I am an entrepreneur running my own business. I also provide advice to other start-up business owners. My current business is Catipilla (www.catipilla.com) that operates in the pet sector which is somewhat fortunate as I love animals.
I’m an engineer with the kudos of having worked for NASA once upon a time. I then spent 15 years working in large corporate environments before seeking a very different challenge as a start-up entrepreneur. I began my entrepreneurial journey 16 years ago and I have set up businesses across a range of sectors from wealth management to technology to retail to pets.
As a first time entrepreneur you have no play book. That can be refreshing for some and terrifying for many. Either way, it is rarely a comfortable beginning. Experience as an entrepreneur teaches you one, rather ironic, but truthful reality; there’s no substitute for experience.
My advice for all first time entrepreneurs is to ‘jump in’, follow your instincts and learn from your mistakes. Believe me, I’ve made most of them and it is by far the best way to learn, grow and navigate your path. However, before you take that leap of faith, there is an abundance of content out there that can smooth the path, remove the trepidation and make you realise, you’re not alone in feeling the way you feel. The key, as with all content, is sorting the wheat from the chaff and in entrepreneurial land, there’s far more of the latter I’m afraid.
For me, the best source of information has always been from speaking to or listening to entrepreneurs who have been there, seen it and done it. There is absolutely nothing better than to learn from someone who’s been in your shoes, navigated the path and come out the other end. Interestingly, you can often learn as much from those who have ‘failed’ as you can from those who have been successful – each will have a story to tell.
But where do we find these people and unlock the gold dust content? Fortunately, the information technology age offers so many sources to indulge in; from Google to LinkedIn to Podcasts to Blogs to TED pitches, etc. all at the tips of your keyboard fingers. Quantity is certainly not an issue in the entrepreneurial space but in my experience, real quality insights and real life stories involving the good, the bad and the ugly are few and far between.
I am a particular fan of two US based firms that deliver invaluable content and discuss the start-up realities of real life entrepreneurs. Entrepeneurship in the US is significantly more advanced than it is in the UK and there are so many lessons to be learned from experienced content such as this.
Startups.com with Will Schroter
“How I built this” podcast series with Guy Raz of NPR
For me, podcasts have always been valuable, easily digestable and convenient. From interviews with James Dyson to the tiny start up down the road, you will quickly notice the similarities of this unstable, fast changing rollercoaster.
Great content will smooth your path but it won’t give you all the answers. To do that, you’ll have to roll up your sleeves, jump in the deep-end and give it a go. You won’t regret it and I think you’ll enjoy the ride.