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FAILURE A Fellow Entrepreneurs Journey

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Hayden Aquilon

Contributor
Nov 6, 2018
5
21
15
Well boys, I did it again. More mistakes....

I've been a full-time business owner now since 2018, when I left my corporate sales job at indeed.com. To say it's been all sunshine and roses is laughable. I am currently on my third business at this point, 4 years later. I am going to summarize all this as much as possible since it's too much info.

Timeline:

2018: Started a mobile coffee shop/stationary location called liberty coffee in Austin, TX. Since day 2 we were making a profit, albeit a small one. We executed everything "good enough", not flawless by any means. We had good branding, great customer service, good community involvement, and long hours. Quality was great and we had good reviews from everyone.

I worked the shop 7 days a week - most days getting there at 5:30am and staying there until 3pm. After two years, we were able to justify getting a full time and part time employee. About the time I got a full time employee it dawned on me that I was losing interest in what I was doing. It went from being a passion to a chore (oops, my first mistake).

I violated just about every principle in MJ's books. Trading hours for dollars, etc (you know the rest). About a year and a half in, I was sold on the idea of selling new and used books online on various online platforms (this was around the time I was losing interest in coffee). To my amazement, my books sales outpaced my coffee sales within months, and my eyes were opened up to the magic of "passive income" while I slept.

All the while, I was violating plenty of new principles starting this new side venture. Before starting books, I didn't do the following:
-Market research.
-Average profit margin.
-Average start-up costs.
-Investigate the barrier to entry restrictions, etc.
-Understand the massive investment in time and money to "legitimize" this type of business.
-I violated it all, it was half-baked and a recommendation from a friend.

Also, I was a victim of:
-The grass is always greener
-Another "passion project"

At the end of the day, we sold our business to a local competitor at cost. No financial loss here, but we also had no upside on a sale or any built in valuation. It was basically an asset sale.

To be honest, my mind was light years ahead focusing on our new media business at this point. To summarize, this is how the business grew:

Month 1-6: worked out of my garage - sales reached $16,000/mo
Month 6-13: Moved into a tiny warehouse to grow, sales hit $30,000/mo.
*Year one - profit margin was about 18%
Month 14-20: We moved into a space twice the size for almost the same price. Sales did not grow, since I did not hire on more people, but profitability improved.
Month 20-26: We moved into ANOTHER space in the same complex that was double the space. This time in a 6,000 sqft warehouse. Production went up quite a bit. At this point we had 4 employees. Everything was going well. Our best month we netted $26,000.

Then it happened. The amazon storage restriction..... OOPS! Didn't listen to MJ again. This cut both our legs out from under us. Although we survived and are good again. I have completely reengineered my entire outlook on everything.

I treat that business now as solely a cash flow business. It is now mostly passive and run by my warehouse manager Will.

Fast forward to June of this year. Nothing I have gone through has been a failure in my eyes. I have learned so much. I am more confident that I have ever been at this point.

In June of 2021. I now own a business that is free from anyone controlling it. I get product for pennies on the dollar. I mark it up $3,000% or more. It is scalable, controllable, and there is a large barrier to entry. And no, I'm not passionate about it. But I'll tell you what. When an order comes in, I sure get a feeling of passion!

On top of that, I just closed on the warehouse that houses both businesses (the media business and this new venture). I can't wait to see what the future holds for this business.

Our year 1 revenue for our new business is already pacing to do $500,000-650,000. Our media business has been scaled back and should still do about $350,000 in sales at a 20-25% margin. I now get the income from both businesses that pay off my building, as well as putting money in my pocket along. We also get the write-offs.

I am still far from "making it" but I am certain we are on the right path and all that stands in my way is time. Constant execution and patience is all I have to focus on now. I will give updates within the forum whenever I can.

Right now we are doing a lot of testing with advertising. We are both a service AND products based business. Google has been our platform by far for advertising so far.

MJ - Thank you for the new book and the clarity that comes with it. It will serve as my new bed-side bible.

Cheers,

-Hayden
P.S. - I am a married, father with a two year old and a baby girl on the way in October (shout out to all the single twenty-x year olds who say they don't have any time - lol!).
 

phxtherapy

PARKED
Aug 10, 2021
1
0
0

How A ZEN Principle Reframed Failure And Helped Me Out Of Rock Bottom After Bankruptcy​

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