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Interview: Project 7 Founder, Tyler Merrick Talks Social Responsibility and Moonlighting Dreams

Learn how Tyler Merrick connects consumers and non-profits, landed Whole Foods as a customer and why he believes entrepreneurs should always moonlight their dreams.

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Best Success Story:

Your first success is hard to forget! [I went] into Whole Foods in Austin for a Project 7 pitch meeting for the first time. The buyer did not like the product I was selling but he was impressed with the concept of our company. Out of survival mode, I adjusted and improvised right there and came up with a gum proposition which they loved. As a result, they were my first customer and sold our gum on a national level.

Biggest Startup Challenge:

Overcoming rejection is the biggest challenge. We are starting our fifth year and the only way to survive is to harness that rejection and realize that it is not “No Never,” instead it is “No, Not Now.”

You have to lose graciously, keep your doors open, don’t give up, and put your hand to the plow on a consistent basis. Through this perseverance, we have had some amazing retailers come on board for whom we are very grateful, including Walmart, Target, Caribou Coffee, 7-Eleven and HMS Host.

#1 Tip for Entrepreneurs:

Moonlight your dreams.

I have noticed that many of the best musicians and actors are the ones that work during the day to pay the bills and hustle on the nights and weekends to pursue their music and acting gigs. It is that time of living in the tension of trying to make your passion work so that someday it can be your full-time work. Going back to that job everyday helps you pay your bills, but also serves as a reminder to keep going after your dreams. Then someday after all of your hard work, you will have the opportunity to take the big risk and quit your day job in order to go full-time towards your dream goal. It is definitely scary, but a great day when you reach that point.

Connect with Project7 on Twitter.

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Photo: Tyler Merrick, Project 7

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