Do Good Things Come to Those Who Wait?


They say that “Good things come to those who wait,” but is it true?

Since shifting my focus from short term profit to a long term, multi-faceted game plan, I often find myself wondering if it’s worth it. What I’m doing makes sense assuming everything goes as planned, but that doesn’t make it easier to be patient.

So in an attempt to both pacify my own impatience, and hopefully share a few things I’ve learned in the last 18 months of being patient, let’s dive into a few reasons patience is worth it in entrepreneurship.

Meeting People of Influence

While I personally hate “who you know” being such a factor of success, it’s amazing what doors open when you take the time to build relationships with people of influence. In the past, I used sheer aggression in marketing and value proposition to build my companies.

Did that work? It sure did, but looking back I realized that the amount of time and energy spent should have been split in direct business development and relationship building.

This go around, instead of being consumed with trying to convince everyone my logic is the greatest thing since sliced bread, I’m taking the time to prove myself on a much smaller scale. This is leading to relationships with people who are opening doors that will ultimately make my long term objectives easier to attain.

As an added bonus, when I started to diversify my relationships, it became easier to find people who thought my logic was the greatest thing since sliced bread.

Finding Better Ways To Communicate

As an entrepreneur, one of the biggest sources of frustration is not being able to convince everyone your idea is a good one. Very often that is because it’s hard to compact years of planning into 5 minutes of conversation and actually relay the big picture.

Convincing people who don’t matter in the big picture is easy. The ones that can make or break you is hard. If you can’t paint the picture quickly you’ll get shut down in less than 30 seconds.

Once you get over the slap to your confidence and accept that you can’t convince everyone, it becomes a worthwhile challenge to figure out new ways to be a communications artist. Not only does this have short term value in achieving your goal, being able to communicate effectively to different personality types is a priceless skill in leadership.

Learning To Suppress Ego

Being successful in a variety of areas makes you confident. While confidence is an extremely essential aspect of success, learning when to be humble is a hard but worthwhile.

There is always someone bigger and better than you. The quicker you learn that reality the quicker you will be able to connect and learn from them. This is not to say you should become a “yes man” and never challenge their opinion.

Learning to shut up and listen enables you to learn faster and also helps build a relationship. When others recognize you respect their opinion and experience, they are much more likely to help you in return. This applies to people of influence, your team, and potential partners or customers.

Building An Even Better Mousetrap

Looking back on the plan I’ve been working on for over 2 years now, the way it’s grown is remarkable. Different components of it are being implemented all over the world by other people, which just gives me more confidence that my logic is correct.

As pieces of the puzzle are confirmed, it makes it that much easier to convince those who I’ve been building relationships with that the macro vision being built is worthwhile. While it would be extremely satisfying to say it was my idea first, history proves that being the first to market doesn’t always mean you win.

It’s often those who build a slightly better version of the proverbial mousetrap who win.

So Is Patience Worth It?

As much as it pains me to say it, I think being patient will be worth it.

Spending time building relationships, learning to communicate better, and seeing what works and what doesn’t, enables you to put together a better mousetrap without having to convince everyone that it’s a good idea. Now you just have to convince them it’s a better version.

This leads back to learning to suppress your ego.

As an entrepreneur it’s extremely hard to not strive to be the man on top as quickly as possible. It’s the way we are wired and what separates us from those happy with the status quo and no drive to challenge it.

So I guess time will tell if patience will turn out to be a virtue. But I can say it has made me a better man. It has caused me to build relationships with people who will help turn my dream into reality, exposed my flaws and strengths, and given insight into becoming a person of true merit.

Financial success can be fleeting, but character built through patience is priceless.

Don’t Tackle An Elephant Head On

an elephant in the river

I’ve heard two different philosophies about building a successful company. One school of thought glorifies the idea of “disruption.” These are the Ubers of the world who set out to redefine or create entire industries.

Then there are the founders who believe you should watch what works for others and simply recreate it in order to achieve similar success. This approach can work when taking a model from niche market to niche market or from city to city.

Both models have their champions. And both sets of champions have plenty of bad things to say about the other approach. Personally, I like what I call the “Paul Singh approach.”

Don’t Tackle An Elephant Head On

In our podcast last week, Paul talked about the early days of 500 Startups, taking on giant investing firm Andreessen Horowitz. While Andreessen Horowitz had access to deal flow and didn’t have to work hard at finding investments, 500 Startups was young, unproven, and relatively smaller.

