Entrepreneurship: Power of choice

The spirit of leadership and entrepreneurship is developed through your experiences and your surroundings. And sometimes just by the power of choice.

There’s power in choice. The moment when you say, I’ll do this; whether it is to lead,  hate, love or to forgive, there’s a shift in your mind.

Nobody is naturally born with the DNA to be an entrepreneur or a leader. It is all about what you decide to make of yourself.

While there is no cookie cutter approach to success, there are some things that successful entrepreneurs all understand.

Here are 7 things.

1. There is no four hour- or 40 hour work week.

You get out of life what you put in. You reap what you sow. Your reward will be as big as the work you put in.

2. How to focus

Starting a startup is like putting your pen to a blank paper. You have to focus on your goals, execution, scaling then operating. If you are unable to focus each steps to success, keep your 9-5 job.

3. Know yourself

It is important to discover yourself and have an understanding of what it is that you want to do. Too many startups begin at the spur of the moment, then ends up failing because the founder’s passion has gone to a different project. Don’t let the moment of passion guide you, sit down and understand yourself before starting a business.

4. How to influence others

Great entrepreneurs are great evangelists. Their conviction is extremely contagious. Your conviction influences you, and your conviction spreads to your sphere of influence.

5. How business works

You don’t need to be the master of every tasks. But for you to successfully delegate, you must have an understanding of all operations.

6. BS when they hear it

Surround yourself with honest people. It is better to be constructively criticized than to be lied to.

7. There’s no reward without risk

You’ll never succeed as an entrepreneur unless you go all in. Don’t dip your toe in the water to see if you like it. Entrepreneurs put everything on the line to succeed.

Reference: Original 7 things great entrepreneurs know (http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/232087)

UberX wants to conquer Seoul by force

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Uber, known for their aggressive expansions, is making another bold move against Korean government.

Last week, Uber has announced that they will be launching a pilot run for UberX, a lower-cost alternative, in Seoul despite previous government ban on the app.

 

To explain the concept of UberX, this app allows ordinary people to pick up passengers in their own vehicles for cash. It is ridesharing to put it in simple terms.

At its pilot stage the app is free for passengers, and whether or not if there will be monetary benefits for the participating drivers has yet to be determined.

 

The US company views growth and expansion as its best defense against government organizations and regulations. This hostile method of enter and conquer has served UBER well so far, and this is exactly how UBER plans to takeover Korea.

In Seoul, where convenience is the most important aspect of service, accessibility to taxi is already easy, it will be interesting to see if UBER stands a chance in the country.

 

 

Reference: UberX wants to conquer Seoul by force (http://ofleadership.com/uberx-wants-to-conquer-seoul-by-force)

 

Man behind WWE

Vince_McMahon

 

WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment) is the largest professional wrestling franchise in the world.

The Franchise served as stepping stone to fame for well known celebrities like Hulk Hogan and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.

 

The chairman of WWE, Vince McMahon, took the once regional organization to a billion-dollar company today.

I think we can attribute the great success to his incredible work ethic. He has lived, breathed and sometimes blew WWE (according to Business Insider), both in the boardroom and on television.

Let’s look at 9 examples of Vince McMahon’s incredible work ethic.

 

1. He doesn’t believe in sickness

“Vince is a workaholic, and if anything gets in the way of his work, it makes him angry,” Lagana writes.

 

2. You can’t beat him into the office or outlast him at night

First car in, and last car out of the parking lot. Nobody has seen him leave or enter work. He never leaves the office.

 

3. He barely ever sleeps

“I don’t like to sleep,” McMahon says. “I’m missing something when I’m sleeping.”

 

4. He is still very active in the creative direction of the company

From the performers’ clothes to phrases that announcers say, he is known to micromanage everything.

 

5. Don’t even think about sneezing around him

“In my world, pal, there is no sneezing.”

 

6. He has almost no hobbies

“He just doesn’t have interest in nothing but wrestling,” Henry says. “And when you’re a billionaire and your sole interest is trying to become a multi-billionaire, then you don’t have time to just sit around and watch college football.”

