Startup Stories: tips for creating your own startup

Startup: Learn from industry powerhouses and gain special insights and trade secrets for managing a successful startup
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  • Lectures 40
  • Contents Video: 3 hours
    Other: 7.5 hours
  • Skill Level Beginner Level
  • Languages English
  • Includes Lifetime access
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About This Course

Published 3/2015 English

Course Description

The Ultimate StartUp course is here for you:

Please Note: All students to this course will be able to ask questions to investors, entrepreneurs and consultants for free!


GET THE HELP YOU NEED AND START YOUR COMPANY TODAY!

Do you want to meet and interact with successful investors, entrepreneurs and consultants to get immediate assistance on how to create your own company?


>> Important notes:

  • Initial price is $139, but will next increase to $239 January 1st 2016)
  • New lectures and updates
  • Full 30 day money-back-in-full guarantee
  • Support
  • Udemy Premium Teachers: Christos Pittis, Alex Genadinik and Jerry Banfield have More than 58,000 students in total joined our courses and 479+ reviews and ratings <<

If you answered yes, this is the course for you.

It is a common dream for many people to get a business off the ground. The problem is that it takes a lot of knowledge, expertise, and practical hands-on experience to achieve your highest potential.

In summary, if you are going to create a business, StartUp Success Stories: Tips for creating your own startup contains what you need to know. I hope you are ready to get started with what could potentially be the first step to success.


It's easy to want to start your own business, however the skill set you will need is extremely unique. Owning a business requires you to do the majority – if not all – of the work unless you get a partner early on.

In this course, you will be able to access a large selection of interviews from influential entrepreneurs, investors, and consultants. You will be able to listen to their wisdom, and absorb what they say. The goal is for you to gain a better perspective of how to operate a great business.

It takes years to acquire the insight that the interviewees share with you in this course. That's why having the opportunity to learn from educated and experienced businesspeople is so important. Instead of diving into a venture head-first, consider learning from the best.

By claiming a seat in StartUp Success Stories: Tips for creating your own startup, you will be exposed to the opinions of the following professionals:

    ·Christopher Jonet – operates the most renowned archery shop in his area.

    ·Dave Kaster – 15 years of experience in financial consulting.

    ·Carlos Flores – decades of experience in business consulting and investing.

    ·Doros Kyriakoulis – inventor of a hot product, the GoKey.

    ·Chase Hughes – a young business advisor who explains how to make it in a cut-throat industry.

    ·Alex Genadinik – seasoned entrepreneur who has seen it all.

    ·Jerry Banfield – motivated and hungry, Banfield exemplifies the attitude required for success.

    ·Michalis Virardi – an influential business consultant with strong background in teamwork and satisfaction.

    ·Stylianos Lambrou – began entrepreneurship at a young age. Currently, he runs 3 profitable businesses.

In this course, you will learn what it takes to be successful. Learning the characteristics and the mindset which generates success is crucial. You will be exposed to individuals who discuss their mentality behind business and life in general.

In addition to learning how to run a business, knowing how not to run a business is equally as important. Knowing where you can run into trouble and how to avoid it will greatly increase your chances of success. You will learn about the most significant pitfalls and how to avoid them.

To get an idea of the structure of these interviews, these are some of the typical questions I pose to the entrepreneurs, investors, and consultants:

    ·Tell us about your business.

    ·How did you finance your business?

    ·How did you get into entrepreneurship?

    ·How did you fund this business?

    ·What are the best businesses to start?

    ·What advice would you give to new entrepreneurs?

Whether you are building a small venture which will provide you enough money to live, or a seriously big company, this course is for you.

After this program, you will have the fundamentals of business and then some. You will be miles ahead of any other fresh entrepreneur, and you will be able to make much more informed decisions.

This will benefit you in multiple ways:

    ·You will save time and money.

    ·You won't squander any of your personal money on stupid things.

    ·You will have a permanent competitive edge over your competition.

    ·You will practical knowledge.

    ·And much more.

In summary, if you are going to create a business, StartUp Success Stories: Tips for creating your own startup contains what you need to know. I hope you are ready to get started with what could potentially be the first step to success.

What are the requirements?

  • Prepare a business idea and share your thoughts with participants
  • prepare questions about startups

What am I going to get from this course?

  • Make informed decisions based on expert opinion
  • Connect with successful entrepreneurs and ask them questions
  • Know the pitfalls of business, and how to avoid them
  • Avoid years or decades of trial and error – these experts have been there, done that
  • Understand how to most efficiently turn your capital into profitability
  • Understand the mentality of successful individuals
  • Know how to attract high-class investors to believe in your startup

What is the target audience?

  • This course is meant for young professionals who wish to create their own businessess
  • This course is excellent for early stage startups

What you get with this course?

Not for you? No problem.
30 day money back guarantee.

Forever yours.
Lifetime access.

Learn on the go.
Desktop, iOS and Android.

Get rewarded.
Certificate of completion.

Curriculum

Section 1: Introduction
02:39

What You Will Get From This Course

Creating a startup can be one of the most rewarding things you will ever do. However, like anything challenging, there are ups and downs, highs and lows. For an individual with no experience, it can be very hard to avoid running into deal-breaking issues.

If you are thinking of beginning a startup, it is highly advised that you get some professional insight. Diving head-first into a complex situation where you have to manage yourself, others, finances, marketing, etc. is extremely time-consuming and difficult.

Instead of going through the steep learning curve yourself, losing money and time, learn from successful entrepreneurs instead. Beginning a startup is a lot easier once you have the know-how. With the knowledge in this course, you will have a massive competitive edge over other new entrepreneurs, and even some of the more experienced ones.

We interviewed some of the most influential and well-established entrepreneurs in their respective fields to learn about the world of startups. This program contains full interviews featuring leading business people who will give you tips and suggestions on how to make a successful startup.

The most common areas of discussion are:

    ·Financing a startup

    ·Getting Started

    ·Biggest Challenges and their Solutions

    ·Online Services

    ·Business Building Strategies

    ·Most Vibrant Sectors

    ·Important Advice/Suggestions

    ·Dealing with Competition

    ·Key Pitfalls

If you have any questions about this udemy course, please post them in the udemy discussion section; this way, everyone can participate and learn. In addition, don’t forget to rate this course if you found it useful so other eager students can find it.

StartUp Success Stories: Tips for creating your own startup

Teachers:

Christos Pittis

Alex Genadinik

Jerry Banfield

03:45

Meet the Participants

As mentioned, this course features some extremely accomplished entrepreneurs in a wide spectrum of fields. Before you listen to their words of wisdom, it’s good to learn a few things about them. This way, you can focus on the professionals who have the insight you need to hear in particular.

Christopher Jonet operates an archery business in Green Bay, Wisconsin. He has been involved in archery since he was 10 years old, and is very passionate about the industry. He runs one of the biggest archery shops in his area, and started from his own finances alone.

Dave Kaster is a seasoned financial consultant with over 15 years of experience under his belt. He has an intricate knowledge of managing and acquiring financing for startups. Kaster has worked with massive businesses to small startups, and has first-hand experience of varying business landscapes.

Carlos Flores owns a business with heavy focus on investing and business consulting. He has multiple decades of experience in these fields, and has been involved in massive investing projects. Flores has a detailed understanding of how to get a business of the ground, and how to keep it afloat.

Doros Kyriakoulis is the creator of a hot product on IndieGoGo, the GoKey. He has excellent insight on starting costly ventures with very little capital. Kyriakoulis has hefty experience in developing and manufacturing new products from scratch.

Chase Hughes specialized in business advisory, and has over 5 years of experience operating his own company. Hughes began his startup with relatively no experience compared to his competitors, and yet he still came up ahead. He gives unique ideas about how he succeeded with little relative credentials.

Alex Genadinik has been through it all when it comes to entrepreneurship. Genadinik went from doing entrepreneurial projects on the side to managing a company full time. He has seen lots of success, and also failure. Learn from his mistakes to avoid the pitfalls he fell into throughout his career.

Jerry Banfield started as an entrepreneur with an intense desire to help other people succeed. He quickly went from helping individuals with video game addiction to being an authority figure in the world of internet marketing and online advertising.

Michalis Virardi is a passionate business consultant with expertise in communication, customer satisfaction, sales, and self-development. Viriardi got his start as the sales manager in his family business. After years of hard work and dedication, he has become a leading force in his industry.

Stylianos Lambrou got his start in entrepreneurship when he was only 19 with a low-capital venture. In only 10 months, he was able to turn this business into a full-time job generating 30 – 40 thousand euros a year. He has been on this path ever since, and continues to be a success.

Section 2: Current business and how did you get started
05:57

Christos Pittis - Udemy Premium Educator, Entrepreneur, Business & Tech

- How did you get your start as an investor and business consultant?

Carlos Flores - Investor, Consultant, Entrepreneur

- Well, I started as a business consultant first after I got an MBA, and joined a management consulting firm shortly thereafter. I spent around 12 years there doing management in telecom and media. I was a principle when I left to join another large consulting firm in Europe called Roland Berger strategy consultants – they are based in Munich, and I was doing Telecom and media for Latin America there.

At that point, I decided to start my own company, so I started one in Brazil. It was an e-commerce company, our products were related to health and beauty imported from the U.S. into Brazil. That was my first try at entrepreneurship. I did that for about 5 years, sold the company, came back to the U.S., and decided to become an angel investor and I joined Golden Seeds. It’s a very large angel group here in New York City and also has offices in Boston, Silicon Valley, and Dallas. We have 300 members, and a fund of 150 million dollars that we use to invest in every state’s startups in technology, life sciences, and consumer products.

Dave Kaster - Business writing consultant

- I owned my own financial planning business for about 15 years and ran it. I had about 30 people who were working for me. I sold that and started to work with some business clients because they were struggling financially. I started to try to help them to find different ways to be successful to make more sales and get more profits, that’s how I started.

Michael Virardi - Business consultant, author, public speaker

- Thank you Christos for this question. I started back in 2001 when I was working for the family business, which deals with catering equipment and tabletop supplies. We won a European award – it was an American company, but we won a European award in terms of Cyprus, our country. At that time, I came from my studies, and my dad said “Michalis, we have a new company, it deals with plastic articles. You are going to be in charge for the sales of this company”. We imported the products, and our goal from the United States company was to sell one 40 foot container. We sold 7 of those containers, and we won the first European award for that. The Americans honored us as a family and as a company, and I was lucky enough to be there with my brother.

That day, they brought one of the best sales consultants, Jeffrey Gitomer – gitomer.com is his website – he spoke to us, and I was mesmerized with what I heard. I turned to my brother and I told him that I was going to do what this guy is asking. My brother asked me what I meant, and I told him I was going to try to become like him, a business consultant. As soon as he had a break, I went up to him and asked him how I could become like him. He said there are 2 ways to do this: the first way is easy and the second way is a difficult. The easy way was to study 2 hours every day on a chosen topic for 10 years excluding weekends. In 5 years, you will be recognized in your country, in 10 years worldwide. I told him that I would start that day. I then asked what the difficult option was. He told me I had to have consistency, so I would have to not skip a day of study for the next 10 years. That’s how I started becoming a business consultant, and I began reading my second, third, fourth, 800th book. To cut a long story short, I am here as I am now - being a speaker and a trainer both in my country and in 7 European countries as well as in the U.S.

12:59

Christos Pittis - Udemy Premium Educator, Entrepreneur, Business & Tech

- Tell us about your current business.


Alex Genadinik - Mobile app entrepreneur, marketer

- Sure, so my current business is problemio.com, we create tools and education material for entrepreneurs, and these are mobile apps, books, online courses, and YouTube presence, and other smaller platforms that we are present on. To date, the company has influenced over 1 million people, almost 2 million entrepreneurs that have, one way or another, come in contact with either our tools or our educational materials.


Doros Kyriakoulis - GoKey founder

- I wanted to do something with connected devices. I saw this “maker’s revolution” happening a few years ago with sites like Kickstarter and IndieGoGo. I got really intrigued by these new [developments]. I was perusing another idea before I got the one for the goKey. It didn’t really stick, I didn’t really seem to get it off the ground and get the people here – the team, the funding. One day, I had the idea of GoKey and I just [pursued it] and knew I was onto something. I just followed this one thing, and here I am.

