Tomorrow I will welcome a brand new cohort of students into the Master of Science in Entrepreneurship program at the University of Tampa. Every fall and spring, I have the opportunity to teach the first class in the program, ENT 610 Preparing for the Entrepreneurial Journey. This class is one that helps to build community among the students and prepares them for the work ahead. This includes providing them with lots of information as well as lots of inspiration. During the class, we use some of the interviews from The En Factor™ podcast as case studies to launch discussions about important issues they will need to address on their own personal entrepreneurial journey. I always close out each interview by asking them to share one piece of advice for our listeners. Today, as I thought about the new class of students, I was reviewing some of the advice from these sage entrepreneurs about getting started.

In today’s blog post, I am sharing advice from three of them on getting started. If you are considering an entrepreneurial path or are already an early stage entrepreneur – perhaps these three lessons will inspire you. And, for more inspiration check out my new book, See, Do, Repeat: The Practice of Entrepreneurship, which will launch next week. Throughout this book, I included stories of entrepreneurs I have known over the years, many of whom shared the wisdom from their practice on The En Factor™ podcast. Enjoy!

From Frans Johansson, Author, Speaker and Innovation Expert, The Medici Group:

“If entrepreneurship is something that interests you, something that excites you, that is enough of a guide. I would say go out and try to figure out what it means to be an entrepreneur. There is no one right answer, there are so many different ways of being an entrepreneur, there are so many different ways of approaching that. Ultimately you are going to need to find your way. And if in your journey you find out ‘hey this wasn’t for me’ that’s fine too. You will learn so much that when you turn back and join an organization, you’ll come at that challenge renewed with new insights and a whole new set of tools that you can apply.”

From Jon Aragon, Creative Director and Co-Owner of Native Supply:

“I think for me what has been really helpful holistically as a person is I think about the prospective entrepreneur who may be listening to this, or the student who may be listening to this is…ask yourself the difficult question ‘why am I doing this’? Really get it down to the ‘why’ because that ‘why’ is what’s going to keep you. And if your goal is solely to recruit equity and wealth and enterprise, which to some degree can be pretty shallow, you’re going to come out really disappointed. So, I would really challenge people to really discover the ‘why’ because that is what is going to keep you in those difficult seasons. It is not about the money, or the acclaim or rapport, but that one singular thing that you are passionate about that brings you to life. We are all uniquely fashioned in God’s image and we all have something unique to offer to this world. You have something of value to offer, you need to discover what that is.”

From Ray Ingersoll, Founder, CEO and President, The Ingersoll Group:

“Build your company as if. What I mean by that is, build for the success that you expect to get. If you want to be a major player in whichever industry you are going in, that means that someday you might have 300 employees and 7 factories and a bunch of laptops around your organization, and start to build your organization like that early on. You can’t do it all, and that organizational chart that you build when you are just thinking about the early parts of your company. You’ve got to be thinking about ‘when do I bring on resources that are better at something than I am’ and it is in one of those times that you realize you are in one of those little boxes on the organizational chart, that you’re really not that great at. Now you know that is time to start thinking about putting somebody in that slot.”

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