Julie Bee – Host: [00:00:00] Hey there. I’m Julie B and you’re listening to, they don’t teach this in business school, a podcast where we discuss business ownership, lessons that are learned through experience, not in a class. Today, I’m excited to get the opportunity to interview Travis. Rosback the owner of group and the original founder of Hydroflask.
I’m looking forward to this conversation because I know I’m going to learn some things and we’re all going to learn some valuable business ownership lessons. So Travis, welcome to the show. I’m really glad to have you here with me today, though.
Travis Rosbach – Guest: Thank you Julie, for having me. It’s good to see you. Yeah,
Julie Bee – Host: absolutely.
So the first question is, can you just give us a brief overview of the Tamala group and also your role in that business today?
Travis Rosbach – Guest: Sure. Yeah. So the Tableau group, I started, oh, probably [00:01:00] about four or five years ago. Predominantly, primarily as a way to just keep doing business. I really enjoy doing business and pretty much all stages of startup logos, branding, marketing, you know, sales, negotiation, all of it.
I just love business. And so. Started the tumbler group here in bend Oregon, to help others either start a business or take their business from where they are to where they want to be. We spent a fair bit of time doing, uh, sourcing and. For awhile, we were sourcing overseas and then we were fortunate enough to move a lot of that sourcing back home to the United States.
And so we worked with a lot of factories here domestically and moving American companies from overseas, back onto on shore manufacturing. And, um, and then also do a lot of [00:02:00] advising, like sort of board advisory type stuff. And, uh, Yeah, so that Tamala group is just kind of a catch all for everything business.
Julie Bee – Host: Um, so obviously you love being a business owner. Is there a favorite part though, of, of running a business that you particularly.
Travis Rosbach – Guest: I love all of it.
Julie Bee – Host: I’m going to push, there’s gotta be, there’s gotta be though, like one or two things. You just, if you could only do one or two things, whether it’s, you know, sales or marketing or just meeting people and helping people, um, what would those things be?
Travis Rosbach – Guest: Probably branding and then marketing also sort of a as a very closely related sibling. To Brandy and I think is marketing. So probably those two branding marketing, and then, but, but then I really enjoyed the sales aspect of it all set, but [00:03:00] then the growth phases of those sales. And I really enjoy watching.
Good businesses do better. And I think a lot of that has to do with this sales and the sales have to do with the marketing and the marketing has to do with the branding. So if I were to start, I’d say probably with the branding.
Julie Bee – Host: Gotcha. And what is it about the branding? Like what, what about that? Do you, do you really enjoy focusing on.
Travis Rosbach – Guest: Yeah, these are good questions because this is a good psychological, you know, for me, that’s interesting.
Julie Bee – Host: Well, and I’ll just tell you, you know, I believe that branding, it’s not just what goes from branding into your marketing message. It’s also branding impacts your employees and your culture. And, um, how, you know, just down to how you talk about your business words, you use words, you don’t use those types of things.
Travis Rosbach – Guest: I think. It’s it’s at the center of a lot of businesses. So I’m just [00:04:00] curious as to what you really enjoy about that part of the, of the business ownership journey. I think that the, um, for me with the tremolo group, the branding is a way for me to really get. In depth with the owners or the founders or the CEOs or whomever I’m working with and kind of find out like, what are your values?
What are your goals? What are your target demographics looking like? And I get to really kind of do that in depth, psychological, deep dive, into. Why are you doing this? You know, why are you doing this and whom are you doing this for? And then from that information, we get extract the brand that then gets to grow and take on a whole life of its own.
Julie Bee – Host: Yeah, I think that, that is, that’s the fun part about, um, the branding exercises. So, Travis, I know that you work with a lot of business owners these [00:05:00] days, and I’m really curious. As to what do you see business owners? And maybe even yourself included really struggle with, to, to get off their plate and keep off their plate.
Maybe they’ve tried to delegate something or hire for something, but that work seems to continuously come back to them for me, for example. Uh, it’s been sales related activities. I, I seem to always just end up being the main salesperson. And I’m wondering if you see anything that business owners really struggle to get off their plate.
