Here’s an impressive feat you don’t hear everyday – RiutBag founder Sarah Giblin achieved a breakeven business in under 20 months.
Since its release on Kickstarter, the backwards backpack – with the aim of ensuring secure city travel – has received scores of positive reviews.
Just recently, it won the prestigious A’Design Fashion and Travel Accessories Design Award.
And let this sink in – Sarah had no professional background in designing. How did she do it? Here are five lessons to learn from the entrepreneur herself if you need an encouragement boost:
1. Embrace Reinvention
At only 32, Sarah has had legions of jobs and interests that could rival any Jack or Jill-of-all-trades.
After studying politics at The University of Manchester, she began working as a classical singer where she would frequently go on tours across Europe. Shortly after her brief stint at BBC Radio 4, she went on to further her studies and work in journalism, sales, and advertising.
Sarah’s always had an inkling of launching the RiutBag, but it wasn’t until in 2013 when she decided to take it seriously. With the support of her friends and a newfound determination, she resigned from her 9-5 job and jump started her new adventure.
We have more than one true calling. The great news, we’re no longer limited by our academic and professional credentials. Even without formal training, we can always unleash our hidden potential and reinvent ourselves in an entirely new field.
2. Kick Your Kryptonite In The Face
Just when Sarah had saved up enough funds for prototyping came the moment of truth: she was suffering from hearing loss in her right ear.
Worse, the health scare was only the beginning. After Sarah successfully restored her hearing, she was met with a whole new set of challenges while running her business.
Miscommunication with partners and late deliveries nearly botched up her plan, but she took a detour and persevered. Giving up was never in the cards.
Roadblocks are inevitable. More often than not, it’s times like these that show what we’re capable of. The sooner we accept and triumph over these obstacles, the better off we’ll be.
3. Value Your Customers
RiutBag draws heavily on teamwork and user feedback.
Thanks to this business model, Sarah can identify the pain points and improve the bags before each release. What’s more, by incorporating her users’ feedback, she gets to build the next generation of the RiutBags with them.
Creating a great customer experience is just as important as creating a great product.
4. Act With Intention
Sarah refused to categorised the RiutBag as an anti-theft backpack because she’d thought it would aggravate people’s fear of crime. The 32-year-old may be a newbie in the design industry, but she already got one rule down – and that is to use design positively.
Not only is designing a quality bag important to her, but so is intention behind it.
Fear-based marketing never always work. How do you want your audience or customers to feel? Scared to their wits, or hopeful and assured? Always aim to bring positive psychology into your work and life.
5. If Not Now, When?
Sarah wasted no time and got right down to business.
Unlike her peers, she made the daring move of leaving her stable job to dive straight into her new venture. She did it despite not having the appropriate background and knowing if it’ll work out at all.
Many of us choose to play it safe. While it’s understandable why we’d choose security over our passion, we need to reconsider the soul-crushing package it comes with it – we’re going to be trapped in the vicious cycle of wondering about the life that might had been.
Just like how we don’t need to go to business school to start a business, we don’t need a solid portfolio to launch a graphic designing career. What we need is the grit, resilience, patience, and a dash of luck.
The time is now.
Not Just For Entrepreneurs, Even We Can Apply These Lessons
Whether you’re a budding entrepreneur, a self-improvement enthusiast, or a professional looking to fly high in your career, take a cue from these lessons. These building blocks may or may not come in handy in your life, but if there’s anything they’ve proven, it’s this – it’s time to get moving.
Featured image credit: YouTube screenshot from Starscream Communications
This article was written in collaboration with the team at RiutBag.