you give me this and can you give this, give me this?’ How about we just celebrate their success?”
Back in 2010, those guys and one of our interns at the time said, “Hey, let’s just start a program, we’ll literally reach out to them and say, ‘Congratulations, you’ve been inducted into the Hall of Fame for what you’ve accomplished.’” And that started getting attention to these men and women.
They said that, “The hall of what? What are you talking about?” I’ll just say, the first couple of ceremonies they had Goldfish on the center table. The walls were mustard yellow and Shrek green in our building because we were young and scrappy. About 12 years later, because we did have one in 2020 with the pandemic, that is one of the most prestigious events in the State of Kentucky for business and entrepreneurship.
Our ceremony is actually next week, this has been recorded November the ninth of 2022. So November 16 we’ll be in Louisville, Kentucky. We tradeoff between Louisville and Lexington, and we’re going to have, my guess is somewhere in the ballpark of five to 600 people coming out to pay homage, their respects, and admire these entrepreneurs that we had just inducted. So there’s a little foundation for where we’re going.
Now, funny story with me, I say that I am nothing special or maybe I am, my mom always told me I was.
Hussein Al-Baiaty: No, everybody that comes on here is special, believe that.
Garrett Fahrbach: Oh okay. Well, great. Just call me awesome. So I’m looking towards the bottom of our website, and I am just looking at people who laid foundation for years and years. Most people who are a mild sports fan at most have heard the term March Madness, and there’s a man by the name of Jim Host, who was incredibly, incredibly important and played a vital role in building what became the Kentucky at first, but then it grew bigger, Sports Telecommunications Network and the term March Madness eventually came from a lot of his foundational work.
Now again, somebody created that term, but he had a huge role in setting up this radio telecommunication system and he was a very, very accomplished sports announcer for many, many years. We have Kent Taylor, who unfortunately is no longer with us, who built the Texas Roadhouse franchise. That is in our Hall of Fame program. We have some of the most prominent like motor, early car franchise owners, and some of our programming.
It is wild, one of the most accomplished NBA players I believe from the 80s, 70s, and 80s named, by the name of Ulysses Lee “Junior” Bridgeman is, I think, the largest, maybe second largest Wendy’s franchise owner in the country. I think that’s correct, but don’t hold me to it. I know definitely in the State of Kentucky and in our region. I mean, he has just accomplished so much, and I am scrolling, looking through all these people.
George Govan Brown and the Brown Foreman Company if anybody likes bourbon, old forcer, very, very successful brand. James Thornton of Thornton’s Gas, that’s a very prominent in the – depends on how you look at Kentucky or the Midwest or the Southeast, and everybody knows Kentucky Fried Chicken with Colonel Harland Sanders, getting to know that story.
We have Bobby Trussell of Tempur Sealy, if you have ever sat on a Tempur Sealy bed or a pillow, you have someone to thank. He was very pivotal in getting that brought over from Europe to the States. So just a lot of cool companies, and in Kentucky, there are some big players, but I am looking at one person right now.
His name is Jim Headley, and he has a massive energy business, and what’s really, really funny is in 2018 I joined the team. My career with Awesome Inc. has just been hilarious for a lot of what I’ve done, it’s just throw Garrett at the deep end and watch him swim, but really one of the things that college doesn’t teach most people is a figure-out mentality of, “We’re going to give you a problem. You agreed upon a contract, how much you’re going to get paid, and what you’re going to do, so go do the work.”
For our team we have, people that travel in the summer, they go on family vacations. I am not in that stage of life yet. I think the term or the phrase is wet behind the ears or green behind the ears, so I am brand new at what I am doing. Brian, our CEO and a couple of other people on our committee were saying, “Hey, we have one more role to finalize or one more slot to fill for the Hall of Fame class of 2018.”
So I am going through all of the nominations, sorting everybody out, looking at their credentials, their impact not just from a business standpoint but what they’ve done in the community, how many people have they drastically changed their lives and I come across this man, Jim Headley and I have no clue who he is. Like this guy, his metrics from what he’s accomplished in business.
His philanthropic organizations, his outreach is incredible. Anyways, fast forward December of 2018 when we filled that class, I made a phone call with the team on this guy being in the Hall of Fame, and then my parents come to the ceremony. You know again, it’s Garrett’s first professional event after college, and lo and behold, my dad sees Jim, who is a friend of his being inducted, and he pulls me aside and goes, “Garrett, do you know who this is?”
I’m like, “No.” He goes, “This guy is the first guy to give me a sales job.” I think he gave my parents their first van or have helped my parents with their first van, and he had a very, very vital role in my family’s life before I was brought into this world. I’m like, “Shut up, Dad, you’re messing with me.” He goes, “No, let me go introduce you.” So, I walk up, and Jim is like, “Mike! So good to see you!” He goes, “Jim, you’re not going to believe it, do you remember who this one is?”
He goes, “That’s your baby boy Garrett.” No way. I’m like, “Oh my goodness, I had no idea, what the heck?” So it’s just cool to see. Again, my dad’s side of the family is from Northern Ohio, my mom is a sweet southern belle from Nashville, Tennessee, and they grew up and met in Kentucky, fell in love, have been here in Kentucky ever since, and just to see some random guy going through our nomination process from other people across our entire state, that guy had a very vital role in my family life, and I had no clue.