Travis Rosbach – Guest: Another good question, Julie. I would say that from whom I work with, I see sort of. A variety of different things. Some people are really good at the branding. Some people are really good at the products. Some people are really good at the sales. Some people are really good at the financials. Some people are really good with the culture and a common mistake that I see a fair bit is.[00:06:00]
And I, myself been very guilty of trying is to. Be a Jack of all trades and just try to do everything. And so I think it’s really beneficial for a company to know its limitations. It’s, it’s always good to know your strengths, but it’s always good to know your limitations. And I think that there’s, there’s a kind of sometimes a, either between a fine line and a huge chasm between trying to go out and learn everything that you need to think you need to learn about a topic.
And just outsourcing or delegating it. And I think that as a business owner or a CEO or a president of the company, we need to know a lot of. Or we need to know a lot of different topics. There’s, there’s so many different facets and moving pieces of a business. And we need to know at least a little bit about each of those topics, but we don’t need to know a lot about a lot of the topics [00:07:00] we can outsource.
We can hire people. We can bring in-house. We can now outsource it across the planet. If we want to, to other people who have a, a real strong passion for fill in the blank, the books, the marketing, the graphic design, we don’t have to know illustrator in order to know what we want for the graphic design department to do.
And I see a lot of people who try to go out and get degrees. Illustrator and Photoshop. It’s like, you don’t have to do that. You just have to hire enough people to know that they know what they’re doing, but then also know enough to kind of overview and oversight and watch and make sure that they are doing the right thing and they’re doing it the way you want them.
Julie Bee – Host: Yeah. I think a lot of business owners wait too long to delegate, and it’s really important to know what your value is and the way that I always looked at that was what, what am I missing out on [00:08:00] by sitting here and spending five hours working on my website, even though I can do it, it doesn’t necessarily mean I should do it.
And I think that’s an important point for business owners truly learn as soon as possible.
Travis Rosbach – Guest: Yeah, I firmly agree. I think that a lot of the first time startup business owners are very guilty. I know myself, I was very guilty of trying to learn how to build a website. And I spent, I think the word is X.
There’s a really cool, fancy word here, but it’s a 10 cent word. So I won’t use exorbitant amount of time trying to learn to build a website. And it’s like, no, that’s just not the best use of my time. I could be out selling things to make money. To then hire people to then build a bed website.
Exponentially better than I would ever be able to build the website, but I can have oversight of the website and I can say, no, no, no. I want that to be blue and a little to the left and red and a little to the right. And yep. That’s it. I don’t need to [00:09:00] go out and learn the coding or the HTML to make the red go to the right, you know, two megapixel.
Julie Bee – Host: That yeah. Hire somebody for that. For sure.
Travis Rosbach – Guest: Julie
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Travis Rosbach – Guest: Julie B dot.
Julie Bee – Host: Hey, this is Julie B and you’re listening to, they don’t teach this in business school. I’m talking with Travis Ross back today, and Travis, we were just discussing the importance of really delegation and knowing when to get something off your plate. And that kind of leads me to this next question of how do you today make sure that you’re working on the really high impact [00:10:00] activities for your company most of the time.
How do you make sure that happens for you?
Travis Rosbach – Guest: That can be a challenging one, especially with the fact that my iPhone is connected to my app. And so magically, if I get a text message, boom, that pops up. If somebody messages me on LinkedIn, boom, that pops up, I get an email boom that pops up the phone rings.
Boom. It pops up, got these headphones on and I’ve got this keyboard right here and I can respond to 4,000 different messages that come in at any given hour. So I think for me personally, what I try to do is I. Either turn it off, or I are a delegate a time for that activity. And I also am taking it. I’m trying to do, trying to take it easier on myself in that man, that person just texted me.
It doesn’t matter 20 years ago. That person would have to call me on the phone. And if I wasn’t home, [00:11:00] they’d have to leave a message on the answering machine and I’d get home at five o’clock and I call him back at seven after dinner. And that’s the way it was. You’d have to wait nine hours for me to get back to you.
Now it doesn’t have to be nine seconds later that I respond to a text message is what I keep telling myself. And it’s not always easy because a lot of times I do want to interact or I do want to, you know, be polite and kind and get back to people. But I also realized that. It, it distracts me all of these little messages.
Things that pop up are just distractors. And so they’re trying to take away from what I’m really trying to get accomplished. It’s it’s typically best for me to turn them off or mute them or, or just try to have that strong will of not going over and open up my, you know, Instagram feed or whatever, whatever it is.
