It’s been almost exactly two years since Rich decided to take a year’s sabbatical – that lasted for about a month. After he sold or closed his businesses, he decided he wanted to clear his head and spend more time with his family. He quickly realized, though, that his kids were in school and a man could only go golfing so many times a week.
On one particular golf trip, a moment of inspiration came. Rich’s brother asked why Rich didn’t write a book about his process for starting businesses – something that ‘scares the tar out of the rest of us’ but that Rich has done scores of times. The idea stuck and when Rich mentioned it to Ron, Ron said, “I want to write it with you.”
And so Bootstrapped! A No Bull Solution for Small Business Success was conceived. A few months into the writing process, Ron remained unconvinced. He didn’t buy all the principles Rich was espousing and insisted that Rich prove it to him. Rich was reluctant at first (the memory of bad experiences with previous partners still lingered), but Ron persisted – he wanted to see the principles in action.
Rich relented and they each brought $2,500 to the table. Huddled around a large white board, Rich and Ron threw 25 – 30 business ideas up and analyzed each according to Porter’s Five Forces Model. They settled on the SEO idea, even though it didn’t score the highest, because it was quick to cash and Rich had experience in the area.
They followed the book, chapter by chapter, as they developed Everest Web SEO and were soon landing large customers and starting to see some growth. Six months after the launch, they merged with a New York-based company to form CastleWave. The business was doing so well that it became difficult to find time to work on the book!
By the one year mark, CastleWave had reached the original goal of $1 million in top line revenue and has continued to grow since then.
So what’s the point? I can sum it up in three words: location, location, location. Where and how do you receive your best inspiration? When do ideas come most clearly to you? For Rich and Ron, it happened in the back room of an office, overlooking the golf course. If you haven’t discovered your place yet, “Do it! Do it now!” (thanks to Dwight Schrute for that pearl of wisdom). Great business ideas don’t miraculously materialize out of thin air, but if you spend time in places where you tend to think clearly, the ideas will come!