I have twin 14-year-old daughters. One of them came home recently and said, “Hey dad, I want a Lovesac.”
So, like any good dad, I hunted down the guy who put this idea into her head. (I was very confused on what was going on. I didn’t realize she just wanted furniture.)
Turns out the inventor’s name is Shawn Nelson, founder and CEO of LoveSac, the company you may know of because of their giant bags filled with foam (they aren’t beanbags, but they look like beanbags).
Out of every founder, mover, and shaker I’ve had on Cannonball Mindset, only one has given me goosebumps with his life mission and vision.
It’s time to meet Shawn Nelson.
Lesson 1: Get Off the Couch
Let’s go back to Shawn’s teenage days. He’s 18, he just graduated high school, and he’s incredibly bored. Captain Crunch is filling his stomach, and the sound of Bob Barker’s voice is streaming through the boxset. “Come on down!”
<“We all have our ‘get off the couch’ moment. And, by the way, it’s not one moment. It’s a lifetime of moments.” — Shawn Nelson>
A thought hits Shawn. “Wouldn’t it be amazing if I had a beanbag that went from me to the TV?”
How many of us have had a similar, fleeting fancy in the middle of our Captain Crunch (or Fruity Pebbles)? Most of us. We’ve all had good, even amazing ideas. But most of the time, we just change the channel and start watching Dukes of Hazzard.
Shawn got off the couch.
He drove down to a fabric store, bought 14 yards of vinyl, stared at a baseball for 15 minutes, then started cutting.
He couldn’t find enough beans to fill his monstrocity, so hs borrowed his parents’ camping mattresses. You know, the yellow egg-carton kind. He cut them to pieces in his basement with a paper cutter. Voila. A giant foam bag.
I Paid $25 to Register as a Business. Now We’re Listed on the Nasdaq ….
Shawn started taking the bag to baseball games, drive-in movies, and picnics. People start asking about it. After 3 years, his neighbors convinced him to make one for them. Then more neighbors asked. Then their friends asked.
He needed a name, so he quickly landed on LoveSac. Then, he drove down to the Utah State Commision and paid $25 to register as a business and now, they’re listed on Nasdaq.
Currently, LoveSac is upending the $17 billion furniture industry with their most prominent product, called Sactionals — a movable, recyclable furniture with parts that can be removed, washed, and “infinitely rearranged.”
Lesson 2: When You Find a Winner: Lean in. HARD.
The “get off the couch” mentality of Shawn is one of the biggest drivers of his success.
Also though, If you’re wired to get off the couch and do stuff, it’s a two-edged sword, because you are easily distracted.
You must have the ability to move quickly, but stay disciplined when you do find things that are working well. Knowing when to move, and when to dig in, is a tough skill to master.
“The ‘get off the couch’ mindset is a fickle mistress.” — Shawn Nelson
Lesson 3: Ego Is Promise, & Problem
You must have the confidence to accept failure and let it roll off you. At the same time, you must be humble enough to listen to people around you when they have differing opinions. Don’t steam roll over them. Your ego is important to overrule failure, but it can also be your downfall. “How many entrepreneurs have melted down their own empire because of their weirdness?”
Ego is like jet fuel. It’s what creates the enormous power to lift off, but it can also blow you up.
Lesson 4: How Do You Prioritize? You Prioritize
Shawn is married with 4 kids, and is the leader of a multimillion dollar company. The headquarters are in Connecticut, but he lives in Utah. Plus, he’s constantly traveling to China for work.
How does he prioritize family?
“How do you prioritize making family first? You set priorities, and you go achieve them, like any other goal in life.”
Shawn hears entrepreneurs and CEOs ask about priorities often. I don’t run a multimillion dollar company, but I get this all the time as well.
Here’s Shawn’s answer to executives, founders, and entrepreneurs: “You run a publicly traded company. Don’t tell me you don’t know how to prioritize. You know how to prioritize: Go be a good husband, go be a good father.”
Lesson 5: Play Along the Way
Shawn’s not just a family man, a CEO, and the creator of the LoveSac. He’s also what I’d call the sickest wakeboarder around. I’ve never seen him wakeboard, personally. I’ve just heard enough about his skills.
Apparently, cartwheels and flips aren’t out of the wakeboarding sphere for Shawn.
This is another big lesson we can all learn from Shawn: We have to play along the way. (Shawn quoted John Lennon for this one. Love this guy.)
“Life is what happens to you while you’re busy doing other things.” — John Lennon
You’ve gotta play. Don’t miss life cause you’re too busy enacting your vision.
When You Leave Earth, What Do You Want Your Contribution To Be?
“I refuse to make anything that is land-filled worthy.” — Shawn Nelson
I ask this question to all my podcast guests. Shawn had to plug two things. I allowed it for someone so cool:
One: Shawn wants to soak up the world’s plastic with his new Sactionals.
Two: Shawn thinks we’ll all have about a dozen people with us in the hospital room when we leave this life. He wants to have had a deep connection with his 12.
Go change the world Shawn.
(If you don’t use iTunes, click here instead.)
Also, you have to check out Shawn’s blog.