Tag Archives: entrepreneurship

Get into the Austin Startup Scene

If you have anything to do with the startup scene or entrepreneurship scene in Austin or Texas, then you will not want to miss out on all the amazing stuff happening this week. There will be tons of happy hour parties going on every night this week including a look at all the new companies starting up. And why not? Austin has topped the growth charts in the US by WalletHub in a recent study.

This is the scene to be in for anyone that wants to be apart of starting their own business and connecting with others who will help them do that. Remember if you are a solo leader who is looking to get experience, this is where you want to spend your time since most startup programs favor group startup founders. Use this as the time to find your next co-founder.

Here are a few tips I have to getting the most out of all the events happening this week. If you need more networking tips just click the link.

How to get Involved
1.
Clear your schedule this week and make it a point to throw yourself into all the events. Even if you are still unsure about what kind of company you want to start, everything you learn from all these events will help prepare you for what will be expected of you when you do get started.

2. Don’t wait for anyone, just go. The excuse a lot of people give themselves when thinking about an event as big as this one is that they have no one to go with. You are an adult so you need to make adult decisions on your own and that means going to places on your own. Plus if you get into a great crowd of people and your friend decides it is not for them you will feel obligated (which you shouldn’t) to leave with them. Go and leave all the social pressure of friendships at home.

3. Expect nothing. If you walk into any event this week with that mindset you won’t be disappointed if nothing happens but if you walk away with a few new contacts who can help you get started then that should be a sign that good things are to come. Many people attend these kinds of events with large amounts of pressure to get something out of it and when they leave with nothing they feel let down. Don’t walk in with that mindset except just meeting new people and asking lots of questions.

4. Dress nice and bring business cards. They say the clothes makes the man but in all honesty it doesn’t hurt to dress nice. People feel more comfortable around people who dress nice because it says that they are ready for something. Yes, the startup scene is centered around relaxed clothes but you don’t need to wear an expensive business suit, just some nice pants and shirt should do just fine. Also make it easy for people to contact you afterwards with some professional cards.

5, When in doubt, walk up and say hi. Events like this are hard for a lot of people because of social phobias but the reality is that the only way to meet people is by going up to them and saying hi. If you just attend and leave right afterwards you are missing out on the good stuff that happens after the talk. Stick around and find others who are just standing around and introduce yourself. You might just make a new contact.

6. Visit all the tech hubs. Downtown is the place to be for all the tech hype so while you are downtown make it a point to visit all the top places in Austin for the startup culture. WeWorks on congress, Capital Factory in the Omni Hotel, and TechStars (Open house Tues 9 am) on congress.


The Austin Startup scene is a lot of fun for those without any tie downs. If you can make it, go and attend all the workshops that are free, which is close to all of them. There will be parties, free swag, lots of food and drinks, and best of all, new people to meet and new companies to discover. Click on the links below to look at the schedule, and be sure to get your meetup account and eventbrite account ready because you will need them to sign up for events, plus you will need an account for other startup crawl events.

There is an article that helps you find the top events to attend if you are unsure where to start.

13 Top Picks for Austin Startup Week

Austin Startup Week

Startup Schedule

Sign up and fill your schedule

Capital Factory Events

Enjoy yourself and don’t forget to follow up with all the new people you meet this week!

Teen Entrepreneurship Series Starts Today

Today starts the summer program for the Teen Entrepreneurship Program. This program is designed to teach teens and kids all about the world of business and how to get involved. We will look at ways young people are starting companies along with what areas investors are looking for. We will talk about how to create a brand and market it, both online and in person. Students will have the chance to start their own little “company” to get the practice so they can understand what it means to create something of value that people need.

The schedule and topics for the courses

  • June 2nd: How to Become an Entrepreneur
  • June 9th: How to Find and Build a Great Company
  • June 16th: Inside the Minds of Successful CEOs
  • June 23rd: Creating Your First Company
  • June 30th: How to Find Your First Customer
  • July 7th: Building a Website for Your Company
  • July 14th: Which Social Media Platform Should I Use for My Company?
  • July 21st: Should I Use Crowdfunding to Help Grow My Business?
  • July 28th: The Secrets of Running a Successful Business

Although this program is for Teens and kids, everyone is welcome to attend. In addition to the course material we will also be showing special programs in class to give students a better perspective on historical business titans and how they got started.

