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My entrepreneur history
There is no safe path, there is no secret formula, there is no walkthrough to the path of success, every entrepreneur must find his own way, and face his own challenges. However, we can point to the set of skills and characteristics required for the entrepreneur success, and also, learn from the mistake of the other entrepreneurs to not repeat them.
Childhood, creativity and computers
I was always restless, creative and curious. My favorite toy was always LEGO, I created with him anything I wanted to do, whenever i wanted, the way I wanted. I challenged myself to create different things, castles, spaceships, cars, buildings, etc, there were no limits. I faced the problems that my creative imagination built, how do I do the system that collects the landing gear of my plane? How do I do this launch mechanism of the catapult? Does the fire truck that I did fits in this building I’m constructing? Practically every day I challenged myself, the toy was the same, but the game was always different. I thanks from all my heart the effort that my parents did, to always find a way to buy a new LEGO box for me, in my birthdays, at Christmas, at the children’s day, even not being able to afford it.
I am also grateful for the opportunity I had to deal with art, all my painting classes that I always liked, even without having an innate talent for art I’ve always been creative. I created a collection of clay cows, was the chinese cow, the child cow, the sunglasses cow , the cow with umbrellas, I didnt even remember them all, but they were a important experience.
At school I always was an average student, I never liked to study, I actually never studied in high school, what I always did was the least effort to pass the year, only studied in recoveries, when I launched the challenge to get a 10, and annoyingly I got it. Now I understand the terror of the current education system for those who doesn’t fit in the patterns. The great irony of the current system is that we are trained for years in technical skills of all kinds, from pre-school to university, and when the time comes to enter the job market, to undertake, we are charged to think outside the box, to be creative and innovative. How can we be if we were never trained, encouraged and led to think that way?
I got my first computer at the age of 8, a PC-XT, which ran using MS-DOS, had no hard drive, and all the system was loaded by large floppy disks. I was crazy about technology, it was amazing, I could create text, play, create banners, make calculations… But I never understood how it worked, “my god, how that magic happens inside that box?”. This was the engine that drove me to study computers, I needed to understand how that all worked, so I made my technical course in computers and started the graduation in computer science.
Professional start, business administration, entrepreneurship
I ended up learning how computers work, and thought it was cool their programming, it was almost like LEGO, I could build anything digitally, I loved it! From this I had two different work experiences, in one of them I became a computer programmer in the biggest software development company of Brazil , in the other, I worked as a information technology teacher. I hated to be a programmer, the work environment was terrible, nothing like I believed to be a good working environment, the internet access was blocked, I had no where to look for codes and help, I wasn’t creating anything, just correcting errors, I had no freedom. Also, another thing made me think, I didn’t know anything about the ERP software (enterprise resource planning) in which I would correct the errors and update the code. I did not understand the processes, I did not understand the system modules that I was working with, all that features, I did not understand what I was developing, I never could work on something that I did not understand, that I had no passion. Then the curiosity came again, I needed to better understand the business, the processes, the systems, how that all works. I decided to quit that job. The experience as a teacher on the other hand was fantastic, I was dealing with people, I was good with the students even without any experience, I was interested in them, and struggled to teach them the best way possible, I had a natural ability to teach.
My curiosity led me to the course business administration, besides understanding better the companies, I wanted to work in a place that had my face, my passion, in fact, I do not run without passion, I wanted to have my own company. I liked the course, I followed an advice and I had different experiences, I participated in various entrepreneurship programs, made new business development courses, learned to use the business model canvas , customer development practices, did some business plans, I had my own startup Clic indica, who used the power of crowds to indicate who wanted to buy an apartment, a car, among other things. I worked at Dell enterprise product marketing, I worked in a small business, worked in the Brazilian Support Service for Micro and Small Enterprises as as a business consultant, I worked at the marketing of a syndicate, worked on a political campaign. It was a period of a amazing professional growth from my skills and knowledge. I never stayed more than one year and a half in the same organization, when my learning reached a limit, and my job was just to do what I learned I quit, I did not want that, I was born to think, to create and not to repeat and repeat things without any challenge.
