Subscription Box Basics with Julie Ball

I'm a Shark Tank Reject

March 16, 2020 Julie Ball Episode 17
Subscription Box Basics with Julie Ball
I'm a Shark Tank Reject
Chapters
Subscription Box Basics with Julie Ball
I'm a Shark Tank Reject
Mar 16, 2020 Episode 17
Julie Ball

#017 - In this episode, Julie shares her Shark Tank fail story and then how she turned it into a win.
Shark Tank is an American business reality TV series on ABC showing hopeful entrepreneurs making business presentation to a panel of five investors or what they call sharks, who decide whether to invest in their company or not.

Links:

Sparkle Hustle Grow
Impacting Millions Publicity Checklist

Show Notes Transcript

#017 - In this episode, Julie shares her Shark Tank fail story and then how she turned it into a win.
Shark Tank is an American business reality TV series on ABC showing hopeful entrepreneurs making business presentation to a panel of five investors or what they call sharks, who decide whether to invest in their company or not.

Links:

Sparkle Hustle Grow
Impacting Millions Publicity Checklist

Speaker 1:

So you want to launch a subscription box, don't know where to start? Girl, you are in the right place! I'm Julie Ball, a subscription box coach and your host here at Subscription Box Basics, a podcast for new and aspiring subscription box entrepreneurs that want to avoid overwhelm. So grab a coffee, some pen and paper and let's have some fun! Hey friends, so who here watches Shark Tank? I see your hands raising. It's just so much fun as an entrepreneur to watch this show cheering on our fellow visionaries as they step into the Shark Tank to share their idea. If you've not heard of it, it's an American business reality TV series on ABC that's been around for over 10 years. The concept is getting front row seats to watch hopeful entrepreneurs making business presentation to a panel of five investors or what they call sharks, who decide whether to invest in their company or not.

Speaker 1:

And today I'm talking about my Shark Tank fail story, but then how I turned it into a win. If we haven't met yet, I'm Julie Ball, founder and Chief Sparkler at Sparkle Hustle Grow a monthly subscription box, an online community for female entrepreneurs as well as your host for Subscription Box Basics. Through my short podcast episodes, I hope to make your sub box business journey a little less bumpy and a lot more fun. For some reason people just resonate when I tell them I'm a Shark Tank reject. They just love it. In 2017 I tried out for Shark Tank at an open casting call in Charlotte, North Carolina. Let me paint the picture. I had been working on my 92nd pitch for weeks. I recorded myself on my iPhone and sent it to friends and colleagues for feedback. I picked out what I thought to be the perfect outfit and I did dress rehearsal in my home office only about a hundred times.

Speaker 1:

I felt like I could do this pitch in my sleep yet I was still super nervous to deliberate. The day before the open casting call, I drove two hours to Charlotte and stayed in a hotel room to get a good night's sleep. I treated myself to room service and a manicure that evening in an effort to raise my vibe cause I was so nervous. The next morning I woke up early, got ready and headed to downtown Charlotte several hours before they were even opening the doors. I had read a little bit about it that the line gets long, but I had no idea. I couldn't believe it, but the line already wrapped around the building when I pulled into the parking garage, but I didn't care. I was there for it. I waited in line about seven and a half hours. Yes, you heard that right? Seven and a half hours on the hard concrete in the hot Carolina sun.

Speaker 1:

All this for only 90 seconds with an associate producer. As I stood in line, I made friends and I learned about plenty of amazing new business ideas and really just a ton of fun and laughter. I specifically remember this one guy whose business model was selling boiled peanuts on the side of the road. Remember guys, this is the Carolinas. I never did catch onto that boiled peanut thing. Anyhow, he was from the coast and he was in his board shorts and he brought a surf board with a big shark bite on it as part of his pitch. Get it? The sharks who wants a bite of my business. Clever stuff. It was really fun getting to know so many of these people. So after a couple hours in line, we got wristbands that told us when our pitch window was. Great! This means I could take a break from the line, walk down the street, grab some lunch.

Speaker 1:

Oh my nerves though. Like I just couldn't eat much because I was afraid it might come right back up to be honest. So I went and grabbed something quick and light and after I was done eating, it was almost time for my pitch window. So I got back in line and waited and waited some more. Finally, they let us into the building and corralled us all into this large classroom filled with rows and rows of chairs for more waiting. You guessed it. This was kind of like what I thought of the dugout at the ballgame, but it had at least a hundred people in there waiting for the coach to put them in the game. We got instructions from the producer about how this would play out and guess what we did more waiting. Yep. This is where my nerves really started to grow. I was so close to my pitch, but I had just no idea when.

