Trent infield a manifesto for the young entrepeneur
Designed November 2011
ForwardMy entrepreneurial experience began at the age of 18 and has spanned only 3years. Nevertheless, in that short time I have constructed a potent point ofview about what it means to be an entrepreneur. I have indulged inopportunities that very few others my age have. I spent time learning theZen of entrepreneurship while interning with a web startup, learning formthe best at a top 10 startup accelerator and leading my own startup venture. Ihave traveled to Hong Kong and Argentina in pursuit of adventure and newexperiences. I even started an entrepreneurship club in the hopes of passingon what I have learned so far and to give the next round of entrepreneurs ahand up.This manifesto is a public statement of my theory on how to be a successfulyoung entrepreneur. It is my hope that this perspective will be valuable toother young entrepreneurs, mature entrepreneurs, and my future self. I haveseen many manifestos, but I have yet to see a definitive piece for youngentrepreneurs by young entrepreneurs. It is my hope that you will read thismanifesto well and share it with your friends. Trent Infield Please Enjoy,
1. Life is a Game, Roll the Dice 12. Know your Decision Making Process2. Failure is Learning 13. Live on Fire3. Learning is Glorious 14. Achieve Balance4. Go Against the Flow 15. Build your Community5. Own Your Ideas 16. Be a Traveler6. Build for You 17. Communicate Effectively7. Questions are Everything 18. Know your Story8. Get it Done 18. Train Like an Athlete9. Organize the Chaos 19. Silence the Voice of Judgment10.Delete Distractions 20. Trust your Gut
Life is a Game, Roll the DiceHave fun playing the game of life and others willwant to play with you. You set the rules because youdefine success and what you are willing to endure.Understand that you are playing for yourself but youare not alone and your actions will affect others.Reconcile the urge to be a part of other people’sgame. Life is best lived taking risks and chasingopportunities
Failure is LearningFailing is the best way to learn something . Even themost successful entrepreneurs fail regularly.Actually, that failure is part of why they aresuccessful. Learn the discipline of proper failure .Fail fast and learn from the failure so you do notmake the same mistakes again. “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts” – Winston Churchill
Learning is GloriousLearning is often viewed as a means to an end.College students study so they can get a job,accumulate money, accumulate things, and thenfinally retire. For entrepreneurs, learning is a part ofthe journey. Learning is the fuel that drivesinnovation and growth. As we learn we are alsodiscovering how to learn, and that is the key to livinga fulfilling life. Be curious and committed to being alife-long learner “Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young. The greatest thing in life is to keep your mind young.” – Henry Ford
Go Against the FlowMy grandfather once said “If you see everyone doingone thing, there is a good chance you should do theopposite.” If you are going to be an entrepreneur youwill have to think and act differently than everyoneelse. The status quo is the enemy of theentrepreneur. You must develop blinders so you canignore what others are doing, that way you canproperly focus on what you are doing. If you aretrying to compare yourself to your I-banking friendwho drives a BMW, you are missing the point. “Im not interested in preserving the status quo; I want to overthrow it..” – Niccolo Machiavelli
Own your IdeasWhen it comes to life, there is nothing worse thanliving based on the ideas of others. Live a life basedon your own ideas; not those of your parents, media,or even your friends. A life of passion can only stemfrom a genuine worldview. Only you can craft yourgenuine worldview. People should have an emotionalreaction to you because you have a clear set ofprinciples and characteristics. You should do whatyou do because you want to do it and for no other “If you do not express your own originalreason. ideas, if you do not listen to your own being, you will have betrayed yourself.” – Dr. Rollo May
Build for youIn a world of exams, homework, projects and choresit is important to take time to build things for you. Ifyou are only creating because you are tasked by anextrinsic force you do not own the creative output oryour own creative force. These things do not have tobe huge, but they do have to be commissioned byyou for you. As an entrepreneur there will always bemore projects that can get done and you can easilyforget about you – don’t.
Questions are EverythingQuestions get answers and answers lead to action.Questions show interest, intellect and make animpression on the questioned. Questions are an openopportunity to display curiosity and a desire toengage with concepts. The right questions lead tosecond and third answers which are the best kind.Furthermore, questions lead to follow up andnetworking opportunities. Ask questions! “Successful people ask better questions, and as a result, they get better answers.” – Tony Robbins
Get it DoneWhen it is time to work it is imperative that you aregetting it done. It is a cliché to work smarter notharder, but I find you must work harder and smarterif you want to succeed as an entrepreneur. Youcannot truly enjoy relaxing or playtime if you haven’tgotten what you need to get done. Work efficientlyand focus on outputs. Do not procrastinate.