I planned many businesses, wanted to open a school, I made a business plan but I never got the capital to take her off the paper. My startup has not died because it failed, but because neither I nor my partner could keep working on it, we needed to make money to support our lives, there is still a lot of validation to be done. So far, I’ve never been a real entrepreneur, because I never realy faced the risks face to face and moved forward, I had a lack of persistence, I was scared, very scared. I was always thinking about what business I could do without money, or almost no money, but that does not exist, it is always necessary some investment, it may be small in some cases, but it is always necessary.
A true entrepreneurship experience
In 2015, the year of my graduation, I decided to risk everything, saw an opportunity in the events area, there was no health event that integrated its several subdivisions with an exhibition and lectures on health and healthy life. I did some research, I saw that there were interested customers, so I decided to go on. I had other problems besides not having money, my networking was horrible, I did not cultivated it, and now I was regretting it. The events area was the only one I could leverage the business without having many resources, the money would come from the sales of stands, sponsorships and tickets. Most of the resources would be needed only next to the event date. Who came into my business life at that moment was my mother, tired of seeing me slipping in everything I did she agreed to help me, and it was from her the greatest lesson I had in my life until that moment, to go all the way. My mother is an entrepreneur, she always has been, she started several businesses, a video store, a beauty salon, a cybercoffe, organized courses, fairs and events, but she never really took off. She has several skills that complemented my weaknesses, she became my partner.
I started to study a lot about the area, I actually knew very little about health, healthy life, and events. We raised the costs, we made a good financial planning, sales materials, website, visual communication. I had in my head: “I am an administrator, I’m technically prepared for it.”
We leverage the business, many sales calls, emails, search for partnerships, lecturers, among other diverse activities. You know that sentences, “life is hard”, “make business is difficult”, “hold on or give up”, “the world is not for the weak”, “no pain no gain”, all that was very clear in my mind. The progress of the business was like that, full of difficulties, I tried to give up a few times, I became depressed, my partner kept the business in line. I was charging me and my partner for results, and they did not appeared, the time passed and few sales were made, 2015 was a year of deep political and economic crisis in Brazil, everybody was only speaking about crisis. We changed several times the size of the business, as sales were very slow we made many changes, wiped the budget. We changed the core business from a major exhibition to the health forum, because he was giving the better results so far. Pay the event center had become a real nightmare for us, it was a high value, and we didn’t have the entry value in that time, we had to change the location of the event, which was one of the best decisions we made, the decision that saved the project . Next to the event we made some bad decisions, we put some people to work with us, they promised a lot but delivered nothing, and some of them ended up hurting the event.
Do not think that because we are son and mother leading the business that our fights were quieter than normal partners, were like those meetings of the movies, tense and not constructive. Our mother and child relationship hardly existed during that period.
The final straw was a few weeks before the event, I was driving and had to stop the car, I looked at my partner and said, I’m having a heart attack, that was the level of stress I was having in my professional life, my personal life no longer existed. I discovered in cardiology that it wasn’t a heart attack, but panic syndrome, problem in which I had to deal until the day of the event. It seems silly, but the panic symptoms are physical, the heart races, you cannot control it, does not seem to be something psychological, I could hardly breathe. Well, that’s what being an entrepreneur? This is the path to success? That is the path of sweat and tears? Worth it?
The event happened, something that didn’t believe that was possible anymore, financially the first edition of the event was a disaster, we got a lot of debts. On the other hand we validate our product, who was present at the event was enchanted, we gathered people from different areas, doctors, nurses, therapists, psychologists, nutritionists, pharmacists, physical educators, businessmen, people in general, all together vibrating with each lecture, with each theme addressed. We ended up getting a beautiful tribute during the event that took us by surprise, made by our partners and customers. Our business is still standing.
The day after
It was a fantastic journey of self-knowledge. With everything ended, broken, my wife asked for a divorce after having been 14 years together, she said she did not believe in me and in what I do, I found myself without a car, without my dog, I left the apartment and I went to live with my mother. And as hopeless as it may seems in your mind, I was alive, I found myself, I discovered myself, I found peace. I wasn’t living in fear anymore, I ended up facing and living all my worst fears and survived, I started to live fully, to live each day, I learned to love myself, I self-realize me every day when I wake up and I appreciate the opportunity to be alive. I rediscovered myself as teacher, as someone who has a lot of content, knowledge and experience to pass. I found that I like to write, and I keep enjoying and having the will to undertake. I entered in the flow, and everything started to change. I met wonderful people that will engage in the next event, found a new business partner, who I believe it’s the person with more entrepreneurial and spiritual knowledge that I talked with. I met different ideals, ideals that complemented me, I’ll never live any nightmare again, things wont be heavier, I wont live in that kind of effort, I work now in what makes me happy, in what pleasures me, and this is the secret of life, find what you love, what’s your mission.