Just a really, really special story, not just to hang out in the Hall of Fame. We have a couple other initiatives, and then I’ll stop here in a few seconds and throw it back to you. We have a few other recognitions that we give out. During that ceremony, we have Emerging Entrepreneurs of the year, we have Investor and Mentors, and now we have a role for either a CEO or someone in an executive position in a company, and these are all people who have just been very impactful, have had monumental growth with the organizations they have been a part of.
A few of my favorites, I am looking at the most recent classes for the emerging entrepreneur’s new website. There is a company that I think this product is just so cool. One of my friends Jeremiah in Louisville, Kentucky, his company is called Fresh Fry, and they had a very unique product that helps preserve restaurant oil kitchen for deep frying oil. Instead of you throw oil out and it has a short lifecycle, their pod that you just dump in helps keep, I believe the purity is maybe the best term to say it, and it’s like that is so innovative.
Who the heck would even think, “Man, there is a market for helping restaurants reuse their oil for longer?” There’s another cool company that we’ve done a lot of work with called Clover Leaf in the Northern Kentucky–Ohio area, and they have a very unique business that focuses on team growth and focuses on things like the DISC assessment, angiogram, Strength Finders, and it helps teams integrate and know their strengths, their weaknesses.
They have built a very robust platform, and they’re a very successful company that came from one of some of our earlier stage programs. I haven’t dove into Awesome Inc.’s pipeline or our funnel of how we serve entrepreneurs, but they were somebody that went from like grassroots. We helped them early on, and to watch their trajectory and how they’ve grown over the years. That’s just been so stinking cool and you know, I am in my mid-20s now.
So, even though some of my friends I work with are early 30s or maybe early 40s. It is so cool to see like, “Hey, you too and your families have stuck it out, like you have battled through the trenches, and now, you’re being recognized as people who are making a vast difference in our state.” So just really cool, and very proud of a lot of people who I work with.
Hussein Al-Baiaty: Yeah, I just love hearing all the stories, man. It feels like you’ve been impacted even long before, like you said, long before you existed, this was sort of meant to be in your wheelhouse, in your culture, in your trajectory. Obviously, it’s been a huge learning curve for you. What would you say like the most fascinating thing that you learned in growing this project, this book project, for your community, and who do you intend to serve with this book?
Garrett Fahrbach: Yeah, great question. What is I’d say one of the toughest things I’ve learned, so I read a different book. You mentioned this earlier, I don’t know if you said the exact phrase, but you talked about entrepreneurs and hardship, and I thought of a book called The Entrepreneur Roller Coaster. It’s by Darren Hardy, very, very successful author, he is the author of SUCCESS Magazine, he has another couple excellent books I’ve read, The Compound Effect, to name another one.
But this book, The Entrepreneur Roller Coaster, is essentially what this project is on a smaller scale. So Darren’s book is like 300 pages of him from 17 to where he is, I think present day, whenever that book was published and he talks about all the ups and downs, the successes, the haters, you know, everything.
The reason we’ve written this book is to pay honor and respect to a lot of people who toughed it out and proved people wrong. So the entrepreneurs that we interview and capture their story like they go back from grassroots of, “Hey, when I was eight, I had a newspaper route. I was the guy in the back of the school bus selling candy. I was the guy who was buying real estate when I had no clue what I was doing. I was…” and they just talk about all their stories, all the lessons they’ve learned, but more importantly, a lot of them talk about the character and the people skills they’ve had to develop to keep a healthy work culture, to keep healthy relationships and a life.
All that stuff, I’d say really is either abstract or maybe intangible that you can’t just be plopped down in a classroom and learn this and say, “Oh, I understand this.” You have to go, and this is the thing about entrepreneurs, we have to learn and fail from experience. If you can imagine a straight line and you put a midpoint, a big old circle, that midpoint, that line, maybe let’s say to the right, you’ve read the words success into the left, you write failure.
That is how most people inlife think, “I can’t mess up because if I’m messing up that means I am getting further away from success.” But entrepreneurs realize, “Hey, actually, the way it works is you put a circle at one end of the line, and as you are going to the other side, like make a bunch of lines and X’s and all of these things I am running into with my failures, but as I am failing, that is pushing me towards success.”
Really, entrepreneurs are all people that have failed more than most, and they’ve stuck with their craft, they have stuck with their business, and they’ve toughed it out, and yeah, it is just cool to hear people’s stories. But yeah, that is one of the things that I have learned, and then to your follow-up question about who is this book for, that’s a good question, and it is mainly for people who are entrepreneurs who are involved in the community.
Also, it’s for students because going from college, I am very grateful that I was able to get school paid for, and I still do a lot with some local universities in our state, and I just realized the whole “sit down, I am going to lecture you, and then I am going to grade you on that paper that you write or a test that you memorize stuff” is not effective because how often are students going away out of a college classroom saying, “Hey, I learned these seven skillsets.”
