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Five Reasons for Startup: Personality
Contrarian, Type A, Persistence, Risk Tolerance, Leadership
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I was built for startup. There's something about my genetic makeup, my upbringing, and my environment that makes startup right for me. It's not a job, it's not a career, it's not a lifestyle. It's what I do.

It may just be what you do too.

I've actually known this about myself my whole life. I've been building companies since the imaginary ones I built as a kid.

Yes, I had friends.

But I didn't discover an opportunity to get involved with startup until I had already been out of college for a year. In my world, you studied hard, you got good grades, you went to the job fair, you tried to get the job that everybody else wanted.

I did that. I hated the result. I didn't know startup was an option. I just didn't know any better. This shouldn't be.

There are a lot of personality traits that will lead someone to self-identify as an entrepreneur. Now, I should point out that even if it's in their blood, so to speak, it doesn't necessarily mean they're meant to be an entrepreneur, and it doesn't mean they'll be a good entrepreneur. It just means they need to test the waters at some point.

There are a lot of personality-based reasons for startup. Tons. So this isn't an exhaustive list of all the personality traits that might drive someone to become an entrepreneur. Your reasons will be your own, but the ones I've chosen here are the ones I see in a lot of great entrepreneurs, and when I ask them, these are the traits that they believe make them successful.

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How To Start a Business Without a Good Idea
You may not have a good idea, but you've got problems
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In episode 5.3 of The Startup Show, we dive into how to do startup without having a good idea, a question posed by one of our members at teachingstartup.com. Current entrepreneurs Joe Procopio (Automated Insights, ExitEvent), Andy Roth (RocketBolt), and Jon Colgan (Veeto, Cellbreaker) talk about how get started without an idea, how to generate good startup ideas, brilliant ideas that don't make money, why your first idea won't be your best, and alternatives to starting your own company right away.

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Why Do We Make Startup So Damn Boring?
The Show - Episode 1.3
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That time we talked about sucking all the fun out of startup, keeping people out of the club, and Joe's cut-rate accelerator idea.

Startup can be like a club where the people who are behind the velvet rope keep talking about how much it sucks in order to keep people from wanting to get in. It shouldn't be like that. We should keep preaching about how awesome being an entrepreneur is.

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When Do You Call Yourself An Entrepreneur?
THE SHOW - Episode 4.1
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Why do people hesitate calling themselves entrepreneurs? I meet entrepreneurs from all over the country -- these are smart, ambitious, even successful people who having trouble getting the term entrepreneur to roll off the tongue. And more often than not, it's because they feel like they don't know enough about startup to label themselves as an entrepreneur. This is ludicrous. And it makes me furious.

But I can understand the awkwardness of it. It's not like being a doctor or a lawyer -- there's no credentialed association to back up the fact that you studied and worked hard to become what you are. There's also a bit of sketchiness to it, those multi-level marketing and huckster salesmen who go with entrepreneur because it gives them a showy legitimacy.

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What's Your Biggest Weakness?
Teaching Startup: The Show - Episode 1.5
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In this episode we focus on our weaknesses. Not necessarily our failures, but those pieces of us that we're bad at. Startup doesn't talk about weakness much. Failure stories are great, but 90% of the time they're humblebrags -- "We flew too close to the sun like Icarus!"

Honestly, that's not helpful. What we do is talk about what makes us fail, and succeed, in terms that everybody here can easily understand.

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Why Every Entrepreneur Needs a 2nd Startup
When your side project becomes your day job, pick up another side project
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In Episode 6.1 of The Startup Show, Joe Procopio (Automated Insights, ExitEvent), Andy Roth (RocketBolt), and Jon Colgan (Veeto, Cellbreaker) propose that all entrepreneurs need two things to work on at the same time.

A lot of entrepreneurs get started by building their own business on the side while still working at their day job full time. This is a hard path to walk, but for the sake of creativity and motivation, every entrepreneur should continue on with a 2nd thing, something between a hobby and job, once their startup becomes their full time job.

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VIDEO: What Does Success Look Like? - Episode 2.2
Teaching Startup: The Show
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What does a successful entrepreneur look like? That's a pretty good question that shouldn't have an answer, but it does. There are two prototypes, the VC wannabe and the dorm room hoodie. And it's all dudes. And all of that needs to change.

