To me, there seems to be three types of entrepreneurs — inventors, innovators, and iterators. Because we don’t distinguish between these very distinct types, the process for each one, and the personality type for each, is uniquely different. I’ll try to explain my observations with each of these three roles.
In my experience the true inventors are the builders, who are typically geniuses on the edge of sanity. They are some of my favourite types of people at ideasmeetings, as well as great friends who I feel are really changing the world in unexpected ways.
I observe they are usually not very social, perhaps on the autism spectrum and introverts, who are happy reading, tinkering, learning, and experiment out of left field, with very little priority on the business drivers needed for financial success or even a desire to participate in capitalism. They likely rely on someone to help take their inventions to market, and would be happy with a little piece of the financial pie in the process.
It takes a lot of money and or time to be an inventor, as the acquired knowledge base is usually decades. They may have second jobs that use their technical skills to pay the bills, to allow them to focus on their passion of inventing.
I will guess that 1 in 1,000,000 true inventors reach financial independence from an invention they’ve created, but their priority isn’t driven economically anyways. Also, there are very few true inventors, or even really unique innovators.
This is where a lot of my self identifying “tech entrepreneur” social network lies. These are the people taking moonshots, or building out a tech / product / solution when there is little to no competition, with the hopes of “build it and they will come”. These entrepreneurs usually fail. In terms of product / market fit (business term) or UX (user experience, design term) they completely fail usually. Being an innovator is like having a lottery ticket as a career.
In my observation, the innovators are usually not very social, likely autism spectrum or ADHD, and even less talked about, suffer from some type of mental health or addiction that prevents them from wanting to participate in the patriarchal dumpster fire of current late stage capitalism that we see today. There are many stats on how often entrepreneurs fail and how few succeed, and those are usually innovative entrepreneurs.
It also takes a lot of privilege to be an innovator entrepreneur. You need a lot of time and/or money to build the minimum viable product or service, only to then take it to the market to see if there is demand, and usually the innovator is also not a closer (sales term), so they need to find someone with the skill set of marketing and sales — the capability of listening to the potential customer instead of proactively trying to sell to them.
I’m going to guess at best 1 in 1,000 innovators will make it to the 5 year mark of their venture being financially viable. Just because you hear about the success stories on the news, it’s like lottery winning — don’t ignore the statistics of how many fail, and why.
If you insist on being an entrepreneur, this is where I recommend every wannapreneur start. It’s the least sexy of the three, but it’s the smartest strategy, and still has a lot of risk. This is simply looking at where the market already exists, and just improving on a product or service. Look at something that makes a lot of money that you can do, and find a way to make it better. Not 1x or 2x better, but at least 10x better. That could be 10x time savings to the customer (convenience), 10x cheaper for the customer, or some other 10x benefit that would be hard for a customer to ignore. It could also just be 10x closer — there’s nothing wrong with starting a well known restaurant franchise in an under-served area if the franchisor validates with you that there is need there.
When I observe most of the accelerators or incubators in the various communities I’ve lived, they have wannapreneurs who need income in the next month or two who are trying to be innovators, and that’s going to fail 99.44% of the time. If you don’t have a year of runway at least, being an iterator is only closest you have to a responsible option — and get enough financial success from that under your belt that you can decide if you want to try the innovator approach on the next idea.
It still takes money and time to be an iterator, but a lot less than the other two options. You might seek out your local business bank and get a loan to help you, as an example. The smartest iterator will have validated their business hypothesis with enough potential customers that are not friends or family who are willing to pay for the product or service upon hearing about it — never accept “that sounds like a good idea” or “Sure, I’d use that” — if you hear something along those lines, ask them if they’d pay today and listen to why not.
It is irresponsible for an accelerator, incubator, or even yourself to take on invention or iteration if you don’t have the financial capability, or investment, to get your product to a working MVP. A someone who advises entrepreneurs, I hope we all start to reference these three distinctive roles and make sure we’re supporting them in the appropriate fashion.
If you support entrepreneurs in some fashion, such as advising, be clear on which entrepreneurial roles you have the capabilities to support.
The last thing I would advise any wannapreneurs reading this, apart from distinguishing which of the three resonates with you — is if you’re picking a mentor, advisor, incubator or accelerator, do a deep dive into who the mentor or advisor is. Are they an active entrepreneur running another successful business right now, or do they have a history of multiple, repeated success behind them? If so, that’s great. If they had a one-hit wonder over a decade ago, find someone who’s got recent, active experience as the industry is moving fast and furious. Don’t be afraid to ask a potential advisor of their recent successes, failures, and experience — and validate their assertions if you can.
