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.

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When Marcus Bullock was 15 years outdated, he decided that may change the course of his life. He and his pal 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 complete 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 day by day for the remaining six years of your sentence,” she stated. Bullock credit his mom with saving his life. “These photos, these letters saved me,” he says. “It was the small and the massive issues that she shared with me that gave me a transparent imaginative and prescient of what my life would seem like after jail. My life was removed from over.”

Flikshop is the identify of the factor After “Flick”, which Bullock and his mates referred to as jail photographs, 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 might visualize their life after jail.

Flick store

The Flikshop cell app and web site permits customers to ship a photograph and message to a cherished one in jail, which Flikshop will print on a postcard and ship on to the imprisoned individual. 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 maintain the be aware non-public. Then they will share the photograph with others. Right this moment, Flikshop has shipped postcards to all 50 states and related greater than 170,000 households. John Legend is the monetary supporter of Flikshop by his basis #friamericawhich he began to assist change the prison justice system in America.

Picture credit score: Flikshop

“Footage and letters are the one manner 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 below are three classes Marcus Bullock discovered from constructing the Flick Store:

“I noticed that doing a TED Discuss would grow to be 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 immediately.”

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 doable 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 may 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 take into account myself a public speaker,” he says. Then I noticed it was a robust alternative to share my story on stage and construct the Flikshop model. TED Discuss has grow to be 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 likelihood to construct empathy and understanding for an expertise most individuals do not focus on overtly – how you can assist incarcerated family members.”

“I listened to each recommendation alongside the best way.”

Bullock launched Flikshop in 2012 as a result of he wished to be further cautious together with his promise to ship his mates in jail photographs of his return journey. “I had no thought what I used to be doing,” he says. “I by no means imagined I’d launch a expertise firm. I searched Google for ‘how you can construct a cell app’, and the journey started.”

Bullock credit his success together with his thirst for studying, being open, and listening to each recommendation alongside the best way. He remembers attending workplace hours that was hosted by a Washington regulation 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 best way it was introduced TechstarsStartup Accelerator in Boulder, Colorado. “This funding and assist has allowed me to concentrate on 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 steerage alongside the best way.”

“I’m constructing a fortune for generations.”

Flikshop shouldn’t be 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 wished them to have an opportunity to be a part of the Flick Store,” Bullock says. “I knew this was our likelihood 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 might take part in This spherical of family and friends, They usually contribute at the very least $1,200. Then he gave them a deadline. He waited anxiously, and lots of of them returned with checks.

“As founders, we will construct our imaginative and prescient with the assist of our household and mates to assist change their lives too,” Bullock says. “It grew to become a imaginative and prescient doable 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.”