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Daily Inspiration: Meet Greg Edward

Today we’d like to introduce you to Greg Edward. 

Hi Greg, we’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
Coming from a long family line of entrepreneurship, I was destined to become one too, but didn’t know it yet in my younger years!

Heck, I didn’t even know what the word “entrepreneurship” meant until I was probably around my early twenties. Although, my middle-school career placement tests must have picked up on something, about the balance between my creative sensibility and my logical, tactical sensibility; because it said I’d be one of three things.

1. A Bus Driver

2. An Aircraft Mechanic

3. An Architect.

Now I’m not sure about how it came up with a Bus Driver, but I figured I’d skip that one and I went on to try aircraft mechanics as an intern at Pratt & Whitney, an airplane engine manufacture who had a plant nearby in West Palm Beach, FL. It was pretty impressive, and meanwhile, I was also taking architectural drafting classes during high school and learning about Architecture. That really seemed to have sparked my interest! There was this serendipitous fit between what felt like my natural personality talents and the skillsets that are used as an Architect.

Super long story short…after five years of college to get my Masters, nine state exams as an Architect, I became licensed and official. I’ve had the opportunity to work on some very intense projects over the past 10 years as an architect… but quickly noticed that architecture is a trade where you are swapping your time for money. And since we are limited on time, I became limited on income too.

My hopes, dreams, and vision for our family’s future certainly was limited by this factor, and I didn’t like that.

Fast forward to 2020 as the pandemic rolled in, I became furloughed, and pay was cut for a long time. We had to make ends meet, and I’ve always been fascinated by tech too. In fact, I used to sell on the Amazon Marketplace as a side hustle, and I learned so much from that business model and experience. This was also at around the same time Airbnb was really reaching the top of its game, and I was inspired by that.

Around that time, as my daughter was turning 6 I was dying to find something adventurous and outdoorsy that we could do together, especially because when I grew up riding dirt bikes, atv’s, and spending a lot of time outdoors; I wanted to introduce outdoor adventure to her.

But I started to realize how much of a hassle it was to search through tons of shoddy websites; where pricing was confusing and inconsistent, distance and location was hard to find or understand, and most of the time the companies did not pick up the phone. It was a complete mess trying to find reasonably priced outdoor rentals, and despite being ready to go, I really felt deflated with trying to find a reputable, reliable, attentive ATV rental, jet ski rental, or anything like that, that I could go do with my daughter.

Which is when I thought to myself… this type of lifestyle ought to be more accessible to the masses.

And THAT was the impetus for a company I founded called Rockon Recreation Rentals. It’s an Airbnb-style marketplace where rentable outdoor activities, tours, and rentals could be listed in one place, where anyone could easily compare pricing, distance/location, reviews & ratings, and book all from one website.

Coincidentally, this was also around the time of two major societal shifts. The first was the generational attribute of desiring experiences over things. The second was the rise of the gig economy. Together these things helped to catapult Rockon to what it is today, reaching its first million in sales after just a short few years.

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not, what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
Building this venture on my own has not been easy to say the least, but luckily, it’s the passion for the solution that keeps me going. It’s truly humbling being able to help join the mission of these small business owners, many who are not tech savvy, and most who know nothing about promoting their brand online. The partnerships I been able to create, the friendships that have naturally been formed, and the satisfaction they enjoy when we succeed together are enough to drive this business forward for as long as I can see.

I’ve had no funding source or investors. So, while competition exists in the market who’ve received multiple rounds of million-dollar raises, I’ve literally just used a portion of my lunch money each day to fund the growth and development of Rockon. You can call it sweat equity, lunch equity, or whatever fits best; but ultimately, this bootstrapped business forces me to understand business from a very lean perspective, making each dollar spent go as far as it possibly can while also providing a service that outperforms the highly funded counterparts on the market.

This has also encouraged me to become the everything department. Sales, that’s me. Website Development, you’re talking to him. Technical issues, I’m here. Customer Service, how can I help you? Conceptualizing and visioning the future strategies, tactics, and designs to remain competitive in the market, yep that’s me too.

All while also working another non-related full-time job.

Thanks – so, what else should our readers know about your work and what you’re currently focused on?
In my full-time job as an Architect, I’ve designed houses for some of the C-Suites that once worked at Google, Twitter, Norton, and others. I’ve also worked with some of the most notable restaurant brands, including KFC’s national rebrand, and the most prestigious scientific laboratories with Nova Southeastern University.

As an architect, we are calibrated to envision solutions to a problem and think through every detail to bring it into reality. I’ve seen this skill set play out in everything I do at Rockon for sure.

When you step back to think about it, entrepreneurship at its core is about creating solutions, then having the creativity and tenacity to think through how to create it. The parallels are very fascinating, and I feel like it’s something that gives me a bit of a competitive advantage.

Who else deserves credit in your story?
The biggest credit at the moment would go to my family. It’s their life that gets affected every night and weekend when I need to hop on a call with a client or resolve some fire. Their patience and perseverance in support of my endeavor has been very helpful and is my guiding light. Of course, I also want to share gratitude for the Partners and Operators that support our vision and continue to share their feedback and suggestions to help this company continue to grow into something that they continue to love to use.

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