How to become an entrepreneur (advice from a serial entrepreneur)

How to become an entrepreneur (advice from a serial entrepreneur)

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How to become an entrepreneur (advice from a serial entrepreneur)

The term “serial entrepreneur” isn’t very common in business circles, but I believe that some people are built for that kind of practice. A serial entrepreneur is an entrepreneur who continuously comes up with new ideas and starts new businesses. As opposed to a typical entrepreneur, who will often come up with a single idea, start the company, then see it through and play an important role in the day-to-day functioning of said company.

A serial entrepreneur will often come up with an idea and get things started, but then give responsibility to someone else and move on to a new idea and a new venture. This would have been a very bad practice in the days when the old cliché held sway, “a Jack of all trades is master of none.” In my opinion I think the 21 st century has become “the century of the Jacks.”

As a serial entrepreneur myself, I know how challenging it is to leave the comfort of a thriving business and step out into the icy cold waters of starting a business again, much less in a different industry. However, in 2017, I decided to stop suppressing all my new and unique ideas and just get on with it. Here are a few indispensable tools to help anyone out there with the same tendencies.

1. Work with people and partners.

This is perhaps the most important piece of advice I will give to anyone who is intending to go into areas of business that excite them, but that they are not particularly gifted in. As a lawyer and entrepreneur, I started my jump into entrepreneurship by leaping into property management, which was vaguely related to my job as a lawyer, so I was safe and had sufficient knowledge to run the business.

Sometime last year, I began toying with the idea of starting a business in the food industry. I am not a very good cook, and I know nothing about baking or confectioneries. All I had was a keen interest in the vast potential of the business in my vicinity and a few ideas about how I could make money from it.

Since I had no practical knowledge, I partnered up with someone who was doing the same thing on a much smaller scale, and we launched a food line. I funded the business kickoff, and he started managing the business itself. A good entrepreneur will do well in any business once he has the right people around him, either as partners or employees. You hold on to your knowledge of business and work with people of skill in the areas of your interest.

2. Pay others and utilize platforms.

If you are like me and refuse to let go of the thriving business while moving into new territory, then you need this key to survive. The internet revolution has created a lot of ease within different industries. Platforms and freelancers are now fast becoming the norm, especially in areas like marketing and social media management.

However, the proliferation of the internet has also severely digitalized business processes and few people are thinking of employing full time IT staff at the start of a new business.

A plethora of platforms run by companies and freelancers will help you position and market your business for a minimal fee. I found resources like Yelp especially useful for creating some positive social review that customers can refer and add to.

A few resources have also received positive reviews by business leaders. Resources like MOGUL offer you an amazing showcasing platform. Accounting platforms like Quickbooks and online firms like Pushdigits have a proven track record in the accounting and bookkeeping industry, while resources like Program Ace have had consistent success in utilizing iOT and AI to help businesses remain relevant in an increasingly digitalized business space.

Creating a Linkedin company page will significantly increase your reach with clients/customers. There is really no need for you to do everything yourself. The advantage is that starting a new business may not take as much attention away from your already existing business.

AI and social media marketing are all the rage these days. The time for excuses is gone, and the era of the serial entrepreneur is really here.

3. Prepare for surprises, and develop a thick skin.

Starting a new business can be draining, and I won’t kid you into thinking it is easy. It implies getting into uncharted territory. I have learned that while asking questions and market surveys are very important, they will never reveal the full extent of the unique challenges that you are going to face.

I started my food venture by doing a market survey of business prospects. I asked questions and got a feel of how much it would cost me to launch the product, but no one told me that the ancillary costs would be almost as much as the substantive cost. No one told me how sluggish contracted professionals in that field could be and how much their sloppiness would cost me. I had to take it on the chin and keep going, business hazards and all.

4. Do different things or do things differently.

If you are going to start a new business, you need to make sure you make a statement. The thing with ideas is that no one really owns them. I remember walking into a store to introduce my product last year. I was so psyched that it was a unique product. Halfway into my conversation with the manager, she pointed to a product on display behind me and asked “something like that?”

Needless to say, I had to go back and work on the uniqueness of my product before introducing it to the market. Every serial entrepreneur has to deal with some level of divided focus; you need to make sure that it is over something worth it and not something too familiar.

5. Create firm structures to maintain focus.

I have always been a bit of a do-it-yourself person. I found it really difficult to employ a manager in my business, and so I found it hard to start a new business. I always wanted to be in control. However, one of the inevitable lessons every serial entrepreneur must learn is how to delegate.

Delegation is the number one strategy for success in serial entrepreneurship. Find people you trust, or learn to trust the people you have. Find people with similar values and drive, and give them a chance to flounder and learn.

You need to create systems that allow you time to develop new ideas and implementation strategies. It often means that a chunk of your profits go into salaries, but if serial entrepreneurship and building an empire is what you really want to do, then it’s a sacrifice you have to be willing to make.

The 21 st century and technology has not just made serial entrepreneurship possible, it has made it appealing.

