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3 Tips for Budding Entrepreneurs

Tech leaders share their best advice for launching and growing your business.

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Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Charting your own course in requires a certain appetite for both risk and reward, and often demands hours logged in isolation without the infrastructure or perks afforded to cushy staff roles. The path to success takes passion, grit, focus, expertise, and a certain embrace of inevitable challenges along the way.

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Yet the appeal of the entrepreneur is more alluring now than ever, with the work from anywhere, dream big and be your own boss zeitgeist drawing people out of formal roles into their own domains of passion and persistence. 

If you’re still finding your sea legs as an entrepreneur, here are three tips to help steady your passage from Propelify Innovation Festival’s keynote speakers.

Maxwell Ryan, Founder and CEO Apartment Therapy Media 

"This is a must-read tip for every entrepreneur. The most influential book I've ever read that has kept our organization driving forward but also kept our feet on the ground is Radical Focus by Christina Wodke. It's all about bringing the concept of OKRs into your organization. OKRs (Objectives and Key Results ) really help to organize your goals by quarter and year and keep you from getting ahead of yourself or not seeing your results clearly. OKRs have been around for a while and are super popular at places like INTEL and Google, but Christina's little book is a business fable about a small startup and it really grabbed me and my team at Apartment Therapy."  

Related: Sign up to attend the 2021 Propelify Innovation Festival

Irving Fain, CEO & Founder, Bowery Farming

"I'm a big believer that focus wins the day when building a business. And certainly focus is critically important in the earliest stages of building because you have limited resources, limited time, and lots to prove. One of your jobs really early on as a founder is to evaluate what matters most to the business you’re building."

"We used an incredibly simple framework to organize Bowery into manageable pieces in our early days: Build It, Grow It, Sell It. It meant that we needed to answer and prove a few key questions: could we in fact build an indoor farm with the and the approach that we had created? Could we then grow food in the way that we expected and fulfill our goals and mission? And once we grew that produce, would it meet our high standards and would people want to buy it? Those seem like such simple concepts when you lay them out this way, but the work and execution underneath each layer was immense. This framework gave us guideposts to focus our efforts, and importantly to determine what we would do and would not do in those early days."

Jamie Rogozinski, Founder WallStreetBets

"We're in an age where everyone wants to be an entrepreneur but the gig isn't as glamorous as many people think. For those willing to take the challenge, I advise them to really be sure they're passionate about the actual business, and not the idea of owning one. Spend time doing your research, consider your , think through the inevitable difficulties you'll face, and go in with an expectation that you will make mistakes on the way.  When tough times hit, your passion will make the difference between liking the challenge posed by problems vs being burdened by them."

Bradley Tusk, CEO Tusk Venture Partners

"If you're not extremely persistent, you're in the wrong business. You will hear 'no' 1000x more than you'll hear "yes" and you have to be able to keep going. The same goes for operating without a lot of structure, direction, feedback or precedent. You're operating blind most of the time."

"If you're creating a startup in a regulated industry, dealing with the government, politics and regulators will be just as important as engineering, , and everything else. They won't be impressed by your resume or academic pedigree so you need to be able to anticipate the political challenges you'll face and preempt them. Sticking your head in the sand can be fatal."

Jamie, Irving, Bradley and Maxwell will be taking the stage at Propelify on October 6th in Hoboken New Jersey. The event, focused on uniting innovators for talks, tech, exhibitors, drones, investors, and fun, will showcase 80+ amazing speakers and allow attendees to connect with some of the country’s most celebrated startups and investors, and founders. Sign up to attend www.propelify.com for free using code EntrepreneurPropels.

Aaron Price

Written By

Entrepreneur Leadership Network Writer

Aaron is the founder of Propelify, built to empower innovators. The Propelify Innovation Festival unites 10,000 innovators with talks, exhibitors, drones, virtual reality, investors, music and more. Aaron is founder of the NJ Tech Meetup, NJ's largest technology & entrepreneurial community.