I’m re-posting this because I got a lot of feedback. The majority agreed but some people wanted to modify my premise. One said maybe you should lower your expectations and “do what you like”. Do a job that’s “sort of satisfying”? I don’t think so–not my style. I believe everybody is good at, and has a passion for, something, and that something is the heart of what you love to do. Therefore, the key to finding something that you love to do is in finding what you really do well and have a passion for. Of course, if nobody will pay you for that endeavor, maybe you’ve just discovered a good hobby.
Anyway, here’s the original post:
“Do what you love and you won’t work a day” is inane bull-crap, IMHO. I love drinking beer, I truly do. But, no one will pay me for that. I love creating graphic art, which I think is pretty good, but it seems as though no one will pay me for that, either! Could I make a living out of playing with my kids? Doubtful. I’m passionate about writing songs, but since no one has bought anything I wrote,… Continue reading
Or, it is the other way around: They have great ideas and ask: “now what?” and “do I have what it takes?”
I wrote my book for the last group, but I find there are a lot of people in the first group, too. One thing is common to both, however: the word “idea”. The second group already came up with an idea and the first group needs to come up with an idea. So, what’s the process of coming up with “ideas”?
I don’t necessarily believe in the pure “light bulb going on” explanation. Great ideas come from somewhere. Like the first big bubble of a pot of water set to boil for spaghetti, getting a worthy idea doesn’t just happen; there’s a lot of planning (filling the pot, turning on the fire) and time. The water just sits there for a while, the potential for boiling just invisibly building up. There are a bunch of little bubbles, but barely noticeable, especially if… Continue reading
I spend a lot of ink on self assessment in my book. I always thought that you have to figure out what you’re capable of and can do and are good at and passionate about before you can make a wise choice to be an entrepreneur. In my analytical, architectural mind, that makes sense: build a foundation of understanding—of yourself, your customer, your product—before you build the product and the business. However…
I recently saw the results of a poll on an entrepreneur-oriented web site that had 51% saying they think it’s a better idea to learn about starting a business by just starting a business. Only 22% thought they should get prepared by talking to successful (and unsuccessful) entrepreneurs or read books before they make the plunge. That just doesn’t seem right to me.
Here’s my dilemma: I started out by just starting out; damn the torpedoes and all of that. I figured it out as I went along and I succeeded with luck and balls. Now, many years later, I’m telling people what I learned: that you can really screw it up if you don’t learn a few things first. Luck and balls… Continue reading
When you are testing the assumptions you generate in the Assessment stage of the ACE Methodology, you have to first define and verify them through research in the Confirmation stage. This means asking a lot of prospective customers the three critical questions: 1) do they really have the problem you think they do?, 2) do they have an urgent need to solve it?, and 3) does your product seem to offer a compelling solution? The customer investigation process is an important part of designing a successful product.
To do this, you have to ask people these questions, either in-person or virtually. Conducting face-to-face interviews is best because you can judge their reaction and ask probing questions. In Startup Assembly Manual, we discuss the Seven Steps of customer investigation; it’s a sales process structure.
Virtual interviews need a different strategy. You have to test your marketing message through a web site or social media to get the answers to the questions. The best method I’ve tried on the web is where your home page has a random redirect function to four different pages. Each page has a different message, which basically asks… Continue reading
When entrepreneurs try to raise money at any level, it involves a “pitch”. Pitching to investors can be defined within the context of a sales process where you and your idea is the product and the investor is the customer. There are some rules, but first, don’t pitch until you are ready.
Before the pitch, entrepreneurs have to understand the investor’s mindset, what they are looking for. They want a place to put money that has the potential for maximum return with as minimum of risk as possible. They don’t normally want to “take a flyer” on an unproven concept. Therefore, you have to prepared with as strong a “proof of concept” as you can. There are three flavors of proof of concept: technical (does it work; does it give the customer the value proposition it promises); economic (is the price customers will pay be more than a summation of the costs involved in producing and selling and distributing it).
The third is “social” proof of concept where you have proven that there a lots of people with a) a real problem (the one you think they have), b) an urgent need to… Continue reading
The concept behind the ACE Methodology for Startups applies itself well to most endeavors intended to create success. The Startup Assembly Manual uses it to lay out a road map for entrepreneurs and people with an idea but no clue what to do with it.
ACE is Assessment, Confirmation, and Execution. The Assessment stage leads you through the process of assessing yourself, your customer, your product, and your business idea. From that comes a set of assumptions which are refined, defined, then tested in the Confirmation stage – first with research and customer investigation then with sales. When you have a proven set of assumptions, you build a business plan and Execute it.
In this article, we’ll discuss one of the most important assessments you will make, personal assessment. In future articles, we’ll discuss more personal qualities that make up a foundation of success. But, let’s start with this:
After forty years of being an entrepreneur and knowing a lot of them, certain personal characteristics seem to determine success or failure. Someone asked me what is the most important trait of a successful entrepreneur. I answered: objectivity. This is the ability to see things… Continue reading