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Kicking Your Own Butt

Since launching this blog last week, I’ve had a lot of great support.  I’ve also had some, “You’re crazy” white noise.  For those of you who have supported me, thank you!  For those of you who think I’m crazy, read on!  I hope to convince you that I am even more crazy than you thought before.  

One thing I have learned at this point, is that if you want to start your own company, you have to be willing to make sacrifices.  For me, these sacrifices began about six months ago, when I decided to wake up at 4:00 am in the morning so that I could design a backpack.  

As I mentioned in my previous post, found here, the first idea I am going to launch is a backpack.  I came up with this idea while working in Milan, Italy last fall.  I was in Italy for the largest leather convention in the world.  It was here that I first had the idea for a professional looking backpack that efficiently organized all of the stuff I used for work and traveling.

I shopped around trying to find the kind of backpack I pictured in my head.  It wasn’t until last Christmas that I realized the only way to get the exact backpack I wanted was to make it myself.  Having a full time job and a family, I thought I didn’t have enough time to launch this product.  So instead, I wrote down “backpack” in my idea journal for closure and prepared to move on with my life.   Around this time, I stumbled upon the following Mark Cuban quote:

[E]very entrepreneur's job is to invent the future.  I also call it ‘kicking your own [butt].”  Someone is out there who thinks they have a better idea than you have.  A better solution than you have.  A better or more efficient product than you's part of your job as the owner of the company to stay ahead of them.

This quote burned in my brain for about a week.  I could not stop thinking about how frustrated I would feel to see someone else launch this idea.  I finally decided that I would do whatever it took to launch this backpack because I didn’t want to be the armchair entrepreneur a couple years later saying, “I thought of that idea first, and I would have done a much better job with it, but I didn’t have the time.”

As I mentioned, I didn’t have time to work on this project with a full-time job, a wife, and four kids.  The only thing I could sacrifice was sleep.  So, I started waking up at 4:00 am every day to work on the backpack.  My wife thought I was crazy, but I wanted to do this backpack so badly that I was willing to do whatever, whenever.   

Now, half a year later, I’ve gone through five rounds of samples and changes.  I am now at a point where I am satisfied with the design and functionality of the backpack.  

Just getting to this point, has been extremely taxing and difficult.  However, the satisfaction and excitement I feel about this product outweigh any sacrifice I have put into this project up to this point.    

Now, I’m a little more than a month away from launching this backpack on Kickstarter!  Please stay tuned for future posts, as I share what I’m learning and the many aspects of starting a company.