"There was a ton of Googling how to do things the first year," Kaupe says of launching her own business. Credit: Provided
Three years ago, 28-year-old Kim Kaupe quit her job to pursue a business idea she brainstormed with her co-founder. Now, she's the head of multi-million dollar company, ZinePak. Like many people who have a gem of an idea, Kaupe didn't have a business background or any start-up money. Still, she went for it. Kaupe shares her tips with us so you can pursue your own great idea.
1. Find a hole in the marketplace. "I worked at Brides magazine for two years and then got a job at an ad agency. One of my co-workers at the agency used to work at Sony Records. We hatched this idea of putting magazines and music together, and out came ZinePak. We wanted to create special packages for fans. It was something that didn't exist before."
2. Partner with someone who has the strengths you lack. "My business partner and I fit together perfectly because one of us has the strengths that the other person doesn't. Find someone you gell with and shares your views, but also brings a unique perspective."
3. Tell everyone your idea. "There's this common misconception that when you come up with a great idea, you have to keep it to yourself because someone will steal it. It's really the opposite. If you have an idea, tell everyone you can. You never know who that person might know. Or, they could have a way for you to improve your idea that you haven't thought of. We changed our entire product based on a suggestion a random customer emailed us. It pays to listen - literally."
4. If you're not an expert, find people that are. "Neither my partner nor I had a background in business. Going to meet-ups was essential for growing our business. There are meet-ups for everything: small business owner meet-ups, tech meet-ups, entrepreneur meet-ups ... When I first started out, I thought I was the only person in the world who faced certain problems. But chances are, most other entrepreneurs that you talk to have wanted to throw their Quickbooks out the window too and might have a great suggestion that can help you. Whatever you need to learn how to do that you can't Google, there's someone out there who can help you."
5. Keep your overhead low. "The first year, my business partner and I worked from home using only our computers, cell phones and brains. It was just us hustling and cold calling, saying 'Let us make this awesome product for you.' The less supplies you have to buy, the more money you'll make. Think, do you really need a warehouse or paper printing machine? Chances are there's a company out there who it's cheaper to pay than renting space or buying all the materials yourself."