Chase Hughes - Entrepreneur and Consultant

- It started back as soon as I was a freshman in my undergraduate. I did not have a lot of capital and I did not have a lot of contacts, so I started doing things for free for people so that I could get good experience within the business advisory sector. That’s where you can really leverage your own skills to make money and then eventually start hiring people and focus more on the marketing side. I did good work with these individuals and specialized at that time in marketing analytics to improve website performance based on user interaction on the website. Through referrals within people in their individual networks, I was able to grow the business through that method. Later I added additional functions with employees – this was over a 5 year period.

Christopher Jonet - Entrepreneur

- Archery has been a passion of mine since I was very young. I got a bow for Christmas one year when I was about 10 years old; it’s just been a natural thing for me. I started target shooting, then I got involved in the hunting industry, and [my passion has] been growing ever since. There are many people in the archery industry that have been my heroes like Fred Bear, Howard Hill, even Robin Hood. People don’t think that Robin Hood existed, but he actually did. There are direct descendants from him that live in England. It’s been a real big passion of mine.

Jerry Banfield - Entrepreneur online and Udemy Instructor

- I originally started my business on helping people with video game addiction because that’s something I personally felt I struggled with. I treated my business as an attempt to replace my existing passion with something new, and to replace it with a passion of helping people. Before I started my business, my main passion was playing video games, and often drinking while playing video games. I started my business in hopes that I could have a passion that was more helpful to other people than [video games].

I started it with video game addiction, and the more effort I put into helping people with video game addiction, I soon realized what a limited scope I had helping people with [that subject]. I kept trying to find ways to make money with my passion, my hobby, my business. Soon, I ended up figuring out that people really needed help with Facebook especially - internet marketing and online advertising more generally. I learned these things myself in my struggle to do better with promoting my video game addiction business first and then trying to sell t-shirts related to that. And then, I found that if I learned it myself, I could then get paid really well to help others. That’s how I started my business; it’s funny to see that the only thing which remains out of what I started with is my desire to help people. I finally have successfully replaced the main thing I do in my life, as in video games and drinking – I’ve finally replaced those with the work I do online.


Stylianos Lambrou - Serial Entrepreneur

- When I was 19 years old, I was still in the army; while I was there, I decide to travel less, and start my own business. It was called the village express, it was a website where I promoted the villages of Cyprus. I just took a camera and went around Cyprus and captured the villages for virtual tours. In 6 months, I managed to have 100 villages as customers. It was an amazing experience because I had to convince people who were 60 - 70 years old to buy a service to promote their villages on the internet. They didn’t even know what the internet was all about. I managed to get a hundred customers – a hundred villages – and I was promoting them online.

This was my first venture and, to be honest, had the biggest luck. I funded this project by going to my parents and asking them to give me 3,000 euro. With just 3,000 euros, I managed to create a company which generated 30 to 40 thousand euro a year. With this startup, I managed to finance my university studies in London at UCL where I studied information technology. During my second year at UCL, I decided to start my second startup.

There was a financial crisis in Cyprus, so we started Heart Cyprus. Millions of people were leaving the country due to events two years ago. My sister and I decided to start a company and sell t-shirts with our logo saying “Cyprus, where my heart belongs” to our community of 150,000. In 5 days, we managed to sell 500 t-shirts in 30 different countries, and we raised 5,000 euros which we gave to families in need. At that time, Cyprus was in a really bad situation, and there was a negative image of Cyprus. German and French newspapers were writing about how the young generation can improve Cyprus, and can move Cyprus forward. This is what entrepreneurs do.

During the crisis, we saw not only the dangers but also the opportunities, and we said “I’m going to do it” and we took the risk, we bought the t-shirts, and in 5 days we managed to sell all of them. That’s how Heart Cyprus started. Currently, we employ over 15 people. We offer 65,000 euro scholarships to people who study in Cyprus. Our logo was even tattooed twice on people. In social media we have over 2 million people that we reach with our posts.

In addition, I believe that we are not all about making money, but also about giving back to society, and that’s why we also crowdfunded. We managed to get 20,000 dollars for our Olympic medalist, where other organizations couldn’t support it. For me, the most important thing is that we are not only promoting Cyprus, improving the image of Cyprus, but at the same time, we offer back to the society. My biggest achievement has been during these hard times, to employ people, and especially young people. Our oldest person here is 29 years old, and for me that’s amazing.

My third business began when I was in the third year of university, I had to do a dissertation. While I was thinking about the topic for my dissertation, I decided to actually create that idea which was actually to connect travelers on the same airports and flights. When I decided to go to the U.S. and look for funding, everyone was thinking I was crazy and they don’t believe in me. You know entrepreneurs, they are often misunderstood, and that’s OK. The best thing is actually listen to your heart and instincts and just do it.

I decided to book a ticket to San Francisco, it was absolutely an amazing experience. We managed to meet with amazing people, and after 2 months after my visit there, I managed to raise 100,000 dollars in capital investment. This money was used to create my product and right now, we are raising more money and we are innovating the way people travel.

Section 3: Share your thoughts!
Discussion board
03:13
Section 4: Carlos Flores - Investor, Consultant, Entrepreneur
02:15

Christos Pittis - Udemy Premium Educator, Entrepreneur, Business & Tech

- Did you study this field in school?

Carlos Flores - Investor, Consultant, Entrepreneur

- No, when I was doing my MBA, I focused on areas that were very applicable to management consulting for very large companies. Some of the skills are transferrable like your core skills such as finance, accounting, strategy development, marketing; they are very much applicable to startups as well. The practical skills for entrepreneurship I acquired by starting my own company – the one I just described – in e-commerce, so I merged those two experiences: the practical from my own ventures and the academic from my MBA. There are MBA programs that offer specialization in entrepreneurship -that’s just not the path I decided to follow at that point. However, there are very good programs here in the U.S. from Stanford and Harvard that offer programs dedicated to entrepreneurship. Having said that, I think that you really learn to be entrepreneurial once you dive in. You need the basic tools, obviously, but the practical experience is invaluable and if you really want to do it, you have to either join a startup or get involved in the ecosystem and get a first-hand feel for working with a startup.

03:16

Christos Pittis - Udemy Premium Educator, Entrepreneur, Business & Tech

- Are there areas in consulting you specialize in?

- What type of business would be your typical client?

Carlos Flores - Investor, Consultant, Entrepreneur

- Yes, I do specialize in business strategy development, global market strategies, customer acquisition strategies, and sales support.

- As a consultant, we get a lot of startups. Startups are mostly looking for funding depending on the stage of development. What they require is the development of what we call an investor pitch; it’s a presentation – maybe 15 to 20 minutes long – that needs to be delivered to investors and it has to tell the complete story of the market potential, the competition, the challenges the startup will be facing, the problem they are solving with their unique solution, the business model – how they will make money with the solution they are proposing – as well as the financial plan that shows how everything else translates into numbers. Out of that, you are going to have the funding requirement. The financial plan will show that there is a gap in money, in cash, and that’s what you are looking for as a startup. In addition to that, there needs to be a valuation of the company to be able to say in exchange for the funding, we are willing to give the investors so much in equity. That’s basically the most common type of project that we see from startups. We also see some startups that are a little more mature, that are trying to, let’s say, increase their market share, acquire additional customers, they want to re-vamp their online acquisition strategy, so that’s also quite common among startups. There are also the very early stage startups that don’t have a company, they only have a product. What we do is that we wrap the product up with a company to be able to launch that into the market, so business building type projects are something we also do quite frequently.

03:54

Christos Pittis - Udemy Premium Educator, Entrepreneur, Business & Tech

- In your experience, what are the main problems a business owner has?

Carlos Flores - Investor, Consultant, Entrepreneur

- Well, there are many and they depend on the sector in which you are trying to compete. Let me start with the most common one which applies to every sector. A startup is very fragile, they don’t have a very large cash reserve so they have to spend their money very wisely in marketing, salaries, and product development. There is always this tension of when to spend the money to, let’s say, increase market share; if the result you expected does not happen, then you depleted your cash reserve and you run the risk of running out of money, so cash flow management, I would say, is number one.

The second one that’s quite common is that if a startup was launched based on the passion of the entrepreneur – he believed in the idea and thought this was the best idea. Once the product is launched in the market, they realize that there is stiff competition. There are other solutions that do the same thing, and they have problems with competing in a market that is probably overly crowded with a product that’s not very different to what’s already been offered. So we try to see how to reposition the product to make sure that we are unique and differentiated compared to the competitors. That’s another challenge that many business owners, especially in technology have to face.

Another one, related to the first one, is that as you grow, you are always going to require investor funding. It’s very hard to find a startup that was very successful that was only funded by the owners and that’s what we call bootstrapping; from then on, it grew organically. Normally, you can grow, but you will not achieve this exponential growth that you could if you got outside funding. The business owner – the CEO or the founder – he’s always in fund raising mode during the first few years of the startup. We can go on down the list of many other challenges.

There are operational challenges – finding a team is another thing that comes to mind. The business owner will not be able to do everything, so he needs to surround himself with the best team possible. There is a lot of competition for talent, so he has to fight for top talent with other startups with some benefits like stock options or a great environment, challenging product – something to entice talent to join the company. Those are some of the main ones which come to mind.

03:13

Christos Pittis - Udemy Premium Educator, Entrepreneur, Business & Tech

- What are the work practices that you see which would make a business owner successful?

Carlos Flores - Investor, Consultant, Entrepreneur

- Entrepreneurs come from all different fields. Technology is probably better if the entrepreneur has a technology background because in the early stages, most of the effort is devoted to developing the product. If this product is technology oriented, it is very challenging for a business oriented person without a technology background to be able to manage this, or he will have to spend a lot of money getting the technical resources. I would say for technology startup, it’s good to have a founder that has a technology background. As the product gets developed and begins to look like it’s going to hit the market, then you need the business side to come in and make sure that the solution that’s being offered will be priced properly – that’s a business function, developing the right business model.

You will need somebody that’s very well rounded to be able to manage people. You have to hire people and manage them. You have to have somebody that’s a good team builder that will encourage the team to perform at the highest level, so those are some of the softer skills, the leadership skills that are required and not so much the technical. The technical skills keeps them going in parallel if it’s a technical type of business, but the softer skills are much more important.

You also need a good sales person not only to sell the product but also to sell the company. When the founder is trying to get funding from investors he is basically selling the company and he is selling the team. He’s got to be very articulate, communicative, open, and show passion about the new venture to be able to convince investors to invest money in the company. To summarize, you start with, if it’s a technology company, the technology being the core skill required and then migrating more to the business side, and later to the sales side as the company begins to hit the market and attempts to grow and get traction in the marketplace.

04:31

Christos Pittis - Udemy Premium Educator, Entrepreneur, Business & Tech

- What industries or business ideas do you feel have a better chance of succeeding in today’s marketplace?

Carlos Flores - Investor, Consultant, Entrepreneur

- Entrepreneurs come up with all kinds of ideas, and there are many great ideas that will not succeed because they might be either too early, too late, or they might be in a market that’s not growing as fast as the others. The lessons learned here are that as an entrepreneur, when you get an idea, you need to test it very quickly, and ask yourself two questions: how big is the market, and who else is in the market? Is it a crowded market, are there many other competitors here or not?

Let’s talk about the market first. Investors have a very clear idea as to what a good market is; it has to be big. In the U.S., we have a cutoff of about one billion dollars. If the market revenues in whatever sector you are trying to go in is below that, it’s going to have to be a very special idea in order to get funding from investors. If the market is 10 billion dollars, even if the company doesn’t get a very large market share, a very small market share over a very large market is already big revenues for the company, so that mitigates the risk for the investors. That’s very important – it has to be a large market, and a growing market.

It helps if it’s also a market that’s being talked about. For example, 10 years ago, everyone was investing in social networks. Then, it migrated to more like big data, now it’s crowdfunding, and God knows what’s going to be next. You have to be sure that you’re in those spaces if you want to make your fundraising easier. Also, these are growing markets, so there is going to be a lot of money being thrown into the market, and that’s going to help the startup. Ask yourself, is the market there before you launch a venture?

