Happy Monday! I started my first company when I was 25. I didn’t have any real business experience but I was good at software programming and I had enough freelance work that it made financial sense to quit my day job, which was falling apart due to mismanagement.
The startup I worked for had been making good money, but things slowed down and they didn’t know how to manage a rocky period. So they were paying the bills using the cash they were withholding from employees to pay their taxes. That’s not a winning strategy, and the government got very upset.
So it was time to leave and become a freelance software developer. I swore I would never run my business as poorly as they did.
I borrowed $20k from my dad to get started, bought myself a few computers, and started making money. I paid my dad back by the end of the year. I worked quickly and always made my clients happy.
I started getting bigger projects for companies like Pfizer and KPMG. I built a kiosk for IBM that traveled across the country with the Olympic torch. Then I got a gig building a fancy sales presentation for the Discovery Channel’s advertising sales team.
It was too much work for me to handle on my own, so I brought in a first business partner. I knew we had something that other sales teams might want, and we signed up CNN, USA Network, Syfy Channel, and CNBC.
I didn’t realize how hard it would be to pivot from a service to a product business, but we were making it work! Things were great for a few years and we grew our team to 12 people. Then the dotcom crash happened in 2000 and our revenue dried up overnight. Suddenly we were the ones who didn’t know how to navigate a downturn.
I bitterly remember the day we had to lay off eight people. Things had come full-circle, and I was exactly where I swore I would never be. What went wrong?
We never learned how to properly run a business. A rising tide lifts all boats, so we didn’t see the warning signs. Who has the time to learn stuff while running a startup?
But who can afford not to?
My key takeaway after being an entrepreneur for over two decades is...
Nothing else is as important as the people running the company. Not the product, not the marketing, and not the amount of money raised from investors.
Great entrepreneurs know all the pieces that go into running a business. Great entrepreneurs set the vision, build the culture, and make sure there’s always money in the bank. Great entrepreneurs are always learning. And great entrepreneurs get stuff done.
It’s crucial to set goals—but it’s even more important to figure out an actual plan to get there.
After years of experimentation, observation, and research—Venture Hive has developed an educational framework to help entrepreneurs build their best business.
It’s like a mini MBA focused on your company.
The framework we’ve implemented can be applied to anyone who wants to start and scale their own successful startup, take care of their family, and live a life that doesn’t involve long commutes and frustrating bosses.
In fact, in the last last year we’ve coached over 40 companies from all different backgrounds to succeed.
In a few days we’re going to show you the common mistakes people make when trying to start their own companies and how we help them create successful businesses (where you don’t end up laying off your entire team after years of hard work—ouch).
- Mike Lingle & the Venture Hive team
PS: Your homework for today is to write down where you want your business to be by the end of the year.
What are your objectives?
Do you want to quit your day job?
Do you want to launch your minimum viable product?
Do you want to sign your first enterprise customer?
Your assignment for today is:
Write down your top 2 or 3 objectives for the end of the year
Reply to this email and share them with us.