Julie Bee – Host: Yeah. It’s really easy to get addicted to that Instagram feed. I know that for sure. But it sounds like it sounds. [00:12:00] What you have done as you’ve really first, you have to identify what those distractors are. And then you’ve got to almost put a system in place to not be distracted by them. Do you have anybody that you are your own accountability partner in that, or do you have somebody that like a mentor or somebody along those lines who, you know, you might have asked to hold you accountable and those actions.
Travis Rosbach – Guest: I think I am probably my own, um, critic for that and gatekeeper for that also. And I find it to be sort of a challenge. And so therefore I sort of, um, appreciate and enjoy it more. I think, um, you know, cause a lot of times friends and family do texts throughout the day and it’s like, okay, well, I should probably wait until the lunch hour to respond to this.
You know, I try to run it, even though I’m at my co you know, I have a, uh, office, uh, on my, on my property at my house. I try to, I try to run it as though I work [00:13:00] for another company and they’re holding me accountable and I’m punching a punch clock and I’m trying to, you know, stay within the company guidelines.
You know, personal calls on company time. That’s always one of my biggest pet peeves is when I go into someplace and there’s an employee on their cell phone and they can’t help me because they’re texting. I’m like, yeah, you know, this is not what your boss pays you for. So I try to remind myself of that as well.
Travis, this is not what you’re paying yourself for. This is not where your clients are paying you for.
Julie Bee – Host: And I think that’s just really crucial to. Treat it like a job, you know, what’s funny is as entrepreneurs and business owners, a lot of us start businesses to not have a job or to do something that, you know, isn’t really called a job.
You know, we always hear that saying of. If you love what you do, you won’t work a day in your life, but at some point you do have to look at your business and your role in your business as your job. And I, that time comes differently for [00:14:00] everybody, but that’s a good way to, um, to look at it. So, Travis, I wanted to ask you, you know, we were talking about all of the notifications you can get.
Yeah, texts from everybody come to your watch and anything notifications on LinkedIn and all of that emails, all of those things. But what’s interesting about that is I’ve heard and I’ve experienced this. A lot of people who are business owners often say it’s lonely at the top. And I wanted to ask you, how have you experienced that over the.
Travis Rosbach – Guest: Well in a multitude of ways, I find that I’m, I’m a little introverted by nature. I mean, I really enjoy scuba diving underneath the water where nobody can talk to me and nobody can ask me for anything. Um, and so it’s, for me, it’s kind of bitter sweet like it after Hydroflask like the sort of [00:15:00] notoriety.
Came and not, not huge. I mean, but it’s, you know, somewhat and I found that people kinda started coming out of the woodwork to, you know, beg, borrow and steal from me. And I, I didn’t really anticipate that. I didn’t realize it’s like none of the books I read or none of the courses or classes or people that I ever talked to told me about what happens the day after, you know, sort of making it and.
I think as a result of having people come out to try to scam and steal and flat out kidnap me, I think it, it made me even a little bit more isolated and a little bit more reclusive and I take it. I take my privacy very seriously, my safety and my family’s safety very seriously as a result. Um, and so.
You know, that might have been a little bit deeper [00:16:00] than the question you’re asking
Julie Bee – Host: now. Oh, it’s fine. It’s, it’s interesting to hear somebody who has, uh, by all accounts made it. And just the fact that you kind of pushed you into, it sounds like it kind of pushed you into an even more lonely place as a business owner.
Travis Rosbach – Guest: It did. It did. Yeah. I mean, I, I remember when we were. Starting to do really well. And we were getting sort of national and international. Recognition for the Hydroflask company. And one of my good friends had a, a screen printing shop right next to us. And he pretty much shunned me. He pretty much said he didn’t want to be my friend anymore.
Cause we were doing too well. We both started about the same time. And yet our trajectory was a lot more vertical than, than his was. And he. Pretty much took it upon himself to befriend me in, in real [00:17:00] life. And it was like, well, that’s odd, you know, like you’re not excited for our growth. And like, you’re, you know, we were helping him by getting shirts, screen printed from him.
