What I'm All About
Hi, I’m Clark. I grew up in a small town in west Alabama, and enjoyed the typical middle class, American childhood. I went to a traditional school, played sports and made good grades. I learned that being successful meant getting a good job, which meant going to college and getting a degree, preferably in a lucrative field like engineering, medicine or pharmacy.
Schooling came pretty easily to me, and it wasn’t hard for me to pass tests and make good grades. Upon graduating high school at the top of my class, I did just as I was taught and chose to attend Auburn University. Initially I chose pharmacy as my course of study, in my father’s footsteps. Eventually, I decided a degree in biosystems engineering (a biologically-focused field) might be a better fit. The outdoors and biology appealed to me, and it seemed an engineering degree would magically provide me with endless job opportunities.
Two important things happened to me while attending college. First, through the influence of Godly men wiser than myself, I developed a deeper interest and understanding of my faith. I’ve since devoured numerous sermons, lectures and books that helped me develop a comprehensive worldview consistent with my faith. Second, I met the girl who eventually agreed to marry me. We’ve been married since 2012 and have one amazing daughter.
As I neared the end of my studies, I realized that biosystems engineering (B.S.) might not thrill me like I thought it would, and that job opportunities would be limited. As I graduated from Auburn in 2013, I worried about finding a job in my field. I worked part time for a small company in Auburn, performing stream and wetland delineations and mitigation while I looked for a full-time career.
Fearing unemployment, I jumped at the first full-time job opportunity I received. I started as an environmental engineering specialist at the Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM) in January of 2014. My work at ADEM involved managing hazardous waste sites at various federal facilities throughout the state. I reviewed documents generated by the facility, and ensure that their work plans, procedures, and remediation results followed appropriate state and federal regulations.
During this time, I continued to develop an understanding of libertarianism and Austrian economics through books and podcasts. As my libertarian philosophy grew, so did cognitive dissonance about working for the state. I no longer wanted to participate in the interventionist regulatory state, and I desperately wanted to find a creative and fulfilling way to support my family.
One day while enjoying the comforting ritual of pipe smoking, I searched around online for a pipe tobacco subscription service and came up dry. I had been researching different business models in attempts to build a business of my own, and the subscription box model intrigued me because of the low capital and risk involved, as well the creativity and hands on work required. So I decided to take a leap and start my own in January 2017.
The Tin Society launched in March 2017 as a pipe tobacco subscription service designed to curate monthly pipe tobacco samples for beginner and veteran pipe smokers. Since the launch, I grew my customer base 300% and sold over $10,000 of subscription boxes. My biggest challenge and victory was redesigning my products and website about six months after I launched. The changes produced the biggest month of new customers since the company launched, even with a small price increase and fewer offerings.
Around the time I started my business, I heard several interviews on The Tom Woods Show about an apprenticeship program called Praxis. This program connects young, creative people with fast growing startup companies, giving them the chance to gain real world experience and create value for their employers. I’m excited to be participating in this program now and have the chance to work in a field that is limber and growing, unlike my bureaucratic state job.
In the Praxis program, participants are hired by companies looking to expand and add fresh, talented, and driven members to their team. These positions begin as a 6 month, paid apprenticeship and if all goes well, transition into a full-time job.
For my apprenticeship, I was hired by a company called 80/20 Marketing Inc. who’s sole product is an e-commerce training and coaching platform called, E-Commerce Business School. I was hired for an operations role and worked under the Director of Operations for my 6-month apprenticeship period.
To say it went well I think would be a bit of an understatement. I was loving the varied and engaging work I was getting to do for 80/20 and my boss was loving that she finally had someone eager to dive into any project, learn fast, and take tasks off of her plate.
I thoroughly enjoyed my apprenticeship at 80/20 and happily accepted the full-time position they offered me. Now, I help manage most of the back-end software tools that we use to operate our business. My responsibilities scheduling out emails, creating and managing various marketing automations, to building out complex sales funnels and much more. We’re a fast-paced company, and that’s just how I like it. There’s always tasks to be completed and new projects to push me past my comfort zone and gain new skills.