Getting laid from your job is hard enough, but when you add the fact that you need to support your wife and two kids to the equation, it becomes an incredibly daunting task.
The next viable thing that anyone would do is to get a job to support your family. If the question, “What keeps a successful entrepreneur apart from the rest” is lurking in your mind, then the story of Russell Layton holds the answer to it.
Layton was in the exact aforementioned situation; however, instead of searching for a job, he came with a business idea that grew into a million-dollar business.
The Early Days Of Russell Layton
Layton recalls how he spent his childhood days, not hanging out with his friends but doing odd jobs to meet his expenses.
Layton did whatever job that came his way like pumping fuel at gas stations, answering phones at the church rectory, and so on. The only way for Layton to blow off some steam was by playing ice hockey.
Layton would go to hockey camps, where he and his friends who were using would a bench grinder to sharpen their skaters.
Even as a teenage kid, Layton had a keen understanding of the impact that sharpened skaters bring to the game. He didn't realize then, where this understanding will take him in his life.
Layton finished his grad school studying mechanical engineering, got a good enough job, got married, and fathered two kids.
This looks like the end of a happy story, but little did he know that this is where his story would spin-off. He couldn't help himself but draw comparisons between his life and the life of business people that lived in his neighborhood.
The Crave To Become An Entrepreneur
While Layton worked in the healthcare industry devoid of interest and imposed with numerous restrictions, he noticed people starting their own business, working hard, reaping the results with a touch of independence.
He started working on his business ideas at nights and during weekends. Even though he came up with a plethora of business ideas, none of them were practically scalable. He was unable to bring his ideas to life.
One day, when he took his 6-year-old son to sharpen his skaters, it hit him that there was no improvement in the process of sharpening the skaters to make it more efficient. Being a mechanical engineer, Layton decided to put his mind to use in addressing the decades prevalent issue.
The Initial Days
Layton bought a sharpening machine in 2012 and integrated the latest tech in it to make it more efficient. His idea finally came into life, but his day job and family responsibilities were weighing him down.
To make matters worse, his father passed away the same year. He learned that his father had left him some money that amounted close to $50,000.
He decided to take a leap by investing the amount in his idea. He recruited two entry-level engineers and set up a tiny office.
Things tipped off when there was a massive layoff in the company Layton was working that led to his exit from the company. He saw this as the ideal opportunity and plunged into his business to focus full time.
The Rise To Fame
A few months into the business, Layton raised a small amount of seed fund from his neighbors and ice-skating enthusiasts.
His company’s first prototype saw the light after a year; however, the design was not spot on and didn't meet certain safety criteria. Layton then went to the basics and started from scratch using a permanent abrasive and a more compact design.
Fast-forwarding 5 years, his company Sparx Hockey has sold more than 15,000 Sparx sharpening kits. The company has a long list of portfolio clients including 25 of the 31 National League Hockey teams, and minor leagues, among many others.
Sparx Hockey grew by 4,916% over the last 3 years, generating a revenue of $8 million. The company bagged a place in the Inc.500 list of fastest-growing private companies in the US. The company is planning to enter the Chinese market space ahead of the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing.
Your Take From The Story
The thing that sticks out from the story of every entrepreneur's road to glory is the determination they possess. When everything was falling apart, Layton managed to keep a calm head and focus on what he wanted. Fueling passion through hard work, Layton has shown the world how an average Joe can become the CEO of a million-dollar company.
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