 

7. He’s in incredible shape for someone his age

At age 60, he was featured on the cover of Muscle & Fitness magazine.

 

8. He’s even gotten into the ring

At age 67, he still jumps into the ring and gives the viewers a great show. People wonder why he’d put himself in harms way when there is no need to. That’s just the kind of person he is.

 

9. He started from the bottom and doesn’t believe in excuses

He started from selling paper cups to promoting wrestling matches in Maine. Now he is the chairman of a national entity.

 

 

Reference: Original 9 Examples of WWE CEO Vince McMahon’s Insane Work Ethic (http://www.businessinsider.com/wwe-ceo-vince-mcmahons-work-ethic-2014-8?utm_content=buffer569dd&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook.com&utm_campaign=buffer#)

Google investing into future of Korea

 

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It’s an incredible time for entrepreneurs in Korea.

With ongoing support of the government along with players like Waha Korea, KStartup and SparkLabs, Seoul has transformed itself into one of the influential startup ecosystem in Asia.

 

There’s another exciting news for the startup community of Korea; Google is launching the first Asian Campus in Seoul.

The Seoul Campus will join the global network covering London and Tel Aviv currently, and expected to joined by Warsaw and Sao Paulo.

 

This is the next big step of Google’s investment into future of Korea. Their goal is to supercharge tech entrepreneurs, strengthen the startup ecosystem and encourage more innovation in Korea.

More news to come..

 

 

Reference: Google Opening Campus in Seoul (http://ofleadership.com/google-opening-campus-in-seoul)

Entrepreneurship:: Coordinates

Nature of startup is to create something which doesn’t exist.  As much as you want to blame something or someone for the difficulty, it is unfair to do so that’s because what makes startup difficult is the reason it is so rewarding.

When a pilot flies the plane through the cloud, often pilots find it difficult to see what is up ahead and at times it is impossible to tell whether or not the plane is upside down.

At times like this, the pilots are trained to stop trusting their eyes and rely on the coordinates on their radar.

In the startup world, these coordinates are your mentors and their wisdom.

 

In this article, let’s take a look at the wisdom of the most influential entrepreneurs in Asia.

 

1. Jack Ma, Alibaba

“A lot of people complain about yesterday. We have no power to change yesterday. But this very day, 30 years later, is what we can control and decide. Change yourself, take baby steps, and stay determined for ten years. ”

 

2. Mark Chang, Jobstreet

“I know only of the ‘kerbau’ (buffalo) way, that is, to work hard and wait for the rain.”

 

3. Firdhaus Akber, Streetdirectory

“Why so be concerned about failure? If you fall down pick yourself up and try again. Just keep trying, there’s no one who will fail forever.”

 

4. Patrick Linden, Dealguru Holdings

“It is important for entrepreneurs to stay firm to what they believe in.”

 

5. Terry Gou, Foxconn

“I never think I am successful. If I am successful, then I should be retired.”

 

6. Le Hong Minh, VNG

“You need to love your work, and work hard at it.. Constantly ask yourself, what is the most important thing to you right now?”

 

7. Sachin and Binny Bansal, Flipkart

“The core of any business is to earn money. You have not done your job well until you find a stranger who is willing to open his/her wallet to give you money for the services/products that you are offering.”

 

8. Manuel V. Pangilinan, PLDT

“The abiding lesson is that enduring long-term wealth, especially for self-made people, really comes from doing the right thing – no shortcuts, no corruption – and earning it the right way.”

 

9. Masayoshi Son, Softbank

“Do not be bound by this age; aim to create a new age that will delight people throughout the world.”

 

10. Yoshikazu Tanaka, GREE

“I think the number one advice I can give is – you just have to start it. Just get your feet in the water and do it. I learned a lot from just trying it out.”

 

 

Reference: Coordinates for entrepreneurs (http://ofleadership.com/coordinates-for-entrepreneurs)

Startups: Billionaries Club

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Stich was just acquired by Amazon for close to a billion dollar.

Last year, Tumblr was sold to Yahoo for a billion and the year before that Instagram was acquired by Facebook for a billion dollars.

Uber has also recently blown up, and there are many other startups well along its way to be the next Tech Titan.

