Last week, I posted a blog featuring young entrepreneur Nathan Resnick on his company Yes Man Watches and his new product line of handmade bamboo glasses. We focused on the balance he's created between work and school, but I wanted to know more about how he got his start. What he might say to another young person who wants to turn an idea into a self-sustaining business.
This second installment covers how Nathan set out on his entrepreneurial journey and where he hopes to be in the next ten years. In the time since speaking with Nathan, I've been contacted by other young innovators and look forward sharing their insights on getting started, finding balance, and looking forward in the weeks to come.
How much money did you have to start Yes Man Watches?
When I started Yes Man my first thought wasn't about having enough money. It was how will I turn my idea into a reality? I was creating a product, making my dream come true, and I had no clue how to do it.
My first step was simply doing a Google search for how to start a business. From there I learned everything I could about watches and funding. The next hardest part was finding a reliable supplier--this is where the money came in because we received dozens of mold and sample costs. The quotes varied drastically, yet I think what it really came down to was trust and analyzing my options.
To get our samples, I took a zero-interest loan from myself of less than $5,000. I was investing in myself and putting my own money on the line. That money came from years of savings fueled by birthday gifts, Bar-Mitzvah presents, and odd-jobs.
When it was time to go into production and officially launch Yes Man, we knew about crowdfunding and turned to the platform Kickstarter. People that supported us through our campaign were essentially pre-ordering our products. We set a funding goal of $15,000 and reached it in under three days. I don't think I slept any of those days but it was probably the most remarkable time of my life.
Who is your biggest role model?
I am influenced by several entrepreneurs, but one who has really stuck with me is Tim Ferriss. When starting Yes Man, I read his book the Four Hour Workweek. This book helped motivate me and realize the value of time. It taught me about balancing my days, automating tasks, and outsourcing jobs. His book also includes several life-hacks that can make running a business easier.
What is your vision for the company in ten years?
I see Yes Man growing as more than just a brand; I see it as a lifestyle. We truly want to empower people to do more with their lives. Whether that means starting your own business, filming your own movie, or traveling the world, we want you to do it. Chase your dreams, don't just think about them.
Yes Man empowers people by reminding them, It's Your Time. We believe time is invaluable. Everyone has the same 24 hours in a day, yet so few think about how they spend it. When you check our watch, we hope it empowers you to consider your use of time.
What is your company culture--or what do you ideally want to stand for as a manager?
At Yes Man I want to have an open-door policy, meaning I want to be as transparent as possible with everyone we can. I also want to ensure every customer we interact with feels special. I value everyone's opinion and want to use what other's think to improve our company and products. By brainstorming with others, I am able to better define what will work for our company. Customer feedback is crucial and ensuring your product fits its market is essential to every business.
Nathan and his team have successfully surpassed their original pledge goal for the line of Yes Man Sunnies, but you can still help support them to reach their stretch goal if you visit their Kickstarter campaign by September 15, 2014. Thank you, Nathan, for sharing your experiences and wisdom with other entrepreneurs, young and old.