Creating a new generation of technology entrepreneurs Part 3: Get ready to bring your “A” game and turn your haters into your motivators
This is part 3 of my series “Creating the next generation of entrepreneurs.” You can read part 1 and part 2 here as well. First, let me say thank you for all the feedback on my earlier posts. I don’t pretend to know everything, but I have been blessed with some great experiences and I feel compelled to share what I have learned from them with the hope that they help you in some way or at least get you thinking about these topics. I plan to write more often as the New Year begins. As you get ready for the holiday many of us will have some down time on our hands, so I wanted to share some things to think about during that time. I also know that we will all start the New Year with new resolutions, and my hope is that many of you make the resolution to start your own business (specifically a web business). In the hopes that you do, I wanted to share the advice below.
Once you have made the decision to start on the journey, I believe there are 3 things that are crucial for you to think about.
1. You have to do your homework so that you’re bringing your “A” game. Someone else has thought of almost any idea you have come up with. The difference between you and them is knowledge and execution. True story: I met with some potential clients and they shared their idea with me. They wanted to launch a dance site where people could upload dance videos; they could have contests and create a community. They were ready to spend money and work on launching the product. I asked them who they thought their competition was, and they said they felt Myspace was their only competition. I quickly asked if they had ever heard of DanceJam, McHammer’s dance site that has been live for over a year. They replied “ I’ve never heard of that.” My point is that if you don’t research what is already out there, how can you create something unique (and that’s just one of the things you need to think about)? There is a lot that goes into starting a company, raising capitol and scaling that company Before you make a move spend some time reading sites that talk about this process. Here are a few places that I frequent and a good place for you to start
• Both Sides of the table: This blog is written by an entrepreneur who is now a venture capitalist. He gives a no-nonsense approach to what to takes to be an entrepreneur.
• A VC: Fred Wilson, A leading venture vapitalist gives great advice to start-ups on a regular basis
• Venture Hacks: A great site that offers advice to start-ups
• 37signals blog: This company wrote a book called “Getting Real” (that you have to read), launched basecamp to become one of the leading project management services online without any outside investment, and -oh yeah- one of the founders created Ruby on Rails ( the language that was used to build Twitter)
• The small business and Start-up pages of Alltop.com: Lists current content from a whole bunch of sites
2. Immerse yourself in the space: I spend some time everyday reading about start-ups. I’ve watched start-ups go from inception to growth and sometimes to failure on sites like Techcrunch, Mashable, and Blackweb20. Each time I read about a company, I go to their site and see what changes they have made, how they are communicating with their audience. I look at each story for a chance to educate myself. It’s also good to see that success is possible and that people are winning. You need to find motivation anywhere you can because it’s easy to think there’s no upside.
3. Believe in yourself, and Let your haters be your motivators: I was going to write a whole post about this but decided it fit better here. Almost every site I mentioned that talks about what it takes to be successful will tell you that you need tenacity and the ability to be able to turn a “no” into a “yes.” But I want to speak about the doubt that will surround you throughout the process. From people close to you asking, “what are you thinking?” or “This will never work, you should just get a job,” to people you don’t know who will knock, criticize or downright blast your efforts for whatever reasons they have. I heard a sermon from TD Jakes not too long ago about turning your haters into your motivators. Use those people to fuel your motivations and press on. If you have done items 1 and 2 in this list and you have an idea your passionate about, then don’t let anyone stop you from having the faith to see it through. And lastly, we have to identify one last person who can de-motivate you. YOU!!! There are going to be many times when you are going to tell yourself it’s time to quit, it’s too hard or nothing seems to be working. I’m here to tell you that’s its at that moment that you are just around the corner from your next success. You just have to turn the corner to find it. There is a great book I read called “founders at work and another called “Once you’re lucky, Twice your good” that give great examples of this.
So as you get ready to plan for the New Year do your homework, get your focus, and get ready to take 2010 by storm. That’s what I’m planning to do. Have a blessed Holiday.