From The Desk of Maverick Brenton.
I was 19 when I began my first real business venture.
It was not a little hobby and it was not for fun – it was my first real attempt at trying to hit a home run.
What is a home Run?
A home run is making Fuck You money.
Did I hit that home run?
I missed the ball.
I lost money.
Let’s go again.
That venture lasted two years and I almost did it – almost.
I could smell the dosh, I could taste the dosh and I could feel the dosh.
I made a fatal mistake because I was ignorant and inexperienced.
The best lessons I have ever learnt, have come from my failures and this failure taught me very valuable lessons.
I will share those lessons with you here, after I have walked you through that two years I spent trying to hit my home run.
Over those two years, I documented everything in a journal so that I could look back on it in the future to see if I had become smarter.
Thankfully, I can look back on those notes and say that I have become smarter – so that’s victory, right there.
Success teaches nobody anything, it just inflates their ego and makes them ignorant, usually.
Failure is the real teacher, because unlike success – failure hurts.
We remember what hurt us much better than we remember what didn’t.
Failure teaches you how to keep success once you actually get it.
It humbles you.
It punches you in the fucking mouth and shows you what you are, not what you think you are.
Unless you are really smart, failing before you succeed is an asset.
It prepares you and makes you appreciate victory once you finally become victorious.
Instead of holding your trophy in the air and thinking you are a fucking genius, you will hold it against your chest and watch out, because you will know what happens when you don’t control your ego.
You stop paying attention.
You think you’re too good to fall.
I had just started working in the construction industry.
I was one month in and enjoying it to a certain degree.
I never belonged in it, but I learnt many valuable skills working in it.
Through it, I also found what would be my first business venture.
There was a need that I spotted – the need for a more efficient and effective product that was used by electricians every day.
The existing product, although it got the job done, had a few major downfalls that I knew I could improve upon.
I didn’t overthink this.
I didn’t second guess myself.
I just jumped on it like a fucking lion.
That same night, I went home and started breaking down the existing product, outlining the major problems – then I worked towards finding a solution to those problems.
In these initial stages, I did the design work myself because I did not know any better.
I simply sat down each evening, experimented with the product and tried to figure out how I could make it better in every way.
After a week, I had a solution.
I had no idea what I was meant to do next.
My mind kept overthinking, so I SHUT IT DOWN and simply analysed the problem using logic.
I needed a professional Engineer to apply my ideas to this product – so that was my next objective.
After a few days, I found and hired the most expensive Engineer I could find on the internet.
He was an Aerospace Engineer based in the United States, with over 20 years of experience in manufacturing, design and a track record of results.
He was talented.
I sent him an NDA (non-disclosure agreement) because I was still an idiot and thought people would attempt to steal my idea.
Over the coming months, we worked together and found a way to solve the problem I was trying to solve.
The first prototype was ready three months after I sat down and began the project.
Finally, I had something in my hands.
Many problems remained that needed to be fixed – so we went back to work on perfecting the design.
I also began calling electrical companies because my plan was to license my product to them, followed by eventually selling the rights of the product to them, for some Fuck You money.
It all sounds fabulous in theory doesn’t it?
I called the biggest and baddest shark first, Clipsal – owned by Schneider Electric.
After calling and being refused access to their product manager numerous times, I finally managed to get through the morons in administration to someone who could actually help me.
I told them I was a product developer with a new product that I wanted to share with their company.
From there, I spoke to a ridiculous amount of people as I ascended higher up the chain, until finally reaching the man who I would be working with for the next 12 months.
I showed them what I had and I told them that I wanted to license it to them.
They said they were interested in a doing a deal – so we began discussing a deal.
Clipsal, is an enormous company.
When they want to do something like what I was trying to do with them, it takes a stupid amount of time just to make that happen, because of all the procedures and processes they need to go through.
While very powerful, they move slow like most big companies.
This is your advantage as a little guy and this is why I was not worried about them stealing my product.
Even if they did, it would take them a long time to actually get it on the market – from my understanding.
We talked back and forth for 12 months as I continued refining my product and ordering numerous prototypes.
6 months into that 12 months, they told me they wanted to do a deal.
I was very happy.
Soon I was on the phone to another guy, even higher up the chain.
He drilled me with questions and he got me because I was not prepared.
Still, they were interested.
For the next 6 months, I followed up relentlessly and kept pushing for a deal.
I was now living in the Southern Highlands, near Sydney, Australia.
