What was your first job?
My first job was working as a porter (car mover) at the Jaguar/Vovlo/Mercedes dealership in Downtown Oklahoma City. While my main job was to pull up cars when customers came to pick them up I found myself also playing the role of a handyman – painting the service garage, aiding the service techs in repair, etc. While working there I decided to also start my own car detail business out of the back of my parents’ house. I started off with detailing cars of friends and family. Once I had enough jobs completed I made some business cards and created a website to get more clients. I remember one time one of my coworkers at the dealership called my phone and thinking it was a potential customer I answered “Detailed Detail this is Price Fallin, how can I help you?”. He chuckled a bit and said he needed help moving around cars that were blocking a customer’s car in. Detailed Detail was my first start up where I got a glimpse of entrepreneurship life.
What is the best piece of advice you have ever been given as an entrepreneur?
I wasn’t quite and entrepreneur just yet, but I remember being at an Intern OKC luncheon while I was interning at Chesapeake Energy for the summer. Renzi Stone was speaking and told his story about starting Saxum shortly after graduating. I was intrigued by his ability to start his own company so quickly out of college. So, being the curious entrepreneur student from OU I went up and asked him what the best way and when the right time is to start a company. I’ll never forget his response: ‘You. Just. Start.’, pausing between each word. It was so simple yet so powerful. I used that advice when I left the corporate word to pursue my own start up.
Where do you come up with the inspiration for your ideas?
Everywhere. Ideas come at the most random times. Sometimes it makes sense how I came up with an idea, like when reading a Fast Company or Inc magazine. Other times I’ll be out at dinner with family and think up something exciting. Then I’ll send a text to my business partner right away and we’ll start a long conversation about the idea and immediately begin validating and planning it.
Do you have a routine before your pitch to investors?
I’ve pitched so many times now it doesn’t bother me nearly as much. For me, the most effective way to pitch is to go through the slides on my own thinking about what would be best to say on each slide. Then I write down exactly what I want to say on each slide in the notes. Once I have the notes on each slide I will continue to run through the deck over and over again, constantly making the pitch verbiage more simple and shorter than the last go through. By the time I pitch I pretty much know exactly what I am going to say. I don’t memorize it word for word, I just know what needs to be said on each slide.
What is the biggest mistake that you have ever made as an entrepreneur?
If I could go back and do part of this journey over again, I would learn to code right away. I think one of the biggest mistakes first time entrepreneurs make (especially out of college) is not planning out how to build whatever it is they are trying to sell. If you want to sell goods, learn to make the widget. Selling software? You better learn to code. At TeleVet we started off only focusing on revising our pitch deck, business plan, and financials. Once we raised some funding we hired developers to build a Beta program for us. Finally, after the Beta and after running out of money I thought to myself: the only way we can keep this going without depending on outside help is to do it ourselves. So that’s when I learned to code and built the whole system from scratch without much outside help at all.