Dear fellow entrepreneurs and entrepreneurettes,
Being that this is my very first post on Entrepreneurial Confessions (E-Confessions), I wanted to catch you guys up an discuss some of the entrepreneurial journeys I have embarked on thus far. One cool thing about each of us is that we all travel different roads; however, we each journey towards a similar destination.
I didn't know it then, but I was born with a gift. When I was 5 years old, I would tape batteries together and try to 'sell' my 'inventions' to my mom and dad - of course they would buy - if only it were still that easy.
A few years later, I would gather plastic bags filled with Japanese Plums from the backyard, and travel the neighborhood selling them for $5 a bag. If my neighbors..customers didn't want a bag of plums, they were persuaded into paying for a little magic trick, performed by yours truly. I was honing my sales skills even back then!
This early, but very little success, inspired me to begin washing cars throughout my neighborhood. With the help of my parents, I even made and sold Cajun refrigerator magnets at the local farmer's markets. While people combed through my magnets, I would ride my unicycle and juggle on the street corner - always earning a few tips. I was quite the performer. My father thought I would be a politician; I wanted to be "an inventor," little did I know, I was an entrepreneur.
One year in grade school, I developed a tongue depressor apparatus fashioned with a small light on the tip of a rubber handle. The basis of the idea was to provide the Doc with a disposable handle that would not only grasp a tongue depressor, but would also light up their patient's mouth for easy and efficient viewing! I was only 13 years old and my "invention," complete with a working prototype, didn't make it past the state science fair. It did, however, catch the interest of a local Nurse Practitioner and her overseeing Clinician. Who knew that I was testing the market at such a young age.
Next, I worked with some friends to develop a cologne. We called it The Stank, and The Stank was my baby. I worked tirelessly on the project. Purchased bottles and bottles of essential oils and mixing agents. My buddies and I would mix up some 'stanky' goodness, slap it on our necks and head to the local bars to test the market. We designed a logo, created t-shirts (sold about $100 worth) and even a website which attracted the attention of a few hip-hop bloggers. None the less, we shut the project down after 100 batches of home-made-candle scented cologne were thrown in the trash. With each failure, I learned a little more. I've been failing - I mean LEARNING, all of my life.
My next "big idea" was a healthier version of coffee creamer, made with whey protein. I named it ProJoe - however that name was taken. Then I named it Ciji - that name was available! I spent hundreds and hundreds of hours working on that stuff. I cooked up batches in my kitchen, sometimes staying up until 2:00 am. I finally realized I should be testing with decaf! I traveled to Gonzales once a month just to pick the brain of a food developer who agreed to meet with me for free if he received a free cup of java in return. All in all, I probably cooked up just over 200 batches of the goop. I could never get it to mix just right. That project taught me something very valuable. Play the part. Build a website, be the "CEO," and manufacturer's mouths will water with the opportunity to ship you free raw material samples. The only catch is, you actually have to call them. Believe that you already are a successful entrepreneur and others will fall suit. That was about three years ago - man time flies!
Since then I've started a few more companies. One of those companies is a parent company brand Lamleo. I've recently gotten into business consulting via data analytics, a venture we named Enlighten Analytics. I love to motivate and inspire others - so, I've been putting myself out there under Reece Theriot Productions. I'm currently teaching Sales & Marketing full-time at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette; however, my newest and most secret project falls in the realm of social networking! Details to come.
We travel different roads. Roads filled with failure, even when we perform our best. We must believe that these failures are simply learning opportunities. If we become life-long learners, if we test markets, create and deliver value to those markets, we will win the entrepreneurial game.
(other failures include: iCAN - industrial trashcan, Evengers, Cajun Cou-yons, ReecesPieces)
Reece Theriot, MBA
“We were put on this Earth to love; by loving, we serve others; by serving others, we create value; by creating value, we form successful ventures; by forming successful ventures we contribute to the advancement of Creation which pleases the Creator.”