Getting Started 091309 Mitch Stoller

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Getting Started 091309 Mitch Stoller

  1. 1. From Self-Employed to Entrepreneur…Getting a Business Off the GroundMitch Stoller, Co-Founder, Group SJR<br />August 13, 2009<br />
  2. 2. Nature vs. Nurture<br /> Are people born entrepreneurs?<br /> Do they become entrepreneurs?<br /> Or, put another way, can you learn to do what it takes?<br />
  3. 3. What Happened to Me <br /> After 10 years in PR, market research, plus a little bit of advertising, I lost my job in the 2001 recession<br /> Told myself I never wanted to work in the business again<br /> So, I did something very original…<br />
  4. 4. Hollywood—Don’t Do It!<br /> I decided to become a screenwriter (okay, I’d already written a bad script or three)<br /> What a terrible career choice! <br /> Only about 10,000 people write <br /> scripts for free every year*<br /> --*In greater Los Angeles alone<br />
  5. 5. School for Entrepreneurs<br /> But screenwriting is a tremendous school for entrepreneurs…<br /> --You’re on your own to come up with ideas<br /> --You’ve got to hook your audience in two lines or less (Logline: At the height of the Cold War, a female archeologist discovers the Garden of Eden and its secret to ultimate power)<br /> --You must accept rejection (ever try to get an agent?)<br />
  6. 6. Good News, Bad News <br /> You also learn how to handle good news and bad news<br /> Cliché alert:<br />“If you can meet with triumph and disaster. And treat those two imposters just the same,” Kipling<br />
  7. 7. You’ve Got to Have Fun <br /> Screenwriting blows (cutthroat, lonely, waiting for phone to ring)<br /> It taught me to appreciate what <br /> I had before<br /> So, when as a freelance PR/researcher <br /> (you’ve got to eat), my friend and old <br /> colleague referred me a big <br /> account…<br />
  8. 8. Back in the Game<br /> I was legitimately self-employed<br /> I was flying back and forth to Venezuela<br /> I had to learn….the boring stuff<br />
  9. 9. Small Biz Basics<br />What you must do:<br /> --Fund your expenses<br /> --Track and report income and expenses <br /> --Contribute to Social Security and Medicare<br /> --Pay income taxes on your profit<br /> --Pay taxes at least 4x per year<br /> --Track and report any payments to contractors<br />
  10. 10. Money In…Money Out<br /> Get paid quickly (means do a good job)<br /> --Use free/low cost online tools to invoice and track time (ever heard of Outright!)<br /> --Use Paypal to get paid (if appropriate)<br /> Stay on top of it<br /> --Use a separate checking account for bills (preferably one with free online bill pay)<br /> --Get a separate credit card for purchases<br />
  11. 11. Keep it Simple<br />Use “cash” method<br />--How much did <br />you earn?<br /> --How much did <br />you spend?<br />
  12. 12. Self Employed to…<br /> When my colleague and old friend left his job, suddenly it was time to…<br /> …Do what we’d now been talking about for over a year<br /> Launch a new agency <br />
  13. 13. The Basic Qs<br /> --Pick a name <br /> --Incorporate or not? (Yes)--Lease space or virtual? (sublet LA, nothing NYC)<br /> --Business cards? (only later)<br /> --Titles? (none for SJR)<br />
  14. 14. What They Don’t Teach You at Harvard Business School*<br />The conventional wisdom will only serve you so well past the basics<br /> You need to find your own path<br /> What works for you and your business<br /> *Read Mark McCormack’s book <br />
  15. 15. Some Tips<br />Ignore the 80/20 rule<br />Build relationships, build contacts<br /> --Every conversation sets a chain of events in motion<br />Give back through a good service at a fair price<br />Neither a borrower nor a lender be<br />
  16. 16. Lead the Way<br /> If you’re out there talking to people, things will happen, opportunities will arise<br /> Sometimes you won’t get a clear sense what a potential client or biz partner wants*<br /> Always come back with a clear, well-defined bid<br /> *According to our research, 86.35 % of the time<br />
  17. 17. Sell, Sell, Sell<br /> We live in a process-heavy society (any recovering lawyers here?)<br /> It can blind us to simple facts about human interaction<br /> You need to sell yourself and your service<br /> --Think LogLine vs. Flow charts<br />
  18. 18. What to Sell<br /> You don’t need to tell everybody everything<br /> You need to talk to people about what matters to them—not you<br /> Understand what makes you different (if you’re not, why your offer is the better deal)<br />
  19. 19. Hanging on to Clients?<br /> If you work with clients (and I bet a lot people here do)…<br /> …Never think there’s something you shouldn’t do <br /> You must offer the best possible service, plus strategy, <br /> plus creativity, plus execution<br /> Think Four Seasons Meets Idea Lab Meets <br /> Bob the Builder (Yes We Can!) …<br />
  20. 20. No Exit<br /> Lots and lots of people start something looking to get rich quick<br /> It’s not going to happen<br /> You know you’re a real entrepreneur when you want to be the best at what you do*<br /> *Official Group SJR definition<br />
  21. 21. Back to the Good + Bad<br />“Victory is never final, defeat is never fatal. What counts is courage.”<br /> Churchill<br /> “Success is never final and failure never fatal. It’s courage that counts.”<br /> George F. Tilton*<br /> *Who the hell is George Tilton?<br />

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