If you’re an active serial entrepreneur, consider the massive knowledge transfer gap right now, and find an entrepreneur right for you that you could mentor. I have access to many who are looking, so if this is you, don’t hesitate to reach out.
Self-awareness is king in entrepreneurship — play to your strengths. The other really hard decision is re-prioritizing long-term friends from good friends — as Jim Rohn said,
You Are The Average Of The Five People You Spend The Most Time With
I wrote 1 blog post every day for 2 years. Here’s 5 things I learned about SEO
It’s been 2 years since I started posting one blog post every day on my blog flaviocopes.com.
On January 25 2018, just one day before turning 35, I started my blogging journey.
A journey that would take more than 11M people on my blog in 2 years, 90% of which just in the last 12 months.
1 million visitors every month is a lot of people, and I never thought I could get those many people to my little part of the internet. Without spending 1€ on ads.
In this blog post I am going to tell you 5 things I learned about SEO that you might not be familiar with.
SEO trick number 1: do not worry about SEO
If you read the internet for ways to get more readers to your blog, you will find that SEO is one of the things often mentioned.
Most of the time you will see people talking about keywords, and keywords tools.
We like tools, so we start using them, spending days to get the maximum value out of the free ones, spending a lot of time.
I have a confession to make: I never used a keyword tool. I do not currently use one, and I find that just thinking about it bores me.
The last thing I want to do is to be bored, and having to treat my blog as a job.
The idea of having to research keywords before writing a blog post makes my blog feel like a job. And I don’t like jobs.
SEO trick number 2: link building is optional
In addition to keyword research, one thing that often comes up in SEO circles is link building.
I do receive a good amount of emails asking me to link to so-and-so site, to link to a special infographic someone created about something I talked about, and it’s all kind of annoying.
I am sure this is something that works, because links are still one of the key metric used by search engines, but do you really want to spend time annoying people?
I never added any link by request. Not for free, not paid. And I never asked for links.
And if you think, as a developer, about creating networks of sites all linked together, that’s been done and Google took measures against that. And even if you don’t get caught, it’s a dirty game.
And links must come from relevant, authoritative sites in the specific niche you want to rank. You can create a kitchen recipes blog and then add links from a programming blog, but what really works is a big recipes blog linking to the small recipes blog.
Initially, creating content for other sites is one way to do that. Big sites always need fresh content, and by doubling down on creating content (for your site, and for other sites) you can create the foundation for the years to come.
I did that, and the good thing is that I was able to serve an existing audience with relevant content I’m passionate about. Very different than spamming people inboxes or sites with requests for links.
SEO trick number 3: write things that help people
Instead of thinking about keywords and link building, I usually think about problems.
What problems do people have? You can think about possible problems all day, but the best way is to have people tell you.
I now ask my email subscribers what are their top problems or things they are struggling with, but you can also find this in other places. One place I like, in my space, is Twitter.
Other spaces might have the same information in blog post comments, or YouTube videos comments. You just need to observe to find good ideas for your niche.
Then write a post that solves that problem.
One way I really like is to talk about the problems I had, and how I solved them.
For example I am writing an app and I need to work with dates. I have to search some particular topic on Google, which leads me to checking out 10 sites for the correct and up to date answer. I spent 30 minutes and now I can spend 10 minutes more to write the answer in a blog post.
A quick one.
SEO trick number 4: length does not matter. What matters is solving problems.
What matters is solving people problems. Google and the SEO wizards call this user intent.
I see that SEO people like to suggest you to write 3000+ posts to rank on Google. That’s a great tip to if their goal is to discourage you from writing more. They call it long-form content.
Now, as a non-SEO person, but as a person that does things and observes what works and what doesn’t, I can definitely say that if you solve a problem for a person with a 4-lines blog post Google will thank you by sending you more people with that problem.
They know using their algorithms when a person found the answer they needed. This is Google’s job. Their job is to solve people problems by providing the perfect content they are looking for.
If you can provide that, Google will help you.
Not every post on your blog can solve a problem, of course. That would be boring. But if you have posts that solve problems you’ll notice, as those are the ones that will get the more visitors.
Not every post must be small of course, and if long form content is best for you, do that.
SEO trick number 5: it takes a lot of time, and you must play the long game
By observing a lot of people coming and going into my niche in the last few years, I observed a pattern that might be kind of obvious.
Initially there is a lot of enthusiasm and the content quality and frequency is optimal. After some months, people start to give up. Slowly. There is never a big decision, but content starts to be less frequent, less cool, and without a fixed frequency.
You don’t need to post every day, or every week, but I like blogs/sites that have a clear schedule. Like, every 2 weeks we have a post. Good for me.
But 3 posts in a month and then nothing for 5 months? Not so nice. It must be me, of course, but I like things to have a regular cadence.