The second one is competition; there is no easy answer for competition. Most entrepreneurs that we see as investors – now I’m talking as an investor not as a consultant. They tell us that there is no competition in the market, [and assume that] the investor is going to be very pleased. Quite the contrary - that raises a lot of questions. It raises basically two questions: how come this is a market where nobody else is playing? Either the entrepreneur didn’t do a good job in analyzing the competition, or nobody wants to be in the market because it’s not a good market. You will be challenged anyway if you say that there is no competition. Always do your homework and assess who’s doing something that’s related to what you’re trying to do, and who might be competing with you at some point or at some level. Look at the market, look at the competitors, and then decide that this might be a good venture to be in. If your idea sounds like it’s good, then by all means, go down the path of launching the venture.

04:00

Christos Pittis - Udemy Premium Educator, Entrepreneur, Business & Tech

- Can you give me four or five business absolutes – things that someone must do in a business to be successful?

Carlos Flores - Investor, Consultant, Entrepreneur

- Yes, everybody has a different view of what that is. I will give you my own personal view – what does it take to be successful as, let’s say, a business leader, business manager, business owner. Business is about people and relating to other people. You relate to other people at different levels; you relate to your customers, especially in a B2B business, you have to do direct sales. You relate to your investors, and you get them to trust you and give you the money to run the company and make it grow. You relate to your employees and your partners and you have to be able to motivate them to do great things, to sacrifice salary in exchange for a promise of future compensation. People skills are extremely important.

That’s not sufficient though, there are many good people that have not been successful in entrepreneurship who have very good people skills; you also have to be structured. After all, you are managing a company. A company has processes – ways of doing things that are structured and they have to be followed by everyone or else it becomes complete chaos. Therefore, you have to also have a structured mind to set the processes, set the rules, and make sure everyone follows them. You have to be very clear on your expectation, and when there is a deviation, you have to be very quick in correcting the deviation from what you originally expected.

The next thing is you have to be a little, I mean, most businesses, in one way or another overlap with technology, so you have to be technology aware. You don’t have to be the world’s greatest programmer, but you have to keep on top of technology trends. Sooner or later, no matter what business you are in, you will have to deal with technology, so it’s very important.

And the last one is, you have to know how to manage money. The number one reason why startups fail is that they run out of cash, so you have to be judicious about the use of cash, especially if it’s not yours. If the cash belongs to the investors, you can’t go out and start paying yourself a big salary right away, or renting a nice office in the tallest building in the city if it does not serve a purpose. Very judicious, very lean and mean with cash. Always have some reserve, because whatever plan you have, no matter how wonderful, you expect yourself to go up by so much, it’s probably not going to happen. Make sure you have a reserve of cash for those rainy days. That would be my last absolute.

05:17

Christos Pittis - Udemy Premium Educator, Entrepreneur, Business & Tech

- What challenges do you face in your business or day-to-day operations?

Carlos Flores - Investor, Consultant, Entrepreneur

- Personally, besides being an investor, I also recently launched as startup, so let me share some of that experience. We are in a phase where we are testing our business model, and we are realizing that what we thought initially was going to be a successful business model needs to be fine-tuned based on feedback from potential customers. You have to be prepared for that, so the lesson learned here – and this is something that most good entrepreneurs know about – very rarely are you going to have a vision, and idea about a product or a service that’s going to translate 100% into the product which will be successful in the market. What’s going to happen is you’re going to have a rough idea of what you want. Then you’re going to launch something to test a market, something that looks like what you think is going to work. You’re going to launch that as soon as possible to get feedback from potential customers. Very quickly, you go back and adapt whatever product or service to what the customers are saying they want. That process, that iterative process, with the feedback loop, is something that has to happen as soon as possible so that eventually you end up with what the market wants. That’s been a challenge.

In many cases, you have to drastically change what you thought your product would look like, and that’s fine. The objective here is to be successful, not exactly to prove your point that you were right to begin with. If you were right only 50% and the other 50% needs to be changed, that’s fine, but that’s challenging for most entrepreneurs. Some people cannot love their idea as it was first conceived and then see it changed, and be dismembered and become something else – it’s often very difficult to handle for most entrepreneurs, so that’s challenging.

The other challenge is always, as I said before, it’s keeping your partners happy and communicating with them and making sure that everybody is on board and not trying to run the show on your own, and listen to other people’s opinions. Try to learn from what they say; if you disagree, be diplomatic. Stand your ground, I’m not saying to cave in to every disagreement, but keep the communication channels open. That’s not always easy because their egos get involved, and you have to be able to check yourself at the door and make sure that you are trying to always move forward with your objective, which is to grow your business and be successful. You are not trying to prove a point that you are the smartest guy in the group.

The last point is always manage your cash as I said. We could go out and spend a lot of money marketing to grow the business faster, but then again, we are testing the right marketing approach, trying to invest a minimum amount of money and seeing which solution works. In our case, surprisingly enough, some of the more old-fashioned solutions are working to get our name, our brand out. We are using e-mail marketing, which is kind of old by today’s standards, and most of the marketing is geared towards social media marketing and online marketing. Because the nature of our business, we found that e-mail marketing worked just as well and it’s very economic – it’s been very successful, so don’t go crazy following a fad on what works in terms of marketing. You have to judge, test, and start small; if something looks like it’s going to be successful, move quickly and emphasize what’s successful, and keep testing new things.

01:44

Christos Pittis - Udemy Premium Educator, Entrepreneur, Business & Tech

- Carlos, is what will the next year hold for you?

Carlos Flores - Investor, Consultant, Entrepreneur

- We are in a pre-revenue phase right now in the startup, so next year the idea is to get to revenue and grow them rapidly. It’s the most exciting phase of any startup – to get your first revenue. It’s also the most stressful because it’s kind of black or white; you are going to be successful or you are not. I’m sure that the first revenues, and I remember it was the same case with the previous startup, are the most exciting ones, because then you see that this idea is beginning to work, and you see the light at the end of the tunnel, and then you start making plans for exponential growth. Next year will be our initial revenues, initial customers, building the base for future expansion and additional growth.

Carlos Flores - Easy Quiz for you!
3 questions
Section 5: Dave Kaster - Small Business Consultant
06:23

Christos Pittis - Udemy Premium Educator, Entrepreneur, Business & Tech

- So, did you study this field in school?

- Are there areas of consulting that you specialize in?

- What type of business would be your typical client?

- In your experience, what are the main problems a business owner has?

- What are the work practices that you see which would make a business owner successful?

- What industries or business ideas do you feel have a better chance of succeeding in today’s marketplace?

- Can you give me four or five business absolutes – things that someone must do in a business to be successful?

- Excellent, Dave. What challenges do you face in your business?

- Last question, what will next year hold for you?

Dave Kaster - Small Business Consultant

- Kaster: Yes I did, I had business and marketing majors with computer science and economics minors.

Pittis: Are there areas of consulting that you specialize in?

Kaster: I specialize in setting up marketing plans and training sales people. I also specialize in developing strategic plans for business operation.

Pittis: What type of business would be your typical client?

Kaster: That’s a hard question to answer because they are all the same but all different. A lot of businesses have a lot of different problems, but a lot of them have the same problems. I’ve done business with large manufacturing firms that employ up to 2,000 people to single person shops, and it seems that they all have the same concerns.

Pittis: In your experience, what are the main problems a business owner has?

Kaster: They usually come to me and have the same exact problems. The problems are that they don’t have enough sales, the business owner himself doesn’t have enough time to work on everything, and that they don’t have enough help. We usually develop plans to handle all of those problems.

Pittis: What are the work practices that you see which would make a business owner successful?

Kaster: I think a successful business owner has to not only need to know his subject, his product, but he also needs to know enough about running a business so that he doesn’t make mistakes, and waste valuable time. The practices would be to have a very strong vision of what he wants to accomplish and have enough confidence in himself that he can ask for help and become educated on all the other phases of the business that he is not familiar with.

Pittis: What industries or business ideas do you feel have a better chance of succeeding in today’s marketplace?

Kaster: I think today we are seeing a lot of people coming out on the technology sides. I think that’s an easy business to get started nowadays because of the low overhead – all you really need is a computer and an idea. Technology - whether you are writing an app or whether you are developing some new sales platform to sell products online or something like that, would probably be the easiest business to start nowadays.

Pittis: Can you give me four or five business absolutes – things that someone must do in a business to be successful?

Kaster: I can try; first, I would say that you have to have a very strong vision. The function of a business leader is to lead other people to success. If you don’t have a vision, you don’t know where you are going, and other people won’t follow you.

The second thing is that you must have the confidence to get educated and ask for help in areas where you don’t know what you are doing. You must be aware enough of you own weaknesses to go out and ask for help in a proper way.

Third, you have to have a good handle on all your finances and in how that money is going to come in and how it’s going to be spent; you have to be able to prioritize.

Fourth, you have to be able to multitask while still keeping your overall vision in mind. A business owner’s life is extremely busy and diverse; it seems like the business runs you a lot of times rather than you running it. You have to have the capability to hold back and actually run your business and work on your business not in your business.

Pittis: Excellent, Dave. What challenges do you face in your business?

Kaster: I face a constant challenge because my business is pretty much solely based on referral. I don’t do any advertising so there are times where I am very busy and times where I am not so busy. My challenge is actually to balance who I want to take on as a client, and when I can take them on. If a business owner comes to me for help, they want help right away, and a lot of times, I don’t have time at that moment to do that. The second biggest challenge is to actually tell a business owner that he’s doing something wrong if he thinks he’s been doing it right for the last 10 years. Finding gentle ways to communicate new lessons to business owners who think they are doing everything right is always a challenge.

Pittis: Last question, what will next year hold for you?

Kaster: I think I’m going to start focusing more on small startup businesses. I’ve done businesses before which are really fairly well established, and I’ve been able to help them. I feel there is a lot of excitement and passion in small businesses. I may not get paid as well, but I feel I can help a lot more people and a lot more business owners by focusing on problems that a small business owner has.

Pittis: Thank you very much, Dave; nice talking to you.

Kaster: Thank you Christos, and I really enjoy your uDemy courses, I think they are very good.

Dave Kaster - Easy Quiz for you!
3 questions
Section 6: Michael Virardi - Trainer | Speaker | Author
08:36

Christos Pittis - Udemy Premium Educator, Entrepreneur, Business & Tech

Michael Virardi - Entrepreneur


Pittis: Did you study this field in school?

Virardi: In terms of what I am doing now? No. I wish there were topics on sales, customer care, self-development, but I am 42 years old, and at that time, there weren’t any topics. Some of the topics are being introduced now because I am a lecturer at [multiple universities], and the topic for one of the speeches is public relations and branding yourself. These topics are getting into schools now.

Pittis: Are there areas of consulting you specialize in?

Virardi: Yes there are. I specialize in customer care and sales of products or services. I have also dealt with self-development and one on one coaching sessions with people. In the process of working with companies in their customer care and sales, they call me for team building exercises for their whole team.

Pittis: What type of business would be your typical client?

Virardi: My typical clients are medium to large businesses. I have dealt with companies who turn around 600 million, I’ve dealt with companies who turn a few million, and I’ve also dealt with companies who have [lower turnovers]. I have been involved in the pharmaceutical industry as well as in the services industry and in many others. Your viewers can have a look at michaelvirardi.com and see many more of my customers and the areas I deal with.

Pittis: In your experience what are the main problems a business owner has?

Virardi: First of all, I believe most of the problems that business owners have are communication problems with their teams, because everyone communicates but very few connect. The main problems that I see are channels of communication breaking down somewhere in the hierarchy. Another thing I’ve seen is that most business or sales people do not utilize their skills as they should. In terms of customer care, there is always room for improvement, and [improving this] will also help sales as well. If you have immaculate customer care, at the end of the day, your sales will rise as well.

Pittis: What are the work practices you see that would make a business owner successful?

Virardi: First of all is to know where you are and to know where you are going, you need to have a vision and a mission of accomplishing that. You need to get people on board together with your mission; a great example is zappos.com, a giant in the industry of selling shoes online. These people are great in terms of communicating with their customers, connecting with their customers. They are very good in reciting the company’s values; to graduate from Zappos, you need to know the company’s values.

