Rohan Gilkes is a serial entrepreneur and the founder of Lawn Tribe, Back Pack, Wet Shave Club, Maids in Black, and Launch27. He has helped hundreds of companies launch and grow through a series of transparent case studies on his companies. Along the way he has been featured in the Washington Post, Mixergy, The Startup Foundation, and other business media, and he is a member of the Young Entrepreneur Council.
Rohan serves as an advisor for a number of local startups and co-founded the startup incubator Grooveliving.com. He has developed and presented business case studies for Catholic University’s MBA program and is a regular speaker at startup conferences.
My Life Story
I was born in an area called Bush Hall in beautiful Barbados. When people think of Barbados they usually think of the ocean and palm trees. My neighborhood, however, was more known for drugs and violence. Tough upbringing aside, the larger impact of Bush Hall on my life was one of love and friendship and community and loyalty and the most amazing and creative and resourceful people you would ever meet. It’s still the most awesome place in the world in my mind.
It was there that I developed a love for learning and reading, that would make me dive headlong into any subject that piqued my interest. So while days were spent hanging on the block with friends on Military Road or Bush Hall Yard Gap, quite often it was with a book in hand, exploring some esoteric subject or the other. And that’s where I stumbled across entrepreneurship as pursuit.
My first taste of the rush of making money was at 9 years old. An older lady in the neighbhorhood would offer to pay a portion of sales to a small army of kids for each head of lettuce we could sell. So we would head over to her home early on Sunday mornings on our bikes, collect bags of lettuce, and ride around knocking at doors selling freshly cut lettuce for $1 per head. Our take was 25 cents per sale. A 25% affiliate payout. Not bad at all!
From there I did every hustle known to kid: cutting lawns, cutting my friends’ hair, selling stickers, buying and selling sneakers, fixing bikes, the list goes on and on. Some of this was out of necessity and some of this was out of the pure love for the game. But then I grew up and the real world hit.
The Corporate Life
Go to college, get a good job, and make something of yourself! Maybe you could study accounting, you always get good grades in that stuff.
So I embarked on that journey with a bit of a jump start from one of my high school teachers. There was no way I could afford to pay for college, so luckily I got an academic scholarship (That reading in my earlier years must have paid off). After school, I spent the next 12 years of my life in an absolute drudgery of corporate jobs. Not that the jobs were necessarily bad, but I knew this life wasn’t for me from almost day one.
After the allure of getting hired at a new prestigious company would wear off, I would set off on my plan to find a job at a better company. Only after doing this a couple times did I realize I would never find happiness in this type of situation. Plus accounting definitely wasn’t for me. I needed to get back to the hustle that I enjoyed so much when I was younger. And off I went.
The startup Life
I started learning everything I could about online businesses and even though I still had a full time job at this point I would start little website projects and try to make money. During these years I built everything from a dating site, to affiliate marketing sites in obscure markets (biggest win was portable cement mixers ), to blogger advertising networks, to lead generation sites for local companies.
I tried everything, failed, got better and started figuring out the process. I would leave work every day, go to Bus Boys and Poets and work on my laptop until midnight or until they kicked me out. Then back to work the next day and repeat the process. And it was there that I found my niche: Building simple local service companies and applying good online marketing techniques. One of these companies allowed me to quit my job and here I am.
My goal is for my companies to earn a combined revenue of $1 million per month. Along the way you can follow along and see exactly where I am and pick up techniques for how I launch and grow simple local businesses quickly. Hope you will hang around for the ride.
My hope is that the stuff you pick up in these pages will help you write your own success story.
Scroll down to see our latest month’s revenue and sign up to get updates to see how we start new companies and grow them in order to hit that goal.
Thanks for joining me on this journey and it’s super nice to meet you!
Peek over my shoulder as I share everything on my journey to $1,000,000 in monthly revenue.
We’re learning a lot and so will you.