What does it mean to be an entrepreneur? If you have a side hustle or you’re a freelancer or created a full-time job for yourself, does that make you an entrepreneur? As work fundamentally changes, we need more discussion around expanding the definition of entrepreneurship.
And that’s what our guest Mike Chan is here to discuss with us. He believes entrepreneurship has less to do with describing how you work and more about how you view your work.
Mike is a seasoned entrepreneur. He has started a few different businesses and work for himself in various capacities. Currently, he’s working as the founder WinOptix, a platform to help government contractors improve their bidding process.
Lot of insightful lessons in our conversation including:
- How small, consistent actions can help you build quality over time.
- Do at least 25 customer interviews before even starting on building the product.
- Build your team slowly when starting your business to avoid bad fits.
- Explore alternative ways to fund your business.
Life Skills That Matter In This Episode
- Reframe your mindset
- Practice self-awareness
- Building community
How Mike Works and Thinks
- Wake up time: 6:00am.
- Core work activities + habits: 1) Talking to customers. 2) Understanding how the customers will interact with the product. 3) Doing the analytical work to build out the product to address customer needs.
- Book recommendation: The Hard Thing About Hard Things by Ben Horowitz
- Regains focus by: Stepping away from work by going for a walk, grabbing a snack or drink, or just disconnecting in general. Sometimes using the Pomodoro Technique.
- 90-day goal: Get the first version of WinOptix sent out to customers.
“If you don’t do something that you’re not good at, then you can’t learn anything and the more you do something the faster the quality will come.”
“It can be really hard to manage your psychology because it’s just not a linear process like it is in the corporate world.”
“It’s super exciting, it’s scary, but that’s the only way to learn.”
“Ideas are very important, but you have to be able to execute on those ideas.”
If you need to get the first dollars to invest in your business, Mike suggests the following approaches:
1) Start a debt-free business, if possible, by funding it through consulting or having a day job.
2) Demonstrate to potential investors that you have the needed skills to make this project succeed.
3) Put together some basic materials like a landing page or doing some online marketing to show that you have the ability to execute on an idea rather than just