The previous owner - now Amazon owns Zappos - who is still working at Zappos comes in and asks all of the team to recite their values, and also gives to each and every employee that is [in the graduating course] at the time $2,000 to walk out the door [if they fail to memorize the script]. And when people ask them “what do you mean, these people graduate after a 4 week course, you pay their salaries, and then you give them $2,000 just to walk out the door”? He says yes, that’s a minute amount of money to pay to get somebody out the door who doesn’t care about my customers, and cares about money more.

So, these people are paying for people to get rid of their employees for not being customer services oriented, who are not loyal to their customers. One of the best practices to adopt is to get your team on board with your philosophy, to show your team your vision and serve your customers with the best [service]. I have the same mind frame and the same passion for what they are doing.

Pittis: What industries of business ideas do you feel have a better chance of succeeding in today’s marketplace?

Virardi: If you have a look at uDemy and you check around what people need, I think at the end of the day, people want to become healthier, people want to live longer, people want to make money, and people want to become more well versed in their industry. If they are sales oriented or customer service oriented, people want to become better at that. Anything that helps people acquire their goals of being healthier, make more money, and so on. Selling uDemy products like you are doing successfully would help people make a good living.

Pittis: Can you give me 4 or 5 business absolutes – things that somebody must do in a business to be successful?

Virardi: Of course, first of all is to be the first person in the office and the last to leave. It is important that people follow your example – the best way of living is by living by example. The second most important thing is to be a person who is well read. You need to know the most recent developments in your industry, because the world is progressing in such a fast way. We used to say “if you don’t read on your subject, you stay still”; now, if you don’t read on your subject, you are way behind, because the world is moving faster than ever before.

It’s important to be a good communicator – to know what you know, but also to be able to communicate what you know to the world at large or to your customers. Last but not least, you have to be a good team player, because then everyone achieves more. You have to have a solid team, you have to be someone who unites the team together, who listens to all the views, because God gave us 2 ears and one mouth, so we should use them in that proportion. You listen to your teammates twice, and talk once. You do all this, and if you are also in the right industry like we talked before, I believe you have very good chances of succeeding.

Pittis: What challenges do you face in your business?

Virardi: The main challenges that we face in our business is to keep current. You need to look into all the industries, you need to have new examples, because people are very much interested in hearing the stories and examples and experiences of other companies. My personal advantage I believe, because I travel in 7 EU countries as well as the states, I bring many examples from many industries and combine them together. I give the knowledge that I acquire on a daily basis and I pass that on to my customers. The biggest challenge is to keep current, and that is important on a daily basis.

Pittis: What will the next year hold for you?

Virardi: Every year is even better for me, and as long as I am active, as long as I am bringing new products to the market [things are bright]. The last 2 years, I have been doing a lot of 1 on 1 coaching and a lot of motivational speaking around the globe. I’ve made some great connections because at the end of the day, your network will give you opportunities. I have managed to generate a great network of friends like yourself, and I think the future is, for me at least, looks very bright.

Why Amazon acquired Zappos for 1,3 billion dollars
02:05
Michalis Virardi - Easy Quiz for you!
3 questions
Section 7: Doros Kiriakoulis - Entrepreneur
12:09

Christos Pittis - Udemy Premium Educator, Entrepreneur, Business & Tech

Doros Kiriakoulis - Entrepreneur

Pittis: What are the biggest challenges you have faced in beginning this business?

Kyriakoulis: The biggest challenge was of course that I didn’t have any funds whatsoever to start this business. The way I did it was by convincing people that this thing is going to work – that this campaign is going to be successful and having them work in deferred payment. What this means is that I went to the industrial design and was like “I can pay you, but you need to wait a couple of months first before I get money so I can [pay you]”. Of course, all of the established ones said no, another one said no, and then I finally found a talented young one who had the appetite to work, and he said yes; that’s how I did it.

The same thing happened with the video. For the video, I didn’t have the funds; I had to convince a film crew – and this was hard, because it was about 5 people – to help me out with the promise of getting the money if we were successful. They were risking it, and what happened is they tried their very best because they knew that if they didn’t do their best and this thing didn’t work, they wouldn’t get their money back. I think it was very challenging that I didn’t have any funds, but with perseverance and hard work, I made it without any money, and all of these people got their money back. I guess this was my biggest challenge at the time.

Pittis: Excellent, do you have a website? Do you sell online, and what are your best products?

Kyriakoulis: We don’t sell our product yet, we just receive pre-orders from our website which is www.gokey.com. We’re also still on IndieGoGo receiving pre-orders there – we are going pretty well every month. We’re going to have a more elaborate site as soon as the product comes out. Of course, GoKey is going to be the first thing in the line of products which will come out of GoDevices. Is it the best product? I don’t know. The other two which are coming are very interesting, and have very good potential I believe. Up until now, it’s just one product. I can’t tell which one is my favorite, I think it’s [goKey]. I am very excited for the other device we are working on right now.

Pittis: What does your business’ future hold, and how will you get there?

Kyriakoulis: This is going to be quite a year, I think – 2015 for GoDevices because we are receiving the pre-orders and doing the retail loans. We are also recruiting people and building up the rest of the team. It’s going to be a year where a few individuals will join GoDevices so it’s going to be a year of growth and a year of beginning for us. The first beginning was IndieGoGo, now it’s the retail loans. We are looking forward to that; there is a lot of work ahead.

Pittis: If you were advising a friend to start up a business, what industry would you suggest in your community?

Kyriakoulis: Well, definitively the hardware space is booming and if you have an idea of doing things differently and you can go there and you can come up with a product which is unique and diversified and you make everything right; if you play by the book and you get the crowdfunding right, the team right, everything, you have a good chance of making it. Here in Silicon Valley it’s still the land of opportunity here and the money is plentiful. There is no lack of money, it’s talent that’s needed, so if one has talent and determination to pursue his dream, hardware and software business – this is what I am aimed towards, and this is what I would suggest.

Pittis: I understand, what businesses do you think have the biggest opportunities to succeed in today’s marketplace?

Kyriakoulis: The ones that diversify – do things differently and bring about products with value for the customer. I think it comes down to having value, and in order to make it, I think you should think out of the box and come up with not only an idea, but with an idea that people would go “ah ha, that’s something good, that’s something useful, that’s something I would like to [spend my money on]”.

Pittis: What advice would you give to another business owner?

Kyriakoulis: I would say for me, it’s of paramount importance, the conviction that, with perseverance you will make it in the end. You are facing a lot of challenges, and every sane man would give up. You have to have believe that this is your destiny and this is what life has for you. You got to love very much what you are doing, because if you do not love it, you are going to give up because it takes a lot of hard work to get there. Love what you do and have the conviction that you will persevere and you will win at the end. I think that’s my advice.

Pittis: How did you finance your startup?

Kyriakoulis: I didn’t have any money to finance my startup. Everything was done on deferred payment. People would believe that this thing would do well, and they were willing to risk their time to help me do it. I did the whole thing with $200, serious; absolutely no money. It was a no budget story.

Pittis: Which platform?

Kyriakoulis: IndieGoGo. We chose IndieGoGo over other platforms.

Pittis: Did you have a consultant to help with your business and if so, what did they help you with?

Kyriakoulis: Well, I didn’t have one consultant per se, but I was looking for people who were specialized in their field to give me some advice. For example, before I did my IndieGoGo campaign, I was going into events and meet-ups where people from IndieGoGo would speak about what to do in order to be successful. These people were like advisors for me. The same thing with hardware – I sat down with people and I was like “hey guys, this is what I’m going to do, how much do you think this is going to cost us, how much time do you think it’s going to take to get there?”. I met individuals who I knew were good in what they were doing, and I just asked for their advice respectively. I had many advisors, but informal ones; nothing very formal. Now we are doing formal, now we are doing the board of advisors, so this is a more formal thing where there is an equity involved and there is a more formal relationship.

Pittis: Why should people buy from you?

Kyriakoulis: Well, people should buy from me, they should buy GoKey, if they think it’s a cool product that they are going to use and they are going to have it be useful in their lives. If they answer yes to both questions and they have the money, go ahead and buy.

Pittis: What is the price of GoKey?

Kyriakoulis: Right now, it’s $59, $69, and $79. These are the pre-order prices, these are very good prices. This thing turns out to be more expensive than we initially thought, and it’s going to be quite a bit more pricey than that – it’s going to be almost double the money when it [goes to market].

Pittis: Who is your competition and how did you learn about what they do?

Kyriakoulis: I was personally very interested in all these gadgets that are coming out of crowdfunding platforms, and it was kind of like a hobby for me to watch different products and different ideas that were coming out. It’s interesting to see that when the time matures, then there is a whole bunch of ideas and products that come out.

My competition, I know very well my competition. I’ve studied my competition and know their strengths and weaknesses. The difference with my product is that it has no direct competitors because there is no product that combines this functionality out there in the market. There is a product that does the 2-way memory, and another product that has a cable and battery as well, but not one that combines it and this is what differentiates [my product], so there is no direct competition.

Pittis: How are you different than your competition, and do you advertise or market that difference?

Kyriakoulis: The differences that we are combining the most useful features that you can have in a portable device and we are putting it in a very sexy package – a nice design that people love. I guess this is, in a nutshell, how we are different than the other people. We managed to do something little, very simple, that has quite elaborate functionality there. I think that if people were to choose one thing that they could put in their key ring, then GoKey would be the coolest thing out there right now to put on your key ring. That’s how we deal with competition I guess, by innovating and bringing new value to our users.

Pittis: Do you ship in Cyprus and Greece?

Kyriakoulis: Yea, I will be shipping to Cyprus and Greece. We haven’t reached the point where we are having detailed talks with distributors, but we have very healthy interests, especially from Greece. Being my home country, we have a lot of Greeks that want to re-sell the product, but it’s the same all over the world. We are going to launch world-wide, and there is very strong interest from all countries, even Africa, Australia, Canada, everywhere.

2014 Product Realization Group Symposium GoKey CEO, Doros Kiriakoulis
01:25
Doros Kyriakoulis - Easy Quiz for you!
3 questions
Section 8: Chad Hughes - Entrepreneur and Consultant
12:30

Christos Pittis - Udemy Premium Educator, Entrepreneur, Business & Tech

Chase Hughes - Entrepreneur and Consultant

Pittis: What are the biggest challenges you have faced in beginning this business?

Hughes: Within my business specifically, the biggest challenge was not having a lot of relative experience compared to the competition. A lot of these individuals that were bidding on projects for SME companies has 20 or 30 years under their belts and a lot of successful case studies and a lot of successful clients. I [built my company using personal connections] so that people would give [me] a chance, because they like you or they have a friend that has done business with you. That has been the most difficult thing for me, is being able to bypass the other competitors that have a competitive edge through their significant experience.

Pittis: Do you have a website, do you sell online, and what are your best products or services?

Hughes: I don’t have a website for my independent consulting services. We operate under the brand 4theta, which at this time focuses on market entry services. There is another product website called business-plans.com where that’s more of a broader market approach that targets internet-based entrepreneurs, and we focus on doing 1 thing really well, and that’s providing business plans for investment capital either through an investor or through debt and a bank. That’s our exclusive product, and we are not going to add any more to that website.

Pittis: What does your business’ future hold, and how will you get there?

Hughes: The difficult thing with pro-business plans is the tradeoff between exceptional specialization so we can come off as an industry-focused leader, and that has gotten us growth substantially because people see that we focus on one aspect of the market, and they assume that we are the best in the industry because of that. With that, it’s difficult to build brand around that, so what we are working on the process of right now, is creating a brand on top of that while having this within a business unit of that brand so that we can still leverage the background of this website and keep the SEO components and the focused brand components, but still be able to scale into other functions such as the market entry services and capital raising services as well under a larger umbrella type situate.

Pittis: If you were advising a friend to start a business, what industry would you suggest in your community?

Hughes: It would really depend upon the region, the time, and what personal connections that individual had. If it’s in Chicago and it’s these days, and he’s a young individual I would say that it’s important to start up with as little capital as possible and really do something that is focused on what they are good at. If they are a software engineer going around to develop a software engineer portfolio and pitching to companies in the Chicago area.

I think it’s really good for them to focus on things that not a lot of people are doing at the time. For example, in Chicago, big data, there is a really big absence in the market in terms of employment because there are [not enough] properly trained individuals. The same is true with information security. Companies are hiring consultants to do that for them, so there is a market entry point.

