What It's About
A childhood invention yields fast-growing profits!
Words of Wisdom
The Cut Buddy wasn’t based on a well-known product, so Joshua knew he had to demonstrate it—and the best way to do that was on YouTube. He made a few videos, showing people how to cut their hair in different ways using his product.
If you're working with a product that isn't common, find ways to make it easier for your customers to understand. Since a lot of people are visual, using something like YouTube videos to demonstrate your product is a great idea!
Joshua struggled at first to raise money to get his product professionally designed. Then, one day, his girlfriend remembered what her father did for a living: design products for NASA. Needless to say, Joshua's product wasn't exactly rocket science.
Notes from Chris
Episode 926As a kid, Joshua Esnard was a problem solver. Growing up in the small city of Ithaca, New York, he had to find ways to get things done when there weren’t tons of options—like getting a haircut. He couldn’t drive, his parents were at work all day at Cornell University, and the only barber was miles away. So he began cutting his own hair. It didn’t go well at first. Lines weren’t straight. He gave himself a few bald spots. But he knew he could figure out a solution—it was just a matter of eliminating the same errors he was making over and over again. So he grabbed some cardboard and plastic from his dad’s supplies and cut out a few curve guides that he could hold up while trimming to get a clean, straight cut. He even gave this handmade solution to a common problem a name: The Cut Buddy. Fast forward a decade to 2014. Joshua was moving a treadmill into his garage. He had to take off the door hinges to get it in, and when he did, he just left the door sitting to the side. He was tired and figured he would do it later. But his girlfriend didn’t see it that way. “You never finish what you start,” she complained. It was the verbal kick in the pants Joshua needed. She was right. He didn’t want to be that kind of person, especially once he had kids. So, he decided to follow through on one of his entrepreneurial ideas, and he knew just the one. The next day he took his old Cut Buddy idea to a patent attorney. He also began making prototypes out of basic supplies from Office Depot and Home Depot and taking them to startup pitch competitions. But time and time again, he lost. Nobody believed the product really solved a huge need—and Joshua’s lack of experience running a business, of course, made it a hard sell. Joshua invested nearly $10,000 on the full CAD design, getting a website built and a hundred boxes of Cut Buddy’s ready to sell at $14.99 a pop. It was time to launch. After getting invited to sell on Amazon and venturing into retail, Joshua eventually licensed his product to the Andis Clipper Company, who now bundles the Cut Buddy with other grooming products and sells them in every Walmart in the country. He’s making good money from the deal, but now they get to worry about sales, inventory, and fighting counterfeits. Joshua’s thrilled about the cash he’s made, and he’s itching to do it again. He’s working on new inventions, getting into real estate, and may even start a truffle farm with his friends. He’s also now a dad and doesn’t have to pay for his kids’ haircuts.
MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:
- The Cut Buddy: Clip on over to Joshua's website to learn more about this fast-growing side hustle!
- Shopify: Joshua used Shopify to set up his site for The Cut Buddy, and they're offering a 21-day trial and exclusive discount for all Side Hustle School listeners!
- SunTrust & PayPal: The two payment platforms Joshua used to accept orders
- Inventor Unclogs Profits With Innovative Drain Solution: A modern-day Edison creates a million-dollar product after constantly cleaning up loose hair in his household drains
- Woman Sells Hair Grips to Orthodox Jews & Drag Queens: It begins as a product for Orthodox Jewish women. It goes on to serve cancer patients, Broadway performers, and drag queens, earning “fringe benefits” and $4,000/month
- Clothing Store Salesman Invents Baby Harness, Earns $100k Per Year: An innovative salesman creates a baby harness that benefits both parent and child, all the while creating a six-figure side income for himself
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