But Nope, Nope. He was jealous of that. I guess he didn’t like that. And I think that was kinda my first time I started realizing like, huh, like this is odd. This might not be as, I don’t know, like it’s, it’s. It just, it w it hurt, it hurt. It hurt over the years. It kinda, it just kinda grew people asking me for 20 million, 12 million, $20 million.
Hey, can I get $20,000? Could I get 20 bucks or you’re going to pay for dinner? Aren’t ya? And it’s like, huh? I
Julie Bee – Host: bet it’s refreshing when you go out to dinner with a business owner and they’re like, I’ll get the tab. I got it. You know, but I bet you you’re just like, wow. I wonder I’m just curious. Yeah.
Travis Rosbach – Guest: Yeah, it is.
It’s nice. Or, you know, and even just talking to people on, you know, every day and [00:18:00] going on dates, I mean, dating has radically changed since this, you know, it’s, it’s very difficult to just talk about the Tamala group. You know, eventually talk about Hydroflask, you know, eventually she’s going to Google my name and eventually it’s going to pop up that Hydroflask and sold for $200 million.
And. Then the expectations change and everything changes. And it’s like, I’m still just Travis, but you know, on the inner webs, it’s this $200 million man.
Julie Bee – Host: So you have, you know, w Avast, I asked about being lonely at the top and it sounds like. You really kind of went into a, more of a root reclusive space, but I know that you’ve come back out and you started this business.
And what do you, what do you think helps managing that? I know that you have some family in town right now, and I know that they’re very important to you, but some I’m just curious as to how, because [00:19:00] you don’t want to just always be lonely at the top. How have you, um, found supportive. To counteract
Travis Rosbach – Guest: that I think that a big thing that I do is.
And very picky with whom I work. And I’m very fortunate enough that I work with some really cool clients. And I worked with some really cool brands and some really cool business, and they really don’t care. They really don’t care about Travis. They just want to, you know, grow their business and they don’t care who.
You know, or I, I guess I shouldn’t say they don’t care about trust. They don’t care about who Travis was before. They just want the results. They could care less about how much money is or is not in my bank account. They just want to know how to grow their business. And I love that. I love just diving into business without all of the personal stuff on the side.
It’s, you know, it’s like, This is just business. And that’s what I really appreciate because when I’m doing my personal thing, I’m doing my personal thing. But when I’m doing business, I’m [00:20:00] doing business. I don’t let the, you know, the silliness get wrapped up in it. And when other people don’t also, it’s really refreshing and it’s like, okay, yeah, this is my tribe.
These are the people I get to work with. And these are the people I really enjoy helping.
Julie Bee – Host: So it’s interesting that you bring up people because of one of the questions I really want to ask you is. Have been some of your proudest moments where you’ve been proud of your team or the people who are working for you.
Can you tell us about some of those moments from your past? I would just be curious to hear, hear what those are.
Travis Rosbach – Guest: I a lot of, a lot of the Hydroflask moments I’m really proud of. I’m really proud of all of the sales reps that were able to get us into the different locations. Um, I always, I always celebrated those victories with them and I, you know, even though we may not be able to do it in person, cause they’re on the other side of the planet or the other side of the [00:21:00] country, I always was.
Happy and excited for, for that those moments. And I think also just, you know, having big deal. Transpire and having big accounts open up, um, you know, it always takes a team. It’s never just one person who is able to pull it off. There was thousands and thousands of hours and minutes and seconds and colluded in, in making each of these transactions transpire.
And those, those were always, you know, like every time anybody could help grow the business and the brand, it just, it felt really good.
Julie Bee – Host: Yeah. I think one thing that I always enjoy is when. An employee or contractor or somebody who, you know, is working for the team one way or another when they do something better than you could have ever done it.
Travis Rosbach – Guest: Yeah. Yeah. In case I point to that was, I [00:22:00] I’d love to refer to Alice , who is our one of our very first in-house. In fact, I think she was our very first in-house graphic designer and. Th, you know, there wasn’t a project that I would take to her and my chicken scratch on the back of a napkin and I’d say, Hey, Alice, you know what about this?
And you know, people would laugh. And then a couple days later she’d come to me and she’d show me and I’d be like, whoa. And it was like, I just, I just love. The graphic design element of business and taking a concept into pictorial form. I just love it. And then turning that picture into a campaign and then seeing that campaign on banners and billboards and logos and t-shirts and everything, you know, the whole lifespan of an idea and all of the people that can help those ideas go from just, you know, rattling around in the back of my mind, somewhere to.