Although there are only a few entrepreneurs who consider themselves serial entrepreneurs, the term has been around for a long time.

Serial entrepreneurs are entrepreneurs who come up with new ideas and start businesses based on them regularly. In many cases, serial entrepreneurs do not play a role in the day-to-day handling of their businesses, instead delegating that task to others.

How to Become a Serial Entrepreneur

If you have lots of business ideas and do not want them sitting on the shelf anymore, here are a few tips that can help you transition into serial entrepreneurship.

Work with the Right People and Partners

Many serial entrepreneurs want to go into a business they know nothing about. This is where working with others comes in. Serial entrepreneurs surround themselves with people from diverse business backgrounds so the people they get in touch with can help the entrepreneur succeed in new business ventures.

For example, an entrepreneur might know how to run a business but nothing about flour and confectioneries. In this case, they could work with a baker so the baker can handle the baking and the entrepreneur can handle the business side of things.

Working with the right people also makes it easier to find the resources you need if you would like to start a new business that is similar to one you already started before.

Learn to Move Fast

Serial entrepreneurs do not dwell on things and move from them very fast. If they make a mistake, they try to rectify it as soon as they can. They do not simply accept mistakes and hope that things will get better in the future.

As a serial entrepreneur, you will be required to move fast to capture or take advantage of opportunities that others might not be taking advantage of. Learning to move fast requires you to learn that opportunities are fleeting and can be gone in a few days, hours or even minutes if someone gets to market before you.

Learn to Face Reality and Brutal Facts

Another reality that serial entrepreneurs face is that different businesses will follow different trajectories. While one business might take off in a few months, another will take longer to break even. Facing the brutal fact that some of your business will bring in money on some days and lose money on others is a skill you will have to muster. Knowing that things will not always be smooth gives you time to anticipate the worst and build business resiliency .

Acquire Hard Business Skills

Serial entrepreneurs move from one business or industry to another very quickly, which leaves little time to learn while they are out hunting for the next big opportunity. Serial entrepreneurs should be able to scan a lot of data, determine what is important and interpret the data they have correctly. They should also be able to project revenues and expenses, lead their teams and know how to maximize their investments and the returns on them.

A good MBA programme will arm serial entrepreneurs with all these skills before they go out to the world to try out their skills and seek out opportunities. A flexible programme like the Aston University MBA program allows you to experiment in a classroom setting where you can make mistakes without impacting your life. This programme is also suited for serial entrepreneurs who want to gain the skills discussed above because it can be completed faster than other traditional MBA programs.

Pay Others and Utilize Available Resources

A lot of entrepreneurs have a hard time letting go of a thriving business to start a new one. If this sounds like you, you might need to learn how to leverage the services offered by others as well as the different resources and platforms that exist. The biggest tool you have at your disposal is the internet.

The internet makes it easy to find freelancers and gig workers to handle different aspects of your business so you can focus on other things. For example, there is no need for you to be handling copywriting, marketing or social media management when you could be focused on actually running the business.

Tools that help with invoicing and automation of similar tasks are also handy because they save you time and reduce your running costs, as you do not have to hire someone to handle these tasks for you.

Learn to Roll with the Surprises

Starting a business is hard. It is draining and can take up all your time and mental energy. It also involves getting into areas you have never been in before. Now, imagine doing this tens of times, as you will every time you start a new business.

It is important to understand that although you might have data on a market or new opportunity and think you understand it, nothing will prepare you for the challenges and surprises that are likely to spring up on you along the way.

Rolling with the challenges and surprises calls for developing a thick skin. If you are in a business that you wholly believe in, overcoming the challenges will be worth it.

Keep an Eye on the Money

Your survival and that of your businesses depends on how well you manage the money coming in and going out. It is quite common and acceptable to spend more money than you make while starting out. However, if you keep an eye on your burn rate , things should be okay.

Once your businesses start picking up, you should start making more money than you are spending on the businesses. If you have investors on board, make sure that you invest some of the money you make into the business. This will make investors see you are hitting your targets. It will also make it easier to find financing if you ever need it in the future.

If you would like to become a serial entrepreneur, you have to be prepared for the highs and lows that come with owning, managing or running multiple businesses. You will also need to come up with strategies to manage how you actualize new ideas to ensure you are not doing too much too fast.

How to become an entrepreneur (advice from a serial entrepreneur)

Starting out as an entrepreneur is really, really hard. Even seasoned entrepreneurs were newbies at one point, though, and here are a few pieces of entrepreneurship advice I see floating around often that can make a world of difference for people gearing up to own their own business.

In This Article:

Follow Your Skills

Have you ever heard the phrase, “follow the money?” It means that an entrepreneur should identify the most profitable area they can find and apply themselves to it to make the most money possible. Well, that phrase is terrible entrepreneur advice.

Instead, identify what you’re really good at. What skills were you born with that others weren’t? Now, apply that unique skill or set of skills you have to your business, and then do what it takes to make it profitable.

