How I Failed in the Math Business – Part 2

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Failing in the math business was a long, slow event for me. When I left off part one of my story about how I failed in the math business, my friendly banker had seized my assets that were intended for me to support my family. It was terrifying, probably illegal and I can’t blame the bank for what they did.

It’s funny how things work. When I began my “all-in” year in the math business, I told myself that if I hadn’t reached a certain point by August of 2010, I’d go back into the medical device business where I’d already earned more than eight figures in my career. I thought it would be easy to go back and I believe this fallback mentality impacted my success. Or, lack of success.

Sightpath Medical

At my darkest hour, I received a call from the EVP of Sightpath Medical, Jim Feinstein. I didn’t know Jim well but had been introduced to him on multiple occasions when he was the Regional Vice-President for LVCI. Jim asked me out to lunch, I accepted, and soon Jim offered me a position as Vice President of Sales for Sightpath Medical. It was an excellent fit for all parties because I knew the business, was immediately useful and required no training.

I am grateful that Jim offered me this opportunity and it worked out well for all concerned. I still work there today and serve as the Executive Vice President of Sales and Marketing. Jim Feinstein left Sightpath eight months after I started working there.

Working a Side Hustle

When I began at Sightpath, I still owned the math business and worked on it at night and weekends. I was learning a lot, enjoying myself but now had no money to invest in the firm. As a result, I had to take Mic Tienken’s advice and do the work.

Also, working a side hustle in a math business called IPMG Software gave me a certain street credibility when talking about digital marketing, product development, and strategy. After all, I had an incubator where I could try things, see what happened and Sightpath received the benefit of my learnings.

As an example, we needed a way to illustrate a business case to facilities and doctors. Our strategy was to develop and app for the iPads our reps were already carrying to make this easy. I knew how to develop apps, and we quickly had this tool in our team’s hands.

A Lifelong Learner

It’s funny, when people found out I owned a math game software business, I got some raised eyebrows. People made some assumptions, and it was an excellent conversation starter. What is also true is that I am a lifelong learner and enjoyed the time I spent in the math business.

Plus, the software we developed, the Tic Tac Math series of apps, helps kids learn math. And it helps them have a positive relationship with math, too. When I allow myself a few moments of “coulda-shoulda-woulda,” I wonder, “What if Tic Tac Math were the one picked for the TV Ad instead of Chalkboard?” Who knows? Luckily, I don’t live my life in the rearview mirror.

Keeping Things Moving

For five years, I gave everything I had to Sightpath and worked on IPMG whenever time permitted. Which, was less-and-less as the months passed. I was watching the expenses continue to creep, and the revenue continues to erode due to a lack of effort on my part. I continued to invest what I could, but IPMG was losing money each year.

At Sightpath, I was working on my passion. With IPMG, I was chasing a ghost.

A Decision to Sell is Different Than Quitting

In Fall of 2015, I made the decision to sell IPMG Software. I knew I had to because the way things were going, it was going to either break me or die a slow death. Neither option seemed right given all I put into it over the years.

IPMG had assets and my goal was to find a buyer.

Finding a Suitable Partner

Around this time, I read an excellent strategy book called: Edge Strategy: A New Mindset for Profitable Growth. This book influenced my thinking and caused me to get in touch with the owner of abcya.com, an educational website. My discussions with Alan Tortalani were informative and unsuccessful.

What I learned was that it was necessary to find the right person because I owned a unique mix of software and math game content. Mountains of it, in fact. In the right hands, content can drive the marketing efforts when put together with a good story.

I kept searching for the right person or company via emails, online searches, and even a small business auction site. Nothing was working.

A Happy Ending to the Story with Mathgeekmama.com

In July of 2016, using the SEMrush.com software platform, I began looking at a math teaching site called, mathgeekmama.com. The traffic on this new site was growing fast and the owner, Bethany Lake, displayed a passion for mathematics teaching and the math business.

In October, I sent Bethany an email, she responded, we corresponded for a couple of months and on December 15, 2016, Mathgeekmama.com, LLC acquired the assets of IPMG Software.

If you like math games, have a child who needs help with math or just want to check out someone who has a sincere passion for what she is doing, look at Bethany’s site. Her goal is to build a business that produces enough revenue that allows she and her family to serve others and help kids get better at math, too.

Finally, as I look back on twelve years in the math business, I didn’t fail. I failed at times and that’s the thing. You see, I learned failure only happens if it grinds something to a halt. And that, in my experience, is a choice. I made the decision many times to simply nudge along to the next thing. I’m still hopeful with the Impartio Books Program, but it’s on life-support for sure!

Like so many things, it’s easy to be hard on myself with the benefit of hindsight. What’s also true is that I believe with all of my heart in God’s providence for my life. In the end, everything worked out well and I am humbled by the outcome.

 

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