Exactly 1 year ago – I started instaMek as a somewhat real business i.e not just me and Asem out of Remedy Café answering phone calls from Kijiji and then coordinating everything through a random Excel spreadsheet and writing work orders on the back of napkins.
1 year later we are almost 10x bigger and equal parts smarter/more experienced to the point where I feel more confident talking about what I’ve learned.
I can now see why so many businesses fail and at so many stages – it’s not enough to just make money.
While it’s true that revenue solves most problems – unfortunately it’s not all problems.
You have to be able to handle the growth, manage cash flows, manage your team, strategy, changing competitive landscape, investor relations, frivolous lawsuits and yourself.
There are just so many things against you at all times – and sometimes all at once – which is why it’s so important to think of business as a skill rather than the end goal.
If I had experience in running or seeing others run businesses in the past there would have been so many boneheaded mistakes I could have avoided.
Having said that – you have to learn from somewhere and experience is the best teacher of all.
You’re either a hustler or you’re not
99% of people are always talking about starting their own business but they just need the right idea – or they need to save a few more dollars – or they need to go do some random thing completely unrelated to their business.
I understand – it’s tough to stop watching random videos on the internet that are designed to inspire you and give you that addictive dopamine rush.
Or read a book about how to think and get rich or figure out how to do the work of 168 hours in 4 or any of that intellectual masturbation crap.
Some people spend all their time on business plans or market research but at the end of the day that stuff doesn’t even matter unless you know how to hustle – and hustle hard.
Think about it – if you had the perfect idea given to you on a silver platter – what are you going to do with it?
You’re going to be like a dog chasing a car – when you get it you have no idea what to do with it.
Also – how would you even know if it’s a good idea or not?
This is why I’m such a proponent of just getting started – no matter what the idea.
When you get in the habit of executing – you learn the steps – you know what opportunity looks like when it hits you in the face.
I’ll be frank – after spending 1.5 years on instaMek – I realized it’s not the best idea in the world – but it’s better than hiring 6 year old kids to clean cars.
It’s progression and evolution of a skill set.
You just have to get in the habit of executing ideas – quickly test them – know the steps you have to take next.
Business is hard enough already on its own – experience will only help.
And experience only comes from doing – your time is extremely limited.
If you have started anything by 25 or 30 then time is running out, past that and it’s really pushing it.
Notice how I didn’t say successful companies – all I said was getting in the habit of hustling and executing.
There is a saying that success happens when opportunity meets preparation. This is because by the time the opportunity comes by and you have a chance seize it – it’s probably too late to work on the right skillset.
They say an overnight success takes a decade – that’s because no one sees the struggle that happens in the dark. It’s just you against yourself with the persistence and faith that one day an opportunity will come your way and you’ll seize it.
I spent a lot of time working on public speaking – I went all out on it – got a coach, ran a toastmasters group and even did improv.
It was tough but being a capable public speaker has opened a ton of doors for me AND it’s super helpful when it comes to important business matters like LEADING, SELLING and FUNDRAISING (even though not really since most of the deals happen over a cup of coffee).
Obviously public speaking isn’t the most important skill in running a business – but if my theory is right then starting, scaling, managing and running a business are skill sets you want to prepare yourself when the time comes that you have a great idea.
To prove that I’m more than just a clown on my high horse typing behind a computer screen about this abstract concept of execution, I’m actually going to do something about it.
Arctic Venture is my new side project and through it I’ll teach others in Edmonton on how to get started and focus on execution.
This will hopefully reduce the number of talkers and increase the number of doers (wishful thinking I know) – but at least the few doers will have the right tools to avoid making dumb mistakes.
You can find more information at www.arcticventure.co and my first session is on January 7th. You can sign up for it here.
P.S. If you rip apart that website for me and tell me everything wrong with it – you can get a free ticket to my first lecture. Feedback is key and that website is my first draft.