Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in business development but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Travis McAshan, founder and CEO of GLIDE, LLC, located in Austin, TX, USA.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

We're GLIDE, a purpose-led digital creative agency in Austin, TX. Our superpower? Beautiful digital experiences for the web. We believe in the power of purpose to inspire change and encourage action, and we know that beautiful design can make an even bigger impact when it's paired with a great story. So we approach every project with a unique combination of creative prowess and strategic thinking that helps our clients do more good in the world.

For almost 20 years, our desire to help people who help others has remained true. For that reason, GLIDE has always sought to work with startups, nonprofits, and beloved brands—all passionate and wanting to do amazing things. It's about giving good people and great organizations the exposure they deserve through delightful digital experiences that are beautiful, useful, and produce lasting value.

Whether it's a nonprofit that distributes care boxes to cancer patients or a hyper-growth tech startup, GLIDE has had the privilege and honor to work with some truly beloved brands like Yeti Coolers, Torchy's Tacos, iFLY, HEB Foundation, RetailMeNot, National Breast Cancer Foundation, WP Engine, Austin FC, Circuit of the Americas, and many more.

Tell us about yourself

My why journey began in 2003 when I started GLIDE with a clear plan to be an industry leader in web design for ROI. I envisioned three strategic pillars:

  • Make amazing websites.
  • Deliver clear results.
  • Create raving fans.

After a decade of striving with this mindset, I came across the TEDx talk by Simon Sinek called Start With Why. If you aren't familiar with it already, the quintessential point he makes is that "People don't buy what you do. They buy why you do it!" It took me down a long road of introspection for myself and for GLIDE on why I do what I do and why I come to work every day.

The ultimate conclusion I came to was really just an extension of my life purpose, which was to help people. My realization was I want to work with great people, for great people to do meaningful work that makes a difference. But how, as makers of digital things geared toward marketing, does GLIDE fit into this purpose? The answer, it turns out, was simple. Find people who are already helping people and help them. And with a clear why and the GLIDE purpose defined—to help people who help others—the path was clear. Make these statements more true each day, for myself and for GLIDE, than the day before. Our purpose is a narrative that motivates our team and clarifies our favorite people to work with and for - all passionate, all wanting to do meaningful work that positively impacts the lives of others. They are great folks who are making a difference.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

Growing a healthy, profitable, and loved digital creative agency for over 20 years. Healthy, that we have a culture people love, and industry-leading retention and eNPS (i.e., 90 or 9 out of 10 people giving a 9-10 rating on if they would recommend to a friend or colleague). Profitable, being a positive profit for every year of the company's history. Loved, being from our clients would also give us raving fan testimonials across every major reviews site for our industry, including Clutch, Upcity, Google, and more.

What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?

It's lonely, and not everyone understands your challenges and/or can share in your happiness with your successes. This is why it's critical to surround yourself with other founders, CEOs, executives, and leaders in general and, more specifically, in your space. Both ahead of you and further down the road to learning from and behind you and tracking down the same path you're on so that you can mentor and help them.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

  1. Know your "why," the purpose of your company, and a clear vision of the future DEEPLY before you get started.
  2. Go find a few people that have done what you want to do and learn from them and/or copy them until you can do it better (sounds lame, but why learn the zillion hard lessons when you don't have to?)
  3. Get CRYSTAL clear, to the best extent possible, about what you're going to have to sacrifice to achieve your company purpose and envisioned future. THEN passionately pursue it and persevere when the going gets tough.

Where can people find you and your business?


If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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