UMKC Innovation Center partners with the university and the community to spark and sustain entrepreneurial efforts within our region and across the country.

KCSourceLink connects KC entrepreneurs to the right resource at the right time.

MOSourceLink connects Missouri entrepreneurs to the right resource at the right time.

Whiteboard2Boardroom connects entrepreneurs and businesses to technologies available for licensing.

Digital Sandbox KC provides early-stage proof-of-concept support for digital products.

Missouri Small Business & Technology Development Center provides technical assistance to startup and existing businesses.

ScaleUP! Kansas City helps businesses with revenues around $200K scale toward their first $1 million.

Missouri Procurement Technical Assistance Centers helps local businesses obtain government contracts.

KCInvestED helps investors learn more about investing in KC startups.

SourceLink® helps communities nationwide build vibrant and vital entrepreneurial ecosystems.
UMKC Innovation Center
January 11, 2017

Cruise Control Doesn’t Work for Business

Self-made Missouri entrepreneur Patrick Roehrman of MT Knives

For Patrick Roehrman, life as a journeyman lineman for Kansas City Power & Light was a good job, but it required lots of overtime, travel and always being on call. Family time was limited for the Sheldon, Missouri resident, but he and his wife found time to work their nine-acre homestead and homeschool their seven children. In his spare time, Patrick built upon his interest in survival skills and knife building. “I wanted the freedom to work from home and to build upon my knowledge of knives,” says Patrick, “and it took fourteen years to make it happen.”

Not wanting to quit his job until he knew his business could support his family, Patrick created a stakeholder program and a website based on the program. With a lot of faith, he gave his two week notice before the launch of the program. “I was uncertain how my program would be received, but the site crashed from all the visitors and the program sold out in six minutes.” MT Knives officially launched in 2012.

The challenges Patrick faced, however, were time and finances. “Knife building is very labor intensive,” explains Patrick. “Leaving a secure job meant taking a huge pay cut and finances were depleted fast.”

With help from Jack Spirko’s Survival Podcast, 1 Million Cups, his Kickstarter program, and a review and auction from the Mike Rowe Foundation, his knives gained worldwide attention.

“Working for yourself requires lots of faith. You never know what will grow and there is never a guaranteed outcome, but there is great joy in hearing from a satisfied customer and knowing I have taught someone a new skill.”

Patrick’s goal was to be home with his family and to build a business that unites them. “It takes a lot of time to get established. Many businesses reach one goal and then stop there, but you can’t ever stop. There is no standing still.”

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Post provided by Kris Edens, a copywriting and blogging resource for small business. She resides in Festus, Missouri and enjoys networking, writing and the entrepreneurial community.

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