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When Marcus Bullock was 15 years outdated, he decided that will change the course of his life. He and his pal kidnapped a person within the car 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-after-day for the remaining six years of your sentence,” she mentioned. Bullock credit his mom with saving his life. “These photos, these letters saved me,” he says. “It was the little issues and the large belongings you shared with me that gave me a transparent imaginative and prescient of what my life would appear like after jail. My life was removed from over.”

Flikshop is the title of the factor After “Flick”, which Bullock and his buddies known as jail images, Flikshop got down to do lots of the issues his mom did for him: put everybody in each cell in contact with their relations and different group sources, in order that they too may visualize their life after jail.

Flick store

The Flikshop cellular 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 particular person. 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 preserve the be aware personal. Then they will share the picture with others. At this time, Flikshop has shipped postcards to all 50 states and linked greater than 170,000 households. John Legend is the monetary supporter of Flikshop by means of his basis #friamericawhich he began to assist change the felony justice system in America.

Picture credit score: Flikshop

“Photos and letters are the one means these in jail can know that there are nonetheless folks within the exterior world who care about them,” Bullock says. “For me, these letters had been a reminder of the life that was ready for me.”

Listed here are three classes Marcus Bullock discovered from constructing the Flick Store:

“I spotted that doing a TED Speak would turn out to be my enterprise card.”

“From an early age, I’ve all the time been a talker,” Bullock says. “My household was all the time saying, ‘Marcus is all the time speaking about one thing! “And in some ways, I am the identical Marcus right now.”

He remembers the joy he felt as a younger boy taking part within the annual college fundraiser. He was decided to speak to as many individuals as attainable and promote essentially 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. “Once I was requested to take action My first TED Speak, I used to be hesitant as a result of I did not take into account myself a public speaker,” he says. Then I spotted it was a strong alternative to share my story on stage and construct the Flikshop model. TED Speak has turn out 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 worry maintain you again. This TED Speak was my likelihood to construct empathy and understanding for an expertise most individuals do not focus on brazenly – the right way to help 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 additional cautious together with his promise to ship his buddies in jail images 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 ‘the right way to construct a cellular 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 legislation 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 offered TechstarsStartup Accelerator in Boulder, Colorado. “This funding and help has allowed me to give attention to 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 development firm. He initially booted Flikshop, taking money from his development 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 development firm. He outlined his imaginative and prescient and three-year strategic plan for Flikshop. He requested if they’d take part in This spherical of family and friends, They usually contribute no less than $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 help of our household and buddies to assist change their lives too,” Bullock says. “It grew to become a imaginative and prescient attainable 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 perpetually.”