By Mike Volkin
Please understand this is not an article intended to boast by any means. The intent of this article is to inspire all those entrepreneurs who ever thought “Why can’t I do something like that?”
My name is Mike Volkin and I accidentally created a product, still in “beta phase”, with worldwide demand. My product started with my mother getting diagnosed with cancer and a military deployment to Iraq, and resulted in sales to over 12 countries in less than a year. The product is Strength Stack 52 Bodyweight Fitness Cards. I recently decided to open this product to the public and tell my story on Kickstarter.
While stationed overseas, I was assigned to be the military fitness instructor for my company. As a result, I became an expert with bodyweight exercises. Shortly after my return, my mother, a fitness enthusiast herself, was diagnosed with cancer. Since I didn’t have a cure for cancer, the next best thing I could do was support her the only way I knew how. I designed playing cards with bodyweight exercises on them. I turned these cards into a game by giving each card a number and suit. She could now do exercises wherever she was, in the hospital or at home. She loved the cards, so I printed more and handed them out to my friends and family. After I created the website, the cards took on a life of their own. Fitness celebrities started contacting me, most notably Brett Hoebel from the Biggest loser, Forbes Riley from various infomercials and even Women’s Health Magazine featured them on NBCs the Today’s Show. I have to admit, I got lucky with the press. However, most of my sales came from referrals of existing customers. During the 5 month beta phase I sold cards in over a dozen countries.
Have you ever heard the saying everyone has a book inside them? I believe everyone has a great product inside them. My biggest piece of advice is to get feedback from everyone, not just your friends and family; most of them will be supportive simply to support you. Criticism is a fantastic means to improve your product, so instead of being defensive, use the criticism to your advantage.
When you get an idea for a new product or improving an existing one, act upon it. With today’s technology you can send your product to warehouses all over the world and for a small fee, companies can fulfill and ship orders while you market your business. 10 years ago this wasn’t even possible. I hope this article inspired you to act upon your next idea, your next “what if” thought.
Sergeant Michael Volkin is a U.S. Army veteran. He served in Operation Enduring/Iraqi Freedom as a Chemical Operations Specialist and received an Army Commendation Medal for his efforts and for the fitness programs he designed to help his fellow soldiers. Follow him @strengthstack52.