“There is no magic formula to starting a business. It requires getting started and it takes guts. Nothing is handed to you, everything is earned.”—Luke Wright, CEO of MudLOVE.
Starting a business is hard, often causing a significant amount of heartache. Even after you get started, there can be spontaneous tough seasons that once again rip your heart in two. But it’s what you do in the middle of these trying times that can reveal your courage and passion for your business.
One Warsaw area business owner has demonstrated these qualities. Luke Wright, CEO and founder of MudLOVE, incorporated “giving back” into the very core of his business’s structure. MudLOVE offers many types of clay creations: wristbands, necklaces, mugs, pocket rocks, magnets, and more (many of which are customizable)—and gives 20 percent of profits to its partner, Water for Good.
“When I started in September. 2009,” Wright says, “MudLOVE was a series of accidents:
- The name ‘MudLOVE’ came from a spiderweb chart I made on a trip to Fort Wayne. I was settled on ‘Mud is LOVE’ and then later, it just hit me.
- I made the logo by stamping antique stamps onto a white piece of paper with the purpose of creating greeting cards.
- I went to [the thrift store] Our Father’s House to buy a desk chair, and came out with two very affordable kilns which I used for two years.I wasn’t really in the process of looking for kilns, but these new kilns were bigger and better.
- I made the pocket rock first, which then led to the creation of the MudLOVE band.”
While those accidents led to significant steps forward for Wright and MudLOVE, there were many obstacles. Wright explains, “The day you start your business you have problems, and the day you make the biggest sale you have problems. The day you figure out your biggest problem, you just made another problem. The day you hire someone to take stuff off your plate, you have problems. The day you hit $1,000 in sales, you have problems. The day you hit $1,000,000 in sales you have problems. The day you launch an amazing product, you have problems. The day you choose to take a month off because you are so burnt out, you will have problems. Your problems have problems.”
Wright continues, “I borrowed $4,000 from my very supportive family, and the day that money ran out, the business started making some money. Literally, that day. I paid them back within a year and a half. Twice the company account was wiped out to exactly $0.00. Twice. When my bank account was first at $0.00, I felt like it was God saying, ‘I’m here with you to the very last penny. Trust Me.’ The second time, I felt like it was God saying, ‘Okay, like I said, I’m here, but start taking care of your finances, Luke. My money isn’t to be used frivolously.’”
Keep Your Eye on the Target
When the trials are overwhelming, it’s vital to keep your eye on why you started your business in the first place—why your business exists. When asked what Wright does to keep persevering, he responded, “When you know someone else’s life can be taken away because you don’t have the energy, it’s pretty inspiring. So, honestly, most of the time, it’s the people in Central Africa that need clean water that keep me motivated. I’m so thankful that God inspired me to build a business about helping others. He knew me, and knew that I am not motivated by money.”
For example, Wright once realized that he had made 60 cups four ounces too small. “And I didn’t realize it until it was too late,” Wright says. “I had to spend all night remaking the cups and the rest of the week I was under some real pressure to get them to turn out right. I was working at my potter’s wheel and was so tired and frustrated. But then I looked up at this photo of a girl drinking clean water and realized my pain now is someone’s life later. Keep going. It was a big moment for me.”
Wright works through hardships by keeping his “nose to the grindstone, long hours, and focus. My advice to other entrepreneurs is to be honest about your problems and confront them head on. Don’t justify them or procrastinate them. Just work toward a solution and have faith.”
Speaking of faith, Wright continues, “It’s the times when I am working hard for something, and sometimes I don’t get the results or the money I needed, that I’m reminded God is in control and He inspired this business. It’s His, and He can do with it what He pleases, so I have to let it go and have faith. It’s easier said than done most times, and this can look very desperate—very ugly. But ultimately, I need to always have a table for Him to work at. As a business owner, I am supposed to create all these safety nets to avoid hurting the business or hurting myself, but really faith should be first. Taking the precautions is common sense (locking doors, insurance, emergency funds), but I can’t let the precautions rule me.”
And remember, “the interaction you have with someone today could lead to the sale that saves your business a year down the road,” says Wright.
Trials come. Obstacles never have good timing. Financial troubles can’t always be anticipated. So when you come up against these foes, embrace the fight head-on and persevere with your whole heart. And when you need backup, let 212 Media Studios come to your rescue through our services.
For more about MudLOVE, and to view their available products, check out their website!