Today I can say clearly: I am an entrepreneur, an innovator, a creator, which transforms ideas into products, services and organizations. I am also a teacher, someone who loves to pass the knowledge and experiences ahead, someone who cares about the people around me. I want to help entrepreneurs around the world to succeed, and to do this, they must know themselves, overcome their fears, they have to know their personal power, to know the necessary technical skills and creativity needed for success.
Then, as business administrator, as an entrepreneur, as a businessman, as a teacher and as a human being, I developed the Entrepreneur Equilibrium: The tripod of success, composed by the Technical, Creativity, and Personal Power, the three essential pillars for the successful entrepreneur. The book was developed from my experiences, my knowledge, my creative mind, my intuition, my failures and successes. Definitely the book is not a guide, because the path of entrepreneurship and the life path is different for each person, but the book presents a number of essential features for any entrepreneur who seeks to succeed in the information age.
This story has no end, because it is just a start.
The eBook is free for reading and distribution but isn’t available yet in english, i’m translating it. If you are interested in help to translate from Portuguese to English, just send me a message, I will be very happy with your help.
Perseverance – the willpower
Perseverance and entrepreneurship are directly related, if you do not have the willpower to move forward when the path is full of giant rocks, full of problems that seem unsolvable, I can assure you that you won’t be a successful entrepreneur. Successfully undertake requires a lot of willpower on the day by day, if you have this willpower and knows how to live each day as unique, with happiness, you are much closer to success than you think.
An example of perseverance is the story of Dashrath Manjhi, an Indian from the village of Gahlour, village that was isolated from other communities by a mountain, where it was necessary to travel a forty-three kilometers road to get to the closest school, hospital and supermarket. One day, the wife of Manjhi fell ill, and there wasn’t enough time to take her to hospital and she ended up dying.
Manjhi decided that no one else in his village would go through the same problem, then, without any government support, using only a hammer and a chisel, alone, for twenty-two years he carved the mountain until he opens a path. Thanks to him, people from more than sixty villages use his handmade road every day, he shortened the distance between Atri and wazirganj on fifty-five km to only fifteen km.
“When I started hammering the hill, people called me crazy, it strengthened my decision.”
Perhaps Manjhi, could have done the road otherwise, could have got support, engaged other people, among other endless possibilities, but the great lesson that Manjhi bring to us, is that the perseverance, the willpower makes things happen. Manjhi is an entrepreneur, he brought his idea to the real world, created something that generated real value to his community.
“What I did is there for everyone to see. When God is with you, nothing can stop it ”
Willpower is linked to spirituality, spirituality is the driving force of willpower. For Manjhi God and his deceased wife was his connection with spirituality, each connection is unique, each person must find her own connection. The fuel of the willpower is your spirituality, what would lead you to open a road in your mountain?
Willpower does true miracles, because it takes you, your project, your dreams ahead. I can guarantee here, that without the willpower anything that you do wont work, because you will give up before. If the willpower is not one of your qualities you should train it, make smaller projects and run them from start to finish. The irony is that it does not guarantee in any way the success, hard work and perseverance does not necessarily lead to success, but their absence ensures failure.
“There are more people who give up than those who fail.”
Some cases of extreme success through willpower
The greatest failure is to give up, is to not persevere. I dont like comparisons, each person has his own way, his own time, but I will bring a few cases of people from extreme success that only obtained it by persevering, by having an immense willpower.
Abraham Lincoln: went to war as a captain and returned as a private. Went bankrupt twice, lost his home, his girlfriend died, had a nervous breakdown (everything until the thirty-six years), he ran five elections and lost all. Only at fifty-one years of age, he became President of the United States.
