Forget outside investors. Here’s the secret of how I funded my company.on Mar 9, 2009 - 3:44 PM PST
When I graduated from college I was hell bent on starting a business right away, but I was dirt poor.
One day, I looked at the flood of catalogs that J Crew sent me and was bummed out. I thought to myself, if I hadn’t spent money on clothes at J Crew in college, I might have enough cash to start a business.
But I wasn’t going to give up on my idea. School didn’t teach me much, but in my spare time I read enough biographies of successful entrepreneurs to realize that throughout history, the most successful entrepreneurs started out with nothing. If you’re determined, there’s always a way.
One time, when I looked at a J Crew catalog, I noticed their return policy on the back cover of their catalog. It boasted that their refund policy didn’t have an expiration. Out of curiosity, I called up their customer service number and asked, “would you give me a refund for clothes that I WORE.”
The customer service woman said, “Yes. That’s our policy.”
It seemed too good to be true, so I wanted to make sure. “I bought clothes from you throughout college. I wore them. They’re used. Are you telling me I can return them to you and get a refund check in the mail?”
She said, “Yes. That’s our policy.”
So I boxed up my clothes and sent them back. Within a few weeks, I got a check. I considered it my grubstake and used it to launch my business. There’s always a way.
I would never have come up with that idea, if I hadn’t spent years reading about the resourcefulness of other entrepreneurs. I’m telling you about my experience because I hope it’ll spark some creative idea in you. There’s always a way.
If you have any examples of relentless resourcefulness, share them so we can inspire others.