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Failure I failed miserably but I'm enjoying it

Discussion in 'Lessons from Success/Failure' started by Lukas99, Mar 8, 2019.

  1. Lukas99
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    Lukas99 New Contributor

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    Hi

    I'm Lukas, 20 years old from Zurich, Switzerland and I failed.

    Writing this made me reflect all those moments once again. I've written this in one go, so forgive me, if I made some mistakes.

    Well at what exactly did I fail? Let me explain you.



    I've been going to the gym for several years now. Along with that, I've been taking supplements, such as protein powder. One thing that has always been annoying for me was the fact, that the scoop, that comes with the supplement is somewhere in the protein container, covered up with all the powder. So I decided to create a solution for this.

    So at the time, I was actually working on a little t-shirt business idea. But after reading TMF, I realized that I started this whole t-shirt thing not to solve a specific problem, but to make money, which is the wrong reason to start something.

    So from that very day, I started drawing drafts of a product which I had in mind. I decided I would look for manufacturers in China, which would then produce physical prototypes for me. Actually finding a suitable manufacturer in China, one that speaks English, delivers efficiently and listens to what you want and understands you, is quite hard. So the next few weeks I would text over a hundred different manufacturers, tell them about my idea and send them the drafts. I took me a while to find a decent manufacturer, eventually, only 4 were left, from all of which I eventually ordered 3d printed prototypes.

    Of course, all those 4 prototypes weren't great, not because they produced them badly, but because my design sucked. So I was refining it, ordering new ones and then again, refining it. Finally, around 4 months later I finally had a satisfying prototype that I could work with.

    Since I didn't know if people would actually spend money on this product, I decided that I would do a crowdfunding campaign (on kickstarter) to validate the product idea and to see, if people would actually like the product.
    So I hired a filmer, we went to a local gym and filmed the whole campaign.




    So after finishing all the copywriting for the campaign, setting up proper instagram and facebooks ads and also coding my own website, I finally launched my campaign.

    I remember it clearly, it was a cold sunday night in december. I was going through the whole campaign over and over as I finally hit the button to go live. I had almost put my whole free time during weekdays and weekends in the project. I didn't go partying and hardly went out with friends.

    So the next morning I woke up to check my phone if my project was already funded. As I switched off the airplane mode and started refreshing the kickstarter app the following number appeared:

    0% funded

    I thought this was I mistake, I tried again. Still 0%.


    So the campaign would go for about 2 months.

    As I mentioned above I was making advertisements on facebook and instagram. I also sent the link of the campaign to several friends, family members and other people I know.

    So after the first month of the campaign, I think only 4 people would preorder products from the campaign. 2 of those 4 people were actually my parents. One of those, my father would pledge about 5% of the total funding goal to the campaign. I was really grateful for that. But I knew that my father isn't the market and ultimately, the market would decide if the product has value or not.


    So the 2 months were almost over and I ended up with the following funding, percentage-wise:

    0.8% (not counting the 5% added by my family)

    I had many people tell me on facebook that this product was a useless piece of shit (literally in those exact words).

    Honestly, I was frustrated. I started questioning my product. As I said above people would make fun of the product on facebook, but they didn't mention any exact reasons.

    As if a wish came true, I received an email from the gym owner, where the video clip of the campaign was filmed. She would text me, that she likes the product idea. She also gave me her number so I called her the next day. We're talking on the phone about the product and I told her, that the product wasn't out yet. So we decided to make some kind of market research in one the gyms she owns.

    So I sat down and I created a form. With questions on it as "What's missing?" and "Why do you like it, why not?" and so on. I sent all those forms and a prototype to the gym.


    I called her about 3 weeks ago about how the campaign went. She told me that it was a cool idea, but she's questioning whether people would spend money on it or not. That was actually a similar impression I got from friends and other people. About the forms, I haven't received them yet. So I don't really know how they went, but I don't really expect wonders of it.

    One day a gym dude I know, approached me about the product and had an idea. He told me that people wouldn't necessarily spend money on the product, but if they received it for free when buying supplements, it could potentially be a great thing.

    This has really stuck in my head ever since. I'm probably going for one last try; sending prototypes, specifically branded for each supplement manufacturer and suggesting them the opportunity to give this product to their clients after spending x amount of $ on supplements.

    That's where I am today. But honestly, I'm not a 100% convinced anymore about my idea. I'm questioning if there's an actual need for the product. I mean it failed in the b2c business, why would it succeed in the b2b?


    But beside the fact, that this business idea hasn't worked out. There's one thing I have to say. I don't regret any minute that I spent working on it. All the hours, whether it was drawing a prototype, finding adequate manufacturers, talking to them or coding the website was all completely worth it. I haven't earned a dime yet, but just the process of creating something gives me purpose. Even though it would have loved this business to work out, I'm not going to give up. I want to eventually build something that matters. I want to hire and inspire people. This is my calling.


    I appreciate each and everyone on this forum who has made an effort to read this story. Perhaps you can take some things without and avoiding some mistakes I did. If you have any questions, ideas or criticism, feel free contribute.
     