On the shelf of a [00:23:00] store. Like I just love that. Yeah. It’s really
Julie Bee – Host: great. When you can tell somebody an idea, I am not a graphic designer by any means. I will hand somebody a spreadsheet and say, turn this into a picture. So, but I think it’s really cool. Yeah. When you can tell somebody the vision basically, and then see what they do with it.
If you’ve got the right people on your team, they are most likely your mind’s going to be blown. Cause it’s stuff that you would have never thought of. And it just started with this like idea of yours and they just take it and run with it. And I think those are some of the best moments. Yeah.
Travis Rosbach – Guest: Yeah. I completely agree.
Julia. I think it’s, I kind of like, think about it, like the ATM or a SWAT team or a seal team six, you know, it’s like, we’re a small band of like-minded individuals and yes, sure. Somebody is probably the leader, quote, unquote of it. It’s a seal team, six, it’s not [00:24:00] necessarily team five plus one. It’s the sick, you know, and, and so to watch what the other members of the tribe or the, the business or, uh, the company do and what they see.
And, and what they see when they first are a new hire versus what they do after a couple of weeks and a couple months. And a couple of years in, is always fun. Also in that cohesion that starts to happen. And the like-minded thinking that, you know, the group herd pack mentality that takes over that first 51st deer type of idea that.
One can look one way and the rest can move with it. Just intuitively instinctively without talking about it or communicating with it. It’s like hand signals or telepathy. I just, I just love it when that starts to take place.
Julie Bee – Host: Yeah. And it’s interesting as a leader, I think, well, I think anytime you’re the business owner or founder or CEO, you’re going to be considered a leader.
I have [00:25:00] firm beliefs that you have to earn that title or that role as leader, you could be given a title, you give yourself a title, but you’ve really got to earn your, uh, earn your stripes as a leader. But the one thing that you said, I think a lot of the times. What employees often sometimes forget is that the leader still wants to be part of the team.
You know, like you said, it’s not seal team five plus one at seal team six. And I think that that’s a really important point to note here that the leader is still part of the.
Travis Rosbach – Guest: It can be tough too, because I remember very early on when we, we didn’t have a lot of money, we didn’t have a lot going on. We didn’t have a lot of sales and I really enjoyed our employees, you know, like they were my friends and then, uh, you know, they would kind of do things that were like, oh, Uh, Nope.
Uh, you know, somebody has gotta be the parent, you know, and, and I, I do, I do firmly [00:26:00] believe that I have a business now in mind that, um, there’s three buddies and they’re running the company and they. Struggling because they don’t have an adult in the room, you know, and they really do need somebody to step in and be the CEO, be the outsider, or be the person who has earned the position and earned the right to say, Nope, we’re not doing that.
We’re not doing blue. We’re doing green. Sorry. That’s just the way it is. And it is. Yeah, it can be difficult, especially, you know, in the early days, I mean, with the, with the fence company, we had 25 employees and man, I was good friends with all of them. I would go to their houses for fiestas and their wives would bring lunch and we were just good friends.
But at the same time it was, I found that that could be. Uh, productive because when I say no, seriously, you can’t keep losing these nail guns. Oh yeah, come on buddy. Hey, we’re a Migos, you know, why does it really matter? Well, you know, these nail guns are [00:27:00] 250 bucks. He can’t keep losing them, dude. You know?
So there is a fine line and there is a, there is a day that come, that came that I realized like, You know, like I can be friendly, but I can’t necessarily be friends. And then that kind of becomes isolating and alienating also. I mean, I remember going to Christmas parties and thinking, yeah, no, I’d love to go on to the after party with you guys.
But as the owner, I have to go home now because I don’t want to be privy to what happens, you know? Yeah, so that, that changes. But at the same time, I mean, it’s kinda like, you know, somebody has to be the pilot. Somebody has to be the captain. Somebody has to guide the ship and go home to bed early to get up early to, you know, start the engines, the more.
Julie Bee – Host: Yeah, to set the example and it is, it’s a fine line, like you said, between being friends and friendly. And I think most business owners learn that lesson at some point, or they’ve hired a friend or a family member [00:28:00] or something along those lines. And it is just, it just goes sideways or it may not even go sideways, but it’s hard.
