From Tiny Storage Shed to Worldwide Distribution (Entrepreneur Motivation)

Feb 08, 2023

This article is all about entrepreneur motivation. I want to share with you my personal story of inspiration. If you are considering entrepreneurship and you are wondering where to start, this article is for you. Or, maybe you have already started a business and there may be struggles. You might be wondering if you have made the right decision. This story is for you.

The other day on a website called Quora, someone asked the following question: "How do I start a new business with no experience?" The top answer was from a person that appears to provide legal services. There were five points of advice given, which included the following:

  • Do your research
  • Pick the right location
  • Prepare a kick-ass business plan
  • Hire the right people
  • Don’t forget the legalities

First, this sounds like advice for an aspiring business owner with at least one hundred thousand dollars in the bank. Pick the right location? A commercial lease in the right location will probably start at 4K these days. A business plan? For what? Nothing ever goes according to the plan anyway. Don’t forget the legalities? In reality, this is all good advice. But it wouldn’t be the first bit of advice I gave to a person starting a new business with no experience.

When starting out, do not waste too much time attempting to establish the perfect business. Instead, just start. Why do I say to just start? There are two main reasons. I touched on the first reason in my free entrepreneur course, where I pointed out that, statistically, most businesses will fail within the first few years anyway: usually the first three to five years. And that statistic is generally true regardless of background. So, even an ivy league school graduate has a high probability of failure.

Here is reason number two. About a year ago, the first lesson I ever taught on video was why you should never launch a perfect product. If you spend too much time waiting for the perfect time to launch, you can become overwhelmed. There might be fear of failure, doubt… and these thoughts are not necessarily unusual. But sometimes things can happen beyond one’s control. It may not be your fault. The reason I never feared business failure was because, as an entrepreneur, I felt I could always leverage the experience of losing a business into another business.

I recently stumbled upon a quote by Sr. Hector Quintanilla. He says, “Winners developed resilience and determination through overcoming obstacles and using their failures as opportunities to learn and grow.” He simplifies this line by saying, "A winner is just a loser who kept going."

Some of the experts and people who have been entrepreneurs for a while might differ in their recommendations for how to start a business with no experience. That’s because they come from different backgrounds or they are entering the world of business with maybe a larger capital base. It is all good advice. But differing opinions can create confusion because everyone has a different approach.

In reality, you do not have to know the answers to everything in the initial stages. And in my view, many aspects of running a business are common sense. You will figure it out as you go. But the most important thing you can do is just start. If you are hesitant due to fear of failure, consider starting off really small. That’s what I did.

The story of how I became an entrepreneur is very unique. Nothing was planned. Years ago, I won a significant bodybuilding competition. That led to a book on abdominal training and nutrition that was highly successful. I also made money from affiliate programs. While in college, I studied fitness. I noticed that there were not many retailers who sold the specialized equipment used by strength coaches and personal trainers. That is where I saw opportunity.

When I first started, I ran the business from an 5x10 storage shed. Technically, I started off in my condo. So, even before the storage shed, I had inventory sitting on the floor near my dining room table.

After the 5x10 storage unit, I then expanded to a 20x10 storage unit. The business continued to grow. So, I moved into a 1,500 square foot commercial space. In less than two years, I expanded to 4,000 square feet. And later, 8,000 square feet. But if we go back in time, I started out in a 5x10 storage unit. It only took about three or four years to get to the point where I was occupying as many as 12,000 square feet.

I should note: there was some luck involved. Many successful business will have this in common. But I went from operating out of a tiny 5x10 storage shed to selling specialty fitness products to some of the world’s largest organizations. In fact, if you have seen them on TV, they are probably my customers.

All I did was start. Everybody has a shot. But you have to just start. Remember, things don’t have to be perfect. Initially, this was a rough, unpolished business where I did not have all the answers. There was no formal business plan. There was no point in time where I thought I would ever become a business owner. But over time, I was able to figure things out. And when I experienced setbacks, I would just keep going. And more than 20 years later, I still own the same business.

If you enjoyed this article, be sure to check out the entrepreneur mindset and motivation playlist. By the way, Leonard Innovation is now streaming on podcast services like Pandora, Amazon Music, Audible, Google, Apple, and Spotify.


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