While investors can be a necessity, particularly in capital intensive ventures like beverage startups, I learned from my mentor David Levine, two forces govern investors — fear and greed. When things are not going well enough, they get scared. When things are going well, they want more.
After moving on from Warrior Tea, I consulted often with friend and fellow entrepreneur, AJ Hamilton. I spent a lot of time licking my wounds and brainstorming with AJ on creating a new company.
I had to move forward.
I had long been interested in tablet and e-reader platforms and new ways in which they were characterizing the reader experience as well as education. I also love animation and creating stories. I saw an opportunity to enter the space and create interactive e-books for children and educational partners. I soon found renewed energy and passion as an entrepreneur and it felt good to be in control, free of investors.
I developed SkyInk, an interactive e-books and books app development company for various tablet and e-reader platforms including the iPad, Kindle and Nook.
With the autonomy to lead my company, and prior experience I decided to make social responsibility a major force in SkyInk’s company culture. I decided to create a company animated by purpose, primarily to make people happy, to improve education and to utilize our resources to help the global community. We commit 5% of annual sales to tithing efforts and our giving efforts focus on: education, environment, clean water programs, child hunger and animal welfare.
At SkyInk we have a two-fold business model: we provide services and create our own products.
We develop interactive e-books and books apps for authors, publishers and businesses. We create and convert all types of content, from educational to professional and trade. Our value proposition is unique because we overcome the problem publishers have transitioning into this exploding market — a lack of diverse in-house media capabilities.
We are bringing stories to life with magic and motion and enriching the education experience with interactivity and greater efficacy of learning.
Best Success Story:
The launch of SkyInk and the immediate acquisition of clients. I am also chronically ill with Lyme disease. I had the infection for years untreated, allowing it to proliferate to my brain, heart and eyes.
I am proud that I have continued to fight this disease and advance in my business efforts despite illness and the emotional heartache I suffered from leaving my prior company.
Biggest Startup Challenge:
The principle challenge for me was the scarcity of startup capital. Fortunately, the model was one that could be effectively bootstrapped. My other challenge was summoning the courage and will after my previous challenges.
#1 Tip for Entrepreneurs:
Persist. Entrepreneurship is a path of grit over glamor. It is difficult, there is opposition, there is great challenge. No matter how hard it is, just keep going, supplant anxiety with action.
Photo Credit: Arthur Ebeling
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