Some people would say it makes sense for most new graduates to gain experience in the traditional workforce before starting their own company. Do you think there's any truth in that?
If I wanted to learn about Robert's Rules of Order and being a third-tier assistant to the marketing firm, then yes, that would be wonderful.
The folks in the corporate world will say you can get structure and relationships and mentorship. Well, frankly, the structure doesn't make sense to an entrepreneurial life. The mentorship, you can be crafty and scrappy and try to get lunches like I did. I never had any sort of corporate experience. I never worked for anybody in my entire career other than myself. And when I wanted to find out information or meet someone, I either tried to partner with somebody, or I took people out to lunch, and that $50 education was more than I probably could've gotten in working two years of corporate experience.
I've seen corporate people who try to run their startups like the corporate background they come from, and those fail miserably. Because they're expecting somebody's internal budget to cover [costs] … Those kinds of mentalities do not translate.
Was there something about your upbringing that helped you think outside the box? How'd you develop that entrepreneurial mindset?
In terms of the ah-ha moment, when I knew I was never going to work for the man, that happened when I was a sophomore in college. The short story of it is, I was working on a startup concept ... When I was about three weeks away from launching it, my internship coordinator for college called me into a meeting and said that in order for me to get the proper credits for graduation, I needed to basically apply for an internship and work it … So I tabled the startup saying, alright, in two months I'll reopen this, after I'm done with my commitment. So I got an internship in the media business that frankly was hell … When I came back to college and thought, OK, it's time to get back to the startup again, somebody on the campus had launched an identical business to what I was thinking of, and I was devastated.
How do you structure your days?
I'm the first one to admit, I'm still figuring out the work-life balance. In the last year alone, I launched my first book, I launched an organization that's been very hot in the press, the YEC ... I had my first child. I still have my three businesses and a variety of angel projects. So it's been kinda crazy. But thankfully throughout my entire entrepreneurial career to this point, I've been scaling; I've been thinking of ways to streamline and automate. So I'm not really in the businesses that I started to the point where I have to make every decision or sign every check.
Every day truly is different. I basically assign tasks and my team assigns tasks to me at the beginning of a week with the goal of completing by the end of a week … I find solace in trying to be extremely organized and just roll with the punches.