The Model Entrepreneur
This article is written by Jeremiah Uke, a Contributor Author at Startup Istanbul.
Dan is a serial entrepreneur having built several multi-million-dollar technology companies starting at the age of 17. He's also an award-winning angel investor, having invested in companies like Intercom, Udemy, Hootsuite, Unbounce. Today he's an executive coach focused exclusively on B2B SaaS working with the founders from ClickFunnels.com, Proposify.com, Carrot.com, and many others to help scale their businesses.
We hosted Dan in our live interview series. In this interview, he’s questioned by Amy Cosper, former Editor in Chief of Entrepreneur magazine. He tells us about his journey through technology, some of the biggest lessons he has learnt, and how he sees the eco-system in the current light of things.
One thing an entrepreneur can not let go of throughout his/her entrepreneurial journey is the eternal optimism, the one that encourages them to going even in the face of negative factors, naysayers, and being against all the odds.
The elite entrepreneurs of our time – the likes of the late Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, Jeff Bezos and more have all shown very high levels of qualities such as innovation, creativity, pioneering, and very importantly, execution.
As you grow as an entrepreneur, you would discover that everything is about execution. A great idea can only be as good as it’s execution. Dan believes it’s more about the results. You can use different recipes to make the same meal. What matters the most is the outcome.
Amy however, talked about how most entrepreneurs are not great executioners, that’s where hiring comes in. You can always get someone else to take care of the execution. Entrepreneurs need to find out their strengths, and know that it is okay for them to hire people to take care of these things. Trying to do it all by yourself is one thing you want to avoid in your entrepreneurship journey.
Dan cited some of the biggest mistakes he has made so far. One of which was when he built and raised funding for a company he called Flowtown. Flowtown was built on Facebook’s API and was showing promises of success, until Facebook changed their API and every value Flowtown had was immediately lost.
The second biggest mistake was hiring an employee without placing measures to monitor his activities because of the belief he had in the employee’s abilities. The employee went on to cost him the loss of Procter and Gamble as a customer.
The third biggest mistake, was not asking for money before he needed it. As an entrepreneur you should always set up your capital structure before you need it. Because when you need it, they don’t give it to you. So every time Dan sold a company afterwards, he’d go on to take a huge credit as ‘working capital’.
Dan believes that everyone needs to find out what works for them specifically, and put things in place to continue their own pattern. Trying to emulate the lifestyle or practices of an already successful person is most likely to not work.