While living in the Southern Highlands I met a very powerful and very successful businessman who was 75 years old and had been a businessman for over 50 years.
His name is Billy Badass and you can read all about him in the book I am releasing at the end of 2019.
We became very close and he helped me with my venture.
12 months in, Clipsal called me and told me they no longer wanted a deal because they did not have the resources at that time.
This was obviously complete bullshit.
The real reason was the mistake I had made, which I wouldn’t discover until 8 months after they canned the deal.
I went to Billy Badass and told him the bad news.
He said it was good news, because licensing my product was the easy way out.
The best way and the way to make the most money, was to manufacture and sell it myself, through my own company.
I liked this.
So, this is what I would do.
While continuing to refine the design with the engineer, I visited packaging plants in Sydney, called manufacturers in China and lined up buyers around my area.
I began to find out how I was actually going to pull this off.
I asked every question I could think of.
I began to connect the dots.
I began to learn how everything worked.
After talking to various manufacturers, I learnt that I needed $30,000 to make the first order of one million units.
I only had around $20,000.
I needed a backer. I needed an investor.
Then I could invest $10,000 and the investor could cover the rest for a profit.
To get an investor, I needed data.
I needed numbers and I needed proof that this was going to be profitable.
Nobody gives a fuck about your idea and nobody gives a fuck about your product. People only give a fuck about the money you can make them – so if you want money from people, you need to be able to prove that you can make them money. If you cannot do that, go home.
Now knowing this, I went to work on getting my numbers and after working out my numbers I discovered something important:
My new product was going to be twice as expensive as the old product because I could not produce the quantities that resulted in a lower cost per unit. (the higher your volumes, the lower the cost per unit becomes)
So initially, my product would be more expensive.
After speaking to numerous electrical wholesalers who would be selling my product, they believed the cost would not matter – they could sell my product on it’s benefits and it’s quality.
This was good.
Now all I needed to do was refine the design and find an investor.
I was up to my fifth prototype and it was now time to buy a CNC Machined Prototype, which is pictured at the start of this article.
Very expensive, but impeccable quality and it would work like the real thing.
Once it came in the mail, I was stoked.
It worked perfectly.
Everything was absolutely perfect and the quality was next level.
Then I tested it.
Then I saw my mistake.
I had missed something very obvious that actually prevented the product from working the way it needed to work.
It was a major design flaw.
Not the Engineer’s fault. Not the Manufacturer’s fault.
It was the fault of the fucking idiot holding it – ME.
At this time, I had let go of my Aerospace Engineer in the United States because I needed someone local.
I needed to find a new Engineer to fix this problem.
After calling my contacts in manufacturing I was put in touch with another Engineer who told me we could not solve this problem without compromising the main benefit that my product had.
Without that main benefit, my product was worthless.
That was the end of the line.
I spoke to Billy Badass and he told me one thing.
This process taught me many valuable lessons.
Lessons that I will apply to my next venture.
Here Are Those Lessons:
1) Communication Matters A Lot
Not only did Billy Badass tell me this, but I learnt it first hand.
Communication is EVERYTHING.
You need to be able to speak in a clear, direct and simple manner so that people can understand you.
Is that clear?
People MUST be able to understand you.
You need to be able to tell people what you want so they can give you what you want.
You need to communicate at all times so people know what is happening and so problems can be avoided.
If you cannot communicate, if you cannot return calls, if you cannot clearly explain yourself in emails – good fucking luck to you.
To get what you want, you need to deal with people and those people need to understand what you are saying.
Everything you do in your life will involve people so learn how to communicate and deal with people.
I’ve never had a problem with communication.
I speak how I write – CLEAR AND DIRECT.
I can explain exactly what I want in a way that PEOPLE UNDERSTAND.
This made the whole process, so much easier.
Learn how to communicate if you cannot communicate.
2) Nothing Makes Sense In The Beginning
You cannot let the fear of not knowing how to do something, stop you from starting in the first place.
Overthinking will kill your dreams before you even start building your dreams.
You must simply stop overthinking and look at what is DIRECTLY IN FRONT OF YOU.
Do not worry about what is ten fucking steps ahead of you.
You do not NEED to worry about what is ten fucking steps ahead of you.
You need to worry about what is right in front of you.
Listen to me carefully.
When you start something like this, do not think about everything you need to do.
Do not think about how you are going to do everything because it will overwhelm you and it will make you quit.
This game is not easy to win. You must take it one step at a time, doing every single step to the absolute best of your ability.
