“I wish to create a successful business” was as far as I got into the process of doing so before a torrent of questions inundated my mind, one after the other, each eating away at my motivation:
“What product should I sell, to who? Or should I sell a service? How much capital would I need, what about time? Do I have enough time? I heard the key is having passion – what do I have passion for? Engineering? Nah, too complex. Sports? Nah. Traveling? Nope…dammit! Do I not have passion for anything? Whatever, everything is invented now anyways….
And so, days would pass, weeks would wither, and years would fade with the “I-wish-to-create-a-successful-business” initiative enthusiastically popping up periodically only to dissipate into nothingness under the weight of my unanswerable questions.
One day in late 2017, through a seemingly unimportant favor, a good friend from Miami unknowingly laid the stones of my entrepreneur journey by asking for my opinion on the e-commerce product he was selling. While the Essential Oil Aromatizer was an average product, learning that he created and owned the ENTIRE process (The name, the color, the price, the marketing, the supplier, the logistics, the photography, the description, the customer service, the negotiations, the legal stuff, the tax stuff, the financial stuff – everything) completely blew my mind. “Oh, so this is what e-commerce looks like” I remember thinking to myself, feeling anxious to start my own.
Fully focused on this newly found path, I quickly came face-to-face with several thrust that vanished several of my initial barriers:
- My passion lies on the development and growth of an item, rather than the item itself
- The people around me are not a representative sample of the USA consumer market
- Leveraging today’s technology can make quick work of complex trans-continental logistics
These 3 lessons were instrumental to my early growth as an Individual Creator. Still, one question remained: what product should I sell?With a newly adopted business-driven mindset, I set out to answer the fundamental. Without the resources to do any fancy analysis, combining some Google trends, with some hot keywords research, and some publicly available consumer metrics led me to a short lift of products for which the eminent winner was: Disposable Coffee Cups.And so, a Journey which at face value was nothing more than “Creating a successful business” became a Journey of personal growth, a journey about our environmental impact, a journey about making a positive impact.
With a product choice in hand, an important question jumped from the corners of my mind into the spotlight of my thoughts: “What should I name my brand?” I had decided on Disposable Coffee Cups as my first product, but had also decided it would not be the only product I would sell – quite the contrary: I wanted room to expand into other products, and thus, I had to choose a brand name which adapted to whatever might come down the road.
Thus, once again, I shifted my attention away from the product, and into my inner beliefs and customs, looking for personal principles and characteristics that I would like my brand to embody.
In those days, aiming for balance in all I did solidified as a core guiding principle across all fundamental dimensions of my life: Family, Love, Health, Friends and Profession. I became a firm believer that anything, when done to excess was detrimental, and when done in Balance was beneficial. Thus, I was convinced about including “Balance” in my brand.
Also in that epoch, meditation progressively took hold as a consistent activity in my mornings and evenings, and thought me the value of the present: While humans have the capacity to recall the past, and envision the future, both of these can only happen in the present moment; everything always happens in the present moment – we live in the present moment. Living is all we do; living is what all humans have in common with themselves. Living is what all humans have in common with all the Natural World.
Ultimately it came down to: Living is all we do, and I advocate we do so in Balance – to Live in Balance….Living Balance.
I had chosen the product, I had named the brand, and I was starting to make my first online sales. The once-unattainable dream was slowly turning into a reality, and with it so did the unprecedented amount of time and effort running my one-product company took. Ironically, in the mist of a full-time job, a full-time partner, and a full-time business, the much-valued principle of “Living a Balanced life” started showings its first signs of fatigue as each important area of my life engaged in an endless tug-of-war with my attention, time, and energy.
It was around that time when I also I started learning the depths about the Disposable Products industry: its size, its history, its role in the American lifestyle, its trends, and its shocking impact to the environment. I wanted to evolve my product according to my learning, but all I could do with the time I had was to maintain it – to keep things running.
I discovered the power of Teamwork in high school, but only realized its full potential in college, when the only way to defeat a platoon of Engineering courses was to form genuine, meaningful alliances with classmates, and fight in unison semester after semester. I missed teaming up with trusted friends to overcome tough challenges since the moment I graduated – it was a sort of melancholic feeling, but at this point in Living Balance teaming up was becoming a necessity.
One late-summer afternoon in 2018, while catching up about life under Houston’s warm sun, Gonzalo asked me about Living Balance: “How’s the cup business going, dude?”. My response, enthusiastic and superficial at the onset, slowly transitioned into the genuine, deeper layers of the current state: Living Balance was hungry for growth and I lacked the time, attention, and energy I needed to properly feed it. Only because I had been through several challenging Engineering classes with Gonzalo, and we had earned our mutual respect, admiration, and understanding, did I instantly reply “Let’s do it!”, without a hint of hesitation, and with full resolution, when he seriously suggested: “Let’s partner up and make it grow”.
And so, I once more re-lived all of the team work clichés under sun: “Two minds are better than one”, “There’s strength in numbers”, “Team work makes the dream”, and even added one of my own to the list: “2x the Mind, 5X the Progress.”
With the much-needed time, energy, and attention Gonzalo brought to the table, we now worked beyond the operational needs of Living Balance and ventured into the enhancement opportunities laying with in its reach. Our first order of business: bring to market a product whose consumption creates a positive impact in our environment and promotes an earth-conscious mentality among the community.
We did not have to look too far from our Disposable Coffee Cups before stumbling, almost by chance, into the Compostable Products industry. And rather quickly, were able to develop a sound business case to transition from Disposable Coffee Cups into Compostable Coffee Cups. This transition updated our product catalog, but most importantly, it updated and refreshed our mentality, passion, and drive towards Living Balance: now, we were not only fulfilling our dream to manage our own business, but we were doing it in a manner that made a tangible, positive impact in our environment.
In early 2019, Living Balance successfully launched the BioCupsTM product line, featuring sets of Cups, Lids, and Stirrers, in 12oz and 16oz variations, and certified as Compostable by the Biodegradable Products Institute (BPI).
As with our first embarkment into the Disposable Products industry, our second one into the Compostable one came with its own set of complexities, revelations, and opportunities, showing us that we are in the beginning of a long, extensive, and rewarding journey to help humanity reach a more balance relationship with Nature. Currently, our best efforts and energies are invested into two main areas:
- Continuously improve our product to deliver a better experience for our Customers, while increasing our positive environmental impact.
- Advocate for change by educating our Customers in the realities of the disposable products market, and how compostable technologies extinguish its environmental threats
Realizing that our Customer’s eco-friendly attitudes are as important as the eco-friendliness quality of our products, we’d like to invite you to join our journey:
- Join us in choosing compostable products
- Join us in talking to your friends and family about the benefits of composting,
- Join us in advocating to local, state, and federal governments for legislation supporting compostable products and processes.
Remember: Earth is in our hands, and nothing less than a collective effort will make the impact we need to sustain its longevity and health for generations to come.