Mac Conwell is loaded with ideas about how to scratch your entrepreneurial itch. His journey from startup entrepreneur to startup investor is littered with loads of insights about how you can get started on your business idea.
Currently, he’s a fund manager with the Maryland Technology Development Corporation, Mac helps to source, evaluate, and make investments in early-stage startup companies in the state of Maryland.
Before investing in startups, he had two startups of his own. One was a crowdfunding platform that he pivoted into digital gifts, giving people the ability to buy a song on iTunes to give to another person.
His second startup was an e-commerce startup to enable retailers to sell their products more easily from mobile devices. It failed and he explains why.
This is one of those episodes that’s jam-packed with life-changing and time-saving advice like:
- Why managing your emotions is the most important skill you can learn as an entrepreneur.
- How to know when to cut your losses when starting a business.
- How Mac built his network by asking people to meet over a cup of coffee.
- Why he left his well-paying job early on in his career.
- Why Mac believes startup entrepreneurs need to spend more time on customer acquisition and less time tinkering around on their idea.
Life Skills That Matter In This Episode
- Build your community
- Self-direct your learning
- Tell your story
How Mac Works and Thinks
- Wake up time: 7:30am.
- Ideal work environment: Around people he trusts, cares about, and has fun working with.
- Superpower: Having empathy for others.
- Definition of success: Being rich while changing the world.
- 90-day goal: Investing in more minority led companies and helping Tedco to grow the entrepreneurial community in Maryland.
“Being an entrepreneur, I would say, isn’t fun, it’s just very rewarding. It’s exciting, but it’s not necessarily fun.”
“People who have come up with innovative ways to gain customer traction, it’s always interesting to me.”
“Hearing somebody come up with something truly different is always exciting to me because there’s just not enough of that.”
To get the most out of startup accelerator programs, Mac offered the following tips:
1) Incubators are usually open co-working spaces and accelerators are more about getting coaching and accelerating the growth of your company
2) Know what you’re going for. Accelerators are not all created equally so it’s important to know what you’re looking to gain from the experience and find an accelerator that fits your needs.
3) Before you go to the accelerator, come up with a plan of the things you want to execute during the accelerator process and make a list of the people you want to meet.
4) Have your product ready so that you don’t spend your time in the accelerator working on your product.
5) When applying to an accelerator, network your way in and include your most impressive accomplishments in the first question on the application.