Every entrepreneur needs an edge, and if you are anything like me, you will read just about every blog, and listen to every Shark Tank podcast that you can find before YOU jump in the Tank...AND I am a HUGE fan of Shark Tank. I have literally watched every episode; many more than once. The experience certainly has its highs and lows. One of the lows? Sleeping like a homeless person on the sidewalk the night prior. Another...waiting for a call back. But, who said this thing was easy? "Suck it up!" I tell myself. We all like to have testimonies. They build character. Getting them is a pain in the butt.
July 23rd , 6:30 pm - We head home to get packed up after we finish up our last class of the day at our martial arts school in Cary, NC.
July 23rd , 7:30 pm - We get on the road. Thanks to U.S. Cellular, there was a Casting Call just 2 hours away in Greenville, NC.
July 23rd , 10:00 pm - We arrived at the Martinsbourough building where the Shark Tank Casting Calls were being held. There were about 4 different businesses/inventions (10 people) already in line. Some were in line on the other side of the building, and would have been extremely upset when it came time if I didn't tell them that the line was on the other side. I would recommend checking the right place to wait in line, because it isn't always that obvious.
July 23rd , 10:30 pm - We decided that in stead of staying in a hotel, we would camp out. We wanted to be one of the first people to pitch. I am not sure exactly, but to me, it seems that the Casting Call people appreciate your sacrifice. They always ask, "How long have you been waiting in line?" OK, I am getting ahead of myself.
July 23rd , Throughout the night - We had a great time, but tried to avoid going insane. It was supposed to rain, but didn't. Halleluia! It got cold at about 3 in the morning. Luckily we brought chairs and a blanket. So I think to myself, "It could always be worse." One of the inventors/business people had a business called Reflectofly. He was hilarious and was such a personality. I would not be surprised if they consider him for the show. He definitely got a lot of attention and was a real comedian. He spent half the night talking about how it was like we were all standing in line for a Big- Screen for Black Friday. It was helpful to have something to help pass the time.
July 24th, 4:30 am - The local media showed up. They wanted to get some footage for the 6 am NEWS. There were about 100 people in line by this point, and the reporter asked people to tell her about their inventions/ideas. There were people filling out the "Short Application". FYI: It is anything but short. At 15 pages and with limited space to answer the questions, I would recommend having this filled out plenty ahead of time. Of course, in reading this, you will be one of the more prepared ones.
July 24th, 9:00 am - The Casting staff began passing out bands. We actually got #3. That was a cool feeling, and even though we hadn't made it inside or on the show, we had a certain sense of accomplishment for showing this level of commitment.
July 24th, 9:30 am - I asked one of the reporters at the local paper if she would like me to tell her about my Portable and Safe Punching Bag invention, Stryker Pro. She was filming, and I began to tell her a little about the product. This led to about 25 seconds of air time. So, don't be shy about your product. We were tired after being awake for over 24 hours and staying out on the street, but there is opportunity all around you. Get out there and sell it!
July 24th, 9:44 am - They let the first 100 people in a little early. Stryker Pro is portable. So, it was easy to navigate. I couldn't bring it all the way up with me. So, I practiced good product placement and put it by the Shark Tank Banner. The Casting Producer spoke about the whole process. He said not to go in there and spout off a bunch of numbers about your business. They want to see your personality. This is a T.V. show after all. They want characters, stories, a background before they want to know about your product. Many people get turned down for the show who have great products, but are just not interesting enough. Like a movie or any other reality- based tv show, the producers/casting directors have to ask themselves, "Would this be good tv?"
July 24th, 9:50 am - We were the first people to pitch for the day. Our wristband was #3, but as martial artists, we are taught to always be prepared. We walked up to the Casting Agent in the first spot. There were 5 tables lined up with one agent at each table. We handed him our paperwork (the app-one for each of us-that we already spoke about), and he asked us to tell him a little about ourselves and our product. He asked how long we had been married? 12 years Do we use this product in our Karate school? Personal questions like that.
I didn't know that we had officially begun. I guess a lot of people just talk about their idea. Then I said, "We do have a pitch prepared." He said to fire away.We then backed up and did a real Shark Tank Pitch just as I have seen a hundred times on the show-pretending to walk through the hall way and everything.
Giving our Pitch to the Shark Tank Casting Staff
Our pitch lasted a little over 60 seconds. He did not interrupt us. It wasn't because we were both fierce black belts :) but from what I understand, they will not interrupt you if your pitch is a little over. I wore myself out boxing Stryker Pro. Martial Arts keeps me in great shape, but with the talking and the emotions/energy, and putting everything I had into pounding the system, I was zapped. My wife, Melissa did most of the talking, but I had to close it out. That was very difficult, as I was out of breath. The product showed well. After all, that is what it is supposed to do. I mustered up the breath and energy to close it out. We got a positive review from the Agent and also the head casting director. They told us, "Great Pitch!" So, needless to say, we were very excited. The whole experience was physically and mentally draining. But, we just knew that we did it!
July 24th, 10:10 am - We packed up Stryker Pro and headed to NC. After taking a little nap at home, we even had the energy to teach 2 classes that night. We were on a high for sure. But, after basically being up for 36 hours straight, we were exhausted and slept for almost 12 hours that night.
Family Fitness with Stryker Pro
To date - We are waiting to hear back. They filmed our pitch that day. So, look for us in some of the commercials for the upcoming season. We feel very confident that they will call, but looking at your phone and email every other minute is not healthy. So, we are doing business as usual. We took the opportunity to pitch the king of martial arts-based fitness himself, Billy Blanks, last weekend.
That was cool. We look up to him. He started in a martial arts school like us. Blanks was the 4th of 15 children, overcame Dyslexia and an anomaly in his hips joints that kept him from playing sports early on. Martial Arts, along with a winning attitude gave him the strength to accomplish so much in life. He was really nice and even gave us some business advice. It would be a dream to work with this legend.
A writer for the Cary News wanted to hear about our story. We will have an article published in the Wednesday paper this upcoming week.
In closing, I hope that our experience will help you in reaching for you and your family's dreams. If you want to pick my brain for more information, I can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
#greenvilleNC #SharkTank open call is starting!! @USCellular @ABCSharkTank last one of the season!! pic.twitter.com/7e0Xs9mZdt
— Mindy Casting (@Minz15) July 24, 2014
July 24th, 9:44 am -