Monday, March 9, 2020

Owning Her Future | Christine Garner, Teton Smart Security

As Christine Garner was growing up, planning for her future was not on her mind. The child of Vietnam War refugees whose mother adopted end-of-the-world beliefs, Christine never believed that a college education or a business would be her reality. Overcoming obstacles early in life set her up to overcome the challenges that business would bring.
Christine Garner

Teton Smart Security is a commercial security company started in 2011. Christine admitted that she didn't have the entrepreneurial spirit, and starting their own business was a scary prospect. She talked her husband, Sean, who had security experience, into going back to school to get an electrical engineering degree. She was working at the time and they started having a family. Christine said this is when things changed for them. “I wanted to be home with my little boy,” she said, and so she told Sean she'd support him if he really wanted to start the business. Sean dropped out of school and started the business.

“Sean was so great at the technical, and I jumped in doing sales, and what we found was that we had no business experience. It's a whole other world. The business took a life of its own. It was terrifying because we didn't have the knowledge,” she said. “We went to the school of hard knocks.” Three years into the business their accountant advised them that they had two options. Either they close the business and get jobs, or figure out how to make the business work.

“I thought, there's no way our marriage would survive our business failure, but I didn't know what to do.” This is when they turned to the Small Business Development Center and were paired with David Noack, who changed their business and their personal life. “It took a lot of work,” she said, but after working with SBDC they were able to turn their business around and now it's thriving.

Her own journey inspired her to create a business called Envision Your Purpose. It is a purpose-driven vision board workshop. Christine guides attendees to discover who they are, where they are in their life, to identify their purpose in their life, to identify their goals and align that with their purpose.

“I used to be a skeptic. Just because you see something doesn't mean it's going to happen unless you work for it,” she said. “It's an empowerment tool that you use to visualize how to get closer to your goals.” This tool worked in their own business and they met revenue goals they never thought they could achieve by using it.

Christine's childhood helped shape her to overcome challenges. When she was 8 years old her mother moved them to Idaho because she believed that the West Coast was going to be destroyed by an earthquake. Christine's life became about survival and she lived in fear. When she was preparing to graduate from high school she convinced her mother to complete the FAFSA application for college tuition assistance. She says this is what changed her perspective. “I said, 'I can't live this life, I have got to plan for my future as if I'm going to live. I'm going to live the best life that I can, come what may,'” she said.

Christine and Sean have inspired their son to carry on the entrepreneurial spirit. He requested a snack shack for his sixth birthday and started Jojo's Snack Shack, where elementary kids come and pick their faviorite treats. “He loves it, and it's so fun.”

Her advice to other business owners is to read eMyth and Start With Why. Really understand your purpose for wanting a business. “Become educated, become more so you can be a great asset to your business,” she advised. “I would encourage anyone out there who has a purpose in them that they want to share with the world that they become clear and decide how to share it. Get clear.”


For more information about Teton Smart Security check out their website at https://tetonsmartsecurity.com/.
For more information about Christine's Envision Your Purpose workshops visit her Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/Envision-Your-Purpose-111576267098924/