7 things I wish I knew about being an Entrepreneur FIRST!

Kendra Kroll entrepreneur and inventorSo you think you have the next big thing, ‘eh?  Maybe you had a little “situation” like I did and went out and solved your own problem. And maybe you decided to follow your heart to help people solve those same problems, too.  Maybe you’ve been thinking about starting a business to sell a product. Either way you got there…whether you’re more an accidental entrepreneur, or whether you’re one who’s laid out strategy for a while.

So you want to be an Entrepreneur?

At times we entrepreneurs thrive on that seat-of-the-pants mentality.  Although living with risk can be exciting, it can also cause hardship. And what you don’t know can be an expensive lesson, both in time and in money. After almost 6 years out in the jungle, I can say there are some things I really wish I knew before I jumped in with both feet.

Running after big retailers is a giant waste of time

The bottom line is  “big box” retailers are NOT brand builders. They don’t care if you’re the next messiah, they’ll wait until your product has a proven following before they’ll invest in precious shelf space. What they give to you, they take away from others, so your item sure as sh** has to have a decent sell-through to warrant a space at all.

Get ready for supply chain “surprises” … and not the good kind

What do you MEAN you pay up front for manufacturing runs, wait for months for the products to arrive, and ACTUALLY expect that the items you bought will REALLY look like the sample you approved?  Are you SERIOUS??

The Patent office is not your friend

Everyone gets bonged. EVERYONE. Be prepared to fight the battle, spend 3x the money and time, and wait for years to get anything. And then wait some more.

It’s  false economy to buy more at the start

It’s easy to think the more you buy, cost per unit will decrease. While that’s true, you’ll tie up capital and end up with a whole lot of something that you don’t know how will perform in the market. This is true of both packaging and product. Tweaks will almost always be needed, especially in the early stages. Don’t go big at first, or you WILL go home.

Don’t expect anyone to have a clue

Educating the public is the hardest part – especially if your product is a new concept. That’s the real deal on why companies spend millions on marketing. Nobody knows your brand better than you, so be prepared to be your own ambassador.

The celebrity snafus

We all run around excitedly sending our creations to the celebs; after all, isn’t it fun to think of Angelina Jolie actually using and appreciating your little brainchild? Problem is – she didn’t get it.  There are SO many gatekeepers who will intercept your product before it EVER gets to the intended recipient. Don’t expect who you THINK is receiving your gift really is (this info from a former VP at the famed talent agency William Morris in LA).

And the big one: the sobering reality of how much time & money it takes

Don’t quit your day job until you are CERTAIN you can stomach the tides. There are many.

No matter the challenge, I wish you ultimate success in your journey, and gentleness in your inevitable struggles. Despite the obstacles, there are ways to overcome.  If you’re on a mission, you’ll find a way!

This guest post was written by Kendra Kroll, entrepreneur and inventor of the PortaPocket.

For the backstory & photo “diary of a leg,” stop by and visit:

http://portapocketnotebook.blogspot.com/2012/05/walking-down-street-with-leg-in-my-hand.html

http://portapocketnotebook.blogspot.com/2013/01/new-yearnew-leg-serving-up-some-wacky.html

https://www.facebook.com/pages/PortaPocket/36794284484

…and if you ever want to lose the worry, not your stuff… you know where you can put it. 😉  http://www.portapocket.com

 

 

About Rob Merlino

Entrepreneur, auteur, raconteur. Rob Merlino is a blogger and writer who enjoys the Shark Tank TV show and Hot Dogs. A father of five who freelances in a variety of publications, Rob has a stable of websites including Shark Tank Blog, Hot Dog Stories, Rob Merlino.com and more.

Comments

  1. thanks for the opportunity, Rob…it’s very appreciated!

  2. Leo Genaro Arroyo says

    Fashion entrepreneur and Product creator.
    Every single point you made is right on the button! The whole patenting thing is a nightmare also and questionable? Asia will not hold back even if you have a patent. We are not protected overseas, which is one of the main reason why I wanted to get one?! If you really want to protect your product, you will need to get a patent in every country and spend close to a million dollars or more. And you still might get knocked off.
    I say… Make it ,sell it, and later on partner-up with your thief. lol…

  3. Fantastic post! You certainly tell it like it is and you have such a knack for doing so with a smirk. I read somewhere, someone said something like “Human beings have the unique ability to learn from someone else’s mistakes, but rarely take advantage of it.” What a service this article is to those that break the mold & look before they leap.

  4. How true it is Kendra! Thanks for shedding some light on this process for upcoming entrepreneurs.

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