When it comes to entrepreneurship, having that entrepreneurial spirit means having a self-motivated attitude and mentality that drives you to fulfill your potential or purpose. On today’s edition of The Roadmap, Lee Heisman sits down with Tony Rouse, CEO of Custom Candles + Cologne, to discuss his entrepreneurial journey and what’s next for his businesses.
According to Rouse, having an entrepreneurial spirit is one thing; aspiring to build a hotel is another. Six or seven years ago, Rouse said he wanted to build a hotel because it was his big dream. However, he needed more funds to achieve it. After some deep, thoughtful prayer, he heard an answer: candle. Rouse proceeded to create and market his first high-end, masculine-scented candle. At $55 a piece, the candle was a big hit with friends and family. “You start where you are. You start with what you have,” Rouse said.
Fast-forward to today and Rouse has an entire suite of high-end candles and fragrances. He is also an accomplished author and branding expert.
Back in 2012, a high-end French perfume firm employed Rouse for his experience in branding and marketing. From there, he began experimenting with fragrance notes. He then blended the smells he liked to build this foundation of “Fresh Earth” found in most of his candles. The vast majority of his entrepreneurial journey was based on trial and error, but Rouse has grit and didn’t give up, no matter how tough things were.
There have been many points where Rouse reached super-low points. However, in those moments, he realized he was stronger than he gave himself credit for.
“There are so many times when people have demoralizing moments. But in those times of defeat, it’s critical that we understand we get to go to sleep and wake up. The following morning, you can assess what went wrong, but keep pushing forward and use those difficulties as a lesson to advance yourself and your business career.” — Tony Rouse
On the other hand, Rouse says that when entrepreneurs feel overwhelmed, whether it be from the day-to-day tasks, the constant traveling, or the never-ending amount of work, the key is to keep going.
“I know it sounds so simple, but the mindset is not to quit,” said Rouse. He continues, “It’s one of those daily challenges you must face, but as an entrepreneur, your job is just to show up.”
It’s important to note that keeping your “why” at the forefront will revitalize what you started your journey for. “If you don’t have that internal fire, that’s okay, but identify your why, and that’s gonna be the basis of how you propel forward,” said Rouse.