So, Paul and Dave McClure didn’t play the game the same way their larger competitors did. They chose to travel the world, spending most of the year in other cities, speaking and meeting startups. They built their portfolio by going to the companies–the exact opposite strategy most investment firms were using.

This is where “disruption” can play a big role. 500 Startups didn’t invent an industry; but they did re-imagine what an industry could look like and how to get business done. And, as we all know, they were successful with it. If they had chosen to play the same game as larger, more established firms, they probably would’ve lost.

But Know the Rules of the Game

We often hear stories of founders who built successful companies in industries they weren’t familiar with. They attribute their success to “not knowing any better.”

But, that’s not as common as we like to think it is. In the case off 500 Startups, if David and Paul didn’t know much about investing before they started, they learned quickly. After all, it’s vital to understand your industry. More common in real life is the entrepreneur who spent much of her career in a certain industry, saw a problem there, and figured out a way to solve it. Profitably.

If you don’t know the rules of the game you’re playing, you’ll never be able to judge which ones to break and which ones to keep. 99% these are the most important decisions you’ll make as you start up.

Want to know more about the “rules” of the game? We’re launching an awesome webinar series in the next few weeks and would love to have you join us. We’ll be talking about things like idea validation, pitching investors, and crowdfunding. Just pop your email address in the subscribe box, and we’ll keep you updated on all the important details.

How to Take Advantage of the Latest Trends in Crowdfunding


Those of you familiar with crowdfunding know it’s quickly evolving into an industry itself. In fact, crowdfunding is predicted to create at least 270,000 jobs and inject $65 billion into the economy by 2014’s end.

As an entrepreneur (current or aspiring), how can crowdfunding help you grow your business? To find out, it’s helpful to understand the trends driving the most successful campaigns and to choose the right platform for your project.

Entrepreneurs can take advantage of these three big crowdfunding movements:

The Rise of the DIY Entrepreneur

In the past, entrepreneurs with business ideas relied on venture capital or raised seed funding from friends and family. Crowdfunding offers an advantage traditional methods don’t by providing validation as well as money. A successful campaign shows that there’s a market for what you offer. Getting additional funding is easier once an idea is proven viable.

For example, Bluff Works, a wrinkle-free men’s pants company, had over a thousand backers on Kickstarter and raised more than $128,000 — far exceeding its $13,500 goal. Its founder used the campaign to conduct market research and learned that customers wanted black pants, something he hadn’t considered when launching the campaign.

Leveraging an Existing Network

Another emerging trend is using your existing network to jump start a campaign. This works for entrepreneurs, writers and artists with devoted followings who are invested in what you have to say.

People enjoy the “story behind the story.” A behind-the-scenes look at what you intend to create increases your likelihood of getting funded. After losing her child, Angela Miller built support for her book by sharing her story on social media. Her campaign garnered 217 supporters (70 percent strangers) and raised $12,978 on Pubslush.

Funding Tech, Apparel and Video Production

Cutting-edge gadgets do especially well on crowdfunding sites. The Pebble Smartwatch raised over $10 million on Kickstarter, for example.

Fashion also gets a lot of coverage in the crowdfunding space. Stantt, a casual shirt company, raised cash on Kickstarter and was able to offer over 50 sizes, thanks to precise body measurements and 3D body scans.

Producing films costs a lot of money, and crowdfunding mitigates some of the financial risk. The “Veronica Mars” movie projectshattered Kickstarter records when it raised more than $5.7 million from 91,585 fans of the canceled show.

If your project fits into one of these categories, it’s made for crowdfunding. Even if it doesn’t, you can see what made these campaigns succeed: A real user need (Pebble), dissatisfaction with current offerings (Stantt), and a cult-like following (“Veronica Mars”).

Choosing the Right Platform for Your Campaign

Before setting up your campaign, evaluate the platforms available and weigh the advantages of each.

  • Kickstarter: This company specializes in creative projects (films, games, music, art, design and technology), all of which remain fully owned by their creators. The funding is all or nothing, meaning you must raise the entirety of your goal to receive any money.
  • Indiegogo: Geared toward the international community, Indiegogo supports 224 countries and territories, five currencies, and four languages.
  • Pubslush: My company, Pubslush, funds literary and publishing projects. Authors can evaluate interest in their ideas and learn readers’ demographics. Readers can pledge money to bring books to fruition.
  • Crowdfunder: Crowdfunder connects investors and entrepreneurs in film and entertainment, small business and technology. It serves North and South America and accepts minimum investments of $1,000.
  • StartSomeGood: This site specializes in social entrepreneurship and allows you to set a Tipping Point Goal (what a project must raise to make an impact) and an Ultimate Fundraising Goal.