Organize the ChaosHave a place for everything and get everything in itsplace. When you have a task or an idea write it downor you will lose it. If your ideas and tasks aren’torganized in a way you trust, the tasks will just floataround in your brain and serve as a distraction. Onceeverything is organized, set an expected time thatyou think it will take to complete each item. Youdon’t have to be exactly right. You will get better andbetter at predicting how long it will take to completea task with experience. Set priorities for everything “The secret of all victory lies in theand stick to them. organization of the non-obvious.” – Marcus Aurelius
Delete DistractionsClose out the Facebook, turn off the email, and shutout the distractions that are holding you back fromboth being creative and getting things done. Whenour brains are inundated with distractions theycannot be creative. A distracted mind is also lessproductive than a singly focused mind. Get rid of thehard to beat distractions such has venomous friendsand other similar influences. Alcohol, Caffeine, andother drugs can be dangerous distractions in thewrong hands, especially if they create dependency.
Know your Decision Making ProcessHaving a decision making process can makeentrepreneurial life much easier. When it comestime to make a decision, ignore sunk costs and onlyconsider the future benefits and costs. It can also beuseful to look at the opposite case and inspect somehypothetical scenarios. Lay out alternatives and thenmake the call. Remember, any decision is better thanindecision.
Live on FireWhen you are doing what you are meant to do youwill feel it, I guarantee it. You will feel like you are onfire. I have had the feeling several times and it wasthe greatest sort of euphoria. For me, living on firemeans embodying your passions, sharing yourvision, and living your dream. If you wake up on toomany consecutive days wondering why you are doingwhat you are doing then you are not living on fire.On the other hand, if you can say that you wouldn’t “The most powerful weapon on earth is thehave it any other way you are likely living on fire. human soul on fire” – Field Marshal Ferdinand Foch
Achieve BalanceFinding the correct balance of activities is essentialto living an entrepreneurial lifestyle. Take the timeto celebrate success, enjoy the moment, and be withfriends. Avoid burnout by giving your most preciousmuscle, your brain, proper rest. Avoid spreadingyourself too thin by being selective and deliberate inwhat opportunities you choose to pursue.
Build your CommunityWhile we may all be in our own game, that doesn’tmean we aren’t playing with others. Build yourcommunity and fill it with the people you want tospend time with. Make time for your family andmake an extra effort to be a good friend. It has beensaid that you will be the average of the 5 people youspend the most time with, so pick the right people.
Be a TravelerTravelling has been the single best way for me tocome up with new ideas. The new viewpoints andscenery that you come across while traveling canspark massive creativity and personal growth.Travelers experience new cultures and conquer newchallenges much in the same way an entrepreneurdoes.
Communicate EffectivelyCommunication is a two way street. Be perceptive tohow other perceive you and how you communicatewith them. Tailor your communication style to youraudience. Understand the different communicationstyles of men and women and leverage them tobecome a better communicator. Be conscientious ofother people’s feelings. Do not say anything torebuke others. “When dealing with people, remember you are not dealing with creatures of logic, but creatures of emotion.” – Dale Carnegie
Know your StoryYou must absolutely have an answer to the question“ Tell me about yourself.” Know your story and howto tell it. Being interesting is the first step to gettingpeople to take interest in you and what you do.Stories are also very powerful ways that we connectwith others.
Train Like an AthleteEntrepreneurship is a full contact sport. I find that Iam at my most productive when my mind and bodyare actively in training with a goal in mind. Gettingexercise 3 days a week is a must to maintain healthybaseline. You can also train your brain to read faster,remember more, and process information faster.Proper training can make a huge difference.
Silence the Voice of JudgmentThe Voice of Judgment (VOJ)is that little voice in theback of your head that tells you that you aren’t goodenough and that people will laugh at you. Its solepurpose is to limit you. The VOJ will kill yourdreams if you let it. Defeat you VOJ by accepting thatfailure and embarrassment are simply outcomes andnothing to be feared. Do not listen to other peoplewho have been infected by their VOJ. They only wantto see you cowed by the VOJ in the same way they “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself-have been. -nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.” – Franklin Roosevelt
Trust your GutAt the end of the day, creativity andentrepreneurship are both difficult pursuits. Theyare emotional, technical, and multi-faceted. Thesurest way to make sure you are on the right path isto trust your gut. Let your intuition guide you to theright course of action. “And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” – Steve Jobs