Or “I spent the entire semester working on one project or one business idea,” or “Man, our whole goal is to make a thousand dollars over the course of trying to admit customers. Shoot, I have no idea how to do that,” or anything in that vein because anybody can write a paper. Anybody can memorize for a test but then two weeks later, is that stuff going to be impactful?
I am not saying school is bad. Please don’t hear that, I am saying it is very often that, we tell the students to like, “Hey, go to college, get a good education, go get a job and live the American Dream,” but so often that’s not what either, A) will bring you success or your contentment and joyful life or your zeal. It’s when you do something really hard and you accomplish it and you look back, and all of those failures helped you become who you are and built that resolve. That’s what is so cool to talk about with entrepreneurs and learn from, from their experiences.
Hussein Al-Baiaty: Yeah man, that’s really powerful. If there as something, like one thing you would hope the audience would take away from the book, what would that be?
Garrett Fahrbach: I’m going to give this one thing, a part A and a part B, so I would say the one this is there so many common threads from people who have success. People who have success have discipline, they have character, and their consistency is what will prevail. I’ve heard a really cool entrepreneur in the State of Texas talk about, “Success wouldn’t be so hard if it wasn’t so daily.”
I’d imagine you’d been to the beach before and, you’re probably like, “Oh, you know what? I have this really good looking, really sharp physique. I want people to know that I exercise,” but when you take your shirt off, people are going to know if you like cupcakes. It’s a discipline thing. Hey, people are going to know if you are doing the work to pay your employees or you’re going to make enough profit.
With the people that we’ve interviewed they talk about like, “Hey, I did this thing, and it failed. I did this thing, and it failed. I did this thing, and it failed. I did this thing, it had some success. I did this thing, I had more success, and I keep doing these activities.” So again, part one of these characteristic traits of successful people is their discipline and their consistency, they’re like maybe tenacious or dogmatic attitude.
Then I’d say part B is I think so many people have the wrong stipulation that successful people are all greedy and are all snobs and are all rude. So many people who have a great story realize I was helped by so many people who gave me their time, who gave me their wisdom, the resources, and if somebody asks that of me, I want to make sure that I pay it forward, and there is a really good book that I read my first month of working with the Awesome Inc. team called, Startup Communities: Building an Entrepreneurial Ecosystem in Your City.
He just says, “Hey, as an entrepreneur that if you are going to lead the charge, you have to have a 20-year vision cast that you renew every single day.” You know, after a week of doing whatever, your 20 years keeps renewing, keeps getting pushed back, but you’re watching things accomplished. You are watching people grow, and there’s also a give-first mentality. So you realize I might help somebody or serve somebody and not get paid or not ask anything in return, but you are sowing seeds.
So again, to your question, all these entrepreneurs, they’ve sowed a lot of seeds, and they have also been very consistent and have some successful traits or habits that transpire across every industry, and I think that is one of the most cool things to read and also as being, I’ll say, a family man, one day I’ll have my own, but just really encourage to see how many people say, “Hey, I am so grateful for my wife’s support,” or “My husband’s support” or “To my kids who maybe I missed your ballgame, you still believed in me, and that means the world to me.”
So, just to see these people be very humble and pay their gratitude forward is so stinking crucial, especially in the world and the culture we’ve had in the last couple of years, where so many people are hurt. They need to be loved and recognized and people don’t realize how lonely it is at the top so to speak, and the people that we spoke with, who might be not working because they’ve had a very successful exit or they’ve sold their company or something in that vein, just how grateful they are and I think that’s just is a test to all these people’s character.
Hussein Al-Baiaty: That’s amazing. Garrett, I learned so much today. Thank you for sharing your stories and your experiences with us today. So the book is called, Unbridled Spirit: Lessons in Life and Business from Kentucky’s Most Success Entrepreneurs. Besides checking out the book, where can people find you?
Garrett Fahrbach: Yeah, people can find me if you hop in that car of yours or get up on your private plane because you’re super cool and have one, if you come to 348 East Main Street Lexington, Kentucky, that’s the HQ for Awesome Inc. We love to have you, and you can reach out to me, my email is [email protected]. My work phone is 859-429-0106 and again, you can find our book, Unbridled Spirit, the first and the second volume, on Amazon.com.
Then if you head over to, let’s see what this website is, if you go to entrepreneurhof.com/book, you can find a little bit about our book and some of the stories, and then I believe that will also take you either over to Amazon or Audible for an audiobook but those where you can find our resources.
What I would say to anybody else as I am signing off, just be aware of your local entrepreneurial ecosystem and the community and how you can support people and be encouraging, because there are so many people that either want to earn your business or want to partner with you and figure out, “How can I just help you? As a human being, how can I help you?” And that’s been one of the most rewarding things I’ve gotten to learn.
Hussein Al-Baiaty: Well, thank you so much for joining me today, Garrett. I know I learned a bunch. I know our audience really tuned into your stories and experiences. Thanks again for your time today.
Garrett Fahrbach: I appreciate it, thanks for the time, and hopefully you get a copy of the book and if not, I’ll make sure that I get to mail you one.
Hussein Al-Baiaty: No, definitely. I got one, and I’m interested in diving in this weekend.