Aside from that, other aspects in the industry that are highly attractive to venture capitalists, because it’s easier to get funded, it’s easier for people to join, and it’s easier to build connections because it’s very much in vogue. Everybody knows there is an opportunity in the market, and when you are trying to pursue that, everything becomes exceptionally easier to do.

Pittis: What businesses do you think have the greatest opportunities to succeed in today’s marketplace?

Hughes: I think the answer to that can be generalized by looking in terms of where the venture money is going. If you can get venture money, if your goal is an IPO, at some time or another, you are going to need that, more than likely to scale. You can go on angel list and see what is getting funded, you can also look at statistics that are gathered on where venture money is going. A lot of it is going into Silicon Valley and the east coast as well as software companies. This is mainly because they have a fast return, or a low holding time – one to five years – with an attractive potential exit of an IPO and string profit margins of around 20%, so that’s something that a lot of investors are looking at, and especially in hot markets where there is a really big problem.

It think right now, information security services, mobile technology, big data, technology, working with terabytes of data that companies have and being able to help them apply that to business strategy, and really universally any business problem that you are solving in a way where you can help a business save money is usually difficult not to succeed, because you can sell it on your own. I think those are the top sectors right now.

Pittis: What advice would you give to another business owner?

Hughes: I think that it depends on what industry they are in. in terms of capital, to just have good control over the funds. I have worked with some people that are in software engineering and they run a company and they don’t have a CFO, and maybe they have a bookkeeper, but they don’t have a finance manager who can figure out how to maximize every single penny. When 2 or 3 million dollars come in and they have a limited partner that does not forcefully try to act as a filter to the funds, they can run out exceptionally quickly, and the person has to go back for a bridge loan, and that can all be mitigated if that 2 million is counted penny by penny as if its 2 dollars in the bank. This can be accomplished by getting a CFO or learning basic principles of finance and really having tight control of that, because it’s not always going to be there.

Pittis: Dow did you finance your startup?

Hughes: I didn’t want to take on an investor, and I didn’t want to take on debt. That’s me personally, because I wanted to scale organically over a long period of time. If you look at the growth of something like New York City, it’s been financed, yes, but a lot of the growth has been very organic over time, and it’s created a much more stable economy over time compared to some countries which were purely financed from the beginning. That’s the approach I wanted to take, so I just re-invested all of the money I had. At the very early stages, I sacrificed a place to live and good food to eat. It’s not like that anymore, but that’s the extent [I went to] to not get any debt. I could easily go get a bank loan, or investment capital but I just don’t want to do those things because I feel like organic scaling works better for me. That doesn’t necessarily work for other people.

Pittis: Why should people buy from you?

Hughes: I think it’s specific to my industry in business advisory. We take a really no-nonsense approach with what we do, and we really value building long term relationships with our customers. I’ve seen a lot of consulting firms - surprisingly large in size - that put an emphasis on wooing a client, and more of putting on a show than really delivering something of value to them. I’ve been in meetings where management consultants have come in and gave a 30 minute presentation on something that an analyst could have whipped together in 15 minutes, and they paid around 20 thousand dollars for it. That’s something that I really wanted to move away from because I have quite the years of experience doing those things for companies, and in the long run, the smaller consultants I have worked with are the ones that are actually better because they are more specialized and they really know their stuff compared to some fresh MIT graduate consulting on 30 different topics to 3 different sectors.

So, there is that no nonsense approach – we do what we know, and we don’t do anything else, and we are really good at it. The other aspect is that we approach long term relationships with our customers. They can call in and ask a question at any time. No, we are not going to just be like an attorney where they have to schedule an appointment where they have to speak with us and ask a series of questions or be on a retainer. I think that that’s something which really sets us apart – we generally care about their success.

Pittis: Who is your competition and how did you learn about what they do?

Hughes: Broadly, our competition is just about any b2b consulting firm. With pro-business plans, there are specialist companies. Masterplans.com is probably one of the more well-known ones. For strategic market entry, it really is on an individual basis – because it’s really something we just connect people with special resources in their region, so it’s not a mainstream thing. We really keep a tight watch on everything our competitors are doing, step by step, whatever their strategies are, where they are moving, what their prices are. We know more about them than we know about ourselves. That something that’s really important for what we do.

Pittis: How does venture capital work?

Hughes: In the broadest sense, people make investments in order to make a return on their investments. Generally, venture capital is a fund with people pooling in their money to invest in a fund just like the stock market. If you are familiar with mutual funds, you have individuals that get paid a percentage of the returns to invest in certain stocks. A venture capital fund is a similar thing, so you might have 2,000 very wealthy people pool their money together to invest in companies which are maybe wanting to start. They are obligated, in order to survive in the marketplace, to receive a target investment area. The last time I looked, it’s around 20 to 30 percent, which is about 2 times what the SMP returns on a given year. When you have to make that kind of rerun on a startup, the failure rates vary, but are exceptionally high.

Your fund needs to really be able to have mastery in making companies succeed, and making returns off them because the holding period is not very long. They are generally broken up with either geographical or sector-related focus for the smaller ones where they have a group of individuals that understand the industry very well. They might only invest in technology companies, early phase technology companies; they might only invest in biotech companies, and maybe only in the Silicon Valley area or the Chicago area. That’s not always the case, but it often is, so it’s just like a mutual fund except its private and it’s about making people money but at the same time, it’s very systematic so a person has to ensure that they are not going after venture funds that are in a different target industry, or a different sector they are in – just like getting a job. That’s the gist of it; if you want more details on how it works, a good book is Raising your Early Stage Capital. You can look it up online, the former CEO of twitter wrote that book, and it is a good overview.

Pittis: How does one invest investment capital?

Hughes: It depends on what stage the company is in. Generally, a lot of companies are trying to raise seed money these days that are just getting money. Seed capital is a new concept of pre-series-A; series-A is around 3 million; it deviates, but that’s the average. Seed capital is around $250,000 plus or minus around $100,000. It’s usually used in a situation where you have a business idea, but you need to develop it. You need to hire programmers to get the product ready to the point of commercialization. It gets really risky unless you have a really good background, so a lot of that money is pooled from friends and family and angel investors.

At this point of the United States, there are legal complications through friends and family. If they are not accredited investors, technically they can request their money back. The law is changing soon; its’ not to say that people don’t do that, just be aware. Angel investors will typically invest in that smaller amount for C-capital, but once you get to Series-A, then you start dealing with venture capital funds. The amounts are around 2 - 3 million dollars, and that money is for typically commercialization – for marketing, hiring people, scaling the product, expanding into regions. If you go on to equitiesand.com, you can see what raising money is like after that. A lot of companies are doing series-B, series-C, series-D, all the way up until the IPO. People are getting more money onboard to finance generally more commercialization.

Pittis: What are some of the key pitfalls to avoid?

Hughes: In raising capital, it would be really one of the first problematic steps is not approaching the right people and not approaching them at the right time. If you know you want to start a business and you start networking with investors in a very casual manor and develop a trust with them, when you are ready to raise investment, it becomes exponentially easier. If you do not have that already established, a key problem is not targeting the right investors. I have worked with people that have sent their marketing campaign – their investment campaign – to thousands of companies, and they ask why anybody hasn’t expressed any interest. If you look at what they have been targeting, its things which are really unrelated to their fund. They might be in the wrong geography, sector, and investment area. Just like looking for a job, do you want to shotgun your resume out to 15,000 employers, or would you rather narrow it down and choose the perfect ones and really make it work out.

I think those are the two things: networking in advance, and targeting the right people. Those are 2 of the biggest things in terms of highest probability of getting funded. The business plan is more of a due diligence; we do it because it streamlines the process. Good business plans alone are not going to get you the money – you need a good sales pitch. Not putting in the resources to specify an investment could get you the wrong kind of money; you might not get the right team for you company, because a lot of what they are investing in is your team, and then you can find yourself in a really awkward position later down the road. Those are the greatest pitfalls.

Pittis: What is the most important element to financing?

Hughes: The most important element depends on what kind of financing is being raised and in what stage. If it’s debt financing, the most important element is being able to absorb that and manage it. You are taking on 2 dollars of debt at a lemonade stand or 200 million in debt at a large company, that money has to be properly managed. It has to be ensured that the company can pay it back, because it’s taking on risk. Generally, the bank will decide whether or not the individual is ready to take on the risk. However, at the end of the day it’s in the hands of the individual to properly manage that money. If it’s investment capital, the biggest factor is really relationships.

If you have 30 years of experience in investment banking, I know people that can close 400 million dollar deals in a couple of days, in a couple of phone calls. It’s not because they have a Harvard MBA, or because they have special connections through childbirth, it’s because they really established those through networking over a large period of time. It’s not infeasible to do, but it’s easier to do when it’s not needed. As Bernanke said, the banks are always ready to give you a loan when you don’t actually need one, and they won’t when you actually need one. It goes the same way with financing all around, so I think those are the critical aspects.

Business plan sample
2 pages
03:10

Christos Pittis - Udemy Premium Educator, Entrepreneur, Business & Tech

Chase Hughes - Entrepreneur and Consultant

Pittis: How does venture capital work?

Hughes: In the broadest sense, people make investments in order to make a return on their investments. Generally, venture capital is a fund with people pooling in their money to invest in a fund just like the stock market. If you are familiar with mutual funds, you have individuals that get paid a percentage of the returns to invest in certain stocks. A venture capital fund is a similar thing, so you might have 2,000 very wealthy people pool their money together to invest in companies which are maybe wanting to start. They are obligated, in order to survive in the marketplace, to receive a target investment area. The last time I looked, it’s around 20 to 30 percent, which is about 2 times what the SMP returns on a given year. When you have to make that kind of rerun on a startup, the failure rates vary, but are exceptionally high.

Your fund needs to really be able to have mastery in making companies succeed, and making returns off them because the holding period is not very long. They are generally broken up with either geographical or sector-related focus for the smaller ones where they have a group of individuals that understand the industry very well. They might only invest in technology companies, early phase technology companies; they might only invest in biotech companies, and maybe only in the Silicon Valley area or the Chicago area. That’s not always the case, but it often is, so it’s just like a mutual fund except its private and it’s about making people money but at the same time, it’s very systematic so a person has to ensure that they are not going after venture funds that are in a different target industry, or a different sector they are in – just like getting a job. That’s the gist of it; if you want more details on how it works, a good book is Raising your Early Stage Capital. You can look it up online, the former CEO of twitter wrote that book, and it is a good overview.

07:36

Christos Pittis - Udemy Premium Educator, Entrepreneur, Business & Tech

Chase Hughes - Entrepreneur and Consultant

Pittis: How does one invest investment capital?

Hughes: It depends on what stage the company is in. Generally, a lot of companies are trying to raise seed money these days that are just getting money. Seed capital is a new concept of pre-series-A; series-A is around 3 million; it deviates, but that’s the average. Seed capital is around $250,000 plus or minus around $100,000. It’s usually used in a situation where you have a business idea, but you need to develop it. You need to hire programmers to get the product ready to the point of commercialization. It gets really risky unless you have a really good background, so a lot of that money is pooled from friends and family and angel investors.

At this point of the United States, there are legal complications through friends and family. If they are not accredited investors, technically they can request their money back. The law is changing soon; its’ not to say that people don’t do that, just be aware. Angel investors will typically invest in that smaller amount for C-capital, but once you get to Series-A, then you start dealing with venture capital funds. The amounts are around 2 - 3 million dollars, and that money is for typically commercialization – for marketing, hiring people, scaling the product, expanding into regions. If you go on to equitiesand.com, you can see what raising money is like after that. A lot of companies are doing series-B, series-C, series-D, all the way up until the IPO. People are getting more money onboard to finance generally more commercialization.

Pittis: What are some of the key pitfalls to avoid?

Hughes: In raising capital, it would be really one of the first problematic steps is not approaching the right people and not approaching them at the right time. If you know you want to start a business and you start networking with investors in a very casual manor and develop a trust with them, when you are ready to raise investment, it becomes exponentially easier. If you do not have that already established, a key problem is not targeting the right investors. I have worked with people that have sent their marketing campaign – their investment campaign – to thousands of companies, and they ask why anybody hasn’t expressed any interest. If you look at what they have been targeting, its things which are really unrelated to their fund. They might be in the wrong geography, sector, and investment area. Just like looking for a job, do you want to shotgun your resume out to 15,000 employers, or would you rather narrow it down and choose the perfect ones and really make it work out.

