If you missed Tuesday’s Fireside Chat with legendary Bert Brodsky and Kim Wales, you missed a fascinating conversation about what it means to be an entrepreneur (and a few stories we can’t even share online!). Both of our guests speakers delved into their pasts, sharing intimate details about their journey to success. Their stories gave students a roadmap to running a killer business, and there’s no way we could summarize all of their great advice, so here are some of the conversation’s best takeaways:
Entrepreneurs are born. When both Bert and Kim look back on their childhoods, they see clear indications that they would grow up to be entrepreneurs (or at least, unconventional people). At ten, Bert was collecting bottles on the beach to trade in for cash. He quickly realized that if he paid younger kids a portion of the profit to do the work, he could collect more bottles and make an even bigger profit. Kim admits that sharing a room with her three sisters taught her how to negotiate and get the things she needed. This same entrepreneurial attitude came in handy when she wanted to get a job at Chuck E. Cheese. Too young to legally work, Kim simply doctored her birth certificate so she could land the job. Simply put, both of our guest speakers agree, “Entrepreneurship is either in you or it’s not. It’s that part of you that goes after what you want because you know that no one is going to hand it to you.”
Success is creating opportunities for yourself. When asked about their secrets to success, Bert and Kim said different things, but both agreed that it’s all about making an existing opportunity work for you. Much of Bert Brodsky’s success comes from creating a space for himself in big industries. If you can break into the biggest industry and snag just a small portion of the market, you’re set. Kim Wales finds opportunities in the legal system. When the JOBS Act was created, she saw an opportunity for a business. She says, “Opportunities are embedded in the law, you just have to find them and make them work for you.” Both agree that as an entrepreneur, the key to staying above the fray is executing others’ ideas much better than they can.
Sleep when you’re dead. So maybe we shouldn’t be advertising this one…but we’ve noticed a trend: entrepreneurs barely sleep. Kim and Bert often sacrifice sleep for the sake of their businesses. Both get by on just a few hours a night, and believe in the power of short naps, nuts and apples, and diet coke. When they do sleep, they sleep soundly and without fear of failure, because they know “failure isn’t a bad thing; it brings opportunity.”
To participate in more events like this, check our calendar. Save the date for our next panel event on April 18th.