Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Embracing Your Inner Entrepreneur

An article from March 13, 2009 in the New York Times states:

"Economists say that when the economy takes a dive, it is common for people to turn to their inner entrepreneur to try to make their own work. But they say that it takes months for that mentality to sink in, and that this is about the time in the economic cycle when it really starts to happen — when the formerly employed realize that traditional job searches are not working, and that they are running out of time and money."

Are you in the process of channeling your inner entrepreneur?

Prendismo has some candid clips that capture the excitement and often the angst that surround the decision to take the leap and embrace the risk of launching a startup.

Laura Colosi, co-founder of educational toy company, ThinkWorks shares that for her, risk of a startup is both scary and motivational.

Young social entrepreneur Tom Szaky shares his personal struggle in making the decision to drop out of school at Princeton to pursue his business idea...and how that decision went over with his parents...

Finally, young entrepreneur James Ioannidis shares his decision to walk away from a job offer at Microsoft to become Chief Technology Officer at Course Hero.

While each of these entrepreneurs came from different life experiences prior to "making the leap", it is clear that they all faced some uncertainty about their decisions. Having no employment opportunities can certainly force the hand of anyone considering a startup...but regardless of the reason for taking the leap, the sense of risk and excitement is common!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Reid Hoffman on Charile Rose

Entrepreneur, angel investor and founder of LinkedIn, Reid Hoffman, appeared on Charlie Rose on March 4, 2009. The interview covered discussion of social networking, the future of technology, status of the economy and his company LinkedIn. One of the best parts of the segment though was Hoffman's thoughts on entrepreneurship.

He stated that whether you are a small business owner or a professional who is moving from job to job every two years, perpetually wondering and planning how your career or business will progress creates a situation in which, "every individual is now an entrepreneur, whether they recognize it or not"

Along those lines, in a recent phone interview, young entrepreneur Willy Franzen discussed how he has leveraged social networking tools such as Twitter to help in building his professional network and his business. Apparently, Hoffman's thoughts are completely on target!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Topic of the Day: Challenges of Entrepreneurship

I wasn't able to get a blog post out on Friday because I was dealing with the many balls an entrepreneur has to juggle. Finding a way to balance operations, strategy, fund raising and business development is a huge challenge - and it made me think that a good topic to showcase would be clips on the challenges that face entrepreneurs.

I've included some of my favorite clips on this topic below:

"Certainly the first few years of the business were going from one near-death experience to another." - Linda Mason, founder of Bright Horizons

"If you are passionate about what you are doing, you do not let the setbacks set you back as much." - Seth Goldman, CEO of HonestTea

"The isolation of being an entrepreneur is something you also have to manage." - Patricia Warner, founder of Global-eze

"I think I'm working harder now than I think I ever worked in my life." - Paul Breitenback, CEO of Quickstore24 Systems

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Topic of the Day: Enthusiasm

"Flaming enthusiasm, backed by horse sense and persistence, is the quality that most frequently makes for success." - Dale Carnegie

Enthusiasm is critical to being successful in business - and even more critical to being successful as an entrepreneur.

David Eson is the founder and owner of Isidore Foods which coordinates the purchasing, packaging and delivery of orders and established buying relationships with 40 local farms and businesses in the Pittsburgh area. In the clip that I chose to showcase enthusiasm, Eson discusses the passion that drove him to start and grow his own business. He states, "There's got to be a passion in your belly or in your heart or in your mind that you want to make a change, and you've got to seize the opportunity to do that. It's amazing what you can do."

That power of enthusiasm is not only limited to entrepreneurs getting a startup off the ground. According to Susan Youngblood, an HR Manager at IBM, there is incredible change that can happen when people bring an enthusiastic attitude to the corporate environment.

It is tough to keep that persistent enthusiasm going - especially in today's economy - but those who can will be the success stories of tomorrow.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Topic of the Day: Creativity

While on Twitter today, I saw a bunch of folks that I follow discussing the refreshing talk that Barry Schwartz gave at TED on the topic of "practical wisdom". In his 20 minute presentation, Schwartz makes the claim that the bureaucracy of rules and incentives that we have created are actually preventing us from being more innovative and productive.

What we need is the practical wisdom of individuals and small teams doing the right things for the right reasons. This is the same sentiment shared by Scott Belsky, founder and editor of Behance. In the clip below, Belsky expresses surprise that even in large organizations with heavy layers of bureaucracy, creative and transformative change can often come down to "just a few people in a room with an idea and the commitment to make it happen".