I think those are the two things: networking in advance, and targeting the right people. Those are 2 of the biggest things in terms of highest probability of getting funded. The business plan is more of a due diligence; we do it because it streamlines the process. Good business plans alone are not going to get you the money – you need a good sales pitch. Not putting in the resources to specify an investment could get you the wrong kind of money; you might not get the right team for you company, because a lot of what they are investing in is your team, and then you can find yourself in a really awkward position later down the road. Those are the greatest pitfalls.

Chase Hughes - Easy Quiz for you!
3 questions
Section 9: Alex Genadinik - Mobile app entrepreneur, marketer
04:27


Christos Pittis - Udemy Premium Educator, Entrepreneur, Business & Tech

Alex Genadinik - Mobile app entrepreneur, marketer


Pittis: How did you get into entrepreneurship and what were some of your previous projects?

Genadinik: It’s been a windy road, I’ve always had a bug for it because even before I understood what entrepreneurship was, I had ideas and I wanted to work on them and it felt really bad if I had ideas and I didn’t work on them – it just didn’t feel right. Luckily, I did computer science in college and it really enabled me to at least make my online ideas a reality, because even though I may have had school, or later maybe I had work, always in the morning, at night, or on the weekend, I was always working on my own projects. At first, they weren’t so good, and then slowly, they started getting a little more reasonable, and they actually started making money which was nice.

The project before this actually had some success; it was a hiking, outdoors website, almost like a website for hiking groups, things like that, like a small meet up for hiking and just for people who like outdoors. That did reasonably well, and I found really good growth for it. Then, one day, it was making money and I was happy; it wasn’t easy, because if you had asked me to do it now, I would say that it wasn’t be the best business idea. It was too much of a niche and it might be a bit difficult. It was truly a struggle to make it work, but I finally figured out how to make the site work, but that was with some SEO tricks. It was great, but one day I just woke up, and I checked my google analytics, and before that, it was a very nice growth chart – it was going up, up, up; one day, I woke up, and it hit a cliff. All of my traffic was gone; I looked around on the web, and Google started analyzing some SEO techniques, and it just killed the business.

It was really hard to describe, it was a really sinking feeling because you work so hard – it was truly hard to make that business a reality, I had to try so many things. Finally I had it, and then boom, overnight it just got taken away. I had to resuscitate that business; I tried this, I tried that, I tried this, and it was on life support from then on. It was essentially dead, so I had to start looking into doing something else. That business almost was successful; it was for a little while until Google dropped the hammer.

It actually lead to right to my current business because if I had mentors, or if I had more experience, then I wouldn’t have gone into that business in the first place, or I would have had a more solid business plan. What I wanted to do is to help other entrepreneurs avoid all of the mistakes that I ran into. They were really avoidable mistakes; if I just had a mentor who could explain things to me – in five or 10 minutes, he could have saved me so much trouble and effort. Of course, this wasn’t all a waste, because I learned a ton and I built my next business on top of it. My current business is essentially to help people not to run into the crazy experiences that I had to run into while building that hiking website. That kind of led me directly into this.

05:51

Christos Pittis - Udemy Premium Educator, Entrepreneur, Business & Tech

Alex Genadinik - Mobile app entrepreneur, marketer


Pittis: How did you fund this business?

Genadinik: I don’t like raising money, so when I structure a business strategy, there is always this concept of “break even, or top ramen soup” the exact name is escaping me right now, but a very well-known entrepreneur has this saying. He has this concept of the most basic break-even that you can get to. You have to figure out what that is, because my idea is to always have my business be my cash cow, not investors. Investors are too difficult to deal with. It takes so much time out of the actually building of your business that I always put it off quite a bit.

What ended up happening was, for a while, my business was not investable, because my initial product was mobile apps, and the apps were in too much of a niche; for that reason, investors [did not want to deal with me]. If it was something more ubiquitous like dating, or photos - something everybody can use, and can get tremendous scale, then fine, but the way I was pitching it to them when I first started the business, they weren’t really enthusiastic, and so I really had to build the business from my own energy. There is this famous quote “we raise money every day from our clients” – that’s my strategy.

Pittis: What do you feel was the key to the success of your business?

Genadinik: Certainly, the failure of the hiking business, because I learned an immense amount. My first product – now my business has a number of products – but my first product was mobile apps, and they are now quite grow up, they have just on Android alone, over 600, 000 downloads, and that’s just on Android. One of the very first features that I added to this app was a free feature to get people to talk to me on chat, and ask me any question about their business. I would wake up every day, and have like 15 questions, and I would just answer them. I would type; people would want to start a restaurant, a gym, a mobile app. Some people had crazy ideas like they wanted to drill oil – everything.

Over time, as my app started growing, because people were telling me exactly the businesses they wanted to start, the problems they were facing, I knew – and these were private conversations, I was the one person who was seeing all this information. Over time, now this feature is paid, but it’s still affordable. Over time I’ve helped over 1000 people like this. There was no guessing, I knew exactly what features to add to this app, what kind of issues entrepreneurs struggle with, and entrepreneurs felt like their experiences were so very unique, but I often found like they fell into 4 pockets of questions that I was going to get.

It was either some question about business ideas like they have too many, they don’t have one. Then there were the business planning issues – business strategy. People always asked about raising money, and once people start, they had to learn marking. So, I build 4 apps to address those major issues and then of course, after the 4 apps, I started my YouTube channel, wrote my books, and created my online courses, but it all came from the questions people asked me, and the general experience I got from working with so many people on their businesses. I learned a little bit from everybody, and here I am - I know exactly what people need, what they struggle with because I literally talked to them about their issues, their struggles, and helped them. That was the future that started everything.

04:03

Christos Pittis - Udemy Premium Educator, Entrepreneur, Business & Tech

Alex Genadinik - Mobile app entrepreneur, marketer

Pittis: What do you see as exciting types of businesses to start?

Genadinik: A lot of people get excited about mobile apps, when I tell them mobile apps this, I have mobile apps, they get excited. I actually, because I have been in it for a while, it’s quite a difficult business. If this was 2008, this would be extremely exciting, but we are filming this in 2015, and it’s quite crowded. The ecosystem has matured, so what I would like to do, and what I try to always do is I ask myself “ok, for which industry or niche is it like it was in 2008 for apps”? I’m always trying to find that next big thing.

You have to be very open, because sometimes it’s easy to be like “oh Twitter, what is this” or you know, back in the day people always used to do that “oh whatever, it’s just for teenagers”. I think once I started to open my mind to technology – and I’m not a crazy tech person – I’m not one of those people who stand in line for the Apple store. Still, I think you have to get there in order to develop a sense for that next big thing that is kind of like the 2008 or 2007 was for mobile apps. I think the time for mobile apps is a little bit, possibly a little bit passed. That gold rush seems to be over, and now it’s stabilized, but I’m always looking for the symptoms of that next gold rush, and it’s hard to find – it’s really not easy.

Pittis: How are you different than your competition?

Genadinik: I proudly work harder than anyone because we didn’t get into it, but to get where I am, I had to experiment so much. Waking up, and staring at the screen. There is time for family, there is time for exercise, but the other time is for work. My products reflect that, because I worked hard and really, as I mentioned, I got to know my customers better than they know themselves. If you are starting a restaurant now, I’ve helped 20 people with it, and I know the issues you would run into starting any kind of business.

My products reflect that very often, because there is no guessing in any kind of product that I build. there is very little guessing in what people might need; it’s all from directly me getting down and dirty, and talking to customers, and from their words, they explain to me what kind of challenges they face. And then, my products are exact results from the conversations, and so they kind of are very close to satisfying their needs, so they come closest to reflecting their reality.

05:53

Christos Pittis - Udemy Premium Educator, Entrepreneur, Business & Tech

Alex Genadinik - Mobile app entrepreneur, marketer

Pittis: What are the biggest challenges of your current business?

Genadinik: Everything. Of course, you always have to stay ahead of the curve and create good products, but the challenge with creating products is that the stuff you have already created, you have to keep improving that, because it has to keep increasing in quality. It’s all about quality – if there is no quality, it will not work as well. You will not get the full potential if you don’t have the quality. Then, there is making older things better, still building new things.

Of course, that’s just the building of the product, because the biggest challenge is probably finding the time for marketing. If there is no marketing, then who cares about quality because nobody will find it or use it. Then you have to do marketing and sales, and of course then there are the finances of it all, because it’s not easy. It’s really probably all of these things that are a little bit like comparing apples to oranges, because they are all difficult, and probably the thing that sums it up is finding enough time in the day.

I know what to do, I know how to do it, I just don’t have the time. I think that’s the biggest challenge overall – being able to plan your business on an ongoing basis so that I’m working on the most necessary products of the business. Finding the time to grow, finding the time to market. That was the long answer, but I think it reflects reality – it’s the product evolution, marketing, and then really finding the time to do all the necessary things.

Pittis: What advice do you give to new entrepreneurs?

Genadinik: I notice often that many entrepreneurs can’t tell if they are entrepreneurs or “wantrepreneurs”, because they say “oh my god, I’m so excited, so excited, I’m going to start this business, it’s my dream” and then I talk to them a month later, and they tell me they haven’t worked on it. This is very common, and there is a reason for this, because often, it is not part of our life plan, because there are all of these other pre-occupations: family, work. It’s not in many peoples life plan to do all those things, and then at the end of the day when they are tired, to go, and work on a new business, extra work.

People, they kind of force themselves to work one day two days, and then they get discouraged, they lose confidence. You have to really hustle, like really hustle over a very long period of time. When I started to learn about building habits of working on your company every day or at least consistently. There is a difference between using your will and forcing yourself for 1 day, 2 days, but that’s not consistent – it’s going to be hard to sustain.

Research shows that they won’t sustain that; however, research shows that what does get results are people who make it a habit to work on their business, because habits are a natural thing to do, they don’t even think about it, it’s just something to gravitate to. The ways to build habits are to change your setting, it’s a little bit of a longer conversation to talk about how to build a habit. I would advise people who really have a dream, who really want to do this, to look into how to form habits, and how to get rid of unhealthy habits, and I think that would be a huge step to finding ultimate eventual success.

Alex Genadinik - Easy Quiz for you!
3 questions
Section 10: Jerry Banfield - Udemy Instructor| Entrepreneur Online
03:44


Christos Pittis - Udemy Premium Educator, Entrepreneur, Business & Tech

Jerry Banfield - Udemy Instructor, Entrepreneur Online


Pittis: If you were advising a friend to start up a business what industry would you suggest?

Banfield: I would suggest to do whatever you love to do – whatever area you love to do. I am having success because I am doing what I love to do. I enjoy doing this; I am not doing this as a means to an end. I am not trying to get somewhere besides where I am at right now; I am exactly where I want to be. I am very happy with exactly where I am, so any business you can start and be happy exactly where you are without using it as a means to an end, that’s a good business to start.

Regardless of what happens in the future with it, you will be happy with it and you will do what you need to - take one step at a time and to go where you are supposed to. Say you started in the wrong industry for you, but you enjoyed doing it, you would make a change eventually where you would get to the right place. Maybe you started off with travel because you loved doing that. If you didn’t make any money off that and weren’t doing well at it, but you were enjoying what you were doing each day, you would make a change into something you that did work for you. That’s what happened with me – I started with video gaming addiction and I enjoyed doing that. I slowly made a change into doing other things.

The point I suffered the most at is where I tried to use my business as a means to an end. I want to make ten thousand, twenty thousand dollars a month; I want to make lots of money, and that’s where I suffered in my business. I was able to do that with getting clients and the problem was, I started coming into my office - so to speak - realizing I didn’t like where I was at every day, and that was very frustrating. I found I was always trying to get somewhere else - I want to get to this place in the future where I am making more money and doing less work. How familiar does that sound? So, last year I took a very bold move, I guess it was pretty scary.

