Type “entrepreneurship” into your favorite search engine and a popular – and unreferenced – definition is almost certain to pop-up:
“Entrepreneurship is living a few years of your life like most people won’t, so that you can spend the rest of your life like most people can’t.”
Did you catch that?
“…living a few years of your life like most people won’t…”
While there are hundreds of more academically-accepted definitions of entrepreneurship, this internet sourced description is most relevant I light of my entrepreneurial experiences.
Not businesses are a success.
While there are many factors influencing whether or not a business will turn a profit, all successful businesses start with one thing in common – a good business idea.
Aspiring entrepreneurs often run in circles, trying to figure out whether or not their latest hare-brained startup inspiration is financially feasible.
Will the business model work? Will it turn a profit? Will customers support their new business? Is there any way to know whether or not their business idea will work before betting the farm?
Good news: Entrepreneurs have a framework for testing business idea feasibility without diving in head first.
Throughout the majority of my life, I’ve lived with an extreme level of social anxiety – like projectile-vomit-all-over-Brooks-Brother’s-suits-at-an-industry-networking-event level of anxiety.
I love meeting new people in small settings and learning about other’s life stories, but a tech conference filled with abrupt, in-yo-face “Let’s connect!”, “What’s your valuation?”, “Who’s on your client list?” makes me want to ditch the whole event agenda, hole up in my hotel room, and Wikipedia local historical sites.
It’s that bad.
I began my entrepreneurial journey in the era of boom or bust tech-based startups. The markets had crashed, national employment was in the crapper, and this thing called the internet was exploding almost overnight.
The popular business gurus hailed as the poster boys of success were the extremely extroverted, snake oil salesmen peddling “success” to all of us nearly-bankrupt professionals like a crack dealer cruising Beale Street.
It’s here –the day you take the leap into the wild and wooly world of entrepreneurship, leaving behind the security and stability of a “normal” job.
The leap is thrilling.
It’s also completely terrifying.
For myself, there were many nights during Year 1, Year 2, and a few in Year 3, where I laid awake wondering, “What in the @*&% did I just do?”
Looking back, there were several key actions I should have taken before quitting my job to go full-time in my business. They say hindsight is 20/20 – well, maybe a few aspiring entrepreneurs can glean some wisdom from the things I wish I’d known.
Here’s the scoop on 5 things you should do BEFORE you quit your day job and dive headfirst into the world of entrepreneurship:
When I started my business, I knew I was gonna make millions.
Yeah, it didn’t quite work out that way…
Chances are, when you started your company, you were planning on cashing in as well.
But what happens when hitting the motherlode Month 2 doesn’t?
What can you do when your business isn’t making money?
Does a zero profit margin mean you have to say “goodbye” and “no more” to your business brain child, or is there a few Hail Mary’s you can claim to give your entity a fighting chance?
Kansas City’s one of those surprising Midwestern entrepreneurial hubs, at least that’s what I’m told when networking in NYC and SoCal.
A quick look at Kansas City’s industrial history, especially within the realm of agriculture and energy, will reveal ample evidence supporting the City of Fountains’ long standing tradition of entrepreneurial innovation.
In 2015, Cushman & Wakefield ranked Kansas City (KC) as one of the top tech cities in the nation. Since then, KC has continued to maintain top rankings in the realm of entrepreneurship and technology, proving there’s more to this former-flyover city than may initially meet the eye.
As a non-Midwestern native, I met KC’s recent headlining as “America’s Most Entrepreneurial City” with great skepticism. I’d previously regarded the KC area as a landlocked metro surrounded by wheat fields, and inhabited by 1980’s-era conservatives. Continue Reading…
Not everything about starting a business is fun.
In fact, a lot of the work during the early growth stages just, well, sucks.
Yes, you read that right.
Startups can be stressful; however, the sucky, pull-your-hair-out growth stage isn’t forever. In fact, the not-so-fun startup phase can provide you a lot of information about both your business and your market – what works and what doesn’t work – that will shape your company’s future. Being able to weather the startup storm, and respond to the growing pains of your baby biz can be a “make it or break it” phase of your entrepreneurial career.
Here are three tips for making the growth phase less “sucky”:
I joined my first Facebook group way back in 2013.
I can’t remember what it was called, but know it had something to do with business.
The digital space was just picking up steam as an entrepreneurial hub, and many of the widespread social courtesies we experience today weren’t really “widespread”, yet.
Needless to say, that well-intended business-focused Facebook group quickly became overrun with a steady stream of shameless self-promo leading to a feeding frenzy of tabloid-like social spats and virtual pissing contests.
Bottom-line: it wasn’t helpful. Continue Reading…
Starting a business for the first time can be scary, stressful, and all other terrifying adjectives.
Even with all the right “things” in place – supportive team, business education, adequate financing, etc. – first time entrepreneurs can be swept away with the hundreds and hundreds of critical decisions that rewired within those first few months.
As with any new venture, entrepreneurship is trial and error – sometimes you make good decisions, other times, those decisions prove to not be so good.
Reflecting over my years of serial entrepreneurship – some which were profitable, others not so much – I’m reminded of some major mistakes I made my first year in business. It’s my hope that by sharing these new entrepreneur “oops!” you can be saved some unnecessary headache as you chart your own entrepreneurial journey. Continue Reading…
Like many aspiring entrepreneurs, one of the self-employment benefits I dreamed about day in and day out was not having a boss.
Not just not having a boss, but not having that boss – you know, the kind that slams you with a weekend’s worth of work Friday at 5:30 PM, the kind that belittles your every comment or suggestion in the board meeting, or the kind that micromanages everything from what you eat for lunch to when you use the facilities.
Maybe you’ve had a boss like that – one that inadvertently inspires you to take the entrepreneurial leap just so you don’t have to work for a total a**hole like them ever again.
But what happens when you sprout your self-employment wings?
You become your very own boss, and you – and you alone – are tasked with managing yourself. Continue Reading…