Today we’d like to introduce you to Joe Nafziger.
Joe, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
After working desk jobs for six years, I was tired of sitting all day. At the time (2011), there weren’t many standing desks on the market. The ones that were out there were too big and too expensive. So, I built my own shelving system out of pine boards and nails and brought it into work.
I really enjoyed having the option to stand at my computer whenever I wanted.
A few years later, my closest friend, Ben Larson, wanted a standing desk that would fit him (he’s taller than me). He saw how much I enjoyed mine and we decided to see if we could make and sell a standing desk converter that could fit people of all heights.
For three years, we worked with engineers, chiropractors, and designers to create the world’s first standing desk with two adjustable levels. It’s built to let you stand with perfect posture, you feel “ready,” so we called it Readydesk.
Once we had our product, we launched a Kickstarter campaign. By following a blog post from Tim Ferriss, called “Hacking Kickstarter,” we reached nearly 200% of our goal. It did exactly what it was supposed to do, and we’ve since sold nearly 8,000 desks in 3.5 years to people from Nepal to Israel to Maine to Alaska.
Now, anyone can stand more often and they can stand with perfect posture thanks to the full adjustability of Readydesk.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
The whole endeavor has been a challenge. Up until we started Readydesk, Ben and I had worked in marketing and advertising. We didn’t know how to ideate, design, build and mass produce a physical product. We had to figure out packaging and materials, how the machinery works, where do we make it, how do you ship pallets of product across the country, freight classes, plywood grades. It’s been just two of us managing everything, and outsourcing as much of the process as possible. This entire project has been a real-world MBA and has helped learn how to fast-track other physical products unrelated to Readydesk.
Our first batch of Readydesks — the ones we built to fulfill Kickstarter orders — had a design flaw that couldn’t be ignored. We ended up throwing away thousands of dollars of material and labor in order to redo it and deliver the best product imaginable. It was sobering, but a good learning moment. Here’s the story: https://www.thereadydesk.com/blog/throwing-away-4133-on-purpose
So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Readydesk story. Tell us more about the business.
Readydesk is a San Diego company that manufacturers and sells standing desk converters and accessories. We are proud of the fact that Readydesk is the only standing desk designed for perfect posture. We have dozens of emails from people who have fixed their back pain. Some have actually stopped taking painkillers because of standing more often with Readydesk. It’s so cool!
What sets us apart is that we are the least-expensive standing desk made in the USA, and we are the only standing desk converter that has been awarded for design and aesthetic. Where other standing desks on the market are just a platform that goes up and down, we have been awarded multiple US Patents for Readydesk’s two, adjustable shelves that can be set to your personal height.
We started in late 2014 via Kickstarter, and have since grossed nearly $1.5 million in sales.
Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
I don’t think luck exists. There are only outcomes.
If you work to put yourself in a position where something good could happen, it feels great when it does. Keep going. If you work to put yourself in a position where something good could happen, it sucks when it doesn’t. But again, keep going.
If you’re looking for luck, you’ll find it after your last failure.
I used to have a bad habit of qualifying someone else’s success as “lucky” or “their parents have money” or “his mom got him the job.” That was me acting like a victim — probably the worst thing you can identify as. Just focus on how you are going to get what you’re after and be ready to adapt.
- Readydesk: standing desk converter – $159
- Made in San Diego
- Fits people 5’0″ to 6’3″
- Website: www.thereadydesk.com
- Phone: 619-387-6667
- Email: email@example.com
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