I borrowed around $50,000 so I could say no to everyone asking me to be a client so that I could drop most of my existing clients and do what I love doing, which is just education – making videos, talking about what I know. It seems that’s [the content people love from me as well]. It’s because when I’m doing what I love, it comes through, you can tell that I love doing this, you can tell that I genuinely enjoy sitting here talking about this right now, and I’m in my home at 11 o’clock in the morning, relaxing with a few studio lights on, talking to you here through my webcam and my mic on my computer making videos. Why wouldn’t I love doing this? You might not like doing this, and that OK. If you can figure out a business where you can enjoy what you are doing every day, and be happy where you are at, then that will be right for you.

04:14


Christos Pittis - Udemy Premium Educator, Entrepreneur, Business & Tech

Jerry Banfield - Udemy Instructor, Entrepreneur Online


Pittis: What advice would you give to another business owner?

Banfield: The advice I would give you or another business owner is to do a little bit of what you love every day. The opposite of that is to do a lot of something you think will get you where you want to be in one day. I know that’s challenging – when I started my business, I often was working as a means to an end, I was trying to do it all in one day, and that got insanely frustrating. What I do now is right here what I am doing with you - I am doing a little bit of what I love every day. I love sitting where in my home making these webcam videos and screen capture videos. I do a little bit of that every single day, and I try to set up my life so that no matter what I am doing and where I am, I can still find the time to make some of these lectures every single day. The amount of content you produce – the amount of work you do, the amount of progress you make - adds up gigantically if you do a little a day versus doing a lot all at once.

Let me give you an example, when I started at uDemy, I made most of my [course] the second iteration of it; the first one didn’t get approved because the video was too long. The second iteration, I made most all of my lectures in one day; I was so burned out, I could barely stand to look at uDemy for another month. Starting gradually and doing a little bit of what you love every day will give you the ability to do amazing amounts of [work] in moderation every single day. What I consistently see with business owners, especially with people who used to come to me as clients have this panicky “I’ve got to do this right now, I’ve got to get it all done, I need to get this launched”. That energy is poisonous, and you want to use the energy you see me sharing with you right now – patient, steady, I’m going to do a little bit every day, and I know I am going to achieve exceptional things doing that.

I don’t have to worry about what things I’m going to do in the future, and what I going to come out. I know I just do a little bit of what I love every day, and that is right for me today. I just live one day at a time. I don’t need to project what’s going to happen when I have 50 or 100 uDemy courses in the future, or worry about what’s going to happen when this goes wrong or that goes wrong. All I have to do is a little bit of what I love today, and I just do that every single day.

This also eliminates the need to over focus on things, so what I used to do in my business is days where I would work a ton and days where I wouldn’t work at all. The problem was, I would feel a great lack of doing anything on the days I wouldn’t work at all. For example, my wife and I would go to Disney, and I would talk her ear off about my business for an hour or two. Yes she is very patient thankfully, and I have learned that from her. So now when we go to Disney, I wake up in the morning, do a few lectures before we go, and then I don’t have the need to talk about work all day, I don’t have the need to think about it all day. I went, I did something today, let’s go and do something else right now.

04:36

Christos Pittis - Udemy Premium Educator, Entrepreneur, Business & Tech

Jerry Banfield - Udemy Instructor, Entrepreneur Online

Pittis: What are the biggest challenges you’ve faced in beginning this business?

Banfield: The biggest challenge I have faced was not knowing what I didn’t know. I was so deep in not understanding anything, I couldn’t even figure out what I needed to learn. When I got started, I had no idea that I didn’t know anything about online advertising, I didn’t know anything about conversions, coding, how to build a website, about anything, the problem was, I didn’t even know what I didn’t know. For example, now I realize that I still don’t know that much about coding, so I am learning coding. When you know what you don’t know, you can try to fix that and learn things. When you aren’t even aware of what you don’t know, you are powerless to try to do any better over it, and you just haphazardly end up stumbling into things you don’t even know the hard way. For example, when I tried to advertise my business, I just immediately threw myself into google AdWords without realizing that I didn’t know any of the basics around the conversion process - the buying process online. Naturally, my ads were nearly complete failures across the board.

If I would have known that I didn’t know any of that, I might have had the sense to realize that maybe I shouldn’t do paid ads when I don’t know anything about the buying and selling process for products online. Sometimes, ignorance can be helpful - if you realized all that you didn’t know before getting started, you might not start at all. However, ignorance is a way you continually run into bad situations with spending money in things and wasting it. For example, spending a bunch of money on online ads when you don’t know any of the process around how people buy. Spending much of your time doing something like building a website without knowing how to get anyone to the website.

I didn’t know anything about search engine optimization when I got started, and immediately I built my website and was frustrated that I couldn’t get anyone to come to the website. I didn’t ever realize that I had to learn about SEO until I already had a gigantic need. That’s really frustrating, starting out. I remember making my first website in WordPress. I didn’t know anything about internet caches and how things actually load online, and it got so frustrating when my web host would not make a change and show it immediately. I would make a change on the website and it wouldn’t come up live because the way they hosted the website, they had to refresh their cache first.

If I would have known that I didn’t know that, I could have learned about it and found a hosting provider beforehand that would host the way I wanted to where the changes would be live instantly. I know I still don’t know much about that exact method of how hosting is done online and what different ways there are, but at least I know I can learn that. If you don’t know what you don’t know, you are powerless and you just continually run into brick walls by surprise.

It’s just so frustrating, so if you are getting started, the first thing [I would do] if I had to do it again would be to learn all there is to learn about first so I can figure out what are all the things I need to learn about. Doing that is hard when you have a big ego, because I didn’t want to admit that I didn’t know about any of these things. I wanted to go about it like I knew, so not knowing what I didn’t know was the hardest part about getting started.

04:21

Christos Pittis - Udemy Premium Educator, Entrepreneur, Business & Tech

Jerry Banfield - Udemy Instructor, Entrepreneur Online


Pittis: What businesses do you think have the greatest opportunities to succeed in today’s market place?

Banfield: Online video-based businesses. For example, uDemy courses, YouTube channels, online video-based delivery is absolutely incredible, because on line video is the highest form of media. In other words, you can dumb down your video and audio. You can dumb down your video into a blog post. However, if you have a blog post, it’s hard to convert that into a video, and if you have just audio, it’s hard to convert that into a video. Of course these things are possible, but online video is the gold standard now for making exceptional content online, and that is a massive opportunity.

Think about how many best-selling books are out there. Think about how hard Hollywood works on all the movies they make, and all the other movie producers, think about all the successful podcasts. Now picture this, the landscape and the demand for online videos continues to grow. You can see for example on Facebook; online video is growing rapidly as Facebook’s preferred thing to share in the newsfeed. If you want to grab onto something successful, start with online video. It is so much more personal than a blog post, it is so much easier to rank for stuff on YouTube in most categories than it is to rank on Google’s search for the same things. The demand for videos is very high while the amount of good video tends to be unbelievable low.

I can go across YouTube and make videos on nearly any online marketing subject and I have a chance to have the best videos on YouTube on that video almost universally. I can just grab and take things on YouTube, and Facebook; “marketing, I want to have the best video on that”, I’ll go take that. It’s wide open, I hardly have to do anything to take it. There is a fantastic opportunity to make good videos online instead of doing things like writing blog posts. When is started I mostly focused on writing. If you are starting or regardless of where you are at, there is a gigantic opportunity in online video. Just look at uDemy - it’s mostly a collection of online videos with some pdfs, audio only, and some audio-over slideshows.

uDemy sales are going up rapidly – it is a big thing that’s here right now, and all you need to be able to do is make videos like this. I mean, you are sitting in a desk like I am here with a few lights and a background that takes your mom’s bedroom door - or for me, my futon - out of the background and makes it look a little bit professional. Look at Fiverr, people making videos on there have been able to make a lot of money just by making $5 video gigs for people. Online video is a massive opportunity that’s here now, and the more people that figure out “OK, I should be making video” - it already is extremely competitive on YouTube in some of the video-gaming areas. Imagine that across the board in the future, and imagine now you have the opportunity to just go grab all of these wide-open categories nobody is competing for. Even on uDemy, even if there are a lot of courses on some subjects, it’s still wide open compared to how it’s going to be in the future. You still have the chance to do what I’m doing and do some videos every day and have some success online. So, getting started, I would go with something that is online video based.

02:12

Christos Pittis - Udemy Premium Educator, Entrepreneur, Business & Tech

Jerry Banfield - Udemy Instructor, Entrepreneur Online

Pittis: How did you finance your startup?

Banfield: I did it by bootstrapping - using my own savings and student loans from graduate school and the gratuity, the kindness of hundreds of clients who ordered and paid for my services so that I could afford to continue growing and building my business. Most recently now, my uDemy earnings are providing an excellent ongoing source of income that I can count on in order to grow and scale my business. I am thankful that Lending Club and Discover gave me personal loans last year when my business barely broke even to make the transition from clients to education. I’m also thankful for PayPal Working Capital, which also gave me a business loan to help me get through the year with less income due to me changing from a client service model to an education-based model.

I financed everything just on bootstrapping, I’ve put up several videos on my YouTube channel and on my website where I have offered to sell parts of my company in exchange for giving some ownership to investors, and so far, I haven’t gotten any leads on that. I am grateful that I have gotten to where I am today without the help of any external funding, and I am open to giving people with funding who want to invest in the education company I am building online and see that income grow over time. If you have to do it yourself, and you most likely are going to have to do it yourself, you just do your best with what you have and try to use the money you make to re-invest in yourself.

02:31

Christos Pittis - Udemy Premium Educator, Entrepreneur, Business & Tech

Jerry Banfield - Udemy Instructor, Entrepreneur Online

Pittis: Why should people buy from you?

Banfield: If you love what I do, if you love the courses I create, the videos I make, the blog posts I write, if you love what I do and appreciate what it does for you, then you can buy from me to make sure that I can keep doing it, and support the people that support me in doing this whether it’s my family or the workers I have online. I look at it with me the same way I look at it when I am in the other shoes.

I buy from artists like Eminem because I love his albums. I know I could get it for free, but I buy his albums because I love what he is doing, and I want to give him the positive reinforcement to keep making me more albums. A lot of artists, I have download their music for free to get started with, and I keep this in mind with my business system, I put out a lot of things for free. You can decide whether you like my work or not before you have to actually pay me for anything.

My whole business system is set up for distributing my content for free on YouTube and my website, and then, if you love that, if you are really enthusiastic - and I am grateful that thousands of people around the world are really enthusiastic - then you might want to buy from me to make sure that I keep doing what I am doing. That way, there is no pressure – if you like what I do, and you want more of it, and you want to make sure I can keep creating more, then you can buy something. If you don’t like it, I don’t know why you would want to pay for it. It’s really simple, and I try in every situation to set up things so that it’s the either side. The same way I look at going to a movie or buying an album from an artist, I try to set up my business the same way.

05:23

Christos Pittis - Udemy Premium Educator, Entrepreneur, Business & Tech

Jerry Banfield - Udemy Instructor, Entrepreneur Online


Pittis: Who is your competition and how did you learn about what they do?

Banfield: Competition, according to the dictionary - which I will look over here to reference for a minute – the act or process to try to get or win something. I am not trying to get or win anything, I am just here doing what I love to do. There are people that I certainly can consider competition if I was trying to win something, but I am not. I am here doing what I love to do. I am here trying to give you genuinely helpful information, so I don’t have to worry about competition.

I’m here, I’m doing what I am supposed to do, what I love to do. There are lots of uDemy instructors who have inspired me, who get students into uDemy, and then their students take my courses; I am sure that I have done the same thing where I get students into uDemy, and then they pick other instructor’s courses. The same thing is true on YouTube with the recommended videos - I get other YouTube channels that work hard to get fair viewers who then come over to my channel – it’s a perfect system, because I am sure that I give back the same way.

In the sense that you might normally think of competition like a McDonalds and a Burger King on the same corner who are trying to compete over the fast food business in that area or two gas stations sitting next to each other trying to compete to get people to fill up there; I don’t have any competition like that. There is an abundant supply, I am not trying to compete with anyone else to grab their business. I am trying to uniquely offer value which then effectively makes me my own competition.

I have to compete with what I have done before to keep offering new and better content, and that’s Eminem’s view on the same subject. He says he has to listen to his old albums so that he can keep up with [his] competition. I really like that, that’s how I look at it. In fact, lots of times when I am trying to do something now, and I forget how to do it, I realize that I already made a tutorial showing how to do that. Since I don’t script things or plan things out, I just do the spur of the moment – it makes it really easy to create a lot. However, I don’t build this massive stream of information, so if I want something, I actually have to go back and watch my own stuff sometimes. It becomes really funny sometimes I am watching other people’s stuff and I realize that I already showed how to do that, and I forgot that I even did that.