So, in essence, let your skills and passions, rather than fat stacks of cash, dictate where your business will go.

Stay Flexible

There’s only one thing you can count on for sure when starting a business: that things will not go the way you had anticipated. There are tons of variables that can (and some of which definitely will) go wrong, and those unplanned events will drastically change the way the business looks.

To keep those unexpected changes from destroying the business, make sure you allow space for on-the-fly alterations in your business plan.

Use Your Experience

Let your past professional experience launch your entrepreneurial career. Utilize your existing business contacts and apply the things you learned when you were an employee.

Some new business owners feel that their business is a fresh new start and should not be tainted with remnants from their past careers. This couldn’t be further from the truth, as their past career experiences are usually what allows entrepreneurship to bloom.

Get A Mentor

The path of new entrepreneurship is a rocky one. Find someone who has navigated it before, preferably in your industry, and ask them if they will become your mentor.

As a mentee, you can consult them with questions and ask for general entrepreneur advice. Some people are happy mentoring for free, and others ask their mentees to do a little bit of free work in exchange for the tutelage. Read up on where and how to find a good business mentor .

Think Like Your Target Audience

Entrepreneurs cannot always think like sellers; sometimes, they have to flip their situation and put themselves in their target audience’s shoes to gain valuable entrepreneur advice. It helps them figure out what services and other features would help the business attract the right customers and succeed.

This requires a degree of empathy, a quality not often associated with businesses, but that is very important for an entrepreneur. Learn a bit more about how to build empathy as an entrepreneur .

Keep Employees in the Loop

When you’re a small company, you need every one of your employees to be working together to achieve maximum productivity. The best way to ensure that’s happening is to fill the employees in on the company’s broader plan and how their jobs directly affect each other. Think of them as “team members” rather than “employees.”

As a bonus, team members will be motivated to work harder if they see the greater value of their own work in the grand scheme of the company’s mission.

Hire Creative People

How to become an entrepreneur (advice from a serial entrepreneur)

A new business requires a lot of creativity. You and the rest of your team will have to think out of the box to come up with solutions that are out of the box, scrappy, and innovative. That’s why it’s crucial to hire people who are not just adept at their jobs, but creative as well.

This goes back to the point of hiring people you can think of as “team members” instead of just “employees.” Everyone needs to work together as peers.

Keep Your Equity

It’s tempting to sell off all your equity when you’re starting a business. It can often feel like the only way to get off the ground. As you may have guessed, that’s not true. Take your time and avoid selling off too much of your company right off the bat, even if it means taking a longer time to get going.

Don’t rely on investors to help your business idea become a reality. There are plenty of business fundraising ideas that will help you kickstart your business without losing out on your future profits.

Don’t Skimp on Branding

I would argue that building a strong brand is the single most important step to thriving as a new business. What with people’s impossibly short attention spans nowadays (even in business matters), you need to stick out to be noticed and form a strong impression once you are.

Because of this fact, you should not skimp on branding. Spend just as much time and money building your brand as you do on other facets of your business.

Plan Everything Beforehand

As an entrepreneur, you will have more than a few projects or campaigns where you get burned out and can’t decide what to do next. It’s not the best part of the job, but I guarantee it will happen at times. The best way to keep those situations from hurting the business is to plan all of your projects out down to the letter beforehand. Doing so will take a lot of the pressure off and let you focus on the next task you have planned out.

If you’re an aspiring business owner, keep this entrepreneur advice in mind — I can personally endorse every one of the tips. Just remember that no matter what you do, hard work is key.

Do you have any entrepreneur advice not mentioned here that you feel all fledgling entrepreneurs should know? If so, let me know on the Bookkeepers’ Facebook!

How to become an entrepreneur (advice from a serial entrepreneur)

Ready to start the next chapter of your life as an entrepreneur? Here’s how to get started…

Entrepreneurship is highly attractive for many reasons. If it’s time you did something different this could be the best life move you ever make. These are the first steps you’ll want to make.

1) Learn What it Means & Decide if You are Still Willing to Pursue it

Entrepreneurship has become very trendy. That doesn’t mean it is just a trend, but there is a lot more to succeeding with a hot startup than writing a few lines of code.

First understand the differences between becoming your own boss as a freelancer, opening a small business, and launching a true fast growth startup that becomes valued at billions of dollars.

Learn what a startup entrepreneur really does. They don’t really get to continue on with their favorite hobby every day and make billions doing it. You may start doing something you love, but then have to very quickly learn to become a leader in your business. Become a business owner, evangelist, professional fundraiser, negotiator and big deal maker.

Even with 100 plus employees working for you, you’ll need to master many new roles. You may or may not still be your own boss at this company in a few years. Either way, you will be very busy. This isn’t really a four hour work week squeezed around your full-time gig of hiking the world and lounging at fabulous resorts.

With all that said, out of all the successful entrepreneurs I’ve interviewed on the DealMakers podcast , none of them want to go back to a regular job. The big question is do you have what it takes?

