This is a guest post by Robert Nava, owner of National Parks Depot.
Being the founder of a successful ecommerce website isn’t something I would have predicted for myself. One year ago, the idea wasn’t even in my peripherals. It wasn’t something that took me a lot of planning and preparation coupled with years of experience to carry out.
Creating National Parks Depot and getting it to a recognized level of success basically took one month. During that month, I came up with a product to sell, created a store, and promoted the product to about one million targeted prospects. Sales were so great that I had to pull in an investor to help get inventory.
Building National Parks Depot using Shopify is one of the easiest things I’ve ever done. I don’t have tons of experience in sales or marketing, so it’s not as if I was destined to be successful at this. In fact, with my history, success seemed unlikely. But with all the right pieces in all the right places, what seemed to be most unlikely actually became a reality.
Early Life and Incarceration
The early part of my life was spent incarcerated. From the age of 11 to 27 I was in and out of juvenile and adult correctional facilities for various crimes. I was addicted to drugs, lost, and hopeless. At that time, no one would have guessed that decades later I’d be so involved in business, sales, or marketing. Like I said, I wasn’t a likely candidate for success.
In September of 2007, I was released from California State Prison and have never looked back. My life was different from that day forward, but how drastically different it would be surprises even me at times. Fast forward seven years. I now have a family, a business, and am working on a college degree.
There is something about ex-felons that make us good candidates for being entrepreneurs. There’s a drive that makes us want to be different and to stand out among the crowd. When I decided that I would never go back to crime and prison, my drive didn’t leave. It was just refocused. From then on, my drive and motivation would be success for me and my family.
While that sounds all good, it wasn’t all easy. Over the last few years, while also being a full-time engineering student, I attempted to launch many business ventures. Most failed immediately. Some were sustainable for a short period of time. But only one stands out as an immediate success, and that one is National Parks Depot.