I started my first company when I was 19.
I literally started with a Google search, how to start a company.
I had the idea to create the first leather watch strap without holes.
It’d work like a zip-tie and allow for twice as many sizing options.
All I had was this idea.
Most people would stop there.
Instead my first step was to get a sample made.
I used to live in China and speak Mandarin so that’s what I did.
I found a factory which could produce this product.
At the time, I didn’t really know what I was doing.
So I contacted Andy Laats, the founder of Nixon watches. They’re a $400 million dollar watch company.
I thought this meeting would give me all the answers.
It took me six months to land this meeting.
When we met, I felt like a idiot.
Looking back on it, I was asking him the most basic questions about ecommerce.
I really had no clue what I was doing.
He probably left thinking my company would remain an idea.
(We met before I had my first sample).
Flash forward a year and my company was doing just over six figures in sales.
I then heard of a talk Andy was giving.
I went to the talk and stayed after, eager to catch up with him.
As I approached, he said, man you look familiar!
He was stoked that I had actually turned my idea into my own business.
Andy gets requests to meet with hundreds of entrepreneurs a year. Most don’t go forward with the next steps of starting a company.
Most first time entrepreneurs get caught up and don’t actually grow.
They expect a mentor or coach to do the work for them.
First time entrepreneurs need to know that there isn’t a magic box or person with all the answers.
Your path to success will be different than someone else’s.
Finding your own way is part of the journey.
Though having a great mentor can help, you can’t expect them to do the work for you.
The watch strap I invented!