“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.
This post originally appeared on FounderDating.com.
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.
When we created Cole and Parker, my husband and I had been dating for just a few months, but even back then we knew that we both had a passion for entrepreneurship that went far beyond our colorful sock startup.
Editor’s Note: Muse founder Kathryn Minshew epitomizes the term ‘badass.’ Determine to build a career based on purpose and to make her mark on the world, she launched Muse — a portal to help job seekers build careers that they love. Minshew and her team of amazing co-founders have built a site that attracts millions of monthly visitors. All the while, she has held her head high — and grown her company with unparalleled grace. Read More…
There’s nothing a startup (or any company, really) needs quite as much as press. It brings in traffic and users/customers, social validation and legitimacy all at the same time. Those are things it’s hard to get enough of.
It’s taken me years of trial and error, the help of a lot of other really smart marketers, and tons of time playing with hacks and tweaking language and strategy to figure out what works across the board and boil it down to a repeatable process. So far it has worked to help my company and others get published in:
and hundreds of smaller blogs/websites. Some are under NDAs, so I won’t be disclosing all of the details, but this process, if followed the way I spell it out below, should work well for you. Read More…
The entrepreneurial journey is full of twists, turns, ups and downs. That’s why you need the support of trusted advisors. Take these examples:
(1) The Accidental Founder
Renee is in early stage mode. She has an “accidental business” – something that she happened upon as a result of her interest in helping people. To her surprise and delight, what started as a hobby, helping people decorate their homes, has garnered a great deal of attention in the neighborhood. Read More…
My previous startup had a sales cycle problem.
We sold an enterprise product targeted at agencies and big consumer brands, and — while we could clearly articulate benefits — we could only point to an opaque, fuzzy ROI for the buyer during the sales process. As a result our sales cycle (including delightful hurdles like vendor approval that consumer web startups should thank their lucky stars they never have to deal with) could stretch for months.
“Never again,” I said to myself, and I set a goal: my next product would have a two week sales cycle. If I couldn’t get a user to convert from free to paid in fourteen days I’d move on and test if retention emails and down-the-road product upgrade notices would entice them back.
In your professional life, you strive to be the absolute best. You’re a natural leader, you innovate constantly and you have a quantifiable track record for generating high-value results. In your world, a 40-hour workweek is a myth, but somehow, sunrise-to-sunset will always fly by and you’ll be smiling the whole time. Some people call you a workaholic, but you prefer the term “passionate”.
At any given moment, entrepreneurs are on the brink of failure. It’s mortifying. You put your entire life on the line for a 90% chance that your business won’t make it.
This cold, hard fact is enough to scare people away from starting a business altogether.
Why put your heart, soul, finances, and reputation on the line for an emotional roller coaster?
This post originally appeared on SujanPatel.com
In 2011, I lost 42 pounds in six months, and it was the single hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life. As a result, I learned plenty of invaluable lessons. Not only did I learn more about myself and how far I’m able to push my body and mind, I also found that many of the lessons I learned helped me to push my business to the limit as well.
Here are a few of the different lessons I learned. I hope you find them helpful, whether you’re trying to lose weight, get in shape or expand your business: