Decoding Startups

College Entrepreneurship

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One of the biggest lies about college is that the only thing you can do there is prime yourself to go get a cubicle career at some big company.

If you listen to about 95% of guidance councilors and professors, that’s exactly the impression you’d get.

That’s the impression got when I was in college.

But you know what’s cool?

The times are starting to change.

Society is starting to realize the awesome entrepreneurial things that college students are capable of doing, and the immense value that they can create for the marketplace.

Schools are starting to realize, “dayum!  Maybe we should start promoting entrepreneurship with our students!”

People with bucketloads of money are starting to realize “maybe investing in these kids is a good way to keep building our portfolio!”

And a few select college students who were smart enough to pull off entrepreneurship are saying “maybe I should give back to other college students who are trying to do the same thing”.

Here’s some specs on 5 awesome resources available to university entrepreneurs.  If you go to a sizable university (even if it’s just a public state university!), I guarantee you that your university will have some of these resources.

Feel lucky that you have these!  These are resources worth tens of thousands of dollars that you get for cheap / free just because you’re a student.  Imagine how jealous everyone out of school is!  But seriously if you don’t take advantage of these and then complain later (“there’s no resources to help me become an entrepreneur!  waaaah!”), I will come over there and annihilate you: [click to continue…]

All Articles Entrepreneurship Misconceptions Failure R.C.'s Ventures

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A lot of people start feeling super-awkward about themselves when they contemplate starting their own business…y’know, a tingley-feeling of “should I really be doing this?”  ”Will I uber-fail and people will think I’m an idiot?”

I worried about all of those things…but decided “to hell with it, YOLO!”, and gave up the idea of pursuing a “normal” career; opting to jump head-first into entrepreneurship after I graduated from college.

(I promise I don’t say YOLO in real life).

And I sit here 10 months later…reflecting back to all of the things I’ve done…

…some of them have been ingenious…

…most of them have been downright stupid, and can only be chalked up to a “learning experience”

So I decided to take my experiences…the good, the bad, and the shitty…and distill them into this super-long, heart-spilling missive.

TLDR??..if you’re serious about starting on your own, and don’t want to spend months making mistakes, take this opportunity to learn from my mistakes, and do better yourself:

[click to continue…]

Kickstarter R.C.'s Ventures

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R.C.’s Note: Whew!!  It’s been 2 weeks since I’ve written a post here!  I’ve been going through some pretty big and exciting changes with my businesses that have just been killing my time these last couple of weeks!  I’ll share those with you soon.  Thanks as always for being a reader.  -RC

You already know that one of my projects is FusionCase, an iPhone case that will go on Kickstarter.

As you’ve probably noticed by now, I haven’t talked about FusionCase in a while.You may be wondering “we haven’t heard RC talk about his Kickstarter project for a while.  What happened?  Did it fizzle out?  Is he just a jerk and doesn’t want us to know what he’s up to?”

Oh, the headaches that come along the way…

The truth is, designing, pitching and selling a manufactured product takes about 10 times more work than you would think, especially for this business-school boy here.

I don’t mean that in a way that I would never do it again…actually, it’s a crapload of fun, and I’m finally learning about the design process behind building physical creative products worked(Lord knows I had no exposure to that earlier in life…I had like 3 Legos and 1 Tinker Toy pole to my name as a kid, and I seriously almost failed kindergarten art class).

Naturally, my work has bee more on the business side of things.  I spent an ungodly amount of time researching Kickstarter: how it worked;  the “tried and true” methods for promoting a product and getting people interested; and most importantly, the things that many people screw up that sinks their ship.

Before I tell you what I found out, reflect on the following statement:

“Dude, Kickstarter’s like this great way to, like, launch a product and, like, go viral and get lots of people to invest in you, man.”

OK, maybe not everyone out there sounds like a village idiot when they talk, but admit it: Kickstarter does seem like an easy way to raise money and get recognition for yourself online.

Right?

Right?…

The truth will set you free (and maybe make you cry). [click to continue…]

Entrepreneurship Misconceptions

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I wrote an article about finding out “how to figure out if entrepreneurship is for you” because a lot of people ask me that.  In fact, just Google it, and about 4 million articles pop up.

I understand why people ask this.  It’s a seemingly innocuous and completely valid question.

But there’s a simple problem:

The question is completely misleading.  And frankly, I fear for those who ask this question, because most of the answers I’ve seen are complete crap and could easily guide people into making terrible decisions for themselves.  Allow me to explain:

Let’s take a poll, shall we?

As I mentioned above, I Googled “how to figure out if entrepreneurship is for you”, and I picked one of the articles at random.  This one-pager boils down the question of entrepreneurship to a few key points.  For example:

  • are you “unfazed” by risk?
  • Are you a “decision maker”?
  • Is it your “dream business” and your “passion”?

There’s one small problem:

Who the hell cares? [click to continue…]

Entrepreneur's Manifesto Starting a Startup

Note: This article is written mostly from the perspective of tech startups because the comparisons I make are easy to explain from this vantage point.  In reality, this applies to any business venture. 

We already talked about why your business idea doesn’t matter (and what actually does).  There,  I said that the value of a startup or a business is in your ability to execute.

Great ideas are completely irrelevant without being able to execute.

I think most new entrepreneurs would read this and understand it to a certain point.  ”OK, just because I have a good idea for the next Facebook isn’t enough.  No one’s going to fund my idea just because I came up with it”

But that’s about as far as their understanding goes.

“Well that’s fine; I will just hustle and go find myself a technical co-founder and by-oh-golly I’ll be starting my tech startup by this time next month”

Believe me, it is possible to get programmers on board (I’ve done it).  It’s possible to get people interested and initially excited with your startup idea.  The sales pitch is the easy part:

Getting people to say they’ll help you with your project is barely the beginning.

Think about it: even if you could convince programmers, do you know enough about how to manage them?  Did you provide them with enough of an incentive to make them stick around?  Do you know that the product they are making is what you actually want / need? [click to continue…]

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