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Greg van den Dries is the founder of Rocktape, a maker of brightly colored kinesiology tape you might have seen wrapped around the body parts of athletes during the Olympics. He's turned a $10,000 initial investment into a company with annual sales of more than $20 million. Here are the 7 lessons he learned along the way:

  1. Financially model your business with assumptions, and assume half of them will be wrong. But at least you'll understand how the math of the business works. You'll save yourself a lot of pain in the future if you find out it's not scalable.
  2. The number one reason people go out of business is cash flow. "The first year I had significant doubts, but all problems are easily solved when a customer places orders."
  3. CEOs shouldn't have to worry about quality control at the beginning. Their talents are better suited for marketing and sales. For this reason, van den Dries paid more to have his products manufactured in South Korea over China.
  4. Defy history to stand out. Typically, marketing to medical professionals was done in a dry, buttoned up, conservative manner. Rocktape marketed to doctors as if they were consumers.
  5. Buffoons run successful multi-million dollar businesses. "I'm constantly amazed," said van den Dries. "A lot of people with little talent are very successful." Don't underestimate yourself.
  6. The number one reason why people don't act on their dreams is the fear of failure. Taking the first step is the hardest step. Even with Rocktape as his 7th startup, he said he wakes up thinking the business will crash tomorrow. "It keeps you on your toes."
  7. How they choose their next product offering: Infatuation. The team must absolutely love it themselves.

Go deeper

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

  1. Health: Most vulnerable Americans aren't getting enough vaccine information — Fauci says Trump administration's lack of facts on COVID "very likely" cost lives.
  2. Education: Schools face an uphill battle to reopen during the pandemic.
  3. Vaccine: Florida requiring proof of residency to get vaccine — CDC extends interval between vaccine doses for exceptional cases.
  4. World: Hong Kong puts tens of thousands on lockdown as cases surge — Pfizer to supply 40 million vaccine doses to lower-income countries — Brazil begins distributing AstraZeneca vaccine.
  5. Sports: 2021 Tokyo Olympics hang in the balance.
  6. 🎧 Podcast: Carbon Health's CEO on unsticking the vaccine bottleneck.

DOJ: Capitol rioter threatened to "assassinate" Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

Supporters of former President Trump storm the U.S. Captiol on Jan. 6. Photo: Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

A Texas man who has been charged with storming the U.S. Capitol in the deadly Jan. 6 siege posted death threats against Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), the Department of Justice said.

The big picture: Garret Miller faces five charges in connection to the riot by supporters of former President Trump, including violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds and making threats. According to court documents, Miller posted violent threats online the day of the siege, including tweeting “Assassinate AOC.”

Schumer calls for IG probe into alleged plan by Trump, DOJ lawyer to oust acting AG

Jeffrey Clark speaks next to Deputy US Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen at a news conference in October. Photo: Yuri Gripas/AFP via Getty Images.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) on Saturday called for the Justice Department inspector general to investigate an alleged plan by former President Trump and a DOJ lawyer to remove the acting attorney general and replace him with someone more willing to investigate unfounded claims of election fraud.

Driving the news: The New York Times first reported Friday that the lawyer, Jeffrey Clark, allegedly devised "ways to cast doubt on the election results and to bolster Mr. Trump’s continuing legal battles and the pressure on Georgia politicians. Because Mr. [Jeffrey] Rosen had refused the president’s entreaties to carry out those plans, Mr. Trump was about to decide whether to fire Mr. Rosen and replace him with Mr. Clark."