Author Archive for MullinsNA17

Small Town Wood Carver Finds the Perfect Market…

Sometimes the greatest profits can come from the least expected places. Alec LaCasse of Michigan found huge success in the area of wood carving. What started out as a hobby ended up with his dropping out of college to work full time just to keep up with the flood of orders he constantly recieves. Business is so good that he can only accept a small fraction of the orders he receives. He dropped out of college to work full time and regularly sells out art shows. It’s a testimony to the fact that we shouldn’t be scared to share with others something we are passionate to create…you just might find a unique market filled with potential.

“From Our Family To Yours”

When thinking of potential entrepreneurs, actors and actresses rarely are the first people who come to mind. In the past I have written about how Hollywood requires an entrepreneurial mind to make it. However, some take it even further than just Hollywood. Jessica Alba is not only one of the top grossing actresses of all time, but has used her business oriented spirit to create a $1 billion company.


Alba started The Honest Company in 2011, not long after the birth of her second child. It doesn’t take much research to see how her experiences as a mother shaped the company. When caring for her first child she was surrounded by people telling her which products to use. Everyone had a different product to recommend for everything from skin care to baby food. However, she found herself becoming more aggravated every day as the products not only rarely worked, but were causing her child to have terrible allergic reactions. She began to seek out more natural and organic remedies to help her sensitive baby. While she was having some success, she was nowhere near content. She recalls the aggravation to Forbes magazine saying “I want beautiful design like everybody else. But it shouldn’t be premium-priced, and it should, of course, be safe.”

It wasn’t until she met child health expert Christopher Gavigan that a business idea even entered her mind. During one of their many conversations about the health of their children and their aggravation with the baby product market, something clicked. They had a need, and wanted to fill it. Jessica immediately reached out to her husband Cash Warren (a popular entrepreneur himself) and started the wheels turning on what would later become The Honest Company.

There is no doubt in my mind that the massive success of her company comes from her very relatable angle on the matter. She was just a mom who wanted to help her kids have the healthiest childhood they could. Her drive then led her to creating an empire of organic and vegan products for sensitive children, or simply parents wanting premium products for their children.


Jessica Alba is a perfect picture of how we should not simply ignore our personal problems with markets and industries, but should expand upon them for inspiration. Chances are someone else is experiencing the same thing! Where there’s a problem, there’s a market.

David Karp the Tumblr King

Despite what critics may say, Tumblr is undeniably a grand success story. In only 6 years it went from a small blogging platform, to being acquired by Yahoo! for $1.1 billion. Throughout it’s journey one thing has remained unchanging about Tumblr; its’ CEO David Karp.

Karp got a leg up in the internet business from an extremely young age. He learned how to write HTML at age 11, dropped out of high school, and continued to work hard on his own to participate in as many extra curricular activities as he could. At age 14 he began interning with tech companies, and at 17 he moved to Tokyo by himself for 5 months. David had been interested in short blogs (called tumble-blogs) for quite some time, but had never taken action with the idea. After years or waiting, he finally took the first steps in making his idea a reality. Finally, on February 2007, he launched Tumblr. As of this August, Tumblr hosts over 350 million blogs, and is a pop culture staple. Tumblr’s success can solely be attributed to David’s passion from even the younger years of his life. While not everyone has learned HTML by the time they are 11, it does not mean that you are in any way handicapped from being an entrepreneur. If you have passion, drive, and the ability to put the rubber to the road you ARE an entrepreneur.

Hollywood Needs Entrepreneurship Too!

When stripped down to its core, entrepreneurship represents a few very simple things; the ability to identify a problem and solution, develop a new approach, and build a network.  These qualities are needed for more than just running a business, they are necessary for making it in the competitive world of Hollywood.

Thirty-two year old Director Damien Chazelle is a perfect example of how even young people can get big in a cut throat industry when you apply the principles of entrepreneurship…

1. Damien identified an area where he was passionate.

Growing up, Damien was obsessed with film making and jazz. It influenced nearly every big decision he made.

2. He narrowed down his product (his talents).

Although his passion was equally split between film and music, he was hard pressed to make his musical talent match his passion. This caused him to turn away from music as a pursuit, and instead focus on film.

3.  He started small, with a big goal in mind.

After college he moved out to LA. His long term dream was to get funding for La La Land, which he wrote while in Harvard . Before he even considered starting production on that, he worked as a writer for several years. The result of this were films such as Grand Piano and 10 Cloverfield Lane.

4. He networked.

Not only did working as a writer keep him financially solvent, but it also helped him make connections. He began to work out the puzzle of Hollywood, and how to play its game while staying on top.

5. He expanded.

After years of networking and writing, Damien created a short film called “Whiplash”. He screened it to a group of producers and received funding to make a feature film. The rest is history.

6. He retained his original voice and passion.

Whiplash went on to receive multiple awards. Damien received funding, and guided his original dream of La La Land to critical and box office success. Throughout the entire process Damien’s original passion remained unchanged. He combined his love for film and music, and an entrepreneurial mind to become one of the most successful and highly acclaimed directors working today.


The Genius of Groupon

How does a 29 year-old become worth more than 600 million dollars in just ten years? One word: innovation. Andrew Mason founded Groupon in 2008 with the simple idea to use the internet to both promote local businesses and find amazing discounts with the click of a mouse. Every quarter Groupon has more than 42 million unique customers, and remains on top of the coupon hunting competition. However, this did not happen overnight. Before Groupon, Mason started in the entrepreneurial field with ‘The Point’. The Point was a “social initiatives platform” dedicated to bringing local people together to accomplish a goal. It was decided that the website was simply too abstract to market, but it was far from a failure. Mason took the imperfected idea, stripped it down, built it up, and the following year revealed Groupon.

Groupon both aids the community and everyday people by promoting limited time offers for local businesses. The company prides itself on building communities, making life less boring, and starting and ending with the customer. Groupon collects 50% of every transaction plus a small credit card fee. By 2010 it was reported the company’s annual income was in excess of 800 million. The site has remained relevant today by living the same ideal Andrew Mason did when creating it originally: innovating. They have continued to transform to fit the technology curve, putting more emphasis on simplicity, and revamping their app to meet consumer needs.

Although a multi-hundred-million dollar business they continue to operate as the entrepreneurially driven project they started as in 2008.