Alright – so today we’ve got the honor of introducing you to Keith Mullin. We think you’ll enjoy our conversation, we’ve shared it below.
Keith, thanks for joining us, excited to have you contributing your stories and insights. Being a business owner can be really hard sometimes. It’s rewarding, but most business owners we’ve spoken sometimes think about what it would have been like to have had a regular job instead. Have you ever wondered that yourself? Maybe you can talk to us about a time when you felt this way?
I worked in corporate jobs for 12 years. During this career phase, I had some great experiences, worked with some amazing people and learned a lot. During those years of working corporate, I did my ‘side hustle’ of starting a business. During lunch, I would FedEx product prototypes to clients and I spent many vacations going to industry conventions to grow my venture. Over time and by continuous effort, it paid off. Make Ideas grew enough where I was able to quit corporate employment. The transition was difficult at first, but I was eventually able to work full time on entrepreneurship and my own ventures. During the beginning years, I sacrificed much to have Make Ideas be successful and believe that I am ‘unemployable’ presently. The funny thing is now, I work way more hours on my own business than I did working for others, but it’s not really work to me. Work seems to me, when someone tells you to do something that you may or may not want to do…aka ‘work’. Running Make Ideas, it’s not really ‘work’ since I love doing it so much. I have wanted to own my own business my entire life and I see myself as a work-a-frolic. I really have fun running my ventures and I don’t really think about what I would be like to have a ‘regular job’.
Great, appreciate you sharing that with us. Before we ask you to share more of your insights, can you take a moment to introduce yourself and how you got to where you are today to our readers
Make Ideas is a product development and licensing firm where I create new intellectual property, consumer products and brands. I started building new product prototypes when I was 11 years old and started licensing IP during college. I always try to answer the question, ‘there has to be a better way’. Clients know when they work with me that I have a very process-oriented method to product development which starts with research and learning. Through the development phases, the solution changes and improves into the final go-to-market product embodiment. Even after a product has launched and in market, there are always more improvements to make based on consumer and retailer input. I am most proud of the work and new products that I have developed in the pet industry. In 2022, there will be over 150 products in the market that I have development for some of the largest pet companies in the industry.
We often hear about learning lessons – but just as important is unlearning lessons. Have you ever had to unlearn a lesson?
Growing up I understood that the road ahead was fairly straight and had sign-posts that told you where you were, or which direction to go. I had to unlearn this perception and understand that the final vision of a goal, can take all sorts of pathways or roads to get there. It’s never a straight line. You have to discover and build your transportation vehicle along the way with whatever you can find or make yourself.
Alright – let’s talk about marketing or sales – do you have any fun stories about a risk you’ve taken or something else exciting on the sales and marketing side?
I was launching Gamer Grub, a new snack food where you didn’t get crumbs on your keyboard or greasy fingers while gaming. Right before one of the largest gaming conventions, Microsoft pulled out of their booth space and top sponsorship position. Since there was only a few hours before the convention, they asked if Gamer Grub would be an event sponsor. It was a big investment and gamble for a startup company. But in just that afternoon, Gamer Grub became the official snack supplier of the World Cyber Games USA at E For All. When we launched the next morning, Gamer Grub was on ABC News as one of the highest searched terms on Google for that day, worldwide. The www.gamergrub.com website crashed due to all the incoming traffic. We had our first large purchase order from Fry’s Electronics shortly after. Exciting times.
- Website: www.makeideas.com