Want to be part of the Startup Scene in Austin? Here’s how

There is lots happening in Austin for October so if you haven’t been keeping up then get ready for a blast of information that will keep you busy for awhile with events. Before I begin, you will need the following, your digital planner (put that paper stuff away and get with the times!), a twitter acct (should already have one by now), and a go-getter attitude. Just remember even though all the events are free, you have to register ahead of time.

First, clear your schedule for the following days (if you can)

Oct 6 – 10th, Austin Startup Week. just figure on a 7 am to 8 or 9 pm schedule for those days.
Oct 8 –  Epic Office Hours (1 – 4 pm) – Come get free advice from Entrepreneurs, Angel Investors, and Venture Capitalists, and professionals who are willing to sit down with you and go over your business idea for FREE! You will need to register for this free activity so make sure to schedule a time slot.

If you would like to view the full schedule for the whole week, click here

Now if you think that is all there is there is still more. For those who are startups and interested in relocating to Austin or interested in attending the event, they might be able to pay for your flight to Austin if you contact them. Look for what they did for this person when they tweeted.

Austin Startup Week explains all that in their Visit page. You can contact them to find out how they can help you come visit Austin. They have a page setup online on how they can help you relocate. Even if they can’t help pay, they can at least find someone who is willing to let you sleep on their couch.

Are you looking for a job? You can come by and drop off a resume in the Capital Factory Office or you can submit one online with this link. See they want to help people find jobs! They have startup companies working in their offices and they are always looking for new hires.


So if you have nothing going on or you know you need to be there. look at the schedule and plan for what days you are most interested in. Sign up for Epic office hours and talk with someone about your business idea who’s been through the whole experience before. There is no excuse to say that you want to start your own business but don’t know where to start. Here is the place that makes it all happen, Capital Factory! If you have never been they have tours every week (Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays) at 4 pm so call them up and find out. They have tons of programs every week, so look at what events they offer every month. They will even have more tours during Startup week.

Here is where your Twitter account comes in handy.

Follow the these accounts to stay up-to-date on all the events that are happening. Remember, random events pop up all over when events like this are in Austin and you can only find out about them with Twitter.

@atxstartupweek
@CapitalFactory
@atxstartupcrawl

No excuse now if you live in Austin and want to be part of the Startup community and network. There will be lots of networking parties every evening so get out there and connect!

Stanford Entrepreneur Course Starts Tomorrow, have you found your site location?

Stanford’s “How to Start a Startup”, will start tomorrow. Be sure to find where in your city a location will be to view all the material. You can even contact the leader of your city, if a location is not provided, so you can find out where you can go to view everything. If your city does not have a location or site then sign up to become a leader to host the program in your area. You can find that information on the course website at the bottom.

Just a few things to point out though, joining this class does not count as Stanford credit nor will you be able to obtain credit for it. The president of Y Combinator will be teaching the program along with many famous business leaders who will be guest speakers throughout the semester.

Course Links
Course Syllabus
Course Website
Viewing Locations

Even though you will be able to view all the material online from the course website it would be to your benefit to join a viewing session because it will also act as a discussion group. This will give people a chance to ask questions, bounce business ideas off one another, and network.

Be sure to sign-up on the mailing list for the program and join the Facebook Group.

If you live in Austin, TX then our location will be at Laura’s Library (9411 Bee Caves) every Monday and Wednesday from 2 – 4 pm and will end on Dec 8th. We will host a discussion group after the lectures. Make sure to check the syllabus as there are project due dates for the course. Please remember to treat this as if you were paying for the course in order to get the most out of it.

Thinking of Majoring in Entrepreneurship? Here are the top Business Schools

It’s funny to think you need to get a major in something that didn’t exist ten years ago. This is just another way universities are trying to bring in more money while matching demand. If you want a real education study psychology, philosophy, business and throw in some engineering to balance it out. If you just want to make things for people go out and do it yourself, that will teach you more than sitting in a classroom for 5 or 6 years. You won’t get anything out of going to school for 4 years and no company will hire you if you have no work experience to offer so don’t fool yourself that companies will be begging for you to work for them after only 4 years.

