Is ignorance a key ingredient for success as an entrepreneur?

A while ago, I stumbled across an article by Lisa Cash-Hanson titled, “Ignorance Is A Key Ingredient For Success Brian Smith Ugg Founder“.  As I read Lisa’s post, I began to reflect on my journey and wondered if ignorance IS in fact a key ingredient for success as an entrepreneur?

I’d like to share a few thoughts from Lisa and the founder of UGG and then get your opinion.

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How I Will Grow My Startup After Scraping By Last Year

If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you know I pour my heart into every article and authentically share my experiences-good and bad. You also know 2014 was a roller coaster year for me and my business.

I’m happy to tell you that because of the success the business enjoyed at the end of 2014, I was able to close a round of investment capital to address the key business issues/opportunities as I see them.

And I get to fight on to be a shining example to my young twins of what’s possible when one chooses to live a life of passion and purpose.

In this article I’ll:

  • Transparently show sales and website conversion data.
  • Discuss what I think the opportunities are to sustainably grow the business.
  • Reveal goals for the year.
  • And share a list of important lessons I’ve learned on my entrepreneurial journey that I hope you find helpful.

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How Desperation Caused My First Startup To Fail

Note: This is an update of an article I wrote a few years ago on a blog I shut down. 

 

In 2002, I unsuccessfully attempted to start a digital lifestyle magazine for Black golf enthusiasts called, Seven Under. To this day, when I mention the project to someone, the response I usually get is, “that sounds like an interesting idea, why did it fail?”

It took me several years to come up with the real answer to that question.

The over-simplified answers are:

  1. My partner and I lacked previous publishing experience.
  2. We didn’t have enough money to have a real shot at success.
  3. The timing was bad because Vanguarde Media, which, at that time, was a dominant player in the Black Magazine space, just filed for bankruptcy. And advertisers were not keen on a new publication in the same category.
  4. We were ahead of our time with plans to launch a digital-only version of the magazine in a pre iPad-era.

 

While there is truth in all those answers, none of them is the real truth. The real reason the magazine failed is because I was too desperate.

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Is Your Business Struggling? How Do You Know When It’s Time to Quit?

I engage with a lot of entrepreneurs, and occasionally the question about knowing when to quit if your business is struggling comes up.

To address this important issue, I wrote a guest article over at SteamFeed.

If you dig it, please share on social media and let me know your thoughts in the comments at the article.

Here’s the article –>

 

 

Feature Image Credit: Sarah Page don’t quit

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Why Your Business Idea is Probably Worthless

I love twitter.

I meet the most interesting people there.

I recently connected with Paul Brunson on twitter via an article he wrote: 20 Successful Habits I Learned Working For Two Billionaires that is a must read. 

But it was an article Paul shared on twitter, the 3 Most Dangerous Half Truths in Entrepreneurship, by Tim Berry, that inspired this post. The article railed against doing what you love in business, and the myth about passion, persistence, and perseverance as the keys to success. (more…)

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3 Ways The Ghetto Helped Me Be a Better Entrepreneur

I grew up poor and in a rough neighborhood in Brooklyn, NY. It might be cliché to say I had lots of friends who were either killed or in jail at some point, but it’s true. And being cliché doesn’t make it any less f#@ked up.

While growing up in the ghetto was tough, and I feel incredibly lucky to have made it “out”, there were three really valuable things it taught me that have made me a better entrepreneur.  (more…)

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Entrepreneurs Solve Problems They See

I just finished reading a blog post about how to come up with an idea for your next business. The article was about one thousand words long when it could have just been one sentence.

What little I know about how to come up with a business idea I learned from my experience as an entrepreneur and it was summed up in a one-liner in this NPR roundtable discussion I participated in about the importance of diversity in technology.

 

How Do You Come Up With A Business Idea?

One of the NPR panelists said it best: “People solve problems that they see.”

That’s it. No one thousand word article needed. (more…)

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How I Managed The Disappointment Of Not Getting On Shark Tank

Disappointment is a part of life. This may be a biased comment, but disappointment feels more acute for people like entrepreneurs, who risk everything to make their dreams a reality.

Entrepreneurs quit their jobs, sacrifice relationships with friends and family, cash out their 401ks and run head-first into the unknown; that place in the universe filled with possibilities, tremendous joy and fulfillment. But also with lots of disappointment.

I’d like to share how I overcame the disappointment of not making it to the final round of auditions to get my company, WeMontage, on the incredibly popular TV show, Shark Tank. (more…)

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Is There Life After Death (Of a Startup)?

I’m blessed to be able to wake up every day and chase my dream of making my startup, WeMontage, a household name. As is often the case, the path to realization of this dream has been circuitous, to say the least, and it has taken a toll on family relationships.

 

Birth and Death

After raising investment capital in 2013, the business ran out of cash last spring and my investors, after giving indications to the contrary, decided at the last-minute to not re-invest in the business. Because we ran out of cash, my partner quit, and I’ve been mostly alone, grinding, trying to turn things around. (more…)

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How I Became an Accidental Stay at Home Dad-Er-Entrepreneur

Photo by bjornmeansbear
Photo by bjornmeansbear

 Starting Up Then Running Out of Cash

It’s cliché to say being an entrepreneur is hard. Duh!

 

I was fortunate enough to launch my company, WeMontage, after completing a tech accelerator in Wisconsin called gener8tor. And I was even luckier to raise investment capital, which gave me twelve months to try to get to product/market fit before having to raise an additional round of capital. But as we all know, things don’t always go as planned.

 

One year after launching the business, we built a great product and had lots of super happy customers, but we ran out of cash and were unable to secure additional financing, which I wrote about extensively here. Like any entrepreneur in this situation, I cut expenses, both for the business and personally, while I continued to look for repeatable, scalable paths to market.

 

The Decision To Stay At Home

Photo via PageTX
Photo via PageTX

The decision to stay at home from a practical standpoint was an easy one. Our nanny was going back to school and the timing of this was really a blessing in disguise because, as I said, we needed to cut expenses at home. The thought was I could stay home with the twins, while working on WeMontage between their naps and in the evening. Makes perfect sense, right? (more…)

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