But what about the rest of us? Do we entrepreneurs dress a certain way to stand out? Definitely. You need to cultivate your own look. It helps make people remember you. And the opposite, dressing for success, that doesn't help one iota. That's one of the things I love about startup. The ability to stand out or be contrarian helps you more often than it hurts you.

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No One Cares That Life Gave You Lemonade
Entrepreneurs Really Don't Want To Hear Your Success Stories
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People like to read about entrepreneurs--about the things entrepreneurs do.

But I have noticed how few entrepreneurs say anything worth reading about (maybe myself included).

The problem is that...

Entrepreneurs are seldom good at discerning why people care, which leads entrepreneurs to assume something like, "these people are hanging on my every word." No, they are not. They came to see some action, which, 95% of the time probably means a train-wreck failure, and maybe 5% of the time means some story of overcoming the odds. These readers show up to be entertained...the same reason they read Harry Potter.

To these readers, you are the freak show they paid $0.25 to see.

"Uh huh, and what did you do when life gave you lemons?"

But there is another reason why people read about entrepreneurs: to learn. And this audience includes both current entrepreneurs--across a spectrum of experience--and aspiring entrepreneurs. These readers are not looking for entertainment (Harry Potter already gives them that). They came to learn how you turned lemons into lemonade.

For those people, the most worthless thing you could say or write is a story about lemonade. No one learns about overcoming challenges--about how you turned lemons into lemonade--if the story begins once your challenges have been overcome.

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The Poker Episode
THE SHOW - Episode 4.3
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In startup, everyone talks about failure and a lot of folks even encourage it -- Fail fast and fail often, they say. There's nothing wrong with this mantra, on its face, but it's rare that someone will actually walk you through what failure looks like and how to prepare for it. In startup, failure isn't the loss of your startup, failure is a long parade of pain.

In corporate life, failure is the loss of your job, maybe the loss of your house, your car, your family, everything you've worked so hard for. A lot of folks avoid startup because it seems like the risk is much higher to wind up in that aforementioned nightmare situation. But contrary to conventional wisdom, entrepreneurs don't love risk, they love to stare down risk, tolerate it, and mitigate it. If they're good, they eliminate it.

That got us talking about poker.

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Entrepreneur Isn't a Job
The Startup Show - Episode 6.5
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In Episode 6.5 of The Startup Show, Joe Procopio (Automated Insights, ExitEvent), Jon Colgan (Veeto, Cellbreaker), and Andy Roth (RocketBolt) discuss how rare it is when people who aren't entrepreneurs understand what we entrepreneurs do, let alone respect what we do. But we love what we do, and it almost always shows in how we talk about what we do. That's not something a lot of people can say.

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A Startup Culture of Entitlement and Sexual Misconduct
The Startup Show - Episode 5.2
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In Episode 5.2 of The Startup Show, we get three dudes together to talk about sexual harassment, because how could that go wrong. But in all seriousness, this discussion should be uncomfortable, and it's necessary, for everyone, including these three dudes, to push the conversation forward.

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When You're an Entrepreneur, Confidence is Everything
Episode 3.3 featuring 49ers QB and Athlete Entrepreneur Thad Lewis
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We continue our discussion with NFL QB and entrepreneur Thad Lewis. Here's another way startup and sports run parallel. When you're an entrepreneur, confidence is everything. When you're an athlete, confidence is everything. Talent can only take you so far, it's confidence that's going to give you just enough of a boost to separate you from the pack.

But if a lack of confidence will kill you, overconfidence will kill you just as quickly. Finding the right mix, and how to go about getting to that mix, is one of the things we talk about in this episode.

On your startup journey, you're going to come across a lot of people who will tell you you're doing it wrong. What exactly will they tell you you're doing wrong? Just about everything. Wrong product, wrong market, wrong time, wrong place, wrong team. You need to have the wisdom to listen and adapt but still keep enough backbone to follow your mission when you know you're right.

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VIDEO: Survive Or Die
Teaching Startup: The Show - Episode 1.6
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You hear this all the time as a cautionary tale in startup -- Survive or Die! There will be times when you have to make the decision to power through all of your mistakes or give up under the weight of them. Unlike a corporate job, in startup, there's no structure to blend into, nothing to hide behind, and no one is going to swoop in and save you.

That's part of the growth process of becoming an entrepreneur. It's hard to do and not always fun to talk about, but we found a way.

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Five Stages of Startup



Five Roles of Startup



Five Kinds of Startup



Five Funding Sources



Five Reasons for Startup