I know it’s hard because initially you will not see any result. And I know this because I am creating new blogs on the side, about different topics, and they are very slow to rise above the near-zero levels.
You are tempted to consider it a failure each other day.
How do you solve this? By working on projects you are passionate about.
If you write about your passion, you will never lose enthusiasm because you are creating a little corner of the internet that’s yours, you made it, you made it beautiful, and now it’s also available for everyone else, but even if no one shows up, it stands on its own.
You find it beautiful. Like creating a mushroom out of wood, or carving your own spoon.
And when people will discover that they find your work absolutely great, then it will be a never ending source of joy every day.
20 Ways to Give Back in 2020 by @DrRKayGreen
by Dr. R. Kay Green | Featured Contributor
A common New Year’s Resolution, especially for businesses, is to “give back” to the community. But for as often as the concept comes up, few businesses actually follow through with it. Often, this is because the business has a base misunderstanding of what “giving back” is.
There are so many ways to give back. Here are just 20 of them for you to implement in 2020:
- Start a charity program. The most common one is where you pick a charity for employees to donate to, and after a certain amount of time, you match the donation as a company. This encourages charitable giving and supports a good cause.
- Give employees time to volunteer. Allowing employees to volunteer hours on company time does far more than help a good cause. It also encourages employee retention, as being able to give back is incredibly important for a lot of people.
- Reward employees for volunteering. For every employee who is eager to volunteer their time, of course, there are some that are more reluctant. Make volunteering more enticing for them by offering rewards if they hit a certain number of hours, for example.
- Start a scholarship. Scholarships are a great way to give back to your community. It encourages higher education in youth, and is a relatively simple way to show that you care. Making the scholarship a contest allows it to reach a wide audience.
- Get involved in your community. Never underestimate the power of simply being there when people need you. Whether it is to help clean a park or providing aid after a natural disaster, find a place where you can be of use and go there.
- Partner with a non-profit. Partnering with a non-profit allows you to give your services to those who are in need. An established non-profit will have an audience that you can provide for, making it easier to reach the people you want.
- Sponsor a food drive or similar event. Sponsoring events allows you to provide for your community in an easy, effective way. It gets important goods to the people who need it, and it allows you to get involved in a real, tangible way.
- Share your knowledge by running a class. Many people do not consider the amazing impact that sharing their knowledge can have on a community. An in-person class or a webinar allows you to educate people on what you are an expert in.
- Buy from local small businesses. When possible, buying local does amazing things for your community’s economy. It also encourages loyalty and improves overall morale. And, of course, it supports small businesses.
- Collect donations from customers. Many companies have a tip jar, and a similar process can be used to collect donations for the charity of your choice. Most people are willing to throw in a bit of change, and that sort of thing adds up.
- Turn volunteering into a team building exercise. Encouraging employees to volunteer as a group has several benefits. In addition to providing even more aid to people in need, you also encourage employees to get to know each other outside of a professional setting.
- Volunteer with causes that align with your core values. If you are going to donate time or money to a cause, do not just pick it at random. Instead, make sure it aligns with company values and how you want to present yourself.
- Sponsor a youth sports team. Again, giving back to the community is not just about charity. Sponsoring a youth sports team is a great way to give back to schools and the students in them who are trying to shape their futures.
- Hold a contest. This is a simple but fun way to get involved in your community. Holding a contest fosters a sense of fun and friendly competition between people. It will get people in your community interacting with each other, which is important.
- Offer your skills when appropriate. If you notice a small business or family struggling with a service that you are able to provide, do not be afraid to lend a helping hand! People will remember you as the person who came to their aid.
- Give free resources on your site. Want a less labor-intensive way to give back to the community? Offer free resources on your site—things like blogs or white papers provide valuable information to your community free of charge.
- Offer special deals for those in need. An example of this is a restaurant that allows patrons to purchase a second meal so that people who cannot afford one can have one for free. You will see this frequently at pizza places.
- Put a focus on “going green.” This does more than give back to the community — it gives back to the world by making it a healthier place to live. Making an effort to lower your carbon footprint and improve the environment is an important step in becoming a kinder business.
- Auction off things you no longer use, and donate the profits. Sometimes items outlive their usefulness to your business. But that does not mean that they cannot be useful to someone else. Sell them and donate the profits.
- Donate products that do not sell. This can tie into the action above. Simply donating the items you no longer need to people who could use them is a great way to give back. It also ensures that you are not being wasteful.
Dr. R. Kay Green – Marketing Expert from RKG Marketing Solutions Inc. from Atlanta, GA.
