It’s been eight years since I formed the Kristi G Company and I have a lot to show for it: products on the market, licensing deals, media attention and new opportunities every day. I am thankful, extremely grateful and so excited to continue building my brand with new products, services and to make a difference with several social cause platforms for 2016.
But, in doing all of those things, I have invested every dollar back into the company and have yet to pay myself a salary. I’ve had to be absolutely relentless.
That can be frustrating and it’s not a job for everyone. Fortunately, my husband works full-time and has health benefits for our large family; otherwise, my company would not exist today.
I know I’m not alone. Most of the women in my circle of fellow entrepreneurs find cash flow to be the biggest challenge. Every month it’s the same vicious cycle, praying that enough product sells and customers pay their bills so I can order more inventory and cover my own expenses. I do have an attorney (and if you’re a small business owner also, you should have one too) and he’s been a big help. But he—along with many others—often says some variation of, “why don’t you raise money? Or find an investor?”
Uh, you don’t think I’ve been trying to find an investor for the past seven years? They aren’t just standing around on street corners handing out checks. Seeking and finding are radically different things.
For me as a product company, I’ve had good luck, being featured on The Meredith Vieira Show, and I get caught up in the possibility of all the TV opportunities like Shark Tank, The Profit, Make Me a Millionaire Inventor and others. But is that sensible? Am I hoping for a quick fix and a fast track to money, marketing and sales? Well, 7 years of hard work is not the fast track that’s for sure, and honestly, who doesn’t want those kinds of opportunities.
But I am a realist, and waiting around for that million-dollar phone call from a program producer is not likely to happen. So I do apply, but then I quickly move on if (and when) I don’t hear back.
Crowd funding (Kickstarter, etc) is all the rage now as a means to help start-ups, inventors and small businesses, and I have of course researched and followed the CF scene daily. The CF process, positive and negatives, is a big enough topic to merit its own post. For now, my only suggest is, do NOT rush into a CF campaign. It will fail. Heed these words.
So I have my goals for this year: find an investor, pay off debt, launch new products and services, build my company (I’m still a one-person show), and of course, manage the household and six lives, myself and five kids. Whew, I’m exhausted just thinking about it. But I am super passionate about every project I get involved with so going to work each day, in my pj’s, is easy and fun.