You must FOCUS.
You must take it one step at a time and you must figure out what needs to be done to move forward.
Moving forward is the only thing that matters – nothing matters except for moving forward every single day.
AS YOU SLOWLY MOVE FORWARD, THE ANSWERS WILL REVEAL THEMSELVES AND THINGS WILL FALL INTO PLACE.
Do you understand that?
The answers will come when you need those answers.
Focus on what is immediate.
Do not overthink.
One step at a time is the key.
3) Ideas Mean Nothing
When I first started this, I was paranoid about people stealing my idea.
I was so paranoid I had all these legal documents that I made everyone sign.
I was lining up lawyers like a pimp lines up his hoes on Friday night.
I had to find someone who could protect me against all the evil people trying to steal my “genius” idea.
They were all very willing to help, for several thousand dollars.
The most expensive one came in at $800 per hour, with an up front fee of $2500.
Lawyers are expensive. I worked that out very fast.
I wasted a lot of time looking for one.
I continued to waste my time until I learnt this lesson: You’re idea means nothing.
The ONLY THING that matters is executing your idea as fast and effectively as possible.
Listen cowboy, if you are worried about people stealing your genius idea, here is what you need to know:
Most people are lazy and dumber than a fucking wombat.
Do you understand this?
Lazy and dumb.
Let them tell you they will steal your idea, because as soon as they see how much work needs to be done to actually make it happen, they will start crying and they will go home.
This shit is hard.
It takes balls.
It’s not a walk in the park.
It is not something you do as a hobby.
It is a commitment that takes everything you have got.
That’s why you do not need to worry about people stealing your idea, unless you tell the wrong person.
Do not tell the wrong person because if you tell a Real Dealer about your idea – watch out.
He will compete and he will fight you for it.
Those guys are very rare unless you hang around a lot of people like that, so don’t worry about someone beating you to the treasure.
Now, when it comes to patents and protecting ideas – FORGET IT.
Forget it unless you have something truly world class that nobody has come up with before, which is very, very unlikely.
If what you have is something simple, forget the patents.
Focus on execution.
Focus on getting that product into the market as fast as possible.
Patents are worthless unless you have BIG money to protect those patents, because in court, when it comes to patents – he with the most dough wins.
Most people will not steal your idea.
Most companies will not steal your idea.
They don’t care.
Stop being a paranoid retard and just do the fucking work.
4) Questions Are How You Find Answers.
Didn’t I just say the answers reveal themselves for you?
Yes I did.
They reveal themselves in the form of THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW.
You learn those THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW by asking questions.
You will not know what questions you need to ask until the time comes when you must ask the fucking questions you need to ask.
How did I learn how manufacturing worked?
How did I learn patents were a waste of time?
How did I figure everything out?
I asked questions when I needed to ask them.
I asked a lot of questions.
I questioned everything I did not understand because I wanted and needed to know as much as possible.
Questions are how you work things out.
You do not work things out, sitting in your room, twiddling your thumbs.
You ask QUESTIONS.
You talk to people and you find out what you need to do when you need to do it.
You do not ask questions about what is ten steps ahead.
You ask questions about what is one step ahead.
If you do not know the answer to something – seek experts who know the answer because that is what experts are for, providing answers.
Questions are a weapon.
Use them when you need to use them.
5) Master Your Emotions
I saved the biggest lesson for last.
Let’s not forget here – I did not win, I failed.
Why did I fail?
I did not test my product because I was in love with my product.
I was not being rational and disciplined.
I was being EMOTIONAL.
I refused to test my product because I was worried and I knew deep down something was wrong.
I could have saved thousands of dollars if I simply shut my emotions down and tested my product.
This was a hard lesson learnt.
It is very easy to fall in love with your idea, your product or your business, but if something is not going to work – don’t do it.
If it isn’t profitable, stop.
If it isn’t going to happen, face it.
Don’t waste that time.
Remove your emotional attachment and MOVE ON.
Find something that will work.
This is the biggest lesson because this one killed my venture.
Do I care that I failed at this and lost money?
I do not care because now I am smarter and now I have more experience.
Very few people pull it off the first time and it usually takes multiple failures before something good happens.
Most people quit after the first failure.
Will that be me?
Trying and failing until you succeed is how you win gentlemen.
You have to try, try and try again.
I hope you learnt something valuable from this, but just understand – you will never TRULY learn anything unless you actually do it.
So do something.
Until Next Time.