Walt Disney: jumped from job to job as a newspaper cartoonist, he came to be dismissed for being considered without new ideas and unimaginative. His first studio went bankrupt, it was with the second one bearing his own name that he took off.
Akio Morita: saw his first product being a commercial failure. This did not discourage him, and he and his partners continued creating other products that made Sony one of the most respected companies in the world.
Stephen King: had his first book “Carrie, the strange” rejected by thirty publishers. After that, he threw the book in the trash. His wife recovered and insisted that he continue sending it to other publishers until one accepted it and opened doors for his other works.
R. H. Macy: failed unbelievable seven times before building one of the largest US department stores, Macy’s.
Charles Schulz: never had a comic strip published in his school yearbook, although he sent it every year. Moreover, Schulz, who never had a life of many victories, also never worked at Disney as he wanted. Snoopy and the gang was continuously published for fifty years in seventy-five countries and grossed over a billion dollars.
Isaac Newton: was never a good student in school. This led him to run the family farm, but he was so bad that his uncle had to intercede, forcing him to study at Cambridge, where he took off. An important point, note here the importance of self-knowledge, you may just be doing the wrong thing in your life.
Sylvester Stallone: born with a facial paralysis, and at his worst moment came to live on the streets. He wrote the screenplay for “Rocky” and wanted to act in the movie as the main character. Even living on the street turned down an offer of three hundred and fifty thousand dollars from a studio for his screenplay, because they not accepted that he acted as the main character. Finally he got thirty-five thousand dollars for the script and they let him act in the film. The movie “Rocky” joined the American records of the film industry as one of the biggest movies ever made.
How Creativity Works
What differentiates humans from other species is their ability to think, imagine, create and shape the nature. It is the creative fire that every human being carries within itself. Creativity is the ability to create the new, which does not already exist in our physical world. It is this power that transforms all human life, where we live, what we eat, how we communicate, everything has a direct influence from our creativity, from our power of creation. Every human being is born creative, while children we live immersed in creativity, and along our growth, we are led to abandon it and follow patterns.
In the present scenario, where we can produce “anything”, the creativity, more than ever, has a key role in the world of entrepreneurship. It is through our creativity that we will model, design, build and test new products and services. How can we do differently? What can we do differently? It is through our creativity that we can find these answers and solve different types of problems. Creativity is linked to all areas of activity of the human being, in arts, in science, in business, in philosophy, in society, among others; each of which connects to creativity in a different way.
The entire creative destruction of the entrepreneur comes from their creativity, their ability to solve problems and create solutions that generate value. These solutions, products and services that have the power to overthrow the traditional business models are developed based on creativity. Most large business emerged and maintain thanks to creative ideas, Google wants to organize all the world’s information, Apple wants to turn technology into art. Is possible to say that entrepreneurship and creativity walk hand in hand, and creativity an important force for the balance of the successful entrepreneur.
“Creativity is not a talent, it’s a way of operating”
Creativity uses all the emotional and mental potential of human beings, using the concrete mind, the intellect, in the early stages of observation, scope definition, exploration and search for solutions; and the abstract mind, connected to our universal self, where does all the creative insights, intuitions, inspirations and vision of the whole. The creative individual has before him two options: follow the crowd – and repeat concepts – or walk a completely different direction, often in the opposite direction.
“Creativity is the ability to form mental ideas, images and things not-present or bring into existence something new, unique and original.”
Duaibili & Simonsen Jr.
How the creative process works
Creativity is a technique to solve problems, create solutions and things that do not yet exist. This technique can be applied to any human activity, such as medicine, sociology, marketing, entrepreneurship, education – everything.
How to put creativity into practice, seeking solution to real problems? We can divide the creative process into five strategic steps for troubleshooting. These steps do not always follow a sequence, and do not happen linearly, you can move back and forth freely several times in the process.
Identify the problem. What kind of problem should be solved? When we think about a problem, be it everyday or scientific, we first enunciate him mentally, we create him in our concrete thinking. Is this the moment that our intellect should be loose, observing and seeking opportunities. Let your mind explore, release your imagination, use all your curiosity in your favor.
Reflection on the problem, search for data, information and knowledge that can help solve the identified problem. Once outlined the problem, we fix our mind on some aspect of it, and in it we focus all our attention, excluding the rest of our mind. This is the time to focus our intellect in search of answers to the problem identified. Find information, systematically analyze data and options.