 

What are some of the most promising startups to be the next Facebook?

 

1. Snapchat (https://www.snapchat.com)

This mobile application lets people send to their friends, family and crushes text messages and photos that self-destruct after a preset period of time. It sounds like something out of a spy movie, but Snapchat, which was released in late 2011, has caught on as a private messaging application among people who do not want to worry about unflattering photos or silly messages winding up online for others to see.

 

2. WhatsApp (http://www.whatsapp.com)

WhatsApp Messenger is a cross-platform mobile messaging app which allows you to exchange messages without having to pay for SMS. WhatsApp Messenger is available for iPhone, BlackBerry, Android, Windows Phone and Nokia and yes, those phones can all message each other! Because WhatsApp Messenger uses the same internet data plan that you use for email and web browsing, there is no cost to message and stay in touch with your friends.

 

3. Lyft (https://www.lyft.com

As Uber’s biggest competition, Lyft is the runner up application with most momentum. Backed by Andreesen Horowitz, it’d be interesting to see when or how Lyft is able to catch up with Uber’s operation.

 

4. MYO (https://www.thalmic.com/en/myo)

How will we interact with technology in the future — or to put this in tech speak, what will the interface of the future look like? The company is working to develop ways to browse the Web, play games and interact in other ways online with the MYO armbands. Pre-order is currently available at $149.

 

5. Braintree (https://www.braintreepayments.com)

Online and mobile commerce is a muddled and crowded business, full of dozens of upstarts vying to be the next PayPal. But one company, Braintree, which provides the technology to process payments on the Web and on mobile devices, is quietly building an impressive list of clients; Rovio, Uber, OpenTable, Fab, Airbnb, TaskRabbit, Heroku etc..

 

 

Reference: Billionaires Club: The runner ups (http://ofleadership.com/billionaires-club-the-runner-ups)

Pigeonly: Story of an inmate

Everyone has a unique calling in life. No matter who you are, where you are from and what you did in the past…

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Frederick Houston is the CEO of Pigeonly. He has a very unique identity within the startup community of Houston and has identified and filled his own calling.

 

Frederick has always had a great eye for spotting opportunities. Unfortunately the keen eye hadn’t always served him very well..

One of his early venture had him booked for over 4 years for drug related charges. At the penitentiary was where he discovered another opportunity that was ripe for disruption.

 

There are 2.3 million convicts in US keeping in touch with friends and family on the outside, and Frederick saw this large number of convicts as a potential base of clients.

By experiencing the pain point firsthand, the idea of Pigeonly was born.

 

The idea of Pigeonly began as a inmates tracking service, but now has grown into multiple revenue streams by providing digital to paper mailing services, VoIP services.

It is well on its way to $1 million in revenue the first year after closing $2 million in seed financing form Silicon Valley investors.

 

Pigeonly is a cohort of NewMe Accelerator and Frederick is taking active role in speaking out for entrepreneurial inmates in jail.

“So you just really got the business model wrong, you got the product wrong, the goal was wrong but if you can apply that same drive and bottom line principles to something positive then now you have a viable business.”

 

 

Reference: Pigeonly: Story of an inmate Growing into his calling (http://ofleadership.com/pigeonly-story-of-an-inmate-growing-into-his-calling)

 

 

7 failing marketing mistakes

Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram just to name a few..

Nowadays, there is an absolute overflow of social networks which can be used as a marketing channel. It is no longer an abundance but an excess..

 

More marketing channels the better right? Not exactly.. This wide variety is actually not helping many of the startups..

There are 7 reasons why your online marketing is failing.

 

1. You let SEO overshadow quality content

Remember that its the content that your clients need not a hook to lure them into a room of emptiness. Make sure your key words are not the most desirable quality about your website.

 

2. You try to be a jack of all social channels

It’s easy to want to be present in all social channels. What ends up happening in a lot of cases is that messages are mis-crafted and unfitting to the channel distributed. What may be relevant through one channel may not be as relevant through another channel. After all, these social networks are designed and caters to different types of audiences. Consider the different functions of each social channels.

