You might say I learned how to market a new product in California by a process of trial and error – mostly error. I don't feel like I'm bragging too much when I say I have been called a visionary more than once. A lot of people see me as a pioneering and innovative designer. No one sees me as particularly practical, however, and practicality is a big part of what product marketing is all about.
I never really bothered to think about how to market a food product in San Diego. I would send out a few press releases, market my product through word of mouth, and assume that it would sink or swim on its own merits. Fortunately, small business owner was not my only title. I was marketing my own inventions as a comfortable little sideline in the hopes of one day striking it rich.
I took flop after flop in stride, figuring that the time just wasn't right. It probably could've gone on like this forever with none of my new and innovative designs making any money in I had not met a marketing expert. She actually took me on as sort of a pity case. She was one of the premier regional experts in California's how to market a product, and didn't really need to work with me. Nonetheless, we bonded pretty quickly and I think she saw something innovative and promising in some of my design work.
She did something almost unheard of in the industry – she agreed to do all the marketing work on spec for a cut of the profits. I guess like me, she did not really need the money. She made me her project. In the end, it turned out very well for both of us. She used her product positioning skills to make me a lot of money, and she got a sizable cut of that money. I didn't exactly get rich, but I certainly came out of it pretty well off, especially considering how I started.
If she had never come along with her knowledge of how to bring a product to market in San Diego and her connections, I never would have gone anywhere. Best of all, I forged a long term business relationship with someone I really trust and admire. I still have a day job, but I'm getting close to the point where I can cut it off entirely and just work on my own. In my opinion, there is nothing more rewarding than that. On the day I finally quit my day job and become completely self-employed, I'll know I've made it.