Once you’ve chosen a platform, position your campaign for success.

  1. Learn from other campaigns. Review the most successful campaigns on different sites to see what worked. What wording did they use? What rewards were offered? How much interaction did the users have with backers?
  2. Get advice from those who’ve been there. Reach out to individuals who’ve run successful campaigns. Ask what worked well, what they’d do differently, and what insider tips they can offer.
  3. Develop a pre-campaign strategy. Campaigns that gain 30 percent of their goal within the first week are more likely to succeed. Get between 30 and 50 percent of your supporters in place before launching your campaign.

Crowdfunding opens a world of possibilities, but it’s not an easy out or a guaranteed way to get funding. But if you do your research, choose the appropriate platform, and promote your campaign before its launch, your odds of success are much better.

Amanda L. Barbara is the vice president and co-founder of Pubslush (, a global crowdfunding and analytics platform for the literary world. Follow on Twitter

The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched StartupCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.

Digital Marketing Strategies for Startups

Many startups end up spending more money than necessary.

Which is crazy because a company can be launched for much less than expected.

The key is to use a marketing strategy that is innovative, ROI focused, and customer-centric rather than one that relies on branding and traditional mass media. One of the best ways to accomplish this is through digital marketing.

The Case for Going Digital

Digital marketing is a great alternative to traditional media. Traditional media often requires spending hundreds of thousands, if not millions of dollars on radio, TV and billboards. In comparison, the Internet allows advertisers to test on a small scale, easily control costs and market to targeted prospects. That’s not to say that traditional media outlets are not effective. It’s just not viable for startups with small budgets.

There are many different ways to market online. The list includes social media, paid advertising, search engine optimization (SEO), email marketing, and more. Entrepreneurs can use these platforms in innovative ways in order to acquire customers even with small budgets.

For example, using integrated marketing can maximize the results of more than one advertising/marketing platform. Another example is identifying cost effective ways to get the word out about your company

Building an Audience for Social Media Platforms and Blogs

One way that new companies can establish themselves is through social media engagement and blogging. Using social media and blogs is a great way to build an audience, create relationships and interact with the target market. Many companies are using content marketing and leveraging relationships to build followers and readers for their social media platforms and blogs.

Creating high quality content and marketing it works really well because people respond to information that is relevant to them. In many cases, readers follow up with the content creator in order to subscribe and get additional content. This is a long term strategy that can take as long as one year before a business starts to see significant growth. But after the year mark, many businesses go on to establish brand awareness and immense market presence.

The Importance of Using Search and Integrating Different Strategies

Search engine optimization (SEO) is another way to acquire new leads and customers. It is a strategy that requires you to optimize various factors on and off your website to get your website to rank in the search results. People use the search engines to do everything from learning new information, comparing different products/services to researching businesses. Getting your website to rank in the top results for search terms related to your company will help you reach targeted prospects while also branding your business.

The perfect example of integrating different marketing strategies is using both content marketing and SEO together. A content marketing campaign will help build an audience for your blog and social media platforms while also helping you acquire backlinks. Additionally, backlinks are one of the biggest contributing factors to ranking well in the search engines. The visitors that result from the search engine rankings can be directed to impactful content which is likely to be shared.

Affordable Paid Advertising Platforms

If you have a modest budget to work with, it might be a good idea to use pay per click (PPC) advertising. This is an advertising platform that is similar to offline display advertising. It will display small ads in the search engines, and you only incur costs when somebody clicks on your ad. The best feature about this advertising method is that your ad only shows up when somebody searches for search terms you’ve bid for.

Retargeting can be used in addition to pay per click advertising. This is a type of display advertising where your ad is shown to visitors across a network of websites. When a visitor comes to your website, they are tagged with a browser cookie. Usually, once a visitor leaves, you lose the chance to market to them. But with retargeting, your message will be displayed across a network of sites, allowing you to follow up with them.

An innovative strategy that can be used to make this advertising more effective is to combine it with email marketing. By leveraging your existing email list, you can refer readers to one of your pages that will tag them with the cookie. This will ensure that your readers come across your ad while they are surfing other websites.

The lesson here is that there are many different ways for a startup entrepreneur to grow. Online channels can often enhance or replace a function of a business.

For instance, a social media account can be used as a public relations tool. The result is that there are no big expenses used to hire a public relations department or company. It’s really all about exploring different marketing channels and being innovative with them.