You can learn just about any of the leadership skills you’ll need. What you’ve got to bring to the table is relentless grit, the determination to never quit, and the ability to keep going no matter how hard, stressful or desperate things become along the way.

If you’re still interested in becoming an entrepreneur, here’s what you do next.

2) Pick a Business Idea

If you’re entrepreneurial you probably have ideas all the time. Which one will you get started on?

If you are juggling a few business ideas pin them up on a board. Let them marinate for a week. Which can you live without doing? Which were you born to do?

Most highly successful entrepreneurs are just quitting jobs they hate to try and become their own boss, have an easy work week, get rich quick and live in semi-retirement for the rest of their lives.

The most successful startups seem to share the trait that the founder found a problem they really wanted to solve, in a very big industry, and found several other great team members who were passionate about it too. They looked forward to building something from scratch even though they were typically in good-paying jobs they already loved or were in a good college.

Before you go all in, make sure you research your idea. Check out all the competition. Check for commercial viability and why no one else has done it or succeeded yet. Determine if it is a real urgent need that lots of others have, and are willing to pay money for.

3) Get Busy Building Your Network

You’re going to need a lot of connections and resources if you are going to pull this off. Start building a network as early as possible. Advisors, lawyers, investors, and other founders should all be in your database. Early on go to as many events as possible.

4) Organize Your Business

It’s hard to present well, introduce your idea credibly and test effectively without the basic foundations of a business. Decide the best location for your business . Incorporate, get a tax ID number, open a business bank account and get your accounting set up.

5) Test Your Idea

Start actively testing your business. Get out there and sell it. Whether you are charging large sums or are operating a freemium model, you’ve got to be engaging customers and enrolling users. Your product and business may evolve dramatically during this time. That’s okay. The point is that someone is interested and is willing to use it.

6) Turn Your Early Adopters into Raving Fans

The best way to gain traction and to begin to grow your business is to really impress those early adopters so that they stay loyal and refer to others. It may seem like that will require extra work and investment, but it will ultimately be a lot cheaper and more profitable than paid advertising to replace them.

7) Raise Money

If you’ve followed the above steps you’ll be ready to raise some outside money (or more money) to maintain cash flow and fuel getting to the next level. If you’ve achieved the above it will also be easier to raise money at this stage once you have a more polished product and model, and have some action and the data to prove it.

This round will help you achieve the next milestone so that you can raise even more after that. For a winning deck, take a look at the pitch deck template created by Silicon Valley legend, Peter Thiel ( see it here ) that I recently covered. Thiel was the first angel investor in Facebook with a $500K check that turned into more than $1 billion in cash. Moreover, I also provided a commentary on a pitch deck from an Uber competitor that has raised over $400M (see it here).

Take that capital and use it to replicate your success and scale your business. Duplicate your successes, expand into new markets, strategically acquire other companies, increase your hiring, and propel you toward a profitable exit.

Maybe we “one-and-not-done’ers” are crazy to be willing to start a business again and again. We know it will be hard, if not seemingly impossible, and there will be times when we will be overwhelmed with frustration. In spite of that, we know the journey is worth it. Each time we get the nerve to start a new business, we have opportunities to iterate and optimize the entrepreneurial process. On your next entrepreneurial adventure, be sure to generate corporate values, face brutal facts, know where the dough goes, be authentic, and never quit.

September 19th, 2018 | By: Chris Bray | Tags: Success

Some entrepreneurs sail blissfully into the sunset after their first big payday. Others — like us — can’t imagine anything more boring. Instead, we thrive on constantly risking it all to build something out of nothing. This condition of serial entrepreneurship is what I call “one-and-not-done” syndrome. We know it will be hard, if not seemingly impossible, and there will be times when we will be overwhelmed with frustration. In spite of that, we know the journey is worth it.

If you’re this special breed of entrepreneur, I feel both sorry and happy for you. More than anything, I welcome you to the club.

There is a magic to what we do as entrepreneurs. We can create a thriving business almost out of nothing. Is there anything more magical than that? This magic is more amazing when 99.95 percent of startup founders don’t receive funding from venture capitalists.

Like most business owners, I have scars from performing this magic trick. I’ve taken missteps, hired the wrong people, mismanaged funds, and denied reality — all of which delayed the vision from coming to fruition. While these things might have delayed the manifestation of the magic trick, it was never derailed.

How to become an entrepreneur (advice from a serial entrepreneur)

5 Ways to Fuel Your Next Startup’s Momentum

If there is one thing I love about being a “one-and-not-done’er,” it’s that each time we get the nerve to start a new business, we have opportunities to iterate and optimize the entrepreneurial process. In a way, we have a chance to further perfect our magic trick and shock the world again.

So I welcome you, fellow “one-and-not-done’ers,” with the following lessons I’ve learned along the way of starting a few of my own companies:

1. Generate Corporate Values

Having corporate values in written form allows others to know what is important to you, enables effective hiring, and powers decision-making. More importantly, it creates accountability and sheds light on who should be fired and hired.

