Turn Passion Into Productivity
Lessons from Five First Time Entrepreneurs Who Capitalized on Creativity
We’ve all heard the success stories of legendary people like Steve Jobs, Donald Trump and Oprah Winfrey. Mark Zuckerberg, once a Harvard drop out, is now a household name. But what about the little people- mere mortals who turned an idea into an enterprise?
Thanks to websites such as Amazon, Etsy and Ebay, as well as infinite resources for small business owners, the chance to own your own company is more possible than ever. The growth of social media has only encouraged the growth of small businesses, offering affordable marketing that’s been proven to pay off. From online teddy bear boutiques to fast paced food trucks, the time to be an entrepreneur seems to be now.
So what are you passionate about? Tea? Landscaping? Watches? Instead of pushing paper for the rest of your life, turn your hobby, interest, or obsession into a profitable business- just like these entrepreneurs did. Learn five vital lessons from first time entrepreneurs that turned passion into productivity.
Turn Everyday Frustration Into Opportunity
Joi Sumpton, Founder of the Step-n-Wash
Joi Sumpton’s life changed in a Barnes and Nobles bathroom. Tired of having to hold her kids up to public restroom sinks, Sumpton was struck with a brilliant idea. What if she didn’t have to? A few sketches, brilliant product development, personal investment and a year later, Joi has launched a successful business out of mere frustration.
Her innovative product, a retracting step stool for public bathrooms, has made life a little easier for parents and guardians everywhere. The Step-n-Wash website states that “thousands of businesses” have installed the Step-n-Wash to increase the safety and hygiene in their public restrooms. Joi’s experience shows that with some imagination, simple, everyday hassles can be transformed into opportunity.
Make It A Family Affair
Ashley Schoenith, Creator of Ice Milk Aprons
Tallahassee native Ashley Schoenith started Ice Milk Aprons with one intention- to spend more time with her grandmother. Inspired by her seamstress grandmother’s love for cooking and entertaining, Ashley decided that aprons were the way to go. After long weekends of brainstorming, fabric selection and sewing, Ashley successfully launched Ice Milk Aprons in 2008.
Unfortunately, Ashley’s grandmother passed away before the launch, but Ashley is still inspired by her. According to the Ice Milk Aprons website, Ashley hopes that families will “pass down traditions” with the use of her sleek, sophisticated aprons. Ice Milk Aprons are available online, and in various stores in Atlanta, where Ashley and her husband reside.
Find New Functions for Existing Products
Fred Meyers, Queensboro.com
For New York native Fred Meyers, the start of The Queensboro Shirt Company wasn’t about fashion- it was about function. A huge fan of Lacoste polo shirts, Fred wondered if there was a way that the same comfort could be achieved minus the alligator patch. After graduating from business school, Fred decided to go into the custom shirt business full-time.
As the first company to offer custom embroidered shirts in small quantities, Queensboro has continued to be a key player in the corporate apparel business. For over twenty years, Fred has focused on top-notch customer service and high-quality products to gain customers in a competitive market. Living up to it’s reputation of outstanding customer service, Queensboro.com promises that customers won’t find “a company that will work harder to make you happy,”.
Fulfill Needs in a Highly Specific Market
Julia Erickson, Aaron Ingley, Barre Nutrition Bars
For ballet dancers Julia Erickson and Aaron Ingley, the start of Barre Nutrition Bars came from their own need. Julia was tired of scrambling for heavy snacks that weren’t nutritious. She decided to make her own energy bar, and from some mere kitchen ingredients, Barre was born.
After signing on her partner and fellow dancer Aaron, the two have taken the ballet world by storm. The pair are dedicated to providing a light, yet filling and highly nutritious snack for their fellow dancers. On their website, realfoodbarre.com, they explain that “Dancers do eat,” and discuss the benefits to their vegan friendly, no sugar power bars.
Think Way, Way, Way Outside The Box
Bryan Silverman, Star Toilet Paper
Bryan Silverman, Duke University student and Entrepreneur Magazine’s College Entrepreneur of 2012, found a market in an unexpected place: the bathroom. In an interview with Business Insider, Bryan revealed that when his brother first pitched him the idea, he “pooh-poohed it”. Luckily, he came to his senses and realized the potential for toilet paper marketing.
Hoping to revitalize traditional marketing, Bryan and his brother, Jordan, started Star Toilet Paper in 2010. The Eco-friendly, easy to read toilet paper is safe to use, and offers a creative alternative for businesses to offer coupons, promotions, and ads. The trend is already catching on for Star Toilet Paper, acquiring them clients such as Allstate, Pita Pit, and Smoothie King.
- Star Toilet Paper Official Site
- About Us- Step-n-Wash
- Our Roots- Ice Milk Aprons
- Business Insider-Brothers Are Successfully Selling Ad Space on Toilet Paper
- About Us- Queensboro Shirt Company
- Why Barre- Real Food Barre
Melissa Weidenborner is a content creation specialist and freelance writer currently working in SEO and Social Media. In her spare time, she blogs about vintage goods, food, lifestyle and online marketing. Follow her adventures on Twitter @vintageandnerdy.