“You work 100 hours weeks because it’s not actually work and you love what you are doing, or because you don’t have a choice because you have 3 mouths to feed at home”. Thiefaine , founder of Prouduct, a global sourcing and trade company, shares his insights as an entrepreneur that helps other small business owners expand their opportunities.
Thiefaine wasn’t planning on starting his own business. While in school, he studied Hospitality and Tourism Management. He interned at the 4 Seasons Resort in Bora Bora. “I was at the best hotel, with the best team, doing the best internship ever, and I HATED it. I was like ‘Oh my gosh, what did I just sign up for the next, forever?”
Once he learned he didn’t want to work in Hotels, he decided to go into banking. “That lasted about 4 months and then I ran like the wind”, says Thiefaine. Luckily, a connection he made during that time, opened the doors for him to get into the sourcing and trade industry. He saw the operations and opportunities, and decided to start his own business.
It took some time to find their niche, but Thiefaine and the Prouduct team were able to fill a void for small business owners when it came to designing, manufacturing and shipping their own products. “There was a moment when everything switched for us, and it was a podcast. We guested on one podcast, and within 12 months, we did 1 million and a half from sales. We got that break, where we had the opportunity to perform and deliver, and that really spring boarded us and allowed us to keep doing that type of work.
While he thought Prouduct would go in one direction, he learned that his customer base wanted something slightly different. He adjusted his business model to best serve what potential clients were asking for, and it has opened more opportunities than he could’ve imagined.
Thiefaine feels that starting a business has changed the way he looks at money, and employment in general. “Personally, I think its more risky to work for someone else than to work for yourself. They would have to pay me an absurd amount of money to take my freedom, liberty and style of living. I can’t do it.” He made it clear that in order to get that freedom, you have to put in the work. “If you are afraid of hard work, it’s not for you. If you talk to successful entrepreneurs, hard work is an afterthought. Like ‘Of Course, I am going to have to put in 60 to 80 hours a week”.
Some people may feel that running a small business is a paradox. Entrepreneurs talk about the freedom running a business gives them, but also talk about putting in 80 hour work weeks just to make a living. “The point at which you can choose not to work 100 hours a week, is the point when you can choose not to take that customer or not. When you are at a point when you can choose who you work with, is the point that you have the freedom to do what you want, where you want with who you want.”
“Early on in business, you have to take what you can get” says Thiefaine, who mentions only making $1,600 the first 6 months of his business. “Once you get to say that you don’t want to do that project, that’s when you get the freedom you are looking for”.
He encourages anyone that has been thinking about starting their own business, to pull the trigger and do it. “I have never seen a better time to start a business and be successful than right now. It’s unbelievable the opportunities that exist.”
If you want to learn more about Prouduct and what they offer, you can go their website at http://www.prouduct.com/. You can also connect with Thiefaine personally on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/thiefainemagre/.