Like most small business owners and entrepreneurs, I often made the mistake of trying to do everything myself. I was the trainer, the receptionist, the front desk person, the janitor, cleaning person, marketing guy, and everything in between.
Eventually, I smartened up and learned how to run a training company more efficiently. That simply meant hiring help.
When I started the online component of my fitness business I repeated the same mistakes and had to learn the hard way. I made changes and improvements on a yearly basis. But they came at a snails pace. I was still my own worst enemy. I tried to do much.
That was until I met Andrew Ellestad. He was my account manager at our payment processing company. From day one he went above and beyond the call of duty. When his nine to five ended he would text or call me during his off hours with ideas about how I could improve my business.
There was nothing in it for him. He was just a passionate, hard working dude. Eventually we developed a friendship and a year later he left that job and came to work for me.
Everything changed in an instant. The business became exponentially more efficient. Andrew’s role grew rapidly over the first few months. He took a ton of stuff off my plate. He became the director of operations at Renegade, which allowed me to do the things I should be doing.
Because of this we experienced growth like we’d never seen before. Together, we were able to build and do things I’d never have been capable of without him.
He played a large role in the formation of The Renegade Strength Club, Renegade Roasting Co, my podcast, my ebooks, live events, and our current team. I’d provide him with the ideas/content then he’d get it done or hire the people we needed to do so. And when needed, he fire them if he thought they weren’t living up to the Renegade standard.
There were multiple times over the last four years when Andrew would work through the night on a project. If something broke and no one else was around to fix it he’d stay up til 3am and do it himself. I never expected that, nor did I think he did. That’s just the passion he brings to anything he does.
Earlier this year Andrew and I sat down and had some discussions about his future. He had an opportunity to make significantly more money elsewhere, while working less.
Eventually we both came to the decision that it would be best for him to step down from his position at Renegade. By that time he was more than just the Director of Operations. He’d become my friend that I loved and cared about. I wanted what was best for him and his family.
So we decided that Friday, July 31st, 2015 would be his last day. Which means that today (Monday, August 3rd) is the first morning of the first week I’ve started without Andrew in over four years.
It feels weird. Lonely in a way. Kind of empty. I know that I should be checking in with him right around now through a text, phone call or email.
Don’t get me wrong, we’ve brought on new people and have prepared for this day. It’s just going to take some time getting used to not having my buddy on board anymore. And I know that it will be next to impossible for anyone else to live up to the standard that he set. My expectations are now higher than ever because I know what it’s like to work with excellence.
It would take me an hour to list all the lessons I learned working alongside Andrew every day for the last 4+ years. Because of it I hope to be a better leader going forward. I know the mistakes I made and know what I need to improve upon.
As a side note I’d like to mention that anyone considering leaving a job should contact Andrew. He can give you the template of exactly how to act and what to do during your final two weeks with a company. If you do it with even half as much grace and class as he did you’ll be okay.
If you have liked or been a fan of anything we have come out with in the last 4-5 years it would mean the world to me if you could give Andrew a shout out on Facebook. None of it would have been the same without him.
For all that he did for me, my company and my family over the last five years…
With tears in my eyes, I say to my dear friend, Andrew Ellestad, thank you so much, from the bottom of my heart. I appreciate you more than you know.