Hard-working, effective teams are born from an alignment among company values, individual virtues, and a common belief in the company’s mission. When these three areas are in sync, you won’t have to motivate employees. They’ll consistently put their best foot forward because they know they are trusted and believe in what they do.

That’s what happened at SpaceX. According to one former employee, people worked passionately and were self-motivated. They didn’t need a lot of over-the-top perks to bond with the corporate mission and put in extra hours. Let that be a goal to keep in mind when refining your own corporate and individual values.

2. Face Brutal Facts

Every entrepreneur messes up. But when mistakes happen, fix them fast. Hired the wrong person? Let him or her go. Made a bad business decision? Rectify it. The greatest error is not that you erred — it’s not accepting the mistake and hoping things will turn around. Facing the brutal facts tosses hope aside, no matter how painful it may be.

The most brutal fact of all is accepting where your startup is at at any given point in time. It’s extremely rare — and an unrealistic expectation — for your business to exponentially grow overnight. There will be days of growth followed by weeks of loss. Anticipating these ups and downs and building resilience during slower times are both key for the future of your business.

3. Know Where the Dough Goes

Your survival depends on paying attention to money coming in and going out. Early in your journey, you’ll spend more than you make. Keep calm but also stay on top of your burn rate. My typical rule is to over-fire when times are tough and over-hire when there is proof of traction.

Additionally, make sure to invest funds into the proof points you promised investors. Your ability to achieve those marks will impact future investment rounds. If you pivot — as we all do — that’s fine. However, make sure to discuss revised proof points with your investors so they buy into the company’s new direction.

4. Be Authentic

You can’t fake culture. Gimmicks that stray from your startup’s values and goals can take a critical toll on authenticity.

For example, it might make sense for one startup to have an in-house punching bag if you have a fiery, passionate team. When stressed, the punching bag can take the literal hits. However, a punching bag wouldn’t make sense in all startups, and there’s no use in forcing a specific type of culture onto a company just for the sake of it. Remember, company culture is created by ownership, passed down by management, and exhibited through employees’ actions.

5. Never Quit

If you are a “one-and-not-done’er,” you know what perseverance is. You have lived through the trials of entrepreneurship. However, there are times when you’ll feel like you won’t be able to pull the rabbit out of the hat. When this happens, close your eyes and take a breath. You can get through this. You have before. You will this time, too.

When the going gets really rough, start reading. Books such as Elon Musk’s biography and “Think and Grow Rich” by Napoleon Hill might help motivate you and change your perspective.

We “one-and-not-done’ers” are game for the highest of highs and lowest of lows. We know that making something out of nothing is one of the greatest feats this world has to offer. We leave others in awe because we know something that few do: how to perform magic. And as long as we are always striving to improve, we are sure to be on to the next best adventures and breakthroughs.

How to become an entrepreneur (advice from a serial entrepreneur)

Ready to start the next chapter of your life as an entrepreneur? Here’s how to get started…

Entrepreneurship is highly attractive for many reasons. If it’s time you did something different this could be the best life move you ever make. These are the first steps you’ll want to make.

1) Learn What it Means & Decide if You are Still Willing to Pursue it

Entrepreneurship has become very trendy. That doesn’t mean it is just a trend, but there is a lot more to succeeding with a hot startup than writing a few lines of code.

First understand the differences between becoming your own boss as a freelancer, opening a small business, and launching a true fast growth startup that becomes valued at billions of dollars.

Learn what a startup entrepreneur really does. They don’t really get to continue on with their favorite hobby every day and make billions doing it. You may start doing something you love, but then have to very quickly learn to become a leader in your business. Become a business owner, evangelist, professional fundraiser, negotiator and big deal maker.

Even with 100 plus employees working for you, you’ll need to master many new roles. You may or may not still be your own boss at this company in a few years. Either way, you will be very busy. This isn’t really a four hour work week squeezed around your full-time gig of hiking the world and lounging at fabulous resorts.

With all that said, out of all the successful entrepreneurs I’ve interviewed on the DealMakers podcast , none of them want to go back to a regular job. The big question is do you have what it takes?

You can learn just about any of the leadership skills you’ll need. What you’ve got to bring to the table is relentless grit, the determination to never quit, and the ability to keep going no matter how hard, stressful or desperate things become along the way.

If you’re still interested in becoming an entrepreneur, here’s what you do next.

2) Pick a Business Idea

If you’re entrepreneurial you probably have ideas all the time. Which one will you get started on?

If you are juggling a few business ideas pin them up on a board. Let them marinate for a week. Which can you live without doing? Which were you born to do?

Most highly successful entrepreneurs are just quitting jobs they hate to try and become their own boss, have an easy work week, get rich quick and live in semi-retirement for the rest of their lives.