So whether you are still deciding if it is smart to even go to business school, take a look at the list of places that made the cut. If you want my advice, use the money for the following

1. Read the following books
How to Get Rich by Felix Dennis
My Personal MBA by Josh Kaufman
The Portable MBA for Entrepreneurship by William J. Bygrave
Making Ideas Happen by Scott Belsky
The $100 Startup by Chris Guillebeau
The Hard Thing About Hard Things by Ben Horowitz
What the Best MBAs know by Peter Navarro
Hacking Your Education by Dale J. Stephens (Study Very Carefully)

2. Start your first business for $100 dollars (that’s the first challenge)
3. Travel and find out how business is done in other places
4. Meet and Talk with lots of people offering to take them out for coffee or lunch or dinner. You can send random emails to people in different cities and see what comes from the experience. This lady did that and it lead her to travel all over the world meeting new people on her blog entitled 52 cups of coffee. (2nd Challenge)
If you have trouble talking to random people read The FIne Art of Small Talk by Debra Fine
5. Travel to a city that is known for being the best for Starting a Business
Best Places to Start a Business

You will learn more in that experience than what state legislative requirements make you take in school. You will probably even save some money considering now that more than 50 universities cost more than $60k a year to attend.

This is the list of schools that offer the best environments for startsup and entrepreneurs. They have incubators, think tanks, and special courses and even majors to help one learn how business works.

1. Standford University
2. Massachusetts Institute of Technology
3. University of California, Berkeley
4. Cornell University
Look at what Cornell is doing for Entrepreneurs
5. University of California, Los Angeles
6. California Institute of Technology
7. Brown University
8. Princeton University
9. Pepperdine University
10. Dartmouth College
11. Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
12. Yale University
13. Clark University
14. Syracuse University
15. Southern Methodist University
16. New York University
17. Howard University
18. San Diego State University
19. University of Colorado, Boulder
20. University of California, Santa Barbara
21. University of San Francisco
22. University of Southern California
23. The University of Texas at Austin
24. Carnegie Mellon University
25. University of Miami
26. Northwestern University
27. University of Denver
28. Boston University
29. American University
30. Brigham Young University
31. Miami University-Oxford
32. Brandeis University
33. Florida Institute of Technology
34. Harvard University
35. University of Maryland-College Park
36. Hofstra University
37. Southern Illinois University Carbondale
38. University of Tulsa
39. Tufts University
40. University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
41. University of Notre Dame
42. University of Pennsylvania
43. University of Washington-Seattle
44. Clarkson University
45. Lehigh University
46. Pennsylvania State University
47. University of San Diego
48. Boston College
49. Colorado State University
50. Rice University

If you get rejected by any one of these schools you can always take yourself down to your local library and get a card. If there is any book you want you can always request for them to purchase it. You will learn more from this method than spending money to sit in a classroom the only thing is that you have got to want it bad enough to make yourself go to the library and sit down and not let yourself get distracted or make any excuse to get out of studying.

News Articles

Startup Schools

These men took matters into their own hands and it paid off

Many people wonder what it takes for great things to happen to them. They think that someday something will change and they can start doing the things they want to do. Then there are the people who don’t make excuses in life and just go out and do it. These are usually the people you end up calling boss or CEO because it wasn’t easy for them to get there but they worked hard at it and did something with their time.

Then there are those that put in the time and effort and it paid off big time for them. I decided to write this article because over the summer I have been approached by a number of people asking me to help them build their business. We go over what they would like to do, what they want to sell, and how great their idea is. All the people tell me the same thing – that their business idea is one-of-a-kind and there is nothing else like it out there. Well, the thing is there probably already is it’s just a matter of putting in the time and effort and because there are people out there everyday who are the creators and hard workers at starting their own company they are just really good at making their idea happen. Then there are those that work hard searching online everyday looking to take someone’s idea and beat them to the finish line.

In all the people who have approached me, none have taken that first step of actually doing anything. One of my policies I have with everyone is that I don’t do anything for anyone until I see that they have completed something physical to show for their efforts otherwise I am just working for a paycheck on an idea that won’t really go anywhere. It is very rare that I meet someone who actually wants to start a business and has already put in the time and effort. That should tell you what makes starting a business hard in the first place, that first step of doing actual work.

