How Kelley Higney Went All-In And Scored A Deal On Shark Tank

One of the hardest questions for entrepreneurs is knowing when to go all in. How do you know you are ready to go headfirst into the business?

For Kelley Higney, founder and CEO of Bug Bite Thing, the realization came when she had customers tracking her down in the parking lot after she sold her product at her daughter’s bake sales. With amazing customer feedback, Kelley realized she was onto something, sold her house, and invested that money into her first big batch of inventory.

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Kelley says it was terrifying, especially with a young family. Before she could go all-in on Bug Bite Thing, she created a nest egg as a backup plan. She also did an extensive proof of concept testing by selling her product in small quantities at local events like farmers’ markets and bake sales. Everywhere she went, she got the same response — people loved it. That positive customer feedback and consistent testing gave her the confidence to go all in.

Kelley has always welcomed customer feedback and understands that customers will tell you whether or not they like something. She advises entrepreneurs to not be stubborn with their own thought process and instead listen to the people who are going to purchase the product and consider how you will get them to tell more people about it.

Kelley wasn’t a business expert when she decided to go all-in on her business. With a background in teaching, Kelley is a self-taught entrepreneur who learned from networking groups, online classes, extensive research, and trial and error. She taught herself social media marketing and invested some of the earliest sales of her product right back into her learning through online courses.

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But some of Kelley’s most powerful learning and on-the-job training came from listening to customers. Even as she was repeatedly told no by potential investors, Kelley held strong to the overwhelmingly positive customer feedback and knew her product was a winner.

Her efforts paid off as Bug Bite Thing saw tremendous growth and she made it to the Holy Grail for entrepreneurs — Shark Tank — where she had competing offers from all five Sharks.

Knowing when to go all-in is different for each entrepreneur. But as Kelley knows, researching and testing the concept and learning from customers can provide powerful insights into the demand and potential for a product.

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