Client Profile: Bridget Hilton
Please tell our readers about your business. My new company is called LSTN (pronounced LISTEN). We sell high quality wooden headphones. For every pair we sell, we give the gift of hearing to a child in a deaf school. We are based in Los Angeles and give globally. This company is very close to my heart as I have spent the last decade in the music industry. Music is my life and I cannot believe I’m going to allow kids to hear it for the first time.
Tell us about the project you’re currently working on. I just launched a pre-order campaign for LSTN headphones. We are not getting our product until September, but I just had to start getting the word out! Whoever preorders our headphones is helping us launch the company in a major way.
Why did you become an entrepreneur? Is starting a business something you always wanted to do? Yes, I’ve been thinking of business ideas since I was a kid and have had a few different businesses. I love creating things and having full creative control over projects. Entrepreneurs change the world every single day. LSTN is the newest business I own and I am extremely passionate and excited about it!
What is the number one thing you wish you could learn more about, and how will you learn about it? I’m open to learning about anything! I suppose one thing I’m very excited about is learning the global marketplace. I need to travel more!
How has technology impacted your business? It’s all about technology at this point. Everything we are doing is technology related, from the hearing aids we are donating to the way we market the headphones. There are so many great apps and websites being created right now that can tie into a physical product…I’m loving it.
How do you use social media in your business? Since LSTN is so new, we are just starting to grow our social networks. Viddy, Pinterest, and Instagram will play a big part in our growth and we have major plans for all of them. Right now you can check us out at Facebook.com/LSTNheadphones, @LSTNheadphones and LSTN.tumblr.com. Tell your friends!
Did you have a business plan when you started your business, and, if so, how much did you vary from it? No real business plan. My plan was to do it as fast as possible because if I don’t, someone else will. I think an outline of a business plan is great, but things change so quickly these days I’m not sure full business plans are still relevant, at least for a technology based company.
What was your biggest mistake and what did you learn from it? Not taking action on an idea, and then I see others take the same idea and become successful off of it. Ideas are pretty much worthless…the execution is key. I have learned to take action on ideas I think are good, and remember that there’s nothing to lose from doing just that.
What advice would you offer to a first-time entrepreneur? Just go out and meet people. Everyone knows someone else that can help out. If you live in a big city, there are groups of entrepreneurs that get together and talk about their businesses. Join them. I guarantee being around other entrepreneurs will inspire you and make you work harder to be a success.
Have you received funding from an outside source, and how has funding (or the lack of funding) impacted your ability to achieve your objectives? Zero funding. It’s tough not having money, but at the end of the day you don’t want to give your entire company and all of your control away to investors.
Who do you rely upon in your business most, and what does he or she do for you that is so invaluable? My fellow social entrepreneurs in Los Angeles. They introduce me to so many great people, and have amazing advice for me. I’m so happy to live in a place where there are so many other people creating companies for social good.
Do you believe that “luck” played any role in the success of your company? No. Of course I feel very lucky to be in this situation, but hard work and drive is the way to success, as overused as that is. There is no substitute for sitting down and focusing on your goals, and then working to make them a reality.
If you had an extra $25,000 to spend on your business, what would you spend it on? Manufacturing product. Right now we are doing a pre-order campaign to pay for our first major round of headphones. 100% of that would go into the product.
How neat or messy is your desk? My desk is my couch and my living room table, so I’d say it’s pretty clean besides the always present iPhone, Fast Company magazines, laptop and Arnold Palmer.
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