Journeys To Success – From Homeless to Patented Inventor
Everyone loves a turnaround story! People love to root for the underdog, love hearing about how failures turn into successes, love hearing about how people like Michael Jordan got cut from his high school basketball team before becoming one of the most successful basketball players of all time.
We have a story like that too! In our experience, most entrepreneurs have some sort of story that involves failure, after failure, before success. One of our founders, Kirk Holmes, was asked to be featured in Journeys to Success: The Millennial Edition, in fall of 2016. The Journeys To Success series are compilations of real-life stories written by everyday people in all walks of life who have applied Napoleon Hill’s success principles found within the pages Think and Grow Rich, which put him on the map.
From Homeless to Patented Inventor
In his story, he tells how he went from a homeless addict to recovery, business successes and failures, to being granted a patent. He was rejected from the Navy for his ADHD diagnosis, he started a business, and then it fell apart. He was issued patent number 9,302,800 through his perseverance and extremely long dedicated work hours. His story is titled Darkest Before the Dawn, as life’s troubles and downhills always seem to lead back up, as long as he persevered.
Darkest Before the Dawn
Here’s an excerpt from this transparent, and moving story:
I was once a respected member of society. I was adored by my parents. We went camping for weeks every summer. We were “The Three Musketeers.” I was the light in my father’s eyes, and he was my hero. From 3rd grade on, my entire life was centered around following in my father’s footsteps and having a successful career as a Navy Aviator. With both of my parents being military officers, Mom a retired Navy Captain, and Dad a retired Navy Commander, I was raised with high moral and ethical values. Honor, courage, and commitment were my code. I had received scholarships from organizations and was viewed as a civic and community leader. Sadly, I drank my way out of college, started smoking meth, got involved with a very dangerous crowd and ultimately ended up homeless and living in a shed behind a church at the naive age of twenty-one. “How did I get here?” I asked. I finally saw that maybe it wasn’t my parental parole units or the cops, or everyone else…maybe I was the problem after all, and maybe I should give this thing a shot.
I hit the ground running from that moment forward. I now willingly participated in all of the rehab activities! I ended up choosing to spend a total of six months in Bakersfield and, because of the opportunity WestCare gave me, I haven’t had a drink or a drug since June 11th, 2003. Although I thought my life was over that day I arrived at rehab, I quickly came to realize that that was just the beginning. It is darkest before the dawn.
After a successful stint in rehab, Kirk moved on into the business world, experiencing many successes and failures along the way. In this next excerpt, Kirk talks about his transition period from yet another failed business opportunity, to what later became patent issue #9,302,800:
On my own again, wondering who I can trust, I wandered from gig to gig. The only saving grace I had was the support of family. The fight with my former colleagues continued, while I was still trying to move forward.
One of those gigs was a website for a friend of mine who owned a vape shop. I saw how they were manufacturing the liquids. At that time, they were doing so by hand on a table in a little room across the hall from the bathroom at the shop. Having been a huge fan and listener of the Tech Stuff podcast, I knew that they were using inkjet printer technology in the medical field to perform titration testing. So I knew it was currently possible to do the same. I approached my friend, the owner.
“Hey, Joe! So what if I could automate your entire manufacturing process and allow you to make everything one bottle at a time!?”
“That would be amazing! How?”
And so I began to tell him about the technologies currently in use in other industries and how we could combine them to do the same thing in the vape market. Needless to say, he was all in. I immediately rushed home and started tinkering with a microcontroller and Googling this and that. I began ordering the parts, and transistors, and resistors. I started relearning physics and engineering. My mom came out to visit, and I showed her what I had built.
She was blown away and instantly saw the potential and agreed to support me and my dream. Through my network of friends, I found a mechanical engineer who had worked on projects for NASA and an electrical engineer who worked with Qualcomm. They too saw the value in the project and joined to help fulfill my dream. After many months and many dollars, I had schematics for a sound prototype and I found myself sitting in the office of a very large patent firm in San Francisco…
You can read the entire story in Journeys to Success: The Millennial Edition, available on Amazon.
This story covers Kirk up through approximately 2015, and now we’re building up this digital marketing agency…so the story isn’t over! The lesson here for entrepreneurs, business owners, or anyone who is struggling with anything is: don’t ever give up! Cliches are cliches for a reason, and the evidence is apparent in the case of Mr. Holmes.
You never know where you will land, so keep pushing forward and be open to opportunities that the universe presents to you. One of our core values at Venture Catalysts is “celebrate mistakes.” We don’t degrade our team for mistakes, we stay curious and ask a lot of questions. What went wrong? What did this mistake affect? What are the long and short term consequences? How do we prevent it from happening again? And most importantly, what did you learn from this?
Our greatest mistakes can lead to our greatest successes, as long as you learn from them and keep trudging forward!
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