When were you “bitten” by the entrepreneurial bug?
I have been interested in entrepreneurship even before I knew what the word meant or what I was doing. My parents are entrepreneurs and growing up around that has always pushed me in the direction of trying to start my own business. At the age of 12, I started my first company to sell cell phones, web hosting, ringtones, and other software products all under one hood. We pivoted about 15 times, but unfortunately were wildly unsuccessful due to a horrible understanding of business practices/marketing/everything else. Haha. It was very fun at the time no less and taught me the importance of perseverance. Throughout the years that followed, I found varying degrees of success as a web publisher utilizing performance-based ads. At 17, I finally hit on an idea that gave me my first taste of scalable success and helped me realize my passion for entrepreneurship.
What’s been the hardest part about starting your own business as a millennial entrepreneur?
I think this looks similar across most entrepreneurs, millennial or not. Starting your own business is hard and it only gets harder the larger you build. The hours are long, the stress is high, and everything really does fall into my lap as a founder CEO. I have to make decisions quickly with an incomplete picture of the true landscape and then navigate the team to scalability while pivoting quickly when a new or mature product flames out. The unique issue that I face as a millennial entrepreneur is significant information overload due to the continued growth of the digital age where often-conflicting information and opinions are always available at the click of a button. Information overload is paralyzing and making decisions with too much varied information can slow me down, so I try to find the right balance.
What resources have you found helpful in blazing your own trail?
I stick to Google and seasoned entrepreneurs. You can find tailored resources and/or advice through these outlets. I also read a few books a year but after a certain point, tailored advice is more useful than books. Aside from that, trial & error is one of the best ways to learn and retain.
Who’s your entrepreneurial hero?
My parents. I grew up around them and watched them hustle hard to build a business that would give our family a better life. I’ve seen them go through the high highs and low lows and their unyielding perseverance through both the good and bad. It’s very real and easy to relate to as I’ve grown older. This is probably an atypical answer, but I prefer to glorify those I know closely rather than those I don’t.
What advice do you have for today’s aspiring entrepreneurs?
Everyone has ideas, few are willing to execute them. They are scared or have the wrong idea about entrepreneurship. The startup mentality of “go big or go home” is misleading and leads to more failures than success. The mentality of starting with an idea that you can build with the least amount of capital today that can start generating revenue quickly is one that produces real results and success for entrepreneurs that I know frequently. It helps you build specific knowledge, capital, a track record, and ultimately confidence that you are capable of building something even bigger the next time around. Entrepreneurship is a journey so we should treat it like one.
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