  2. NC Bidniss
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    NC Bidniss Bronze Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane FASTLANE INSIDER

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    That's a pretty incredible journey you were on. I hope you can at least get your investment back, but don't worry too much about that. When I look at failures, I look at the money and time spent as tuition. I recently spent 6 months planning a major overhaul of a warehouse in order to accommodate a local manufacturer. I had done almost everything. I hired a contractor, I worked along side the manufacturer, I reached out to banks, hired engineers, architects, and attorneys, and so on. The project was almost fully planned, but sadly the manufacturer was not willing/able to pay the $1.2m lease rate I needed to recoup the cost of the build and make the project worthwhile. I spent about $60,000 total, and I'll never see that again.

    However, I look at it this way: when I started, I had never taken on such a project. I had no idea what I was doing, but I learned. I now know how to plan a major build-out project. The tuition was 6 months of work and $60,000, but really, it was less. Since the money was expendable, my real cost was about $35,000 net after tax. Since a lot of that 6 months was waiting to get drawings, bids, and the like back from contractors and engineers, my total time spent was closer to about 3 months. There of course was opportunity cost involved, and I could have used my time more wisely, but I had a brand new baby girl at home, and I hardly ever worked a full 40 hours.

    As you are probably aware, failure is the world's best teacher. Don't let it get you down, but know when you're beat. If you can't make the product work within the next month or so, you may be best to call it quits. Like the book says, your time is your most valuable asset.
     
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  3. B. Cole
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    B. Cole In thine hand is power and might. Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    I’m gonna give you props man, that was action, even if you didn’t get the results you wanted. Perhaps the lesson is that the problem wasn’t big enough to start with. I’m not sure most folks carry their tub of powder to the gym, it probably rests gently on their counter at home and the scoop stays on the surface where they dropped it.

    Rep+ anyway. Do it again!
     
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  4. DonTriumph
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    DonTriumph Bronze Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED

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    Hello Lukas,

    I can say that at your age, most people won't even think about building a business to solve a problem - now, let alone finding a manufacturer, build a prototype, do all marketing and networking efforts, etc., etc.

    You've done a lot, and I know you know it. ;)

    Anyway, why not try what that gym dude told you? I think it quite feasible to sell your scoop to those who actually make the protein powders as it will improve a part of their product.

    Please don't take it as a golden advice, though. Something just hit me there. Still, you may want to consider it.

    All the best! :)
     
  5. RazorCut
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    RazorCut Platinum Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    Before I even read that I thought not only the manufacturers but also the online stores would be interested.

    Personalisation is where it makes most sense. Think about it....

    A logo'd version is a great reminder of where a customer made their purchase. Beats a fridge magnet or postcard. Businesses pay for promotional products all the time. Pens, pencils, stickers, coasters etc. Very few of them can be attached to the product as a constant reminder of where to buy your replacement.

    An online store could easily sell it as an upsell / addon when someone puts a tub of protein to their cart.

    Or used as an incentive to buy multiplies (purchase 3 tubs and get a free ScoopAid). They would easily recoup the cost via the increased profit on the average order value hike. PLUS they are reinforcing their brand. Win, win.

    You might need to make the top magnet wider and thinner so it has more room for a company logo and domain name but that is easy enough. In fact just make it a flat metal disc as the magnet under the lid does the work (you don't need two magnets if that is what you are using at the moment, just one neodymium magnet). They are relatively cheap these days.

    All is not lost, I think you could be shipping thousands of these within months.
     
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  6. B. Cole
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    B. Cole In thine hand is power and might. Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    Thinking about this - folksbabove are right, the business is innovating the scoop and selling that to the manufacturers of the tub/powder-

    If you could engineer the magnet out of the equation, modify the bottom side of the lid so the scoop clips or slides into a slot, or even modify the interior wall of the tub to hang onto the scoop, you might have something.

    The tooling and release of the modification in the molds would be the issue to solve, but if you did it, it’d be a much cheaper modification than a magnet.
     
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2019
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  7. NC Bidniss
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    NC Bidniss Bronze Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane FASTLANE INSIDER

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    I like that idea. Don't design and sell the scoop, but rather integrate the scoop and sell the packaging to manufacturers.
     
  8. oa92
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    oa92 New Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane

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    Maybe go down the licensing route? Looks like you've got everything in place to approach manufactures and potentially collect royalties. You're invention seems to me like a product improvement rather than a new product people would go out and buy. If you haven't already read Stephen Key - One Simple Idea, that might give you some ideas on how you could still make money from it.
     
  9. Jaden Jones
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    Jaden Jones Igloo Builder Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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  10. jasoncuellar123
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    jasoncuellar123 I’m probably awake. Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    Seems like something you’d attach to the bottom of a shaker lid, not the protein container.
     
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  11. B. Cole
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    And after thinking of the associated tooling challenges, these days you can sonic weld whatever part you can’t make work with the main tooling apparatus.
     
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  12. Mark Mueller
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    Mark Mueller New Contributor

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    Personally, I just take the scoop out of the first container purchased and save it. When I open the next, I just use that scoop until I uncover the other.......so the concept of selling to the manufacturer is key. Come up with an idea, and prototype and hustle and network all you can. Once you get ONE, it should get much easier as the others are likely to follow a great idea.
     
    ruzara5 likes this.

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