Am I Crazy: Chronicles of an Entrepreneur Part 6

Submitted by Kevin Royes on Mon, 06/25/2007 - 14:30.

Am I Crazy: Chronicles of an Entrepreneur Part 6

YEEHAW…..I have a licensing deal with an established Chinese factory that pays an impressive 20% royalty, but first let me step back. I started this blog a few months ago with the question: Am I crazy? It was one of those days when I was questioning what the hell I was up to. I had been working on this new tool concept for 11 months which was to weave itself into a brand new category of hand tools and spawn a whole new industry (think Leatherman)…with my company riding the wave all the way to the top.

Yes, I had grand (attainable) aspirations, yet on that particular day I was over-run with the fact that people I wanted to work with weren’t returning my calls, My factory was getting increasingly difficult to communicate with. My working prototype was months behind schedule. I was running out of money.

What did I really have? To look at it one way, all I had at that time was an idea….nothing more than an idea. I didn’t have a reliable factory. I didn’t know when I would have a sample. I didn’t know when we could start molds (even if I did, I didn’t have the money to pay for them). I didn’t know how I was going to sell them, ship them, warehouse them…even if I landed a huge order from Home Depot, how on earth was I going to finance the production when I couldn’t even afford rent.

But something…some voice of the many in my head…the voice that I like to think was the voice of wisdom…that voice told me –Don’t Give Up-. Actually, it said a lot more than that, but those three words were the essence.

But how…what does it mean to not give up. I needed money and a design contract came to me in March…if I accept it, is that giving up. I could put the kelvin project on hold until I gather my resources to keep the train moving. That seemed like the wise thing to do and so for a couple of weeks I negotiated with the Italian company with their head office just outside of Venice…and then one day I pulled out. That voice in my head. It told me that if I take this contract I am going to put all my efforts into it. The contract was to design snowboard products for a brand that I used to own years ago with my wife and we sold it to this company…and now they were asking me to come back to my baby and breathe some freshness back into its soul. Yes, the offer was very enticing indeed and I would be able to make May’s rent payment…but the voice…one night at 1130 it got me out of bed to send them an email to respectfully decline.

I really believe that kelvin.23 is a ground-breaking product. And I really believe that financially it will provide more fruit than any one person should eat. Instead of giving up, it was time to dig deeper…and dig even though I had no idea how I would last another month. So much uncertainty, yet the uncertainty is where all the magic is, and I am not afraid.

That night I re-committed myself to kelvin. I didn’t know how I was going to do it, but I wasn’t going to stop. I saw a movie recently that talked about how life is like driving a car at night sometimes…you are on the road and can only see what your lights expose about 200 feet ahead of you. Anything past that is unknown…could be a deer, or a moose, or an alien…we don’t know. But we drive on knowing that we are on the road to our destination, comfortable with the uncertainty.

So I drove on, and now today I sit here with great news…a breakthrough in the progress of bringing a new product, company, industry to life. After negotiating with three different factories and three potential investors, I have decided to partner up with a factory in China and I am entering a licensing agreement with them that pays me a royalty fee of 20%. The factory is owned by a westerner (amazing for doing business in China), he has an established customer base, the desire to grow, and can finance molds and production. The royalty rate is amazing, but it means nothing with a partner that can’t perform…these guys can perform…have performed, and are performing. It feels great.

So after 13 months in development, a few dances with anxiety, and leaning on my friends for financial help, I have just made it to the next meal. When this contract is signed I receive a cheque for $6250 and start a new phase of company development.

Am I crazy…maybe. But perhaps it is being crazy…and irrational, and illogical that have people like us ignore the signals a sane person would otherwise heed. A sane person would have given up long ago, saved his house, her car and be in Italy right now. But people like us… it’s feast or famine…we either make it…or die trying. Well, not as dramatic as a 50 Cent flick exactly, but you get the picture. The journey continues.

Submitted by Warwick Patterson on Fri, 07/06/2007 - 01:25.

Well done Kevin!  That analogy from the movie (about being on the road to our destination) is great...and something I feel very strongly right now too!  Keep up the good work.

Warwick Patterson
Formula Photographic

Submitted by Nancy aka money... on Thu, 07/05/2007 - 23:06.

Kevin - 3 huuggge  cheers for you.  I am absolutely delighted to read your post.  And boy, do I relate to those tense moments of wondering if you're doing the right thing (and imagine going through that as a money coach!) and yet, once the Thing has got hold of you, you just can't quit.  So here's to dying, trying!and with any luck, here's to dying knowing we accomplished something marvelous.
Your Money by Design

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