 

3. Your website doesn’t meet user expectations

The purpose of online marketing is to boost up your sales. Make sure your marketing efforts are not wasted by having a lame website that users don’t want to visit. Improve your user experience and design.

 

4. Your engagement efforts lack consistency

If your website always lack contents that’s terrible. Next worst thing is to have a sudden burst of activity followed by period of dullness. Consistency is they key.

 

5. Learn the difference between marketing & spam

Don’t force them to purchase, your message doesn’t evolve around you and don’t email your clients everyday.

 

6. Your marketing teams do not collaborate

One of the worst thing is to get hit with the same message from different staffs of the same company. Don’t burn your bridge this way. Make sure everyone understands the marketing plan together.

 

7. Your budget doesn’t add up to your ideas

Be realistic about your budget and plan accordingly. Don’t tell the team to shoot for the stars and not provide the fund.

 

There are several other reasons why your online marketing is failing. Put your marketing tactics under a microscope and be honest with the evaluation. Nothing is worse than not understanding your problem.

 

Reference: 7 online marketing mistakes (http://ofleadership.com/7-online-marketing-mistakes)

VCs:: Ways to approach them

Businessmen shaking hands

By now, you must have read countless analysis and posts on what VCs are looking for and are willing to invest in.

Also, often I see posts explaining when different kind of VCs invest and what they want to see in your business plans.

 

However, there doesn’t seem to be too many posts explaining how you need to get in touch with them.

 

What are they ways?

 

The most obvious way to any relationship is through an introduction from a mutually known acquaintance (Offline acquaintance).

Contrary to popular belief, your Linkedin connections aren’t the best source, and I doubt most people can get a meeting with more than 50 people out of their 500+ connections.

Not most of us are not as fortunate as the others.. and most likely will not have a VC within their reach of network.

 

Here’s how an average person can go on about reaching out to VCs.

First, research your VCs and findout the companies they have backed or college they studied in. Then find someone you know within that sphere.

Next, engage with them through their personal blogs or social media. Most Venture Capitalists are active online.

Make sure you engage with them on a relevant note before reaching out asking for money. Asking questions and borrowing expertise is usually a good one.

 

If the first 2 fails, then the next best thing is to find them at local events. Nowadays, a lot of VCs come and network at startup events and competitions. Although, the time you may get to spend with them will be very short, it is a good way to build a short rapport and exchange business cards.

 

If all fails, make a cold call. Before making that phone call, make sure to do your homework about the VC you are calling and pitch the VC from the right angle.

 

 

Reference: Meeting VCs:: How? (http://ofleadership.com/meeting-vcs-how)

Success:: The lonely road

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Being an entrepreneur is great. It definitely has its perks and it does provide you with good amount of control and freedom over your working schedule.

Also, crossing the finish line of perfect exit strategy and the feeling of accomplishment which comes from it is indescribable .

 

While all this is true, there is the flipside of the coin. The cold and dark truths; the pitfalls of being your own boss. What are they?

 

1. Forcing yourself to work harder is one thing, forcing yourself NOT to be working 24/7 is something else.

2. The expenses. The many taxes and health insurance on its own is already expensive. Add your business expenses to it..

3. Inevitable but you become the house slave.

4. What hurts is you start to remember the perks of being average. The camaraderie, relationships, friendships and going out for few drinks with the gang. Hanging with your dog just isn’t the same.

5. In the corporate world everything is replaceable. If you mess up, you are forgiven. If its unforgivable, find a new job. It’s not the case if you are running your own business.

6. It is way harder than it looks.

7. There’s nobody to dump on. You are fully responsible for everything.

8. It’s a thankless job. Nobody will be there to pat you on the back except for yourself. Make sure to have your own source of encouragement.

9. It still feels like work

10. Running a business requires a various set of skills and perseverance. Not everyone is Bill Gates, and it is true that at the end you can end up working for a bozo.

 

After all this being said, why would anyone want to start their own business? In the end, I believe it is all about living your life to your fullest. Trial and Error is part of the game. Mark Cuban said it the best, it’s not about being more successful, it’s about out learning everyone else.

 

 

Reference: Lonely road to success (http://ofleadership.com/lonely-road-to-success)