Entrepreneurial Discontent: Episode Four

Don’t take until you are ready to give

Even More wisdom from Orlando’s Startup Godfather – Ron Ben-Zeev (@RBenZeev)
Last of 3 incredible interviews: “Don’t take before you are ready to give.”

Ron Three

Tools to be an entrepreneur

I want to become deeply familiar with the tools required to be a serial entrepreneur. Just like a mechanic or any craftsman has a set of tools they use across multiple projects, there must be a common set of tools that serial entrepreneurs wield. In our interview, the Startup Godfather explained “You have to know what skills you have.” Just like tools, an array of skills are required to launch a business – and I must determine which ones I have and which ones I don’t. Knowing what you lack helps you mediate risk – being aware of your blind spots allows you to compensate and develop a better tool kit. I am not and may never be a “numbers guy,” but there’s no excuse for me to be ignorant about numbers in general – I need to know enough to ask the right questions and not get screwed.

Before an electrician answers a house call, he ensures he has the equipment necessary to accommodate the customer’s needs. Not being an electrician, I have no idea if he would do this from memory or a written list or a combination of both, but I personally have never reviewed my own personal toolbox. I’ve never completed an audit of myself and itemized what tools I possess, what I think I may have and what I definitely don’t have. This ties in nicely with Ron’s first piece of advice to me: “Determine what I suck at and what I hate doing.”

I know there are tools – “skills” – that I don’t have. I’ll need help with those, but make sure to balance it with Ron’s next piece of AMAZING advice: “Don’t be ready to take unless you are ready to give!” Wow. Along the way, I’ll definitely be asking others for help, advice, mentorship, services, even partnerships – but I can’t turn into a taker. Asking for help without giving appreciation, thanks, or credit turns my focus inward. It makes the journey all about me! I don’t want that for myself or anyone. If I am asking someone to pour into me, I need to be able to return the favor – I need to be Ready To Give.

Being Ready To Give requires a few things

The first is capacity. If I consume all my energy working on “my thing,” then I have no capacity to give to others. And without other people, I will not be successful. I need to leave energy and time to spend on others.

Another aspect of being Ready To Give is sharing vision, or visions. Visionaries can see something that does not exist yet, almost as though it already does exist! There’s a temptation to elevate the idea – and thus, themselves – above those who can’t see it as clearly. This isolation is not only self-involved, it’s stifling to both the vision and the visionary. A vision is more likely to succeed if it is shared. Therefore, I must be Ready To Give pieces of my ideas, visions, and dreams to others.

When ensuring I have capacity to serve others and not spend 100% of my focus on my own ideas, a critical next step is to organize the ideas I currently have. With over 30 business concepts I’d like to launch, starting even a few could easily dwarf everything else I deem important.

Three categories to help sort through my ideas

A lifestyle business: a business setup and ran by its founders.
A business that has scale potential: a business that can scale beyond the founder quickly.
A passion project: an idea, business, project, etc. that brings personal satisfaction.

Insights I received from this interview

I need the skill of knowing which skills I need.
I need the capacity to invest in others if I’m asking others to invest in me.
I need to be ready to share my vision with others.
Next Steps: 1. Audit the resources and skills I have and the absolutes I don’t have. 2. Audit my ideas and place them into 3 categories: lifestyle, scale, passion.

Original header photo by: Annie Spratt