Dr. R. Kay Green is the CEO/President of RKG Marketing Solutions Inc. With over 190,000+ Twitter followers, 35,000+ Facebook Likes, and the Top 1% LinkedIn profile designation, Dr. Kay, a self-motivated trailblazer, is the Quintessential “New-Age” Professional Woman, and PhD Marketing Pro. She earned a Doctorate of Business Administration in Marketing, and has completed PhD coursework in Leadership and Organization Change. She also holds a Master of Business Administration in Marketing and Management, a Bachelor of Business Administration in Marketing, and an Associate of Arts in Marketing Management.
She is affiliated with several prestigious universities and has instructed over 350 courses online. A popular speaker on Marketing and Business topics, Dr. Green is currently featured on Huffington Post, Black Enterprise, Black News, The Network Journal, Business Review USA, Digital Journal, College View, Business New Hampshire Magazine, Bay State Banner, Reader’s Circle, North Dallas Gazette, Harlem News, Top News Today, One News Page, NE Informer, Women in Business PR News, Consumer News Today, Women PR News, San Francisco Chronicle, Houston Chronicle, Chicago Daily Herald, The Miami Herald, and Book News Articles.
Advice for the introverted entrepreneur.
These are all classic examples of self-described introvert entrepreneurs who’ve done exceptionally well for themselves, despite being generally low-key and reserved.
So what’s the secret to their success?
Someone at an event once asked Bill Gates how introverts can succeed in a predominantly extroverted world.
His response was something along the lines of:
Hire extroverts and learn from them.
That’s exactly what he did with Steve Ballmer, who was Microsoft’s CEO at the time.
His answer perfectly captures something I’ve noticed among successful entrepreneurs. They all tend to be good at certain essential skills, including self-awareness, relationship building and motivating people.
Let’s break each of these down:
Simply put, this is about knowing what you’re good at and what you’re not good at. It’s about identifying gaps in your skills, knowledge, and competencies, so you can act quickly to either acquire those skills or finding people who can bring that expertise to your team.
There’s nothing inherently wrong with being an introvert.
But just as with extroverts, there may be certain weaknesses that come with the territory. For example, you may despise sales, shudder at the thought of public speaking or try to avoid confrontation at all costs. These are all things that could hold you back as an entrepreneur, and so you need
Now, that doesn’t mean you need to change who you are. Introverts also bring lots of valuable skills to the table.
However, if you want to succeed as an entrepreneur, you need to be realistic about your motivations, traits, and skills and committed to constant self-improvement in the areas that matter.
There’s a misconception that being introverted is the same thing as being socially awkward. It’s not. Anyone, even introverts, can learn how to build strong relationships with people who can help them achieve their vision.
Walt Disney, who I profile in my latest book, was an introvert who could often be difficult to work with. He had a strong vision and pushed his animators hard to help him bring that vision to life. If you didn’t appear to be valuable to him, then you weren’t interesting to him.
I’ll just say it now. Walt wasn’t just an introvert. He could be kind of a jerk.
But there was a flip side to this.
Despite his odd ways, he was good at creating strong relationships with people whose help he needed — a skill that every entrepreneur needs to succeed.
Before he became successful for pioneering the technique of adding sound to animation, his first attempt at starting an animation studio failed miserably. Bankrupt and nearly destitute, Walt decided to move to LA, where his uncle let him sleep in his basement.
After selling one of his animated shorts to a cartoon distributor for $1,500, he convinced Roy to join him as a partner in a new business.
Roy had essential skills, like bookkeeping and money management, that Walt clearly lacked. And Walt understood that Roy contributed to the partnership in extremely valuable ways, including raising the money that allowed him to continue innovating and improving his animation techniques.
Even entrepreneurs like Walt, who aren’t particularly great with people, can succeed by creating a tight inner circle of trusted partners who understand their vision and then letting those people deal with everyone else.
In his answer to the question about introverts, Bill Gates also mentioned that for a company to be successful, you need to be able to build a team and get them excited about your idea — skills that many extroverts excel at.
But motivating others to want to help you is a skill that anyone can learn and practice, regardless of whether you identify as an introvert or extrovert.
It’s also crucial to your success because the fact is entrepreneurs who create value-producing companies never work alone. Whether or not they have partners or co-founders, they rely on employees, teammates and sometimes family to help them build their enterprise.
But how do they get people to sign up for the journey?
Some leaders motivate with money. Others use fear. These can all work.
But a special few rely on a classic technique: they make people feel good about themselves in the context of their work. They show genuine interest in what employees care about and create job tasks that make people feel autonomous, masterful and purposeful, not controlled, insecure, and lost.
It may seem like having a big personality and being a natural “people person” are prerequisites for success as an entrepreneur, but that’s not the case. What matters far more is whether you have the right leadership skills — and the good news is that you can learn them.
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