AF 336 - People You Should Know Series: Lessons from Serial Entrepreneur Garr Russell

Now and then I get to connect with entrepreneurs in other industries that I find fascinating. Garr Russell is a Native Michigander who started a nationwide RV rental company that is growing like wildfire, hence the name Firestarted RV Rental.

Come and listen to what Garr and I have in common as we share details about business failures, successes, and the faith that has kept us both going!

Navigating Entrepreneurship and Faith: A Fireside Chat with Gar Russell

As the host of "The Amazon Files" podcast, I've had the privilege of speaking with many inspiring entrepreneurs, but my recent conversation with Gar Russell, founder and owner of Fireside RV Rental, was particularly enlightening. Gar's journey from starting and selling businesses to creating a successful RV rental franchise is a story of resilience, faith, and the power of restoration. In this blog post, I'll share the key insights and lessons from our candid discussion, hoping to inspire and guide fellow entrepreneurs through the highs and lows of their own ventures.

The Entrepreneurial Spirit: From Fifth Grade to Franchise

Gar's entrepreneurial spirit was evident from a young age, starting as early as fifth grade. His experiences with building and selling businesses laid the groundwork for his eventual foray into the RV rental industry. The transition was serendipitous; after purchasing a camper for his wife, who later realized she didn't enjoy camping while pregnant, Gar saw an opportunity to rent it out. This decision not only solved a personal dilemma but also sparked the idea to scale the business into a franchise model.

The Leap of Faith: Franchising Fireside RV Rental

One of the most compelling parts of our conversation was Gar's reflection on his faith and how it has influenced his business decisions. He spoke about the importance of being a good steward of money and resources, a principle that guided him to the pivotal moment of franchising his business. Despite initial resistance and the challenges of the franchising process, Gar's commitment to his values and vision led him to take that leap of faith.

Overcoming Adversity: Personal Struggles and Financial Setbacks

Gar's story took a personal turn as he opened up about the struggles he faced during the COVID-19 pandemic. Like many entrepreneurs, he encountered financial losses, but it was the personal challenges, including turning to heavy drinking, that led to a significant financial setback. Gar's vulnerability in sharing these moments was a powerful reminder of the human aspect of entrepreneurship and the importance of acknowledging and addressing our struggles.

The Importance of Balance: Family Over Business

Reflecting on my own experiences, I resonated with Gar's emphasis on finding balance and the need to sometimes prioritize family over business. We both acknowledged the necessity of being authentic and vulnerable in sharing our entrepreneurial journeys, including the mistakes and the lessons learned along the way.

A Renewed Sense of Purpose: Encouraging Christian Entrepreneurs

Gar's renewed commitment to his purpose—to encourage Christian entrepreneurs to take risks and learn from their mistakes—was a testament to his resilience. He spoke about the importance of honesty and restoration in relationships, and how his faith taught him that God can restore anything and is bigger than any challenge.

Pivots and Progress: The Entrepreneurial Journey

Our discussion also touched on the significance of pivots in business, such as systemization, documentation, and building a strong company culture and community. Gar highlighted the breakthrough moments when he focused on his ministry within the business and found the right audience. We explored the diverse paths of entrepreneurship, from family influences to personal experiences, and the role of faith in decision-making.

Fireside RV Rental: An Opportunity for Adventure and Partnership

Gar shared the opportunities available through Fireside RV Rental for those looking to rent RVs or even partner with the company through franchising. His passion for his work and the entrepreneurial spirit was evident as he discussed the potential for others to join in on the adventure.

Embracing Obedience and Trusting the Journey

I couldn't help but express my admiration for Gar's work and his dedication to faith and obedience in pursuing his goals. It's a powerful message for all of us—to embrace obedience as a way to follow a bigger plan and to trust in the guidance of those who care for us.

Gratitude and Growth: Learning from Our Mistakes

As we wrapped up our conversation, I thanked Gar for his openness and the privilege of having him share his story on the podcast. His journey is a reminder of the value of learning from our mistakes and making course corrections as we navigate the entrepreneurial path.

Final Reflections: Restoration and Resilience

The conversation with Gar Russell was more than just an interview; it was a deep dive into the heart of entrepreneurship, faith, and the human experience. As I reflect on the word of the year, "restoration," I'm reminded of the challenges we all face and the resilience required to overcome them. It's about pursuing growth, embracing our vulnerabilities, and supporting each other through the journey.

I invite you to join me in this ongoing conversation about entrepreneurship and faith by tuning in to "The Amazon Files" podcast. Together, we can learn, grow, and inspire one another to rise above the challenges and embrace the opportunities that lie ahead.




 “This is my motto: Hey, I can, or there's a will, there's a way. And I will make a way if there isn't one. I think that's kind of the vein of entrepreneurship that we have.” - Kristin Ostrander



Building an RV Rental Franchise Business (00:00:00)

Introduction to the podcast episode and the guest's entrepreneurial journey.

Transition from Credit Counseling to RV Rental (00:02:06)

Guest shares his entrepreneurial background and the transition from a credit counseling business to the RV rental business.

Starting the RV Rental Business (00:04:01)

The guest narrates the story of how he ventured into the RV rental business after a camping experience with his wife.

Franchising the RV Rental Business (00:06:23)

The guest discusses the timeline and decision-making process behind turning the RV rental business into a franchise opportunity.

Challenges and Personal Struggles (00:11:24)

The guest opens up about the financial setbacks, personal struggles, and mistakes made during the growth of the business.

Renewal and Encouragement (00:15:12)

The guest shares his recent experiences of renewal, spiritual awakening, and his mission to encourage other entrepreneurs, especially during challenging times.

Restoration and Faith (00:16:46)

Discussion on restoration, faith, and overcoming mistakes and struggles with reliance on God.

Breakthrough Moments (00:18:26)

Gar's revelation about focusing on ministry within the business leading to breakthroughs and franchise growth.

Systemization and Community Building (00:24:07)

Creation of the "Fireside FastTrack Framework," coaching calls, and building a community culture.

Entrepreneurial Spirit and Learning Paths (00:26:44)

Gar and Kristen's experiences with entrepreneurship, formal training, and family influence on career paths.

Pivots and Entrepreneurial Realizations (00:23:37)

Gar's pivots in systemization, documentation, and community-building, and Kristen's friend's journey into entrepreneurship.

Conclusion and Finding More Information (00:33:11)

Kristen's closing remarks and inquiry about where to find more information about Gar's business and training.

Obedience and Faith (00:33:26)

Discussion on the importance of obedience and faith in pursuing a larger plan.

Following God's Plan (00:34:00)

Acknowledgment of following God's plan and being open to course correction.

Moving Upward in Him (00:34:32)

Reference to the biblical concept of progressing from glory to glory.


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