I am grateful to not be competition focused. I know when I started out in offering people Facebook likes, or even when I started my business in video game addiction, I was very competition focused as if my website would be number 1 and I would crowd out everyone else. Now, I have an abundance mindset – I create relentlessly, I do what I love to do, and I don’t have to fight with anyone else, I will take whatever I can get, even if that means everyone else fighting over it and me getting the leftovers. The funny thing is, that’s been key to my entire success. A huge part of the world fights over business from the U.S., and I often make no overt effort to fight over that business, I just clean over the leftovers that other people didn’t even try to get to.

I go after huge global audience for what I am doing where there is almost no competition in adverting. I built a huge global audience and I wind up getting a whole bunch of people from the U.S. who come to me for free, so my abundance mindset has helped me a ton. Instead of focusing on what the uDemy instructor, or the web designer, or the video gamer next to me is doing, I just do my best. I leave the competition to people who want to win something, or want to fight against someone else. I don’t want to fight anyone and I am no better or worse than you, so I don’t have anything to win either. That’s my thought on competition. I know many instructors on uDemy have inspired me; I bought Alun Hill’s course - it was the first uDemy course I bought. I know his success on uDemy helped me to more aggressively go after my own success and to commit to do uDemy courses as my number 1, the 80% of the work I do, and I have been inspired by a lot of instructors, a lot of other people online, so I am grateful for that.

Jerry Banfield - Easy Quiz for you!
3 questions
Section 11: Christopher Jonet - Entrepreneur
06:57

Christos Pittis - Udemy Premium Educator, Entrepreneur, Business & Tech

Christopher Jonet - Entrepreneur


Pittis: Excellent, what are the biggest challenges you have faced in beginning this business.

Jonet: The biggest challenge that have I faced would be finance. Getting the capital, to extend it and make it bigger - that type of thing.

Pittis: Do you have a website? Do you sell online? What are your best products?

Jonet: Yes, I do have a website, it’s www.kineticarchery.com; I also have a Facebook page, Kineticarchery. My best products are my bows, my arrows, my camouflage, and my broad heads. At the moment, I do not have an online store, but that is the next thing I am working on.

Pittis: What does your business’s future hold, and how will you get there?

Jonet: The future for my business looks extremely bright. I am working to expand it as we speak. I had an indoor archery range, and within the next 2 and a half weeks, construction is going to be starting to turn it from a 15 yard range to a 30 yard range; I will be having leagues and competitions. We also teach hunter safety for adults and for youth; every 12 weeks we hold a class. What that does is it teaches adults and kids how to hunt and how to be a safe hunter so that they do not injure themselves or anybody else in the woods or in the field.

Pittis: Excellent, so Christopher, if you were advising a friend to start up a business, what industry would you suggest in your community?

Jonet: You mean to help them start up the same business like I have?

Pittis: Actually, in what industry would you suggest them to start? Internet startup or something else?

Jonet: With my business, it’s more face to face, hands-on. I do a lot of repair work and a lot of service work where online in my business, people buy the product brand new and then if something would go wrong with it, they would bring it to me to fix it, repair it, or even to maintain it for them.

Pittis: What business do you think have to greatest opportunities to succeed in today’s marketplace?

In my business, archery has a long ways to go because archery is becoming very popular. We are even introducing archery into the schools, and it has been scientifically proven that children who are involved in the shooting sports are smarter in school. They score higher in their SAT scores, it helps them to concentrate, deal with stress, and to relax. There is not a whole lot of pressure on them. With archery, you can do it as an individual sport, a team sport – the sky is the limit for them.

Pittis: What advice would you give to another business owner?

Jonet: The best advice I could give to another business owner would be: make sure you do your research, and make sure you [critique] the resources that you plan on [guiding you]. Do your homework on those people or those businesses as well, because there are a lot of people out there, and a lot of other business that want to take advantage of you, or even hurt you. You want to make sure that you have your bases covered so that you are protected all the way around.

Pittis: Now, let’s go to more technical questions. How did you finance your startup?

Jonet: I used my own personal finances to do it.

Pittis: OK, did you have a consultant help you with your business? If so, what did they help you with?

Jonet: I am actually working with a consultant right now, and they have helped me with pretty much everything. From my end, I know my product, the usage of it, the mechanics of it. I’ve gone to school to be a certified archery mechanic, which means to repair the products, fix the products, and even sometimes build the products. I am also a certified archery instructor. What that means is that I am certified to teach people how to shoot archery. So, I’ve gone to school for a lot of those things and it’s paid off.

Pittis: Yes, definitely. Why should people buy from you, Christopher?

Jonet: People should buy from me because of my customer service. I stand behind everything that I do and every product that I sell. My philosophy at kinetic archery is that when you buy something from me, I want your equipment to preform like my equipment – my personal equipment. Even though you have paid for it, you are not getting it until I am happy, because it’s my name and my reputation that walk out of the door whenever somebody leaves. I will go out of my way to help out a customer so that everything is perfect for them and so everything is working for them. I also take my time to teach my customer how to use [my products] properly, and how to be safe with it at the same time.

Pittis: Who is your competition, and how did you learn about what they do?

Jonet: In my area here in Green Bay, Wisconsin in the United States, there are 4 different archery shops in town. They know about me and I know about them. What sets me apart from them is my customer service and the way that I treat my customers. If you treat them with dignity and respect and you do not talk down to them and you do not belittle them, they will come back to you every time.

Pittis: Good, how are you different than your competition? Do you advertise or market the difference?

Jonet: Yes I do. Like I said, my difference to them is my customer service. I also carry a few other products that other archery shops don’t have, and that are special to kinetic archery; they have to come to me for them. For example, the hunter safety classes. In the state of Wisconsin here in the United States, Kinetic Archery is the only place that will teach hunter safety year-round. Everywhere else, hunter safety is either taught in the spring time or in the fall right before a hunting season. That is a specialty that we have here. However, I also build custom arrows, do custom tune-ups on archery equipment, so that’s my little niche in my corner of the world.

Pittis: Thank you very much, Christopher.

Jonet: Thank you very much.

Christopher Jonet - Easy Quiz for you!
3 questions
Section 12: Extra entrepreneur advice
Tip to increase your productivity
02:59
Section 13: Bonus section and conclusion
2 pages

Startup Success Stories Conclusion

Congratulations, you have just gained an immense head start in the world of startups and business. The information you have learned in this course is equivalent to decades of real-world experience and hardship. Give yourself a pat on the back, because you have saved yourself potentially thousands of dollars and countless hours of time. You are already ahead of the curve when it comes to new entrepreneurs, even if you haven’t begun any ventures yet. This might not mean much to you at the moment, but if and when you step into the business arena, these skills will come in handy.

This is a good time to go over some of the most important things covered in this course. It’s doubtful that you have retained all of this information the first time through. Take your time and perhaps brush up on areas you didn’t quite understand or remember. Remember, that you have a lifetime membership to this program, so you may come back at any time to take another look at what this course has to offer. This course contains many categories of knowledge including investing, mindset for success, practical stories, and more. Use that as a guideline for review by taking another look at the course outline if you would like to narrow in on specific categories as necessary.

It’s also a good time to ask yourself questions. A very practical question would be: what’s the most surprising bit of information you learned from this course? Counter-intuitive knowledge is often the most powerful, as it usually takes the longest time to learn from practical experience. Therefore, the most surprising information will usually be the most practical, and will set you apart from other entrepreneurs. At any rate, it is very beneficial to reinforce what you have learned by going through the most prominent points presented in these interviews.

So, what’s next, you may ask? It’s all up to you – the world is yours. Of course, it would be optimal to utilize this information as soon as you can before you forget anything. Remember, this course is the first step to success. If you’ve come this far, it means that you are serious about creating your own startup and becoming an entrepreneur. Don’t let your dreams slip by; let this be your first milestone, but always remember to keep going forward, accomplish new things, gain more insight, and utilize what you have learned.

Lastly, don’t forget to converse via Udemy discussions. It is not only beneficial for you, but also for other individuals who are also interested in startups. You will be able to communicate directly with the interviewees in this course. This will not only let you read specific user-requested answers to major questions, but it’s completely interactive. If you do not understand something, simply pose your question to the community. This way, not only will you get your questions answered, but the rest of the community will be able to learn as well.

Come back at any time to review and converse. Thank you for taking part in this fantastic learning experience.

Teachers:

Christos Pittis http://www.christospittis.com/

Alex Genadinik http://www.problemio.com/

Jerry Banfield http://jerrybanfield.com/

Interviewee Quotes
2 pages
Free e-book by Christos Pittis
356 pages
Free e-book by Alex Genadinik
76 pages
Bonus lecture: Free coupon for the entrepreneurship course by Christos Pittis
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Instructor Biography

Alex Genadinik, Entrepreneur, marketer, mobile app developer, business coach

3-time best selling Amazon author, creator of top entrepreneur mobile apps, and host of a popular business and marketing channel on YouTube.

I am the creator of the Problemio business apps which are some of the top mobile apps for planning and starting a business with 1,000,000+ downloads across iOS, Android and Kindle.

I am also an author of three business books (marketing to reach 1,000,000 people, on starting a business, and on the mobile app business).

I am also a business coach. On my apps and in my private coaching practice I have helped over 1,000 entrepreneurs. That means I can probably help you quite a bit as well.

My areas of expertise are mobile apps, software engineering, marketing (SEO and social), and entrepreneurship.

I created over 90 courses on Udemy with 70,000+ students by whom I am humbled and who I try to help any way I can!

Instructor Biography

Jerry Banfield, Teaches 70 Courses

Why are 170,000+ students learning with me on Udemy?

Try taking a course and see for yourself!

  1. Every course I teach is delivered through my experience, strength, and hope for you. You get to see both my successes and failures which gives you the ability to copy what I do that works and skip the pain of making the same mistakes!
  2. In 2011, I started my business online while I was a graduate student out of a bedroom in my apartment. I had very little savings and no experience working online. I made a lot of mistakes and by 2014 I was nearly bankrupt. Out of desperation, I started sharing everything I knew on YouTube and Udemy. For the first time in my life, I started thinking most about what I could do for others instead of what they could do for me.
  3. Now you are here with me as proof that somehow out of all that failure, I am still here and things are going well! I am grateful to use the same methods to learn that Steve Jobs, Albert Einstein, and most of the world's greatest geniuses speak of when asked how they made their great discoveries. The short version is that I focus on maintaining an attitude of gratitude one day at a time and having a silent mind. The purpose of sharing this with you is to show that anything is possible for you in your life today when you are open to receiving the help that is right in front you! My Udemy courses are here in front of you now and they might have every single thing you have been looking for.

What experience gives me the ability to be your teacher today?

  1. Living one day at a time, doing the next right thing, and asking for help allow me to live by example today. This makes teaching easy for me because I just explain to you what I do that works and what went wrong in the past.
  2. Being raised by loving family, friends, coworkers, associates, and people online just like you. My wife is an attorney, my brother is a nuclear engineer, my mother is a retired Army officer and board certified veterinarian, my father served in Vietnam and stayed at home to raise my brother and me, two of my Aunts have a PHD, my grandfather retired as an engineer at Ford, and my dogs love me no matter what! Everyone in my life loves me enough that I have the ability to be here with you and pass that on in each of my courses.
  3. Masters degree earned from the University of South Florida in May 2014, certification as a state law enforcement officer in South Carolina in 2007, and a bachelors degree earned from the University of South Carolina in May 2006!

➲ How may I help you today? Try one of my courses today to find out!

Instructor Biography

Christos Pittis, ERP Consultant, IT/Technology/Software Enthusiast, educator

ERP Consultant for more than nine years and experience as an Entrepreneur for eight years. Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP).

Teaching Accounting for more than eight (8) years.

1. Level 2 seller on Fiverr 

2. TOP 5% of most-viewed on SlideShare (year 2014) 

3. 21,000 + students at Udemy 

4. Author of two books


He is married with two children, and lives in the UK.


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