career

So you think you want to be an entrepreneur

There is one buzz word in the tech world right now: entrepreneur. Everyone either wants to be one or work for one. As a society we look up to the few who have skyrocketed to success (and have movies made about them) like Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos. Their accomplishments should be no doubt celebrated, but you don’t have to achieve world renowned status and a global company to be successful.

What does this mean? How do you even become an entrepreneur?

It starts with a problem you want to solve in the world. It doesn’t have to be life altering. Solving global climate change is important but may not be on your to-do list. What is something that you see in the world that you want to change or be done differently? A great example of this is Vivienne Harr. As a 10 year old child she had a desire to end child slavery and started Make a Stand. Okay, so that is a global topic, but she began by vowing to sell lemonade for a year. Her vision has now evolved to an app where people can crowdfund campaigns for charity. Another example is Sightglass Coffee started by 2 siblings who saw coffeemaking as a craft with a desire to source green coffee: it is now one of the top coffee shops in San Francisco (and believe me, as someone who lives here there is a LOT of competition). Silicon Valley fairytales do come true.

Vivienne Harr, Founder of Make a Stand
Vivienne Harr, Founder of Make a Stand
Sightglass Coffee in San Francisco
Sightglass Coffee in San Francisco

Here are 4 key steps to start:

Work on something you are passionate about.
True creativity comes with investment, and none will occur if you’re not 100% behind it. You will also not be motivated to work for (sometimes long) hours on it otherwise. Interest is not only transparent but also infectious: if you are excited you will get others on the bandwagon for your idea as well.

Decide on your audience.
Who will be your target demographic? Decide on age / background / gender / affiliations etc. This will help hone in on your messaging and ultimately marketing to get the word out.

Constantly iterate.
Feedback is a virtuous loop: when you receive it and shape your idea, you will then receive more feedback at the next stage. Think of it as molding clay: once it has been hardened over time it’s difficult to change, so better to mold it to your liking to build a strong foundation.

Find mentors to guide you along the way.
We will write many more posts on mentorship, but to start it’s important to state that you need to find mentors who have either been through the process before, or finding people who will give you honest feedback.

Share with us your ideas on how to be an entrepreneur.

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