The couple also has two young children and supports local charities, including working closely with the Children’s Hospital of Orange County. We caught up with Sean and Casey to find out what inspires them, how they deal with setbacks and uncertainty, and what entrepreneurs can rely on to stay motivated.
1. Let Your Loved Ones In
Lots of entrepreneurs and small business owners try to separate work and family time, but that decision is usually made out of worry or frustration. No one wants to bring the stress of their job home, of course, but relying on your loved ones for support and advice can be as important in professional matters as personal ones.
Because they both have experience with startups, marketing, and other ventures, Sean and Casey Brown have found that sometimes the best advice is waiting for you on the other side of the dinner table.
“If you value your business partner’s opinion, you’re probably going to have conversations about more than just business, right?” Sean said. “And marriage is the ultimate partnership, so it would seem weird not to ask Casey what she thinks.”
“Sean and I started our own businesses before we got married, and we’ve both had some success in different fields,” Casey added. “We’re always supportive of each other first, and good ideas usually come from that.”
2. Recognize Victories, No Matter What Size
There’s an old joke in show business that “it takes 20 years to become an overnight success.” And for entrepreneurs building their own businesses day after day, big wins are usually few and far between. That’s why it’s important, Casey Brown says, to point out the little victories too — and give them the attention they deserve.
“When you’re your own boss or starting a business, it’s really easy to get into ‘on to the next thing’ mode,” Casey said. “But you should recognize wins when they happen, even if they don’t seem huge in the moment. Success shouldn’t be taken for granted, especially these days.”
3. Use The Whole Day
Business owners with families at home often feel like they’re constantly playing catch-up, or that there aren’t enough hours in the day. For Sean Brown, the best counter to that is making sure he maximizes all of his waking hours — including those precious mornings before the rest of the house wakes up.
“Even though having young kids destroys your sleep schedule, I still get up early,” Sean said. “It’s important for me to use my whole day, and it’s easier to be present during family time when I know what my workday looks like.”
4. Remember Your “Why”
Both Browns have been in business long enough to know that setbacks aren’t just possible — they’re inevitable. But maintaining momentum and overcoming obstacles is much easier if you stay focused on the reasons you started your company and acknowledge how far you’ve come.
“Even when you’re doing what you love, there’s going to be bad days, hard days,” Casey Brown said. “The businesses I’ve started have all been things I’m passionate about, and you need that foundation to build something that lasts.”
5. Work With People You Like
Also, external setbacks are less troubling if you have a reliable team to help weather the storm. Intangibles like company culture, employee fit, and alignment of vision can be crucial factors in a startup’s success, Sean Brown says.
“I’ve created and invested in enough companies to know that if the principal personalities clash, then the business side is going to struggle,” Sean said. “Any investment needs healthy financials and a strong plan, but the best projects are always ones with people that you enjoy being around.”
6. Choose to be Inspired (and “Inspirable”)
For entrepreneurs struggling with a lack of motivation or a long to-do list, it’s important to take inspiration from every source you can. For Casey and Sean Brown, being “inspirable” means staying in the moment and recognizing others’ drive to succeed.
“Between family, friends, business, and everything else, most days we’re going a million miles an hour,” Casey said. “It’s a lot, but I think we get recharged by doing different things and wearing different hats during the day.”
“Also, enthusiasm can be contagious,” Sean added. “One of the best things about pitches is talking to entrepreneurs who are excited about what they’re creating. Even if the investment isn’t a good fit, seeing people turn their ideas into something tangible is always inspiring.”
Sean Brown is the founder and CEO of GO VC, a venture capital firm. Casey Brown is the founder and owner of Casey’s Cupcakes and founder of the Children’s Alliance for the Success and Education of Youth in Need (CASEY) Foundation. They live in Orange County, California, with their two children.
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