The most successful startups seem to share the trait that the founder found a problem they really wanted to solve, in a very big industry, and found several other great team members who were passionate about it too. They looked forward to building something from scratch even though they were typically in good-paying jobs they already loved or were in a good college.

Before you go all in, make sure you research your idea. Check out all the competition. Check for commercial viability and why no one else has done it or succeeded yet. Determine if it is a real urgent need that lots of others have, and are willing to pay money for.

3) Get Busy Building Your Network

You’re going to need a lot of connections and resources if you are going to pull this off. Start building a network as early as possible. Advisors, lawyers, investors, and other founders should all be in your database. Early on go to as many events as possible.

4) Organize Your Business

It’s hard to present well, introduce your idea credibly and test effectively without the basic foundations of a business. Decide the best location for your business . Incorporate, get a tax ID number, open a business bank account and get your accounting set up.

5) Test Your Idea

Start actively testing your business. Get out there and sell it. Whether you are charging large sums or are operating a freemium model, you’ve got to be engaging customers and enrolling users. Your product and business may evolve dramatically during this time. That’s okay. The point is that someone is interested and is willing to use it.

6) Turn Your Early Adopters into Raving Fans

The best way to gain traction and to begin to grow your business is to really impress those early adopters so that they stay loyal and refer to others. It may seem like that will require extra work and investment, but it will ultimately be a lot cheaper and more profitable than paid advertising to replace them.

7) Raise Money

If you’ve followed the above steps you’ll be ready to raise some outside money (or more money) to maintain cash flow and fuel getting to the next level. If you’ve achieved the above it will also be easier to raise money at this stage once you have a more polished product and model, and have some action and the data to prove it.

This round will help you achieve the next milestone so that you can raise even more after that. For a winning deck, take a look at the pitch deck template created by Silicon Valley legend, Peter Thiel ( see it here ) that I recently covered. Thiel was the first angel investor in Facebook with a $500K check that turned into more than $1 billion in cash. Moreover, I also provided a commentary on a pitch deck from an Uber competitor that has raised over $400M (see it here).

Take that capital and use it to replicate your success and scale your business. Duplicate your successes, expand into new markets, strategically acquire other companies, increase your hiring, and propel you toward a profitable exit.

How to become an entrepreneur (advice from a serial entrepreneur)

A serial entrepreneur is an entrepreneur who starts their entrepreneurial ventures more often. Serial entrepreneurs usually come up with fresh ideas; implement them in the business world and delegate the responsibility of the venture to someone else so that they may focus on working on more new businesses. This is a great thing if someone has lots of unique ideas. They can put up a series of successful entrepreneurial ventures.

Some people are built with the serial entrepreneurial spirit. And some people learn to acquire such a spirit. Some critics think that serial entrepreneurship is bad because they often leave them when needed for a particular venture. Thus, being a serial entrepreneur is a very challenging job. There are some pieces of advice and recommendations from experts to tackle such a challenge. Let’s have a look at them.

Create Strong Structures

Creating a strong structure is important for any entrepreneurial venture. This is because it will reduce the change of some entrepreneurial ventures to need a particular serial entrepreneur. Of course, every business needs some team to make it boom. But when the foundation is strong enough, it will unlikely to die. Delegating some jobs to different people is very important in this regard.

Offer something really new and unique

One of my friends went on to sell a product which he thought was very unique and new. But as he entered into a store, the manager said, you are selling a product something like this, showing a product already in the store.

So, working hard on finding or creating something really new is important so that it sells. The product must be too useful to reject. In this way, you create a new product, work so that it may boom. And then you can leave it to other effective people so that you focus on more ideas.

Prepare for the unexpected

You, as a serial entrepreneur, come up with new ideas, prepare for everything and launch it. As soon as you work on a new idea, you start facing unexpected problems. You fail miserably if you are not prepared for the unexpected. The business world is not a game for kids. Succeeding in it is not that easy.

You need to have a fresher look at everything. You need to take responsibility for everything that comes on the way, be it expected or unexpected. Experts suggest there should always be a plan B and C for everything you do.

Network with the people

Do not work alone, especially if you are a serial entrepreneur. You will be left alone if you do so. You will end up facing failures in the most disastrous way. So, work with the people and partner. Choose them wisely.

Sometimes, you do not have any prior experience with the new idea that just came up in your mind. For example, you come up with a unique food idea. But you do not have any prior experience in the food and beverage industry. You know nothing but the idea. What do you do? You choose amazingly people to work for you and partner with you.

Let’s get inspired by having a look at some top serial entrepreneurs in the business world. The ‘top 3 list’ below is not a ranking in any way.

# 1: Richard Branson

This British serial entrepreneur is my favorite because of his adventures and crazy entrepreneurial ideas. He laid the foundation of his Virgin Group back in 1970. But today he manages over 400 different companies all over the world. This is absolutely mind-blowing. But he did it with so much fun.

