For Jon & Josh Bailey, entrepreneurship and spirituality are in the blood.
When these two twins were just ten years old, their father pioneered a non-denominational church in Plano, Texas. The church held services in their family's living room for the first six months before moving to a school.
"Looking back the whole thing was not unlike a typical startup experience. We were fortunate to grow up in an environment like that. Those values that define a bootstrap startup were instilled in us at an early age." — Josh
The budding church grew into a thriving body and became a training ground for the twins who plunged into all-things church and had leadership roles in the student and college ministries. It was also at this time, they became passionate advocates for quality and excellence in media and design for the church.
Their dad's influence looms large and one image that remains with them today is his office. One wall was dedicated to books; it contained shelf after shelf of spiritual classics, commentaries, leadership and church growth reads. The other wall was dedicated to tapes, tons and tons of them. It was literally a wall of messages from Bill Hybels, John Maxwell and many other pastors and church leaders. The two enjoyed sneaking books and tapes from their father's office, but had a hard time remembering to bring them back.
"Today, we've taken our father's lead and have our own personal book libraries at home, and, while we don't have tapes on any of our walls, we are avid listeners to audio books, podcasts, and online content." — Jon
Jon & Josh launched their first startup, Graceway Media, in the upstairs room of their parent's house in 2005. The twins, having provided graphics for their father for a couple of years, decided to see if the need existed for other pastors around the country. The need was greater than they expected.
The faith-based company solved a design problem for time-strapped ministers. Many were looking for accompanying graphics for their sermon. They wanted something visual, something creative and professional, something to help magnify their audible message.
The company grew and by 2011, Jon & Josh and their team were servicing 4,500 churches every week with design templates and resources.
In 2012, the twins were approached by another church media company about buying Graceway.
"We had two conditions. First, none of our twelve-member team could lose their jobs. And, second, we wanted to be able to begin work on a new startup idea we'd recently begun exploring—Lightstock." — Josh
Upon those two conditions being met, they moved forward with the sale. And no one was more stunned than they, when, at the ages of 29, they sold their first business and immediately found themselves out of a job after seven action-packed years!
Jon & Josh believe that success in startups can be experienced by anyone if they are willing to learn and grow. And that's what this blog is for, to help founders and entrepreneurs on their journey.
"We’re creating a space for people to learn and think. We don’t have all the answers and we’re not the best at this. We do, however, want to share our experience with anyone who's interested." — Jon
Today, Jon & Josh are in love with entrepreneurship and have moved onto their second startup, Lightstock, a company that is changing the landscape of faith-based photography and design. Each week they help thousands of Christian creatives communicate better by using faith-focused, non-cheesy stock photos, vectors and footage in their designs.
The Bailey boys have also begun learning and growing in the area of angel investing. They're always on the lookout for potential opportunities that align with their values and goals, especially in the faith-based market.
In fact, in the spring of 2015, they both took an equity position and are actively consulting in a thriving startup founded by Shane & Shane called, The Worship Initiative. They look forward to sharing all they learn from this experience too.