Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Benjamin Ferry, Founder of Lockbox Adventures, located in Halethorpe, MD, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
We sell an innovative new tabletop game where you receive a box secured with a combination lock. You must solve a series of puzzles and riddles to discover the combination and ultimately find out what's inside. Our customers are avid escape room enthusiasts as well as board game aficionados or anyone who seeks out mental challenges to feed their entertainment needs.
Tell us about yourself
This idea got started from the annual RedditGifts secret Santa exchange, wherein I would send a large safe to a random participant filled with goodies but wouldn't provide the combination. I would force them to visit a few locations or participate in activities to earn digits for the combination. It became the top-rated gift on the exchange after several years of continuous participation, and ultimately I decided to make this into a business to appeal to a broader audience. Today I am selling a tabletop version of the game. It's a bit of a "reverse escape room," allowing people to break into the box!
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
I have had several:
- I was picked up by a local accelerator program for entrepreneurs, where I had the opportunity to work under the mentorship of Patrick McQuown along with a select few other entrepreneurs.
- I had a national broadcast on Fox Business where I briefly got to discuss my business with the entire nation.
- I was given a unique opportunity to gift Adam Savage one of my larger adventures, where he made a YouTube video of his adventure!
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
I suppose this question would warrant a different answer for different people. For me, personally, the fear of failure. Every time I put myself out there, I am overcome with the crippling reality that after all the work I have done, people may not care. What if I go to PAX Unplugged in December, and nobody finds this interesting? What if all the work I have done was for nothing? I think this is a personal struggle, but one I can confidently put at the top of the list of difficulties that I deal with.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Network! It's not how hard you work; it's who you know. Just remember someone sold a multi-million dollar company writing messages on potatoes with a sharpie and mailing it. Your idea is only as good as the people you meet along the way who can help you make it a reality.
- Be persistent. Life will tear you down. Sales will slump, and there will be times of jubilant success and times of hardship. You need to bank enough motivation in the good times to power through the struggles. If you give up when things suck, you'll just be another person who gave up.
- Seek mentors. Doing something alone is a struggle for so many reasons. A lot of the advice you get is cliche, so seek out help from someone who has experience doing what you do. Get their advice, get feedback and lean on others to help you where you are weak. You can't do everything; nobody in a successful business does everything, so learn to lean on others.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
Force yourself into uncomfortable situations to overcome any fears you have. If you have a fear of rejection, force yourself to ask the cashier at every place you shop for a discount. Shopping at Target? Ask for a 10% discount. They'll either give you one or look at you like you're crazy and say, "No!" Then you will grow numb to the confrontation and rejection. Seek out ways to strengthen your weaknesses and power through the uncertainty, and you'll be a success. Even if your business isn't a success, the people you meet along the way will see your confidence and bring you along for their ventures. The entrepreneur world is a small one, and true talent is priceless.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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