The two stories I found recently caught my attention because I hear so many more people say they are looking for work. The advice that I am slow to give to others is that they should focus on teaching them skills that employers expect from them instead of spending all their time looking for work. The common response to that is, “Well, I don’t have time to sit and read all day I need to be looking for a job,” or “I don’t have the money to go back to school.” You don’t need to spend money to teach yourself anything anymore, you just need a library card and last time I checked those were free. Plus, why apply for jobs if you don’t even have what employers are asking for?

Meet a College Student who Saved a Woman’s Life
Blake Pryor was driving in his car on the highway either heading home or going out for something when he drove up onto a flyover and noticed something that caught his attention. He says that it was a gut feeling that made him pull over and assess the situation. There was a woman who had parked her car on the fly over and from where she was standing was a 100 foot drop down onto busy traffic. The lady was standing there looking over the edge and it was that instinct of knowing that something didn’t look right that made him stop in the first place. This lady was trying to commit suicide.

Blake said that he approached the woman and looked over the edge with her just to make sure that she knew he was there and even though she made several motions to jump, the fact of Blake stopping, showing appreciation for her and giving her his attention was enough for her not to take her own life. He gave her a hug and told her it wasn’t worth it. After officers arrived they commended him for his efforts to keep a woman from taking her life.

This whole event took place at night in the city of Round Rock on one of their flyover highways and when the police department posted it on their facebook page the article received thousands of comments and likes. People like hearing about stories like this because I guess it makes them feel all warm inside or they are glad to know there are nice people out there like him. For Blake his gut reaction to stop, check out what was happening, and offering his time was enough to catch the attention of many other police departments because he has been offered multiple job offers now. It gets better, so not only does he have many job offers already extended to him but his studies in school match what he wants to become, a police officer. He is studying criminal justice at Tarleton State University.

Everyday there are many people looking for work by getting on a computer and posting resumes and paying for classes that teach them how to write amazing cover letters and resumes not realizing that one of the best methods for finding a job is talking to people. Blake had no intention of landing job offers from his efforts nor was that his intention. He did what was required of him at the time and that was all that was on his mind. I can’t tell you how many times I have been offered jobs or asked to check out a program just because I started talking to someone and asking more about what they do. People want to be appreciated and people will talk to you if you know how to approach and talk with them. Books like

The Art of Mingling: Proven Techniques for Mastering any Room by Jeanne Martinet
The Fine Art of Small Talk by Debra Fine

will show you how to do that and more. Infact, these books are so important to read that it surprises me that schools don’t teach that, but many universities have had to add them to their outside programs because they get complaints from employers that their graduates don’t know how to talk to people properly. Such an important skill and yet efforts are spent more on standardized testing. What Blake did was amazing and his efforts were rewarded by what he was able to do. He doesn’t have to worry about job interviews or sending in his resume because it was his efforts of doing something that mattered more.

You can read more about Blake and the full story here
Texas Student Saves Woman from jumping
College student saves suicidal woman
Young Man stops woman from jumping
Facebook Post

Meet a Guy who freed himself from Jail by studying Law for 12 Hours a Day
If I was to tell you that the best way to learn anything is to find some time alone, sit down and read, you would probably find every excuse in the book for getting out of it even though you know you need to do it. Ask any college student when they will clean up their dorm or do their laundry and they will tell you “when I have some time,” but the second it’s time to study for exams you will find majority of students cleaning their places instead of doing what they need to be doing.

The reason for it is because people will give excuses over to things that they know need to be done but don’t prioritize until it gets them out of doing something more important. For Rondell Sanders he didn’t have any excuses because he was in prison and there was nothing for him to do all day. He asked his family to raise some money so they could buy him some law books for him to study. After they raised the money and sent him the books he told his family to stop visiting him so he could focus on studying.

The push to study so hard came after the fact that he lost his initial trial and his lawyers were doing nothing to help him. He knew he had to figure out how the legal system worked and he did that by studying law and that is what he did for 10-12 hours a day seven days a week. There was nothing else for him to do so he made a valid use of his time. His efforts paid off because he was freed  (Jul 23, 2014) after he won his third acquittal trail having spent 20 years in prison (1994) for a murder that he said he was innocent from. He is now adjusting to his new life in society and trying to get used to having those freedoms again.