How to become an entrepreneur (advice from a serial entrepreneur)

But it does not mean that with such a great portfolio of successful entrepreneurial ventures, Richard Branson makes everything succeed. There are many unsuccessful Virgin companies like Virgin Brides, Virgin Vodka, Virgin Cola and Virgin Clothing. But the serial entrepreneur keeps working on new ideas to flourish.

# 2: Rod Drury

Rod Drury is a New Zealand-based wonderful serial entrepreneur in the world of technology. He founded Glazier Systems which is an NZ-based software development and consultation company. He made it successful and sold it to Advantage Group for approximately 7.5m USD. He then founded AfterMail, an NZ-based email service provider. He made it successful enough to sell it to Quest for 45m USD.

How to become an entrepreneur (advice from a serial entrepreneur)

The NZ-based serial entrepreneur went on to working on new ideas and making them a success in the business world. In 2006, he founded an online accounting software company called Xero. He is widely known for this very venture. He is currently the non-executive director for the Xero. In 2007, he served as a judge for the New Zealand Open Source Awards.

And guess what! The serial entrepreneur has not just stopped here. He sold 95m USD worth of shares in Xero just to pursue his future plans for philanthropic and social ventures.

# 3: Oprah Winfrey

In a poll created on Forbes, they asked which entrepreneur people admire the most. And the winner was Oprah Winfrey, getting double the votes of Bill Gates. Oprah Winfrey truly amazes the masses through her worthy fortune. She is one of the most powerful persons in the entertainment industry.

How to become an entrepreneur (advice from a serial entrepreneur)

She is best known for her Oprah Winfrey Show. In 1986, she started Harpo Productions, which owned the rights of her show from 1988 onward. And she entered into the entrepreneurial world this way. She became the wealthiest woman in the showbiz by the end of the 1990s. She co-founded Oxygen, a cable station. She also started Oprah Winfrey Network in 2011 which was wildly successful. Afterward, she never stopped and her net worth today is whooping 2.6b USD.

The entrepreneurs other than the serial ones come up with the new idea and implement it into the business world. And they usually plan and organize their operations to succeed. But in today’s world, serial entrepreneurship has become a global phenomenon. And lots of people want to be serial entrepreneurs to have diversified business success.

Who better to seek wisdom from than those who have successfully sailed the stormy oceans of entrepreneurship and emerged victorious?

How to become an entrepreneur (advice from a serial entrepreneur)

In 2020, the “entrepreneurial itch” is copious. For those hit by it, there’s nothing more uplifting than fast-tracking themselves to success. But in the current over-saturated society, with a pool of young entrepreneurs promising disruption, the truth is that only a few among many ultimately make the cut. Who better to seek wisdom from than those who have successfully sailed the stormy oceans of entrepreneurship and emerged victorious? Some, like Daniel Goldsmith, have battled to bring their business from raw lows to remarkable highs in just a few years, and reveal the top tips for success.

California-based Goldsmith, an entrepreneur and a lead generation specialist who has single-handedly assisted over 250 businesses, states that fervor is fundamental and that, entrepreneurs need to be open to embracing words like “obsessed” and “relentless.” Among many vital takeaways, he recommends the following three for budding entrepreneurs.

1. Find Passion and Unfollow Everything Else

Nearly every entrepreneur who’s chosen passion over pay-check emphasizes the importance of following personal interests and not a career path. Goldsmith, a 35-year-old mortgage lead generation expert, agrees that deep-seated passion is what separates a visionary entrepreneur from the peers.

He also believes that “following your passion and succeeding in the field of your choice is a long and painful process. The key is to be genuinely passionate and consistent about what you’re doing and why you’re doing it. Focus on churning out the best, and you’ll be amazed at how the money flows automatically.”

Goldsmith, who has been at the helm of different businesses, including affiliate marketing, club promotion, advertising, and lead generation throughout his career, adds that it’s essential to discover what one enjoys, and then put that extra effort into it. “When following passion, do not focus only on the money aspect. Enjoy the process, and it’ll lead you to a higher degree of success,” he adds.

2. Set Goals and Avoid Deviating From Them

It’s easier said than done when there are a hundred different tasks and charms in sight, shares Goldsmith. The fact that a solopreneur like Goldsmith has set foot into multiple areas of business and managed to hit the road to success without missing the track shows he is someone who has a plan or idea of what he is building from day one. “Staying focused is difficult. But entrepreneurs that stay true to their products/services and customers, as well as investors, are the ones that are lauded down the road,” says Goldsmith. For up-and-coming entrepreneurs chasing funding, he recommends sticking to the roadmap envisioned instead of changing the route to match customer or investor expectations. At work, Goldsmith says he takes the approach of letting the work speak for himself to ensure staying organized, avoiding mirages, and increasing the chances of success.

3. Seek Some Form of Mentorship

Goldsmith, who was able to venture into lead generation for auto insurance, social security, and disability companies through the means of guidance from experts in the industry and word of mouth, strongly advises people to find a person who could be a mentor. “I am a firm advocate of having a mentor because why not seek someone’s help or guidance who’s done what you’re about to try your hands on? Their failures and successes can help shape your future,” says Goldsmith. “At different stages, I ensured finding mentors from the same industry. Remember, it’s only a mentor who you can bounce an idea off of and yet not be judged,” he adds.

