Practice Kaizen: Kaizen is a Japanese philosophy that is based on the idea of making small continuous changes in your life over time in order to make a large change. Rather than focusing on a big, overwhelming goal, focus your energy on hitting smaller mini goals that, when added together, will lead you to accomplishing the bigger goal in the end.
Kaizen is one of the most powerful lessons we have learned in our family entrepreneurial journey. Starting a business, inventing a product...those all seem like such big tasks, but when taken one small step at a time, the big task becomes small, easy to swallow pieces.
We are excited to share this podcast about the Comfy Cup featured on Chris Guillabeau's podcast "Side Hustle School". This opportunity came to us after submitting a query to Side Hustle School through HARO.
One awesome PR lead we got from The Grommet was a program called HARO-Help a Reporter Out. Three times a day, we receive an email with queries for stories from reporters and journalists around the world. I diligently read the queries and submitted pitches to any and every one that was relevant to the Comfy Cup.
"Experience is simply the name we give our mistakes."
In April, we realized we made a BIG mistake. We failed to collect sales tax on our Amazon sales over the past nine months! I ASSumed Amazon did that for us. Well, it doesn't. So, we immediately registered for a Kansas Retailers’ Sales Tax Registration Certificate and got to work reviewing the thousands of orders to resolve the error. My wonderful husband, Randy, had to continually remind me to be grateful that we caught the mistake when we did. I just wish we caught it sooner.
In May, we learned about the Kansas Small Business Development Center at
Johnson County Community College. The mission of the KSBDC is to increase economic prosperity in Kansas by helping entrepreneurs and small business owners start and grow their businesses. They provided us with a FREE business consultant/mentor who shared so many amazing insights on company structure, SEO optimization, and content marketing in our first meeting. He remains a consultant to us free of charge as long as we need him. This service is so valuable. I feel so grateful to be a patron of the JCCC KSBDC!
"The strongest thing you can cultivate as an entrepreneur is to not rely on luck but cultivating an ability to recognize fortunate situations when they are occurring. "
The Grommet launch opened a gateway to a multitude of business to business opportunities. The trick was deciphering between genuine and legitimate partnerships and people who just want a piece of your pie. The weeks following The Grommet launch were filled with conference calls. Up to this point, Kyler participated in every meeting and call, but I couldn't take him out of school everyday for meetings, so I had to do most of the meeting and w...
The launch of Kyler's Comfy Cup on The Grommet website in April presented new opportunities for media attention. Kyle had his first TV interview on the local KC Fox morning show. We took Kyler out of school for his interview and brought his sister along with her iPad to take video and photos to share on social media. We got to experience the Green Room (which isn't actually green) and behind the scenes on television. This was another amazing learning opportunity for both of the kids. I was so proud of Kyler. He didn't seem nervous at all. I was definitely nervous enough for him. I sat behind the cameramen with Elle as Ky...
"Entrepreneurs are simply those who understand that there is little difference between obstacle and opportunity and are able to turn both to their advantage."
At the beginning of March, Kyler entered his Comfy Cup into the University of Kansas Engineering School's Mini-Maker Faire. He was thrilled to win third place for his age group. It was a great opportunity for Kyler to practice his public speaking and see what other kids invented. If you live in Kansas, I highly recommend attending the University of Kansas Engineering Fair that is held in conjunction with the Mini Maker Faire.
The year was coming to an end, but we had new opportunities on the horizon for the Comfy Cup™. In July, Grandma Bebe had encouraged us to look into a company called The Grommet, a company that launches undiscovered products with a purpose invented by people with stories on their website and helps them succeed. We posted the Comfy Cup™ to The Grommet's Citizens' Gallery page and they reached out to us expressing interested in learning more about Kyler's Comfy Cup™. By the end of the year we signed a contract with The Grommet and a plan to launch the Comfy Cup™ in the spring.