Self-Made Entrepreneurs

Paths to success are long and winding. Actually, that’s an understatement. Some of the world’s top billionaires followed wild, crazy, and complex journeys to evolve past their humble beginnings – and land where they are today.

Funders and Founders analyzed all 1,426 of the world’s billionaires, segmenting out the 960 who were self-made. Their findings? 830 of these entrepreneurs generated their success from more than one business. Funders and Founders narrowed down their analysis to a group of 5 entrepreneurs, studying their paths closely.

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We’re bombarded with KPIs and an endless series of metrics to tell us how we’re doing.

But instead of using data to measure our progress, it’s much more likely that we get lost and start focusing on metrics that are easy to track but don’t mean anything.

For a SaaS business, there are a few core metrics that need your undivided attention. And the priority of these metrics shift as you grow. If you’ve only had paying customers for 2 months, it doesn’t make much sense to track lifetime value. But later on, lifetime value is essential.

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I have spent my career running marketing organizations both large and small.  Regardless of the size of the business, marketing serves a critical role.

But what type of organization does it better?

Marketing organizations at large corporations certainly have the budgets, resources and talent to win in the marketplace. But small, focused startups with their scrappy sensibility, their test and learn approach, coupled with growth hacking capabilities tend to seize and capitalize on opportunities quickly.

There are no bright lines, but in my view, each type of organization has a center of gravity that forms the basis of their strengths. Read More…

Clarity Live, a new video q&a service that connect up-and-coming entrepreneurs with game-changing  business leaders, kicks off tomorrow (Thursday, May 22nd) with Eric Ries, author of The Lean Startup.

Starting Friday, we’ll be featuring sessions with some of the world’s most high-demand founders — covering topics like product development, crowdfunding, and fundraising.

If you see something that you like, feel free to RSVP by signing up for a Clarity Live subscription. Sessions are limited to 7 people, but don’t worry — if you see something that you love, and it’s full, you can always join the waitlist or access the session on demand.

We’re excited to announce our end of May lineup. Read More…

Jason Nazar

Over the last 7 years, Docstoc, an electronic document repository for financial and legal documents, has become a top resource for people looking to start small businesses.

Doctstoc’s founder, Jason Nazar grew the team to 50 people and led the company through a sale to Intuit in December 2013.

The sale generated buzz from virtually every tech journal – TechCrunch, Pando Daily, All Things D, and Forbes all covered the deal from Intuit’s perspective – that it was smart strategic planning for the Silicon Valley software giant to invest in such a valuable asset for small business owners.

What we wanted to see, however, was Nazar’s personal side to the story – what he learned from the acquisition experience and what advice he would provide to other entrepreneurs. Read More…


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Recently, I explained how Kittyo’s success was perfectly planned and that the project was funded even before it launched.

It worked.

Kittyo’s $30,000 Kickstarter goal was fully funded (100%) in only 45 minutes. They were 200% funded in just a few hours and just passed $200,000 with 19 days to go.

Today, we’re going to analyze exactly how Kittyo used what I call, “The MacGyver Trick” to raise $200,000 in two weeks and crush their Kickstarter goal. Read More…


When I launched Clarity in 2012, I was driven by one mission — to impact the lives of a billion people by 2022. In two short years, Clarity grew to a community of more than 40,000 verified experts worldwide. To date, more than 200,000+ Clarity calls have been completed.

Today, I am excited to announce, in addition to offering 1-on-1 calls, a new subscription product call Clarity Live. Clarity Live is a video q&a service that connect up-and-coming entrepreneurs with game-changing  business leaders.

To help kick things off in a GLOBAL way, we’re hosting a special Clarity Live event on May 22nd with Eric Ries, author of The Lean Startup.  This event is in partnership with VIP VOIP and our goal is to bring 1000 people across 20 cities to participate virtually in this session.

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Crowdfunding Short

Crowdfunding is democratizing entrepreneurship.

Last December, a portal desktop computer – that anyone can assemble – called Kano raised $1.5 million on Kickstarter. In July 2014, Bug-A-Salt, a toy like shotgun that shoots salt blasts to kill insects, raised more than half-a-million on Indiegogo.

What these projects have in common is that consumers wanted them – and were willing to pay to have them developed from an entrepreneur’s imagination.

In the last 3 years, the crowdfunding economy has more than tripled to more than $5.1 billion.

But what’s hard to imagine is that this market is still in its infancy. The crowdfunding economy is about to undergo a dramatic shift. Keep reading to learn why. Read More…

Kansas Skyline

“To win big, I need to move to Silicon Valley.”

I’ve heard this over and over again from founders. But why? Silicon Valley might be a tech Mecca, but living costs are through the roof, housing is scarce, and competition is fierce. If you’re hitting the right fundamentals, you should be able to launch your startup anywhere — for instance, in Kansas City where startups are thriving and you can find the world’s best BBQ at a gas station



Recently, I judged a Kauffman-sponsored Lean Startup weekend and before announcing the winners, I asked how many thought their startup would be further along if they were living in Silicon Valley. The results were mixed: one-third said yes, one-third said no and the remaining just shuffled in their seats, waiting for me to simply announce the winners and stop pressing them for free market research.

So while the proverbial jury is still out, let me proffer at least five reasons why startup life may be better outside the iconic Silicon Valley.

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In business school, I had an entrepreneurship class where the professor classified all people who’ve started companies as fools, and entrepreneurs as successful fools. Honestly, I’m not sure there’s a difference between the two.  With that in mind, I’ve been a fool and advised fools/entrepreneurs for nearly 15 years.

I’ve always enjoyed the process of helping people take their best shot at the foolish life, having lived both the highs (assembling Ikea furniture for new employees, finding product market fit, raising funds) and the lows (bankruptcy, disassembling said Ikea furniture, saying goodbye to my team).  Here’s a short list of things I’ve learned in that process.

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