I still remember the night I was laying down, reading an article about golf and the number of golfers in the U.S.
The following day I began researching the cost of equipment and the markup involved. I saw an opportunity. Next, I began looking into the possibility of starting a subscription based golf ball business, similar to what The Dollar Shave Club offers for blades. I searched for golf ball manufacturers and found one overseas that makes balls for several of the largest golf ball companies in the U.S.
Over the next 12 months, I worked every day, EVERY DAY, on this business model; Christmas, Thanksgiving, my birthday, every weekend, it never stopped. I had a sample of different golf balls flown over and tested by a golfer that works for the PGA, since “feel” is the most important factor to golfers. I met with the USPS and discussed shipping zones and discounts.
I met with free legal resources, found a freight forwarder and broker that was willing to work with a new, small company. I learned how to perform a trademark search and found an incredible artist for the packaging design. I found that it was assumed that if I’m going to be in the golf business, it implies I know how to golf. I didn’t, so I began taking lessons.
I found one of the top ranked golf instructors in the midwest and had lessons every other week for a year. On the weeks I wasn’t with him, I was at the range, practicing my swing and asking questions of other golfers to test the ideas of my business model and see if they would be interested in a mail order golf ball subscription and what they would pay.
After a year of planning, preparing and getting my marketing plan together, problems started.
Amazon had announced it wasn’t accepting any new FBA’s, due to the upcoming holiday season. Most other warehousing and shipping companies didn’t want a small, new company, others had fees that were too high. My manufacturer began mentioning fees that were never discussed in the previous 12 months.
The reality was changing and I didn’t like what I saw. I was going to end up with five pallets of golf balls in my garage; performing the shipping, packaging and customer service myself, along with the marketing. The expected profit was compressed beyond what was acceptable.
I fought to keep the idea alive and make it work but one morning, I grabbed my phone, while still laying down and read an email about new additional charges and realized, it was over, at least for now. After a full year of planning, meetings and golf lessons, I put the business plan on the shelf and walked away.
I took that day off to lick my wounds. I walked around the house with a blanket over my rounded shoulders and it was the only day I ever spilt wine. That night, I wasn’t in the office until the morning. I remember asking myself, what am I going to do tonight?
I decided to sit down and watch TV and was bored beyond imagination, even antsy that I was just siting around, wasting time. That life was over, it wasn’t me anymore. The very next day, I turned toward mobile apps and called up Chad Mureta.
That path led me to VR and I have never looked back.