It started out with a hobby of selling. I used to sell stuff online on Ebay and the other online platforms. My wife works for the county and she mentioned Launch1000 to me one day. At first, I was a little hesitant about it because I assumed it was for people who had never been in business before and I’d run my own business in the past. If I’m going to be honest, my initial thought was, “Eh, I’ve done this before in real life what am I going to learn from an online course?” But then you get into the program and realize you can learn everything.
Phase 1 basically was about discussing myself and my story and my passions. It didn’t really seem to lessen my initial doubts about the program because I was thinking, “What does this really have to do with business?” To date that was probably the most difficult phase because you’re opening up and exploring within and trying to put that on paper. The other thing that was hard is that in the beginning is that you’re trying to get an accountability partner and trying to get a Tribe of 3 when you don’t know anyone. But it forces you to bond with and get to know people you don’t know. As the weeks progressed I realized we’re on this journey together and we could really benefit each other. For me, I’m selling a type of Columbian jean to women and the women in the program offered their time to speak to me about how they buy jeans and they referred me to other friends and family of theirs that I talked to.
As someone who has sold online a lot, this was the first time I’d had so many conversations about a product I’m selling. The things I thought were important in buying jeans, absolutely never crossed their minds and things they said were important I never would have guessed. I thought initially that the biggest driver of selling jeans was price. I got into these conversations and quickly learned it was about the way the jeans fit. This became really crystal clear after my first set of curiosity conversations. After my third set of curiosity conversations, I started to ask more about what made them take the leap to buy from a new company when shopping online.
In Phase 3, I built a roadmap as to what had to happen for my idea to become a business. I think the Start Something Canvas is very helpful in roadmapping what needs to be done: the fundamental keys to your business, the key drivers of your business, the differentiation, etc. It was great to put it in perspective on the canvas and see what really needs to be done. I think what I realized from doing the canvas is that this framework could be applied to whatever product or target marked I wanted to pursue. Before when I’ve started new projects I think I felt like I was starting all over. But having this detailed step-by-step process, even if I wanted to introduce a new product, there’s a framework I could apply to find out if it’s viable or not.
I’d like to get this business to a point where I’m importing the jeans and sending them to a major distributor like Amazon or a regional distributor who would make the sales. If the program ended right now and went no further, I’d still be completely satisfied with what I’ve gotten out of it because it’s allowed me to look at things totally different and test things out without spending a dollar. That being said I can’t wait to finish the rest of the program.
I’ve gotta say, I think Westchester is great not only for putting together this program but a host of other programs as well. The county does do a lot and I appreciate it because it’s well thought-out and well planned. And every week I’m like “This is not costing us a thing and it’s amazing”.
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