The entrepreneurial journey surely has its highs and lows – but considering the advice of someone like Goldsmith, who has forged his own path, lays a strong foundation for success.

How to become an entrepreneur (advice from a serial entrepreneur)

Yimaj “Steve” Kalifa has mastered the art of reinvention – and, he has been so successful at it, that executives from major corporations and federal agencies now seek him out for advice. Often life has chapters, he likes to say, but sometimes you have to write whole new books to succeed.

Growing up near Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Kalifa’s first reinvention was realizing the power of context and environment. He had to near the center of the global economy, where his outsider status would let him see new opportunities that U.S. natives and industry veterans might overlook. So, 30 years ago, he moved to Los Angeles.

He soon spotted Rap Pages magazine. It was owned by adult-entertainment mogul Larry Flynt. But dropping advertising revenue and dwindling profits in 1999 made Flynt willing to listen to an offer to sell.

Khalifa bought the ailing magazine and turned it around, trimming costs and improving the product. But competition was fierce. Vibe, Source and XXL were fighting with Rap Pages for the same scoops and the same celebrity photo shoots. Within a few years, Khalifa knew he had to shutter the publication and find something new.

Thanks to his exentensive networking, he soon met three Los Angeles-based doctors who ran a small healthcare company. He offered to help them open new branches. Soon, he was crisscrossing the country, learning new markets and navigating new regulations. As he grew this company to a $300 million industry behemoth, he soon recognized that an empire of his own was within grasp; it would just take a combination of cash and opportunity.

How to become an entrepreneur (advice from a serial entrepreneur)Kalifa worked with Los Angeles-based doctors who ran a small healthcare company. (Luis Melendez/Unsplash)

He had the cash, and the right opportunity came his way during a sales call in north-central Pennsylvania. “On one trip, I went to Allentown, Penn., where the property owner offered to sell me the whole building for $30,000,” Kalifa said. “Coming from L.A., that was a great price. That was the first property I purchased. But, from that point, in every state that I purchased a property, I leased it back to the three doctors. It was a lot of work starting out on my own, but that was the start of Capital View General Construction Inc.”

Capital View General Construction is now a multimillion company specializing in commercial, road and residential construction, as well as renovation projects in Colorado Springs, Denver, and Washington, D.C. The construction company and Mechanical Solutions Inc., a Denver-based heating, ventilation and air conditioning company, make up the bulk of Kalifa’s business portfolio.

He also operates Capitol Medical Supply Inc., a durable medical equipment firm in Washington, D.C., and Source Cuisine, which outbid the former owner of Taylor Gourmet in a 2019 bankruptcy auction to reopen four locations of the popular D.C. sandwich shop.

His associate, political commentator Armstrong Williams, estimates Kalifa’s current personal fortune at $100 million.

But like many entrepreneurs, Kalifa has suffered his share of setbacks. He was outbid in 2017 by venture capitalist and sports franchise owner Mark Ein in an attempt to purchase Washington City Paper, a weekly alternative newspaper. Even now, Taylor Gourmet, like most eateries, is suffering the ravages of the coronavirus pandemic, struggling to make payroll while turning a diminishing profit.

At the end of the day, Kalifa has turned every setback into a setup, gaining a perspective that guides his everyday stewardship of his portfolio. In his own words (with a gentle edit for clarity), he shares the five lessons that have kept him in business for the last 30 years:

Hard work pays off

“I’ve learned the importance of working hard and giving my best efforts to every task I take on. Even if I’m not successful, just knowing I gave it my best shot allows me to accept the outcome and be satisfied because I know I tried my hardest,” Kalifa said.

Experience — good or bad — is a good thing

“From start-up ventures to companies in publishing, high tech, banking, construction and healthcare, I have acquired many businesses over the last 30 years. Some have been successful, some not so much. But all experiences have prepared me better for the next acquisition or startup. All experiences are useful, no matter what they are,” he said.

Dependability and reliability

“Being the head of multiple companies has taught me the importance of being dependable in all aspects. Trust, reliability and sticking to your word are traits that can’t be bought and that show a person’s true character. Your reputation precedes you in the business world, so it’s important to use these traits and apply them to not only business situations, but also generally in life,” he said.

Have a goal and take risks

“It’s important to have a detailed plan to get to your goals, but I wouldn’t be where I am today if I hadn’t stepped away from my original plan and taken risks outside of my comfort zone. However, it’s important to not take these risks blindly; you should always weigh out your options. It’s challenging, but without it, we wouldn’t reach new levels,” he said.

Dream big; don’t dismiss opportunities

“Many often dismiss certain opportunities as ‘too big.’ But, you never know if this opportunity will be the one to change your life or lead you to a more successful path. Don’t be afraid of failure,” Kalifa concluded.