This is a follow up story for The Airhook. If you're interested in reading how they got started, published about 3 years ago, check it out here.
Hello again! Remind us who you are and what business you started.
Craig Rabin here, my team, and I designed The Airhook and a handful of other inventions throughout the last half-decade.
The Airhook was our all-star and award-winning travel product, which is a device that anchors to a closed tray table, that holds your beverage and your electronic device. Yes, you get your knee space back! Then... the pandemic changed all of that, for everyone, but hit those in the airline or travel industry very hard.
Tell us about what you’ve been up to! Has the business been growing?
Our business since the pandemic has forever changed, as it has for everyone. When the travel sector got hit so hard, folks stopped buying The Airhook, which is our main source of revenue. We went from ~10-15k/month to less than a thousand overnight. Our conversion rate was null.
This was something we had never imagined happening in our strategy sessions. Forced to innovate into something new, this was personally hard for me to get past as I’d put so much into The Airhook’s second launch. Not even mentioning the bills that were still to be paid, the dreams that had to be put on pause was beyond hard.
So, it was back to the drawing board for everyone, and I had to let my team go. My option, ask for help. For me, that meant turning to my friends for advice on what to do next. The conclusion, I needed a job. I had to look in the mirror and succumb to the idea that I was hanging up my entrepreneur hat.
That lead me to Enerex, a company where my best friend and former business partner was the VP of sales. He’d tell you I got the job because I was qualified for it, I’d tell you I got the job because I asked for help, and he said to send in my resume. I’m helping scale their Customer Service department to keep up with his sales goals, wow was this going to be fun! But it started with asking for help.
For our existing Airhook customers and inventory still on hand, that meant my full-time job just became my part-time gig. Nights got longer and weekends were more for catching up than relaxation. And it feels great!
What have been your biggest lessons learned in the last year?
I feel like most have this past year, I learned to cherish what we have. As someone who has gone through his struggles with depression, the crazy isolation of the pandemic didn’t drive me further down the rabbit hole. It helped take me out of it.
I learned that my depression was caused mainly by social media, comparing my day-to-day with the photos of my family or gushy posts. But I wasn’t happy, I didn’t have a close relationship with my family, and I figured I was doing something wrong. Unfortunately, then the pandemic hit. Social media became a beacon for questions, fear, mistrust… and hope. Had to keep going.
In switching roles and working for someone else for the first time in half a decade, I also learned the view from the bottom [of an org chart] is just as rewarding as the view from the top. Why? Both have the same challenge, growth. My experience and lack of filter have me regularly giving feedback to upper leadership and the best thing about this company, they listened. Now let’s be honest, about half were bad ideas! But that didn’t affect my desire to keep coming up with them and I released I was just as much an entrepreneur as I had been in the past. Creative solutions to everyday problems. One of the best attributes of an entrepreneur is you keep going, stay humble, and know that growth only happens when you move forward.
What’s in the plans for the upcoming year, and the next 5 years?
I have big ambitions for the future. The Airhook although slowed and now part-time, is still growing. We are looking at releasing a third version in 2022 that accommodates customer feedback. Stay tuned and sign-up for our newsletter on TheAirhook.com. The ideas never stop too, hoping to help collaborate with inventors and continue to play a part in turning dreams into physical reality.
Be your hero. The world needs leaders right now and that leader is you.
Honestly, though, 5 years seems very hard to plan for in advance. Not that we can’t put the framework down on paper, but with an ever-changing world, these goals need to move like water and flow with the times.
Have you read any good books in the last year?
- The Undiscovered Self by C.G. Jung
- Be Our Guest: Perfecting the Art of Customer Service by Disney & Theodore Kinni
Advice for other entrepreneurs who might be struggling to grow their business?
GO! The world has enough to worry about, you need to focus on yourself and keep moving.
Now that doesn’t mean don’t go out of your way for others, or give back to your community, or care for strangers... it means enough with the sob story. Be your hero. The world needs leaders right now and that leader is you.
Are you looking to hire for certain positions right now?
We are always looking to connect with builders, dreamers, and young inventors. If anyone needs advice on how to get their idea from the back of a napkin to a store shelf, always feel free to reach out to [email protected].
Where can we go to learn more?
The Airhook has provided an update on their business!
Almost 2 years ago, we followed up with The Airhook to see how they've been doing since we published this article.
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