We observe the reactions and associations of ideas that the problem produces in our conscience and try to find out if these derivations bring some light to the problem. The incubation process develops itself more in the unconscious plan, or in the pre-conscious range. Not always the solution is found, we need to rest, and return to work later in the solution. The activity designed by no means stops, and silently, according to the intensity of the delineation and the desire to find a solution, it is established a related activity in our abstract mind. This pause, this unconscious work helps to find the solution later, the mind in the abstract and unconscious level starts working almost alone. This is the time to leave aside our intellect, silence our concrete mind, and go in search of enlightenment of our idea.
After some time, which can vary from days, months and years, through inspiration flashes the solution suddenly appears, the insight arises. The insight is that “genius” idea that occasionally some people have, is the “Heureka”, is the snap of creativity, processed by the abstract mind, connected to our universal self. It is the sudden understanding of the relationship between means and ends. Appears usually without conscious effort. It’s necessary to be open to the abstract mind to be able receive a insight.
5. DEVELOPMENT AND VERIFICATION
After find the idea, and judge it satisfactory, starts the preparation stage. At this stage the idea is elaborated, retaking the use of our intellectual instrument so that we can refine it, improve it and shape it. We must also check if the idea adopted as a solution to the problem is, in fact, the solution.
Contribute, let’s build ideas together!
What is success?
Something I consider very important is the definition of success. Most people believe that success is to have money, is to have wealth and fame. Let me give the example of Mrs. Elsa, an Italian descent, from a poor family, she worked a lot on her woodwork company with her husband, she was an entrepreneur by necessity. Her dream was to see her three children formed with good jobs, not passing through the hard life she had. It turns out that her dream was realized, they all graduated and post-graduated and followed their different careers. She never earned much money, she never had fame and neither was a financial success, but she has reached her goal, realized his dream to see her children educated and with good jobs, she is an example of a successful person because she reached her personal goals.
Success is achieve goals and realize personal dreams. Usually it’s not an easy task because the self knowledge is not something widespread in our society, and it is essential to know yourself to find out what are your real goals in life, to find out what accomplishes you, what makes you happy. With self knowledge everything gets easier, and for those whose life goal is entrepreneurship, those who feel the call and have entrepreneurial spirit, it is essential to have the personal balance between technique, creativity and personal power in order to achieve success.
Success is achieve goals and realize personal dreams.
The success of the entrepreneur happens in bring into the world organizations, products, services and innovative business models that solve real problems of society and create value in the solutions created.
All potencial is inside us!
What is be an entrepreneur?
The entrepreneur is the person who can turn an innovative idea into a service, product or business. He thinks and acts in an innovative way, identifying and creating opportunities, inspiring, renewing and leading processes, making possible what seems impossible, enthusing people and combating accommodation to routine and taking risks on behalf of their ideals.
According to Emanuel Leite, PhD in innovation and entrepreneurship, to be an entrepreneur means having initiative, fertile imagination to conceive ideas, flexibility to adapt them, creativity to turn them into business opportunities, motivation to think conceptually and ability to realize the changes as opportunities.
The entrepreneur is an artist, a creator. Someone who creates new products, new jobs, new things, and never stops. He creates not only because he wants to, but also because he feels great need for achievement.
Businessman vs Entrepreneur
There are lots of confusion betwen the two terms because many times they really are connected. The businessman is the owner of a company, it may or may not be an entrepreneur, if he ceases to have the company, he stops being a businessman. Being a businessman is a profession, while to be an entrepreneur is much more connected to a posture, a way of seeing the world.
The Entrepreneur is the one that makes things happen, the one who turns an idea into a service, product or business model. An entrepreneur can be an businessman, but can also be an employee or the creator of a social enterprise.
If the businessman is an agent of innovation that creates opportunities and leads processes, he’s also an entrepreneur.
It is the basis of entrepreneurship, is to have the will to transform visions into profitable realities, is the will to solve people real problems . The entrepreneurship spirit is directly linked to the ability to innovate, to do differently, to question the reality and make daily developments happen, to develop innovative enterprises, which are the engines of social and economic development of a nation .
