Today is Valentine’s Day, the perfect opportunity to talk about a Lesson Learned– As a start-up company, use your contacts, particularly your friends and family. Calling upon my close personal network’s expertise for business advice (and support) was vital for moving my burgeoning business forward. I figured, if they are my friends and family, most likely they love me, therefore they would be more than happy to help me out.
Patent agent friend, Mark, showed me how to research whether my ideas were even patentable and then gave me advice on the mechanics of how to file my own provisional patent. Supportive friends, Michelle and LeAnn, offered feedback as I showed them various iterations of prototypes. Longtime college friend, Rebecca, ran market tests on my samples in her stylish boutique. Amazing photographer friend, Christine, took some initial product shots and promotions. ‘Aunt-in-law’ Pat and I exchanged hours of back-and-forth discussions at the Meat Market fine-tuning our individual projects. (Her book was just released!) My in-laws and extended family listened patiently and were always encouraging as I practiced my product ‘presentation’. I bent my mom’s ear almost daily as she listened to my going-ons. I put a lot of weight in my teenage son, Will’s opinions about the invention’s direction; and my other boys were involved in the conversation to pick the product name.
It all started with my husband, Rutland, though. He’s the one who encouraged me from the beginning to believe I could do anything I set my mind to (not to mention supporting my adventure financially.) He kept me on the path, invention-wise and sanity-wise.
Thank you, I love you, and Happy Valentine’s Day.
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