This founder went to prison when he was 15 years old. This is where he came up with an idea for a company now backed by John Legend.

Opinions expressed by entrepreneur Shareholders are their very own.

When Marcus Bullock was 15 years outdated, he decided that may change the course of his life. He and his buddy kidnapped a person within the parking zone of a mall. He was arrested and sentenced to eight years in a most safety jail for adults. “I used to be in denial and have become very depressed throughout these first two years,” Bullock, who’s now Founder and CEO of Flikshop, Says. “I could not course of and settle for the truth that I’d ultimately should serve my total eight-year jail sentence.”

Throughout one go to, Bullock’s mom made a promise to her son who would later be an inspiration to Flikshop. “Marcus, I’ll write you a letter or ship you an image daily for the remaining six years of your sentence,” she mentioned. Bullock credit his mom with saving his life. “These photos, these letters saved me,” he says. “It was the little issues and the large belongings you shared with me that gave me a transparent imaginative and prescient of what my life would appear to be after jail. My life was removed from over.”

Flikshop is the title of the factor After “Flick”, which Bullock and his pals known as jail pictures, Flikshop got down to do most of the issues his mom did for him: put everybody in each cell in contact with their relations and different neighborhood sources, in order that they too may visualize their life after jail.

Flick store

The Flikshop cell app and web site permits customers to ship a photograph and message to a beloved one in jail, which Flikshop will print on a postcard and ship on to the imprisoned particular person. It solely prices $0.99 (together with postage) and has it delivered on to them.

The postcard is perforated, to allow them to rip the letter and hold the notice personal. Then they will share the photograph with others. At this time, Flikshop has shipped postcards to all 50 states and related greater than 170,000 households. John Legend is the monetary supporter of Flikshop by means of his basis #friamericawhich he began to assist change the legal justice system in America.

Picture credit score: Flikshop

“Photos and letters are the one approach these in jail can know that there are nonetheless individuals within the outdoors world who care about them,” Bullock says. “For me, these letters have been a reminder of the life that was ready for me.”

Listed here are three classes Marcus Bullock discovered from constructing the Flick Store:

“I spotted that doing a TED Discuss would develop into my enterprise card.”

“From an early age, I’ve at all times been a talker,” Bullock says. “My household was at all times saying, ‘Marcus is at all times speaking about one thing! “And in some ways, I am the identical Marcus at present.”

He remembers the thrill he felt as a younger boy collaborating within the annual faculty fundraiser. He was decided to speak to as many individuals as attainable and promote probably the most sweet bars, which he did.

As a founder, Bullock underestimated how a lot he was keen on him Storytelling That might assist him launch Flikshop. “After I was requested to take action My first TED Discuss, I used to be hesitant as a result of I did not contemplate myself a public speaker,” he says. Then I spotted it was a strong alternative to share my story on stage and construct the Flikshop model. TED Discuss has develop into my final enterprise card.”

Bullock remembers standing on that platform, publicly publishing his story of going to jail for the primary time. And he was afraid. “My recommendation to entrepreneurs is do not let concern maintain you again. This TED Discuss was my probability to construct empathy and understanding for an expertise most individuals do not talk about brazenly – how one can assist incarcerated family members.”

“I listened to each recommendation alongside the way in which.”

Bullock launched Flikshop in 2012 as a result of he needed to be additional cautious along with his promise to ship his pals in jail pictures of his return journey. “I had no concept what I used to be doing,” he says. “I by no means imagined I’d launch a know-how firm. I searched Google for ‘how one can construct a cell app’, and the journey started.”

Bullock credit his success along with his thirst for studying, being open, and listening to each recommendation alongside the way in which. He remembers attending workplace hours that was hosted by a Washington legislation agency for the founders. He confirmed up asking query after query and confirmed that he is actually open to all the recommendation he is been given.

Attending these workplace hours was the way in which it was offered TechstarsStartup Accelerator in Boulder, Colorado. “This funding and assist has allowed me to deal with rising Flikshop full time in 2018,” Bullock says. “I would not be right here with out all of the followers who’ve given me teaching and steering alongside the way in which.”

“I’m constructing a fortune for generations.”

Flikshop just isn’t Bullock’s first entrepreneurial enterprise. He constructed a profitable portray enterprise when he left jail after which constructed a building firm. He initially booted Flikshop, taking money from his building enterprise to fund his mission. “My household noticed what I did in my enterprise, how profitable I used to be, and I needed them to have an opportunity to be a part of the Flick Store,” Bullock says. “I knew this was our probability to construct a fortune for generations.”

Bullock recounts how he invited a number of members of his household right into a convention room at his building firm. He outlined his imaginative and prescient and three-year strategic plan for Flikshop. He requested if they’d take part in This spherical of family and friends, And so they contribute not less than $1,200. Then he gave them a deadline. He waited anxiously, and lots of of them returned with checks.

“As founders, we are able to construct our imaginative and prescient with the assist of our household and pals to assist change their lives too,” Bullock says. “It turned a imaginative and prescient attainable as a result of a mom by no means stopped believing in her 15-year-old son who made one mistake that modified the course of his life eternally.”