Entrepreneurship is not about making money (although it usually happens), but to achieve personal self-fulfillment. What do you want to achieve and build in long-term?
According to Eric Ries, creator of The Startup Lean the “entrepreneur” should be considered a position in all modern companies that depend on innovation for future growth.
The entrepreneur has the opportunity to work in all areas of a business, to control their own destiny, to manage their time and deal directly with customers. All this may seem fantastic, but it is also an extremely complex and challenging task, which depends on several factors, knowledges and personal skills in order to achieve success. (See the Entrepreneur Equilibrium).
It is entrepreneur who transforms ideas into innovative real solutions, this can be doing:
- Creating your own business or startup;
- As an employee of a company (intrapreneurship);
- As a public servant;
- Creating or acting in a non-profit organization.
Not only with entrepreneur spirit, intuition and a great desire to work you will build a successful company. Besides having the courage to take risks, often in a unexplored productive sector , the entrepreneur needs to take very seriously the management of his business. Undertake is to manage, the market, invariably ends up devouring the amateurs.
Competences of the modern entrepreneur:
- continuous updating;
- motivation, involvement and commitment;
- proactive and entrepreneurial attitude ;
- openness to change and availability;
- orientation to problem solving;
- toughness and resistance to stressful situations.
I believe that in addition to these, there are other important skills for a successful entrepreneur, and I have a new mindset for this, the Entrepreneur Equilibrium.
Let’s build together the best definitions of what is to be an entrepreneur and entrepreneurship, comment and give your contribution, ask your questions or give your feedback, your opinion is very important to me.
Until next time!
Luis Henrique de Souza
- Learning to undertake – SEBRAE – 2011
- The Lean Startup – Eric Ries – 2012
- The phenomenon of Entrepreneurship – Emanuel leite – 2012
- Business Plans that succeed – Dornelas, Timmons, Zacharakis, Spinelli – 2008
What is the difference between a company and a startup?
According to Eric Ries, author of The Lean Startup, startups are designed to deal with situations of extreme uncertainty. Start a new company, which is an exact clone of an existing business, copying business models, pricing, target customer and product, there may even be an attractive economic investment, but it is not a startup, because your success depends only on the execution – so that success can be modeled with great accuracy.
A startup is a human institution designed to create new products and services under conditions of extreme uncertainty, it is not a business, or better, is not yet a business, your focus should be on validated learning, seeking to answer two fundamental questions: the value hypothesis, it creates value for the customer? And the growth hypothesis, how customers discover my product or service? To do so it must use the feedback loop, Build -> Measure -> Learn to answer the main questions that will enable the business model, product or service through the information generated by the user’s experience acquired through the MVP ( Minimum Viable Product). Whenever the result is not positive (failure) must be pivoted, that is, modify the characteristics of the model, product or service, and start testing again.
If successful, the startup starts thinking about become a company with a validated business model, service or product.
A startup is not just a new business, it may be within an already organized company, within a non-governmental organization or within a government organization. What do you mean? Let me give an example of SnapTax, a startup that wanted to rid taxpayers from the expensive counters by automating information collection process. The process would take place by sending pictures of the forms taken by the users, a digital tool, this had not been done before, customers would accept the service? They would like it ? They would pay for it? How easy they would discover the service? The scenery was complete uncertainty, which characterizes the environment of a startup. However the Snaptax was created inside Intuit, the largest US manufacturer of finance tools, taxes and accounting, and yes, it was a startup.
A tip, whenever you have to think, “does that creates value for the customer?” Because it was not done yet, this is a startup.
- Startup is the nomenclature for a digital business.
- Startup is a small business, or a company starting.
- Companies, organizations and the government may not have startups.
- The business plan is an outdated and should no longer be used as a good tool.
- Having a startup and being an entrepreneur is not connected to administration.
- There must be innovation, be it in the business model, the pricing, the product, etc …
- Must face situations of extreme uncertainty. Does the market wants, or is prepared for my product or service?
- The business plan is an important tool for the beginning of a company, not a startup. It is an important guide, which should be followed and changed conform the progress of the company.
- The success of a startup can be built following the correct process.
Help me build the myths and facts of companies x startups, comment and contribute, ask your questions or give us your feedback.
A big hug,
Luis Henrique de Souza.