Stephen Epstein, founder of Flip-It Cap, a tool which allows for the complete emptying of bottles such as honey and ketchup, shares his advice for aspiring entrepreneurs.
Can you share a little about your story and how you got to where you are today?
I grew up in a family manufacturing business and as the youngest of 4 boys, had to work hard and work smart to keep up with my older brothers. I did every dirty job starting with sweeping the floor and picking up debris, stocked shelves, pulled orders, learned how to run and repair machines, drove forklifts, trucks, operated heavy machinery, and at 17 was driving tractor trailers. So, I’ve always been very mechanical and problem solving was a very important skill set I developed along the way. I attended Tulane University in New Orleans and as a Senior learned to fly helicopters; today I’m an ATP Jet pilot and Commercial helicopter rated pilot.
What do you wish you knew before you first started the Flip-It Cap Company?
How long it would take to achieve success! It’s a long road and you’ve got to have grit and determination, along with a steady source of financing.
Can you describe your average day?
My day starts very very early, around 4 am. I put up a small pot of coffee and go through emails, catch up on news, etc.. before the phone starts ringing and the texts start flying.
What has been the largest obstacle you have had to overcome, and how did you overcome it?
Great question. I can’t think of any “one” major obstacle, but rather several smaller ones. I overcame them by maintaining calm, focus, and perspective.
What has been the highlight of your career?
The highlight is when I read reviews of the Flip-It! Cap online and people say things like “genius” and “why didn’t I think of this?”
What has been the hardest part of adjusting to covid-19?
Remembering not to leave the house without a mask! I’m getting better, but for sure on a few occasions I’ve forgotten and had to go back :)
What do you think has been the “key” to your success this far?
Maintaining a reasonable perspective; not making big problems out of little problems.
How has failure helped you later in life? Can you share any specific lessons you have learned?
I’ve definitely been inconsiderate on a few occasions in my life, perhaps saying something or doing something which was hurtful. I’ve learned from those experiences and am much more aware of how the things a person does or says can impact others.
What is some of the best advice you ever received? Some of the worst?
Best advice, from my father: “don’t worry in advance”.
Worst: buy a certain stock that went upside down.
What is some advice you can give to an aspiring high school entrepreneur?
Think of a problem that people don’t even realize is a problem, and solve it in a simple and straightforward way. That’s what I did with Flip-It.
Are there any book you would like to recommend?
Anything by James Michener. He writes historical fiction, so you learn a lot about the subject but in a very entertaining way. Specifically Centennial about the settling of the US West, Texas about Texas, and The Source about the early Centuries of civilization.
A few quotes that Stephen Epstein lives by:
“Expectations Cloud Observations”
“Success breeds complacency”
“If you want to know what someone thinks of you, think about how you feel about them." It usually works out perfectly!