[quote style=”boxed”]Walk into work tomorrow and hand in your two-week notice. Leaving behind the comfort and safety of a steady job will force you to grow in ways you never imagined.[/quote]
Patrick Eichhold has been an aspiring entrepreneur for seven years. Yes, aspiring for seven years. In May of 2005, he quit his job to begin working as a freelance graphic designer. After less-than-desirable results building brands of small businesses, he decided to attempt a product development. Before even getting a prototype produced, he returned to graphic design, and found a full-time job with a large corporation. Six months into he job he knew it was not a good fit for him, so he began to explore entrepreneurial opportunities. Eventually, Patrick’s boss realized that he was not a good fit for the job and fired him in December of 2011.
Patrick’s pre-firing research led him to pursue e-commerce as a way to scratch his entrepreneurial itch. So when the day came, he began building an online store.
As it turned out, the decision to leave his job in 2005 was among the best in Patrick’s life. That May day marked the beginning of an invaluable personal development and self-discovery journey. He began to develop new strengths, conquer weaknesses, and discover passions and interests he never knew he possessed. His greatest day is yet to be realized.
What are you working on right now?
My online store, Foot-Lockers.com is my current project. It’s live and ready to go, so now I’m focused on driving traffic to it.
Where did the idea for Foot-Lockers.com come from?
I made the decision to open an online store before I knew what I was going to sell. In a previous attempt I looked for products I thought would be fun to sell–home bar ware. That hit a dead-end when I realized my drop ship suppliers weren’t going to be able to come through for me and my customers. When I made the decision to start over, I worked backwards. I researched suppliers and their products before making a decision on what to sell.
What does your typical day look like?
My customers come first, so checking and fulfilling orders is priority number one each day. After that I focus my energy on my big task for the week. It could be site maintenance, product sourcing, content building, or my big priority right now, promotion.
How do you bring ideas to life?
For me, bringing ideas to life is much more challenging than actually coming up with them. In fact, that has been one of my biggest obstacles to building a profitable business. In the past, when I encountered difficulty in bringing one idea to life, I would convince myself that another one of my ideas was better, and I would abandon the original one.
In order to bring Foot-Lockers.com to life, I have sought to emulate how others brought their ideas to life. I spend a good deal of time reading accounts of how others have created a buzz about their businesses. This has not only brought me beneficial information, but reading such first-hand accounts of other’s challenges and triumphs gives me the confidence to continue moving forward.
What’s one trend that really excites you?
If I think up a new idea, or am introduced to one, I’m automatically having a good day. So I am super excited about sites and communities like IdeaMensch where people from all over can come together and share ideas about being successful. Not only that, but being a part of one success-oriented community only leads to being introduced to others. It’s a tremendously positive domino effect!
What was the worst job you ever had and what did you learn from it?
My first job out of school was awful. I was the only employee in a sign shop. At first, I was excited to be part of a small business; to learn how one is run, and hopefully help it grow. However, it didn’t take long for me to realize that it was a dead end. It seemed like my boss spent more time playing Free Cell than he did promoting the business. Of course, I blamed him for us not having enough work to keep me busy for 40 hours per week. After all, he was the salesman andI was the designer.
Looking back I realize that I was more at fault for my misery than my boss was. I could have treated that business as my own and brought in more work (after all, I was paid commission on the work I did bring in). I thought about it, but told myself, “I’m not going to try to find more business if he’s not going to.”
A few years after leaving that job, I found myself right where I started. I didn’t have enough work to do. I began to ask myself some very tough questions which led to some even tougher answers.
Those answers helped me realize I was exactly like my old boss. Shit. I was doing little to promote my business, I was giving myself tasks that kept me busy, but didn’t help the business grow, and I was embarrassed to charge my customers full price for my services. He was scared, and so was I. Each day is a battle to change these bad habits and step out of my comfort zone, but the simple awareness of my shortcomings helps me face and conquer them.
If you were to start again, what would you do differently?
Cut out the crap that didn’t yield results.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and
recommend everyone else do?
T. Harv Eker says, “Thoughts lead to feelings, which lead to actions, which lead to results.” I often know what I need to do to achieve the results I desire, but my actions don’t always show it. As an entrepreneur, I constantly monitor my feelings. If I’m not taking the action I need to take I’ll stop and ask myself how I’m feeling. Once I’m able to pinpoint the negative emotion I’m experiencing, I’ll ask myself why I’m feeling that way. The answers to these questions are not pleasant, but are instrumental in conquering my fears. This is how I realized that I was just like my old boss.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
In 2007 I spent a bunch of money on trade show booth space and materials. I only made back about 25% of what I spent. What I didn’t make back, I considered it as tuition paid to the School of Hard Knocks, and eventually moved on to a different mode of marketing.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
Laundry detergents and fabric softeners with manly scents. Cool Water-scented Bounce anyone?
If you could change one thing in the world, what would it be and how would you go about it?
Most of the world’s problems stem from a lack of understanding. To promote understanding across different creeds, races, and view points, I think a worldwide Have a Drink With a Stranger Day could help.
Tell us a secret.
My life’s goal is to own the Cincinnati Bengals and win the Super Bowl.
What are your three favorite online tools or resources and what do you love
1. Google Voice – I no longer pay for phone service
2. HelpAReporterOut.com- It’s inexpensive, and I’m getting my story out quickly.
3. FourHourBlog.com- A wealth of knowledge for entrepreneurs, health nuts, and travelers
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
Secrets of the Millionaire Mind, by T. Harv Eker. It’s a great book for anyone to begin his or her own personal development journey.
Three people we should follow on Twitter and why?
1. @tylertervooren – Tyler runs the blog, AdvancedRiskology.com and is an inspiration
2. @StephenAtHome- Stephen Colbert because he’s hilarious
3. @lolojones- I thought she handled herself amazingly well during the London Olympics on and off the track
When was the last time you laughed out loud? What caused it?
Yesterday, when my friend posted this link on facebook:
Who is your hero?
Timothy Ferriss, author of The Four Hour Work Week. I owe that guy a drink.
What advice do you have for someone considering starting a business?
Walk into work tomorrow and hand in your two week notice. Leaving behind the comfort and safety of a steady job will force you to grow in ways you never imagined. Business is not about the money you make, but the person you have to become to make it.
What motivates you?
To be able to do what I love and make money doing it so I can one day support a family is my greatest motivation.
Mario Schulzke is the Founder of ideamensch, which he started a decade ago to learn from entrepreneurs and give them a platform for their ideas.