Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Tyson Walters, Founder and CEO of Shed Defender, LLC., located in Irvine, CA, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
My business is Shed Defender. We are the creators of the first onesie for dogs. It is used to contain shedding, reduce anxiety and replace the medical cone. We now have a whole line of innovative pet products. Our customers are pet parents who want their pets to live happy, healthy lifestyles.
Tell us about yourself
I graduated from San Diego State University and had no idea what I wanted to do with my life. But I always knew I would eventually start a business and never work for someone again. At the time, I had a St. Bernard, Harley, and she was always shedding nonstop. I brought her everywhere, and people would always complain about her hair getting everywhere. I moved back home to my parents' house and had my mom start sewing the first prototypes of the Shed Defender. From there, I hired a seamstress and slowly started perfecting and testing it. Then what started as a passion project that I knew had massive potential, the product went viral overnight in 2016 and skyrocketed.
My main motivation is the gratification it gives me to build something out of nothing with such a random idea. I am personally very proud of what I have done and continue to do. I also love dogs, and if I can help them and their owners anywhere, that puts a smile on my face.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
I don't have one single accomplishment that stands above the rest, but I am proud of the fact that I own a multimillion-dollar company I built from scratch and have been featured in publications around the world. It feels good to get acknowledgment and respect from the media.
One big feature was being on Shark Tank back in 2018. That was a really cool experience. And then we have been featured in Buzzfeed, Daily Mail, Oprah Magazine, Animal Planet, Yahoo News, etc. You name it, and we have been on it.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
The time you put into it, countless hours of hard work to put together and maintain a business. It takes time to build it up and become successful. Patience is important. Self-discipline and complete dedication are a must in order to overcome the hardships you will encounter. With that comes a lot of unwanted stress, get used to it because you are the only one keeping the business from falling apart. You take on all the risk and debt, and it's nerve-wracking to be in that position which means you need to keep yourself composed and driven. Keep grinding it out, and eventually, it all pays off.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Never listen to anyone who tells you that your business idea is bad. I got laughed at for years about making a dog onesie, but look at me now.
- Make mistakes. It is inevitable, but learn from them and grow from them. One of the best ways to learn is to do it wrong first, then get it right next time.
- Ask questions. Find a mentor or someone successful and ask them all the questions in the world. Have them tell you about their mistakes and how they fixed them. You will be surprised to know that a lot of successful entrepreneurs love to help people who are just getting their start.
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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