Am I Crazy: Chronicles of an Entrepreneur

Submitted by Kevin Royes on Fri, 04/13/2007 - 14:15.

April 13/07
Am I Crazy: Chronicles of an Entrepreneur

Start. Start to write. The chronicles of an entrepreneur, if interesting to no one else but myself…I write. This is more a place for me to work it out as I go rather than a dialogue with others. Self therapy rather than self rant. I used the word I crazy?

I jump into this writing on Friday the 13th of April in order to congeal my thoughts through a time where I am confused, uncertain and nearly out of money.

I am a product developer…of sorts. I never really know what to call myself. I don’t seem to fit into any particular category. Many people would call me an inventor but there is something mad scientist about this term that doesn’t really sit well with me. To be an inventor has this air of being crazy…out of touch…in a basement with test tubes and things that go BOOM and burst into flames somewhat expectedly…and sadly.

No…not an inventor…a product developer. I come up with ideas for things and if there is a sufficient amount of steam behind it in my psyche…I look for how to bring it to market…

Back in the day it was snowboarding. I came up with an idea for a snowboard lock in 1988 and with my wife, turned that into a world recognized brand with over 200 product developments in tow. In 1999 my wife and I sold Bakoda.

A few years ago it was the toy and collectables market. I spent two years with partners again growing Proflix into a brand with international presence and attracting customers like Nike, Toyota and Energizer Batteries. Then I hit a wall.

I stopped working on money in September of 2004 and started working on myslef. A sebatical. What the hell is life all about. Two years later I found the meaning of life….

There is no meaning…that’s a big one. We make it up as we go…mostly without realizing it. So now I realize it…I want to play and have fun with it.

So now I am ready to get back to work…consciously creating the meaning as I go. More accurately, I am getting back to life because my work is a very important aspect of how I express and live as are my children, my wife, my health, my spiritual sense, my knowledge sense and my relationships with others….everything I do while being alive is life. I don’t check out for 9 hours during the day only to really start living when I get home or get to yoga…it’s all life. So my work has to serve that for me…has to have meaning and purpose…even though I know it is my own self created, agreed upon meaning…so I create (or attempt to create) meaning that serves me most…after all, how much meaning can I find in the invention of a screwdriver.

A screwdriver…a tool. Yup, this is my big invention that is going to change the world. How do I inject a tool invention with the juice of meaning, and become a millionaire in the process.

Touch on that for a moment…millionaire. Yes, I am playing a game of sorts…this game of business within the game of life. What is the game…whatever I say it is (that is the beauty of deciding that all meaning is whatever we say…so say what you want).

The goal is to launch a business and step away from it as a millionaire by the end of 2008.

This isn’t just creating a sexy product and cross my fingers that people actually will want it…that is definitely part of the journey, but there is more…this game is also about finding a factory that won’t fuck up with late deliveries or poorly made tools. This game is about moving forward with steam even though I don’t have a clue as to how I will finance my future order from Home Depot for 10 million units of my new incredible super tool that everyone in the world is going to want to get their paws on. This game is about marketing, logistics, hiring and firing. It’s about the close calls and the home runs and the number of times I “almost” gave up.

Ok, so the goal is to build a brand with a super cool idea, and then sell it. I don’t want to move forward at a distance from this child knowing that I plan to auction it off to the highest bidder…I love it first and foremost. I am here with it and for it. I am the brand. I am Kelvin: tools for urban living. I will be it until I am no longer it. This is the art. This is the way. This is how to make it part of life. This is where the fire, and energy to get over the walls, holes and hurdles come from.

So where am I now…right now…today. What needs help and clarification.

Let’s see, today I spoke with Carol, a retail consultant from the US town where Wal-Mart has their head office. She is amazing and knows the big box biz inside and out…and she is spendy. One of the promises I have made to myself this time around is to work with high performers only…if I can afford it. I can’t afford her as a consultant just yet, but I did buy her book for $25 and that is helping a great deal.

The big US hardware show is fast approaching…May 8-10. I have to focus on that. I don’t know the hardware biz landscape all that well and this show will be where I get shit done. I will have my attaché case presentation ready to show prospective reps and distributors and Charly from the factory has promised me a sexy working proto by the end of the month…not counting on it though.

I am not happy with the factory. It has been 9 months since I started working with them and I still don’t have a final working proto. Simon is the president and during my visits to China he proposed to conduct my sales as well. What a home run…to find a factory that wants to produce my product AND sell it. It sounds like I could just sit back and collect checks for the rest of my life…the dream of any inventor…that conversation has fizzled. Simon doesn’t even reply to my emails on the sales subject…no reply at all to the PDF presentation I sent last week. Hmmmm…..

So, what do I do. He rcvd the presentation, and he rcvd the email from me pissed off at the poor level of service and communication. Instead of replying he put heat on his product development team…mainly Charly…to get the product done. Great for the product work, but not for sales. I am insulted Simon. When I go to the show I will be looking for a new factory as well. Ahhhhh…..the wonderful game.

I need to learn more about the biz and my friend Eden has a brother that has a company in this industry. I should call him…today or Monday perhaps. I should call today and when I see myself putting it off I know it is because I am afraid of something…talking perhaps. Crazy. This block of talking to people…I need to deal with this if I am going to make it.

I met a company last week that helps companies grow. They plan and execute...sort of like an outsourced Director of Business Development. I thought we had a great meeting and I thought they would be a good company to work with. My thoughts were that they would head up the sales efforts for a commission so that I could put into place a solid sales force with little to no expense...I did mention that I am on a budget...a super tight one at that. My thoughts seem wrong because I haven’t heard from them all week.

Sometimes I wonder if my hot new tool is only hot for me and the nice people I show it to who have great accolades…friends, family, dog…

How come Simon is silent on running with sales if the tool is so hot. How come the outsourced VP of Business takes on a skate board company with small potential for sales, yet hasn’t returned an email for Kelvin tools that could do billions.

Am I the crazy inventor that thinks he has the next great thing. Am I disillusioned by my own self. Do I suck…

No…don’t fall into this trap . Yes of course there are those out there that are suffering from disillusionment of their invention ideas like the guy who designed a rain coat with inner water proof pockets that you can pee into while standing at a bus stop if you can’t get to a toilette in time…someone needs to talk to this chap. But not me. I do have a great thing going...I will change the world...and the moment I let go of that is the moment I truly head down hill for good.

Do not let go. This is going to make it. I don’t know Simon’s reason for silence, nor do I know Neil, Terry, or Larry’s…but I am moving forward…taking notes, and moving forward. There is too much legitimate juice behind this puppy to be side tracked by the unknown.

In the meantime, I also need to think about building up OpusCreo…my product design and development company. I will take on clients like Bula which is a big step for me. Out of my ego of being too good to design for a “customer” and their wants and wishes. But realistically I don’t know when Kelvin tools will start making money and hiring out my services…if anyone wants me…is a fantastic way to be…so here I go.

I am going to revisit my website and make it more of pitching clients. Today I am going to work very hard at this so that by the end of next week I can send out emails to all my contacts letting them know what I am up to now and see if there are any opportunities.

Kelvin: tools for urban living

OpusCreo: product design and development

These are the two projects I will attempt to chronicle for myself as I struggle at times, flow at times…and everything else in between…the entrepreneur in me steps on.

( categories: WorkSpace Community )
Submitted by Dane Brown on Fri, 04/13/2007 - 17:09.

Yeah Kev!  Great post.  That just got me really stoked.  I love how you put it all out there.  I gotta say, brother, if anyone can make this happen it's you.  Trust your gut and keep pushing.  Let me know if there is anything I can do to help.

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.