Carlton Calvin, Founder and President of Razor USA started out with the dream of being a filmmaker but he was too scared to take the risk. He decided to try entertainment law instead as a way to weasel his way into show biz through another door.
Eight months into his law career Calvin’s good friend became ill and he left work to care for him. After his friend passed away about a year later he knew he didn’t want to return as a lawyer. Although he was a risk-averse entrepreneur, Calvin started dabbling in the consumer toy market looking at hot trends.
On a trip back from Arizona he came across someone selling real desert scorpions embalmed in a paperweight. It sparked an idea for a toy that was really hot at the time (Pogs and Slammers), called the company that made the paperweight and they sold him 100 (dead) scorpions to make his prototypes.
Calvin took the new scorpion toys to a local toy trade show the next week and on the first day was offered a deal to make 200,000 units at $2 each. It turns out that getting that many scorpions was impossible but it was his first real connection to toys and distribution partners that would later be the channel for his break-out hit, the Razor scooter.
At one point Calvin and his team of 3 were selling $60,000,000 per month worth of Razor scooters. Razor Worldwide continues to innovate with electric vehicles of all shapes and sizes.
Here are 5 habits of the wealthy that help them get richer:
1. Don’t give up
Carlton Calvin is one of the nicest people you will meet. He is reserved and unassuming. By his own admission he doesn’t like risk but he does think big.
You can’t sustain sales of $60M per month for too long and not saturate the market. Pretty soon millions of unsold Razor scooter inventory piled up in their warehouse with no place to go. The company was about to fold when Calvin’s partner urged him not to give up and to keep going. Calvin and team figured out a way to hault production, sell off inventory and pivot by developing new products.
2. Be frugal
This may seem obvious but I’ve seen more start ups wasting cash on things like T-shirts and hats with their logo on it to give away as free swag. This is stupid. You could argue that it’s a cheap form of advertising but does it really pencil out? I think if most of these companies were honest the answer would be no. Calvin and team were running a $60M per month business with 4 people. That’s lean and mean.
3. Hire key people
Calvin learned early that in his industry he needed a dedicated and connected sales person to get out there and hustle. As an owner it’s tempting to try and do everything yourself. After all, you’ve got more time than money, right? Wrong. The wealthy who succeed know how to stay in their lane and delegate to get to even greater heights. It’s about working smarter.
4. Spend money to make money
This may seem to contradict habit #2 but it’s very different. Calvin’s team developed a new toy called the Crazy Cart but there were almost zero sales. Then they decided to shoot a video for it and uploaded it to Youtube. That video went viral with millions of views and sparked huge sales. They doubled down on video and budgets and shot a parody of Ken Block’s famous Gymkhana with the Crazy Cart and that video has been watched over 3 million times.
The lesson here is about experiementation. If I were trying to sell a product or service I would dedicate at least 10% of my marketing budget to trying stuff that might not work. You’ve got to spend money to make money. Calvin took a risk and spent about $40k up front on video production that resulted in millions of dollars in sales. Not a bad ROI.
5. Draft off the big guys
Calvin’s advice for those just starting out is to jump into an industry or space that’s already hot. You are more nimble and can move faster than everyone else. Think about Facebook vs MySpace back in the day. Now, Facebook vs Snapchat. Social media is still hot and just because someone else is dominating a space doesn’t mean there’s no room for you. Lots of examples here: Casey Neistat and BEME…Tesla vs every other huge auto OEM in the world….I could go on…
Culled by: Vivieanne Danielle