Speaker 1:

So I chitchatted a bit and I studied my notes some more and practice my pitch over and over and over again in that classroom. Finally I got called to the bullpen, which was just the hallway basically where the next three or four people waited for their turn and there were a few conference rooms and they had those, you know, those skinny, tall windows that are alongside the closed doors. You know the ones you can kind of peek through to see the front of the room. And I could see inside of each of those conference rooms. I saw pitches happening and I was terrified. Y'all seriously. When I was up next, I nearly peed my pants while I walked into the room. I was so nervous. I always say that you can be both brave and scared at the same time, and this was definitely one of those moments for me.

Speaker 1:

So I walked into the conference room and on the other side of the long wooden conference table was an associate producer waiting for me, not going to lie. It was a young lady, probably early twenties with a friendly smile on her face, but she looked tired. Tired of hearing several hundred pitches before mine, tired of the monotonous revolving circus of hopefuls. It was a bit of an anticlimactic moment when I walked in. Not that I was expecting Barbara Corcoran or Mark Cuban at this stage of the trials, but still in my head. The pitch scene did not look like this. In any case, I showed her my subscription box and launched into my 90 seconds of well-rehearsed stats and storyline. Done. I did it. She asked me a few questions about my business. I answered them easily and before she sent me on my way, she reminded me not to contact them, that they'd reach out if I made it to the next round.

Speaker 1:

Ugh, that's the worst. Just waiting and not being able to ask any questions about where you stand. So I walked on out to the parking garage, got in my car and drove two hours home. It was quite honestly a very, very exciting day, but with a very anticlimactic ending. So a few weeks later I got the email congratulating me for making it to the next round. Yay. I was so, so excited. The next round included making a video, a 10 minute or less video telling my story, plus about a 30 page contract, disclosing all my financials and guess what? Swearing me to secrecy. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I had to keep my mouth shut. Do you know how hard it is to not talk about something so exciting in your life? And I love to talk clearly. So it was just so, so difficult, but I had no choice.

Speaker 1:

I signed on the line. So I made my video and I filled out that contract, sending it within days of getting it in. Then I was told to wait...again. I remember very specifically, they said, if you don't hear from us, assume you didn't make it. What? Seriously? That was April, 2017 fast forward to September, 2017 and I haven't heard back, not a word. I was ghosted you guys and the nail in the coffin was when I saw via social media that Shark Tank was promoting the new season that was coming out. Well, I guess I didn't make it. It's all good. I know that sounds dramatic, but I believe truly that God has a plan and that my plan didn't involve investors and when I look back now, I'm so grateful that I still have 100% control on my business and I don't have to run any business decisions by another party.

Speaker 1:

That's what my team is for and something I lean on my subscribers for. But ultimately getting investors was not the path for me. So earlier I said my Shark Tank failure was a win. You're probably wondering what the heck I meant about that and I'm going to tell you that part next. The trials were emotionally exhausting yet it was exhilarating at the same time because what I was doing was taking the opportunity to give people a behind the scenes look. I took pictures of the big long lines that I stood in and I took pictures of me waiting and meeting new friends and even highlighting other people's ideas on my social media. You already know that I didn't make it on the show, but I was able to get people interested in my story because I was just the local gal running a small town business that was going for it and I think people like to see when other people step out of their comfort zone and you get to follow along.

Speaker 1:

They just love that. And then what I did was while it was happening, I reached out to my local TV affiliate that airs shark tank and told them, Hey guys, I'm local and I just tried out for Shark Tank. I can't tell you if I made it or not because I signed my life away on a contract, but I'm allowed to talk about my experience. And honestly, I did not have a preexisting relationship with this TV station. I just got on their website. I found out their editorial email address and then I wrote them a fun email about my Shark Tank experience so far. And then I let them know that I was available to talk about it. Guess what? They responded almost immediately and said, literally, can we come to your office today? Um, my office as in the sunroom in my home, I was so not prepared.

Speaker 1:

After I got off the phone and agreed to them coming to my office, I called my husband. I'm like, please help me come clean the house. This is not a fancy office, but we have to make it presentable for TV. So I ran, I cleaned, I got a shower and three hours later it was chaotic but exciting. And they showed up. The story aired the next day and I was able to share them with my that with my email list and I was able to promote that on my social media and it gave me almost this little bit of street credit that I didn't have prior to. In the end, my failure gave me visibility. If you didn't listen to last week's episode where I interviewed my publicity coach, Selena Soo, then listen to that one next because in the first half of the episode I talked about how this type of publicity, this visibility can equate to more revenue.

Speaker 1:

Getting publicity is so much easier than people think and people think that you have to have this big brand and they need to be making all this money to get media coverage. Not true at all. You really, you just need a story and you have one. Trust me, you do. Well, I hope you enjoyed hearing my Shark Tank story, my failure. If you listen to my last episode where I talked publicity with Selena Soo, you'll know that this is definitely something you can do, but if you don't know where to start, go to ImpactingMillions.com/JulieChecklist where you will find a publicity checklist to get you started. Selena is my publicity coach and I found tons of success with her frameworks and that checklist again, can be found at ImpactingMillions.com/JulieChecklist. Thank you as always for listening today and I will see you in the next episode.