Mike & Brittni of Station Seven
Meet Mike & Brittni Rogers, Owners of Station Seven.
Tell us your story, in a timeline!
10 YEARS AGO
Brittni and I first met just over 10 years ago - I’d like to say we’re high school sweethearts, but we didn’t go to the same school and didn’t actually meet until graduation night. So around this time I’m not sure we were actually planning our world domination (maybe subconsciously), we were mostly just trying to navigate teenage awkwardness. We ended up at different colleges as well, which lead to some seriously challenging times in our relationship.
Looking back it’s easy to see now that we truly grew up together. Because of that connection, we are on the same page about pretty much everything. I can’t imagine another business partner that I could have complete and unwavering trust in like I do with Brittni. Making life changing decisions like quitting your jobs, selling your stuff and building something from scratch, it’s infinitely easier when you know you’re not going it alone.
5 YEARS AGO
Around 5 years ago was the first time we quit our jobs. Out of college we were wasting away our days in entry-level administrative jobs and knew pretty quickly that it was not a sustainable path. We spent a year in Japan teaching English and absolutely loved the experience, minus the actually-teaching- English part. We had a few ideas on starting some small online shops, but really didn’t have enough confidence (or experience) to follow through at the time. But the seed was planted - we knew we wanted to find a way to support ourselves on our own terms, find location independence, and escape the 9-5 routine.
We returned from that year in Japan and found ourselves again stuck in corporate hell. We built up our savings while using company time to email each other back and forth with all our brilliant ideas. By 2014 we were ready to make the leap for good. Within a 2 month period we both quit our jobs (again), sold all our stuff, got married, and then packed a backpack and hit the road. We chased the digital nomad dream through Chiang Mai, Bali, Bangkok and Osaka, made plenty of mistakes along the way but also landed on a couple successes as well. Station Seven was built during this time abroad, and we’ve never looked back since.
1 YEAR AGO
We really shook things up last year with a new addition to our family - little Adison. Running a business is hard no doubt, but parenting is straight up exhausting. Trying to figure out how to do both at the same time has been our biggest struggle these days, but I think we’re starting to find some balance. We’re no longer digital nomads in the traditional sense (travel hacking, serviced apartments in SE Asia, sweatpants and coworking spaces), but we still travel regularly and make good use of our location independence. We relocated our family to a tiny island in the sea and continue to find inspiration in the beaches, forests and friendly people we encounter every single day.
Give us a play-by-play of a (work) day in your life.
The following is our typical workday recently. Keep in mind that this mostly relates to times we’re super motivated. We might instead be traveling, working on other projects (like a Sprinter van conversion), or simply hanging out around town if thats how we’re feeling instead.
We’re not morning people, but that doesn’t stop Adison from getting us out of bed around 6:00 each morning. We light a fire in the fireplace to warm up the house and then get the espresso maker going. She’s running around and playing with toys, but we’re mostly just struggling to stay awake.
Now that our daughter is a little bit older, we’ve started her off in daycare 3 days a week. This has been probably the single most productive decision we’ve ever made - we finally have time to work again! Prior to this we would tag-team it; one person would work while the other plays with Adi. Being able to have both of us together and working collectively means we can actually make plans, brainstorm, and most importantly get shit done!
Do you know what poutine is? It’s Canadian for french fries with cheese and gravy, and it’s amazing. Our favorite local food truck hooks it up at least a couple times a week, because the brain needs food to function right?
Yelling, arguing, tantrums and rage-quitting as we battle the after-lunch drowsies (possibly our choice of lunch has some affect) and general lack of motivation. Being spouses means that there is literally #nofilter when we talk to each other, which has it’s pros and cons. No one ever needs to censor themselves, but we can also be a bit mean sometimes. Luckily neither of us holds a grudge and the ability to fully hash things out makes us stronger in the long run.
Adi comes home and we head out to get some fresh air. We love going for hikes or exploring the local beaches (swimming in the summer too).
After bedtime for our little one, we’re no strangers to the late night work routine. In the absence of distraction we find this to be one of the most productive times of the day for us. Whether we’re finishing up a new theme, writing some newsletters or updating our website, this is the perfect time to get things done.
Bedtime. Sleeping in is a long forgotten memory, so we need to go to bed (somewhat) early to start the day fresh again tomorrow
Tell us the real sh*t that goes on behind the scenes.
M/B: Self doubt never disappears, no matter what stage your business is in. We’re constantly stressing that our next design will be a flop, that our newsletters will go unread and that our social posts will come off as “fake”. What if our sales dry up completely?
The reality is that you never know how people will view your next move. But does it really matter? If a new design isn’t popular, find out why and make the next one better. People aren’t reading our newsletters? Maybe we need to rethink the content we’re providing.
What ends up happening most of the time however is that our fears never end up materializing at all. So what was the point of all that stress? Instead let’s just continue to do good work, try new things, and when things don’t work out figure out why.
Tell us how many bevvy's you consume in a day + what they are!
M: Americano (maybe 2)
M: 1 quart mason jar full of water, refill regularly
B: Peppermint tea
M/B: Beer. Beer helps brainstorming.
M: More beer
B: More tea
What systems do you use in your business that keep you sane?
M/B: We definitely use a lot of Asana, Google Drive, Spotify and the Pomodoro method, but honestly the list changes quite regularly. If anything, remaining fluid in our systems allows us to continually reflect on whats working and what's not, and then improve our workflows accordingly.
Any words of wisdom for other bosses?
M/B: Learn to say no.
When we started out, we said “yes” to literally any project or collaboration that came our way. It was exhausting, the clients sucked, and it left us with no time to actually work on the things we needed to work on in order to grow. Whenever you say “yes” to one thing, you are saying “no” to something else that might be more valuable for your long terms goals. As soon as we started saying “no”, we began to make serious steps in growing our business, things we never could have done if we continued to work on every random project that came our way.
I’m totally a people pleaser, so I also felt like I was letting people down. The reality is they’re better off finding someone who can fully commit to the project, instead. Haha I even fired my sister as a client a few years ago as well - despite the tears, she’s thankfully forgiven me since then.
Don’t feel you need to share everything. Transparency is awesome, absolutely, and you should definitely inject your own personality into your work. But social media can also be a massive distraction, and there is such a thing as over-sharing. For people that are introverted (like we tend to be), don’t feel that you need to be an Insta-superstar to be successful - you might find just the opposite to be true.
Do good work and people will notice.
If you’ve been online in the past couple of years, you’ll see story after story of people making [obscene amount of money] by starting a business online, and are ready to tell you how to do the same if you signup for their course. It’s easy to believe that there is one magic solution to finding success online, and everyone is ready to sell it to you.
I’m not saying what these people are offering isn’t true - many of them do have first hand
experience growing businesses online and can offer some seriously valuable advice. But more than anything, I’d encourage you to simply do good work.
It’s so easy to get caught up constantly re- doing your brand, re-doing your website, and chasing followers on social. But until you have a strong portfolio, an epic blog archive, or a product packaged and ready to go, you really have nothing. Do the work first and the rest will follow.
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