The Journey with Nick: How to Make Lemonade Out Of Lemons

Key Takeaways:

  • Whatever life throws at you, make lemonade out of lemons
  • Consider businesses with low barriers to entry
  • Product diversity is key especially in seasonal businesses
  • There is no way around the hard work, you have to put the time in
  • Allow your vision and purpose guide your business decisions

I met Nick several months ago when he spoke at the Center for Civic Innovation in Atlanta and I knew I had to track him down. I didn’t have his email but after scouring through LinkedIn and using Mail Hunter (life hack) to get his contact me made our talk happen. For years I saw King of Pops everywhere from on campus in Athens to the streets of Atlanta, so I figured they had to be doing something right and I wanted to know what was really making King of Pops POP. King of Pops is a popsicle company, Nick, and his brother started together almost seven years ago. It was a make lemonade out of lemons story when his brother got laid off at AIG during the financial crisis, they around and started their own thing despite the less than ideal situation. With not much to start with, Nick and his brother decided to roll a cart towards a busy intersection in the city and started selling their pops. To beat the seasonality of their product and to retain their valued employees they have now expanded to a farm, supplying fresh food and ingredients, a distribution center, a Christmas tree business and a dog treat business...that’s what I call product diversification.

So, I had to ask, as a startup, how did Nick and his brother get King of Pops to be everywhere I was. Nick shared, with a budget of $5,000, enough to buy a pushcart and a refrigerator, they got started. It was a low barrier to entry and that’s exactly why they started with just pops. On the marketing front, seven years ago social media, was a lot easier to get in front of their fans and share their story. But truthfully it was the dedication and purpose in what they were doing that helped them grow and gain more opportunities. For the first two or so years, they worked 7 days a week, 20 hours a day...hard work is the part you can never bypass along the ‘Journey’. Nick said it best, “If you have a strong attachment to your vision and your purpose it helps make hard decisions easier” and it has led these two brothers to grow one pushcart started with $5,000 into a company with 350 employees, selling over 1 million pops.

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