10 Pieces of Advice from Kzoo’s Entrepreneurs

Have you ever thought about starting a business? Being your own boss. Breaking the mold. Being bold. But, then also thought, what happens if [insert negative thought here]?

Take some advice from people who have been through it all, Kalamazoo’s entrepreneurs! It just may make you think again…

10 Pieces Of Advice From Kzoo’s Entrepreneurs - Awesome Mitten
Courtesy of Kzoo Uncaged

“Do it.  Human beings are meant to create, but somewhere along the way we give in to the idea that we are just supposed to get by and find something safe. I don’t advocate being unwise with your responsibilities (spouse, children, home, etc), but if the situation works and the idea is brilliant and you can get the right people on board, then you need to go for it.”

Kevin Romeo, Rhino Media and MI Bottle Opener

“Think Big. Start Small.”

– Jarrett Blackmon, Damn Handsome Grooming Co.

10 Pieces Of Advice From Kzoo’s Entrepreneurs - Awesome Mitten
Courtesy of Kzoo Uncaged
  1. You can do it.
  2. Start right now.
  3. Embrace failure, it is the fastest way to succeed.
  4. If you work really hard you will eventually be an overnight success.
  5. Be underrated, serve your customers and ignore the press and the hype cycle.
  6. Surround yourself with people that are smarter than you.
  7. Don’t look for shortcuts, they don’t exist, embrace the hard way.
  8. Don’t sacrifice sleep, food, exercise or strong relationships.  This is a marathon not a sprint.

Daniel Jefferies, NewMind  and HappyGraph

“Work hard. Know your audience.”

Melissa Al-Azzawi, Handmade Kalamazoo

10 Pieces Of Advice From Kzoo’s Entrepreneurs - Awesome Mitten
Courtesy of Kzoo Uncaged

“Loving what you do is a start, but it’s not enough.  You have to be committed to your vision above anything else because if you don’t put the time and effort in, no one will.  When people see your passion and commitment coming from a genuine place, they will respond.  On a daily basis, stay committed to the tasks at hand as well as the big picture and surround yourself with others who see your vision clearly and can help you stay on task.  And when things get hard, close your eyes, take a run, or do whatever you need to do to get back in touch with the creative juices within you and reconnect to the pure love of what you do.”

Kristin Fiore, Down Dog Yoga Center

“I saw a quote that pretty much sums it up: ‘Doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will.’ – Karim Seddiki

Starting a business is terrifying, but it’s key to believe in your product/service, as well as yourself. Once you have the confidence, add in a [hefty] serving of hard work and persistence, and you’ve got success on a platter!”

– Bisera Urdarevik, Lush Gourmet Foods

10 Pieces Of Advice From Kzoo’s Entrepreneurs - Awesome Mitten
Courtesy of Kzoo Uncaged
  1. Trust your gut
  2. Follow your passions
  3. Treat your people like gold
  4. Know your why
  5. Be the tortoise  (be patient)
  6. If you believe in something, never give up
  7. Be humble
  8. Say “no” to good things so you can accomplish what is most important to you
  9. Align your team
  10. Share your vision, often
  11. Make decisions
  12. Apologize

Jen Randall, Maestro 

“Listen to old people when they have advice to give. Except when they’re wrong.”

– Jeb Gast, Fido Motors’ 

10 Pieces Of Advice From Kzoo’s Entrepreneurs - Awesome Mitten
Courtesy of Kzoo Uncaged

“When you look at the definition of entrepreneur it is: “One who assumes risk”.  It is important to understand that when you start your own business there is no guarantee that you will succeed regardless of whether or not you have the bestn”whatever”.  One of the most important traits an entrepreneur need is the ability to pick oneself up and start it all over again. There was the saying of ‘Too big to Fail’ which was used to refer to banks in the financial meltdown of 2008-for small business people the saying should be ‘too small to quit.'”

John Schmitt, Michigan Small Business Development Center

“‘Set aside time to shut it down.’ This is often difficult for new entrepreneurs to put into practice. The to-do list is never-ending and the hours in the day are never enough. The truth is, no matter if you are five days into running your business or five years, there will never be a time when everything is done. However, to maintain a healthy and enjoyable life/work balance, you must set aside specific time to completely unplug and step away from work. A balanced entrepreneur is a happy entrepreneur. You might even find that your ‘off-time’ fuels you to work harder and smarter when its time to get back to business.”

Lindsey Wilson, Kalamazoo Gift Company 

Are you thinking again? Be the boss.

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