The owner to have that uncomfortable conversation of Nope, you got to stop losing nail guns, or I’m going to have to let you go. Like that’s where we’re at now.
Travis Rosbach – Guest: Yeah. And family. Oh my gosh. Both of my brothers came to work at the, at the fence company I had. And that was just a fiasco, just awful, you know, but luckily the, the, the employees of helped.
We’d each other out and they help kind of self-regulate who belongs and who doesn’t belong. And, um, you know, there’s a point at which those who don’t belong. Leave on their own accord. They sort of say, Hey, you know what? I’m just not a good fit, no harm, no foul, but I got to get going. And it’s, that’s always preferable to having to fire somebody because they’re not a good fit.
And, and I it’s, it’s always really neat when the [00:29:00] employees help self manage that aspect. Yeah,
Julie Bee – Host: absolutely. We’ll try this. Listen to this. We’re coming to the end of this interview. I do have one other question I want to ask you. What is the one thing that you would recommend business schools teach to future business owners and entrepreneurs?
Travis Rosbach – Guest: That’s such a tough question. Um, you know, cause I never went to business school. I never got my MBA. I haven’t spent time in, in college classrooms. And so I can only speak about being around other MBA. Students and being around MBA graduates, I guess I should say. Um, I think that it’s not always like in the textbooks, it’s not always like it is in the classroom.
There are times where you have to roll your sleeves up and you have to get dirty. You have to jump into the fight with your bare knuckles and, you know, hopefully not always, literally, but perverse. For PR [00:30:00] proverbial boat proverbially. I don’t know. I probably, I might just made that a, I don’t know what the word is, you know, but it is, it does, there are times three have to kind of step outside of the boundaries a little bit and you have to kind of throw off the gloves and get in there and get your hands dirty.
Um, I mean, I, one of my favorite quotes when I was flying airplanes, one of the captains told me one time. He said that the FAA ours, which are the federal aviation regulations, they’re the, basically the Bible of flying for airline pilots. He said the FAA, ours are not a buffer between metal and stone. And so in other words, like if, if it’s all going down, You don’t have time to get out the rules and regulations to see what to do.
You gotta do what you gotta do to save the ship or else you’re going to auger in. If you take the time to do what the rule book tells you to do. And I, you know, I, I [00:31:00] would hope that maybe the. Part of the MBA program, all those that the MBA books are not a, on a sure fire way to success. You have to, you have to think for yourself and you have to get out of that box sometimes.
Julie Bee – Host: That is very true and great answer to that
Travis Rosbach – Guest: question. Oh, you made me nervous.
Julie Bee – Host: No, don’t be nervous. I was, that was a good answer. Um, yeah, you, you don’t know what it’s like and that’s, you know, that’s one of the things that I think I’ve actually spoken to several. Smaller colleges in the area where I am to the business students.
And it’s, I think that they’re doing a better job. I did go through business school and I know we didn’t learn any of this stuff. Like the stuff that it takes to be a business owner, but I learned very little of that in business school, but I think some colleges and universities are doing a much better job of it, but there is no substitute for actually rolling up your sleeves and getting in there and doing it.
And [00:32:00] that’s just what you gotta do. Something.
Travis Rosbach – Guest: Yeah, I was also my answer. It, my other answer was going to be waterboarding, waterboarding the students for a semester. I think that would be the most real world preparation for going out, you know, like sleep deprivation, waterboarding, any kind of MK ultra mind altercation alteration programs, I think would be good also.
Yeah. Because if they can get through
Julie Bee – Host: that, they can do anything, right. Like you’ve got that. You’ve got anything.
Travis Rosbach – Guest: Yep.
Julie Bee – Host: Well, Travis, listen, I’ve really enjoyed this conversation today and I know the business owners that are listening to will as well. And I just want to thank you for being on the show today with us.
Travis Rosbach – Guest: Well, thank you for having me, Julia. It’s always such a pleasure to spend time with you. Same
Julie Bee – Host: here. And that is a wrap for this episode of they don’t teach this in business school, but stay tuned because I’ll be back soon with more lessons learned on the business owner’s journey.[00:33:00]