Sanders said that he loves law now and would love to work in a law firm to help people in his situation. He says he understands what it means to not have anyone listen to him because he was there and met others that felt the justice system ignored them. His real push to learn law came from knowing that his family didn’t have a father there to listen to his kids and he didn’t want that. I’m sure the job offers have come to him in some form or another for his efforts to free himself.

This story goes to show that you don’t need to enroll in a major university or night school program to get an education. You just need to stop with all the excuses grab the books that will teach you what you want to learn and sit yourself down and study. There is nothing else to it but for those that are not serious about that they will continue to find every excuse of getting out of it. If this man was serious enough to put in that much time then you can find at least half of that in your day. And if you are sitting there thinking that you don’t have any time, you do, no one needs to watch that much Netflix in a day.

Read more about how he did it
Inmate studies Law in Prison
Man Freed after acquitted in trial
Imprisoned man studies law

The First Step to Starting a Business
The first thing you need to do is stop making up excuses to keep you from taking the first step. Sit down and write out what your business is all about. This process is called, “Writing a Business Plan.” Second don’t think for one second you need to go to business school to get a degree in this stuff or that you need an MBA so you don’t miss out on something important to know. Here are two books to read that will teach you what you need to know to help you get started so you can then hire those that did go to business school to run your company once it’s up and running.

The Portable MBA in Entrepreneurship by William D. Bygrave
The Personal MBA by Josh Kaufman

After you have read those two books and written your business plan then you will know what the next step is and by then you will have put in enough effort and momentum to get you going that you won’t think of stopping.

Get out there and start appreciating people more and you will be surprised how much the world opens up to you. Then make it a point to read and learn something. Yes the laundry needs to be done but it doesn’t take a full day to do it. Learning apps have made it easy now to learn anything on the go. If a man, who didn’t go to law school, can teach himself law then anyone else can you just have to want to do it, and that is the hardest step.

As for the people still asking me to help them with their businesses, well I’m still waiting for them to make the first move in the mean time, there are a lot of ideas out there floating around but it doesn’t take a genius to make the first move.

Learning to Define Failure in your Business Plan

It’s easy to get caught up into your new business. You’re creating something new, hiring people, and everything is going great the first few days or weeks. In your mind your making money, you have customers so everything must be going great, so what could be the problem? Lots if you didn’t plan for any of it.

One of the challenges with starting any new business is learning to define your steps to success but also defining your steps to failure. The second part is not something most business students are taught in fancy business schools because no one wants to pay to hear the negative side of things, they just want their egos boosted, their social engagements fulls, and job offers around every corner. The reality though is that  you need to learn to define what makes your business a failure and when to walk away from it just as you would a successful business.

Common Steps to Success
Most people give themselves goals that enable them to work harder, some of those goals include.

1. Having X number of Customers within 6 months

2. Weekly Profits of X number of Dollars

3. Hiring X Number of Employees by next year

4. Quitting my regular job within 3 months of starting

These goals tend to be common around startups because every entrepreneur needs benchmarks to understand how they are doing, but the problem with this picture is that not every entrepreneur looks at the opposite side because all believe their idea will change the world or fill a huge need, IF ONLY, people would notice it.

Defining Failure

1. Not having X number of Customers by next month

2. If company loses 2 or more customers a week

3. Profits Numbers are below X number threshold

4. X Number of Employees Quit

5. Time invested in startup is more than success rate

Defining Professional Boundaries
Whether you are starting a small startup for a class project or making a real go out of it you need to be aware of your limitations, what you can and shouldn’t do for your company, and when to see things through a realistic lens so as to know when to stop and throw in the towel.

There are many entrepreneurs out there who will tell you that if they could just get their hands on some money they could make their idea into a reality. If you listen closely to their story and hear that it has a back story of more than 2 years then you have to wonder what they have been doing in the meantime with all that lost time spent.

If you do not have a failure plan added into your business plan then you will never know when to stop investing resources into something that won’t work. History is filled with people who spent their lives trying to make something work that never did and then are those that did and it took their whole life to make it happen, so you need to ask yourself, is all that lost time worth it in the end?

Read how this guy learned to recognize his failure

If you really want to understand how failing will help you understand business read

The UP side of Down: Why Failing Well Is the Key to Success by Megan McArdle