ENTREPRENEURSHIP IS ANYTHING BUT EASY.

There is no road map, proven process or manual. The closest entrepreneurs can get to an instruction manual is the advice of those who came before.

This series is built around the idea that the trials, challenges and successes of entrepreneurs can inform and inspire others to follow in their footsteps. These business leaders provide insight drawn from their unique experiences in raising funding, building a team, validating an idea and more.

THE ENTREPRENEURS

BRANDON SHUEY


Shuey is the co-founder and chief technology officer of Fliphound, an online tool that manages digital billboards and connects marketers, advertisers, billboard managers and more. Shuey considers himself a serial entrepreneur, as he has been a software developer from an early age and is constantly looking at what's next.


JOHN HARRISON


Harrison is the founder of Filimin, a unique, wi-fi enabled touch lamp that allows users to communicate across distance with a simple touch to the lamp. Harrison has a background in music and engineering and originally created Filimin as a personal gift to his family before taking it onto Kickstarter.


FRANK HOPKINS & LEVI FITZMIER


Frank and Levi are the F and the L in FNL Denim, a premium custom jeans shop that recently opened a storefront downtown near Emporia and Douglas. After learning the craft of making jeans in Los Angeles, Hopkins and Fitzmier took their skills back to Wichita, where the market was ripe and capital travels much further.

Photo by Kevin Wildt for We Are Wichita.


PART 1: INVESTMENT


Money is the lifeblood of any business. Without early investment, businesses can't grow and without paying customers, what's the point?

Each entrepreneur we talked with had a very different approach to how they funded their business — from Kickstarter to self-funding and traditional investment avenues. No matter how it's done, it's vital for entrepreneurs to get that first buck to turn their idea into a reality.

Here are a few extra insights from our entrepreneurs:


Most of the money here is pretty mature. Mature individuals and pretty mature companies. They're very savvy in how they invest, but they're taking larger bets. They want million-dollar investments. They don't want to do $50,000 here or $25,000, which makes it a little challenging for the seed guys.Brandon Shuey - Fliphound


We need money and we need employees and there's all sorts of things and every day I'm dealing with supply chain issues and all this kind of stuff, but at the end of the day, I do believe the product that we have benefits the world in some way — it benefits our community and it benefits the United States and the world. When I remember that, then I can talk from a more authentic place, which makes a difference in the way people hear me.John Harrison - Filimin


I ended up selling my motorcycle for a couple sewing machines. I don't know if any guy could say that he did that.Frank Hopkins - FNL Denim


NEXT STEPS:


For a simple look at the perception challenge, check out this short video


Dig deeper into the findings and explore James Chung's report


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