We had the good fortune of connecting with Michael McMaster and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Michael, do you have some perspective or insight you can share with us on the question of when someone should give up versus when they should keep going?
If I’m being honest, I think about giving up all the time. I think about giving up when I feel overwhelmed, when I feel tired, and when I feel like I’m not making much progress. Starting your own business is hard and then executing the plan on building the business is even harder. I understand why many people just give up. It’s a long, frustrating road riddled with the unexpected and the unknown. The self doubt is relentless. I constantly fall victim to impostor syndrome. Everything takes longer than you think it will and the hours are endless. In a word, it’s brutal. It would be so easy to just give up. Go work for someone else again. Someone else who has it all figured out already. The temptation is always there. These are the early years of running a business. The vision is there, but the path is hard to see sometimes. You’re in the dark a lot, not knowing if you are going in the right direction or not. And you know what? It’s impossible to know without taking that next step.

How to know whether to keep going or to give up? You’ll know. Somewhere inside of you there will be a voice, a hunger, driving you forward. It’s hard to explain, but it’s just there. Urging you to keep moving forward. Take the next step. Do the next thing. Finish the week month out. Reevaluate things next year. A refusal to give up. A connection to the universe that you know, with all your heart and soul, that this is what you should be doing. It’s not a given. It’s a feeling that if you continue to work hard, persevere, and make progress, good things will happen. it helps to be passionate about your product and business. I can’t imagine having these same feelings about something I didn’t truly believe in. I think a lack of passion is what contributes to a lot of people giving up. You have to be all in. There is no turning back. Figure it out and keep moving forward, especially when it gets tough. A great support system helps as well. I wouldn’t have gotten very far without my loving and supportive wife. She’s been in my corner from the very beginning and has encouraged me to keep at it. Now we have two little boys, who don’t fully understand what I’m working on, but one day I hope to share with them my journey. They keep me motivated in the most trying times. And if all else fails, I’ll never forget what my mother would say – “Never give up”

What should our readers know about your business?
I began drinking kombucha in the late 2000’s and really enjoyed it. A lot of people back then, and still today, either love it or hate it. I fell in love instantly and began home brewing shortly thereafter. There were a few brands that I really enjoyed drinking, but there wasn’t a ton of brands nor a wide variety of flavors. It was around that time that I had my gall bladder removed, due to a poor diet. After the surgery, I became much more health conscious and totally transformed my diet. I knew I liked kombucha, but I felt that it could be even better with the addition of better ingredients like adaptogenic herbs and spices. I wanted to make kombucha that was flavorful, healthy, and would appeal to people who “hated it”. We are proud to produce kombucha made from green and white tea, that utilizes fresh fruit, unique spices, and herbs that work to promote full body and mind health. We take pride in not using any artificial ingredients or flavorings. Our kombucha is brewed with a purpose and we truly believe it can be a part of a healthy lifestyle for our consumers.

It’s not been easy to get this far, and we aren’t even that far, compared to our competitors. It’s a slow process, but a methodical one. We want to grow slowly and organically so we can preserve our quality and standards. We’ve seen businesses grow to fast and lose the things that made them special. This is one lesson we hope to avoid. We’re committed to brewing a high quality kombucha full of flavor and functionality. We started this business with the idea that kombucha can both taste great and be good for you. We are on a mission to spread roots throughout Denver and the surrounding communities. We feel that a business and it’s community should interact much like the bacteria and yeast do in a SCOBY. They form a symbiotic relationship that is mutually beneficial to both organisms. Success, and life, is intertwined. We cannot succeed with out partners succeeding, nor would we want to. We are looking for win win partnerships. We’ve found some, here’s hoping to finding more in the future….

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I love Denver. I moved here back in 2003 and knew I would never leave. My wife is a Denver native and we are excited to raise our kids here. This city has so much to offer, to people of every interest. We would definitely get outdoors. Weather dependent, but in the Summer we love Red Rocks, hiking (slowly checking off the 14ers), City park, Cheeseman park, and all the great farmers markets.

We’d go to some of our favorite restaurants – City o City, Q House, Sputnik, Somebody People, Piante Pizza, Anise, and To the Wind.

Drinks? Odell brewery (Rino), Honey Elixir Bar, Hudson Hill, Finn’s Manor, Comrade Brewery,

Hanging out? The Gothic, The Bluebird, Linger or Ophelias.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My wife has been my number one supporter since day one. She has always been a willing participant, and my most vocal cheerleader, since I first dreamed of this business. She tasted every single batch of my kombucha in the early days, when it wasn’t very good. She always had great suggestions and kept encouraging me to continue making it. I’ve wanted to give up a few times and she always talked me through it. She believes in me 100% and has always been my driving force.

Website: Symbiotikombucha.com

Instagram: @Symbiotikombucha

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