Why I Started OnTrac
Updated: May 27
There have been two life changing events that have happened to me over the last few years that have fundamentally changed me and the person who I want to be. The first event had it's beginnings over 10 years ago when I had an interesting idea for a hospitality business. For years, I developed the concept and pitched the concept to investors. For nearly decade, with some breaks in between, I worked on making this dream a reality. During this time, I also took on a partner in this business.
In late 2016, I caught a break. I was connected with a family that owned a successful business that was interested in investing in the very specific niche that my business was in. How could that possibly be? How could we be so lucky? We didn't ponder that question for too long. For nearly a year, we went through a rigorous due diligence and negotiation process. Finally, we came to terms on a deal where they would invest most of what we needed to launch the business. However, the investment was contingent on us being able pre-sell several hundred memberships before the money was actually invested. We were so confident that we could do it, we agreed without a second thought. This commitment gave us the momentum that we needed to raise the rest of the money that we thought we needed at the time. We jumped right into selling memberships. This is what I had been waiting for 10 years!
However, once we were ready to start selling memberships, we received some bad news. The location for the concept that we thought was a lock was sold suddenly and the new owner was not really interested in taking a risky start up as a tenant. Suddenly, we were scrambling to find a new location. We hit a bit of luck in that we were able to identify one of the premier locations in the city. We engaged in a extended negotiation for the space that lasted over six months, but eventually we made a deal. These long protracted, stressful negotiations were a grind and were taking a toll, but overall things were looking great!
We started the pre-sale process. After selling membership for a few months, a few things became clear to us. People really liked the concept, but because it was new, most people wanted to wait until the concept opened before they committed to a membership. Unfortunately, we needed people to buy the memberships so we COULD open the facility. On top of that, we realized that we were going to need a lot more money to open the concept than we originally thought. We had to find an investor that had extensive resources and was willing to commit to the project without any contingency requirement, and we did not have a lot of time to find them. Incredibly, we secured a meeting with the CEO of a billion company. A meeting was set up within a week. Within a few days, we had the framework for an acquisition deal in place and signed a LOI or Letter of Intent. Yet again, we went through an intense due diligence and negotiation period that listed over four months. Once again, we were taken on a gut-wrenching emotional roller coaster. At the end of this, the company decided not to move forward with the deal.
There is no way to sugar-coat this: I was crushed. I had worked on this project for nearly a decade, and I had defined myself for so long by this project. I had just endured a roller coaster of emotions for the better part of the last two years. Candidly, I experienced a pretty intense bout of depression during this period. My life felt like it was in tatters. I just had what I considered the worst failure of my life, I had taken on a fair amount of debt over the last few years as I pursued this passion project and my eating and sleeping habits were terrible. When I looked at my experience, I realized I had learned an incredible amount. At the end of the day, I had sat across the table from the CEO of a billion company, and he had made an offer on the company that I had built. Even though the deal was never finalized, not many people could make that claim. I made the decision that I was going to turn this “punch in the stomach” I had just taken into a positive experience.
Around this same time, I had another life changing event. Throughout my life, my father and I had been like oil and water. We bumped heads ever since I was very little. The reality was we were so alike: we were stubborn as mules and we always thought we were right. Eventually, our relationship grew so bad that we stopped talking completely. Candidly, we hadn't spoken in over a decade. My 6-year-old daughter, who is the most caring person in the world, asked me if she could meet my dad. What father could deny their daughter? I certainly could not. So I reached out to my sisters to see if they could schedule a meet up with my dad so I could have him meet my daughter. I heard back from my sister that he did not want to come out and meet. A few months later, I found out that my dad had been diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer, and realistically only had about a month left to live. I made flight arrangements for my daughter and I to go out a couple of days after I found out. The next evening I received a call that my father had passed. Even though this happened about a year ago do the day, my eyes are tearing up as I write this. I have so many regrets, but my biggest one was letting my daughter down.
These two life altering events lead me down a path where I was forced to rethink my life completely. I became introspective and read as much as I could. I had a daily 45 minute or more commute so I became addicted to Audible books and learned as much I could about topics like goal setting and happiness. I realized that the most important goal of all was to be happy. Life was too short. I wanted to get out of debt, live healthier, and be a better member of my family. I looked on the app store to find an app to help me and I sorely disappointed in what I found or didn't find. All the apps were very similar: they asked for what my goal was, and they would manually ask me to enter my progress. Also, I was looking for specific plans consisting of things I could do to achieve my goals, but it was up to me to identify these tasks and manually enter them into the app myself. I knew myself, and I knew this was never going to happen if it took too long. I'm way too impatient.
Since the app that I wanted didn't exist, I came up with a plan myself, and used about 4 or 5 (probably more) apps to track my progress, schedule tasks, etc. I found all of this extremely frustrating. I first started by breaking down all of the components that comprised what I believed happiness to be for me. I’ve created goals around these components, and more importantly, I developed a specific plan to achieve these goals. I'm happy to say that this plan that I created for myself has been very successful, and I can say I'm so much happier for it. As I thought back through my journey, I started to formulate the idea for OnTrac to make the process much easier and simpler for others that are on similar journey. This blog was created to share this journey and all the tools and pieces of information that have and will prove helpful in my journey to happiness. I hope you will join me. I would love to hear from you so sign up for an account, and please leave a comment.