TED Conversations

Jodie Wu

Global Cycle Solutions

TEDCRED 50+

This conversation is closed.

What advice can we offer to aspiring entrepreneurs?

Diving in and starting your idea or company is one of the most daring things you can ever do. The future is unknown, so this question is for those aspiring entrepreneurs...after you dive in, how do you swim? What advice can we offer to aspiring entrepreneurs?

To make this efficient and effective and get the most ideas, answers in 1-3 short sentences in the following form would be great.

1) Before doing anything, immerse yourself in the environment of your customers/clients. Learn the language and the culture. Understand their lives.
2) Do your research. Do pilots so that you can start to set the foundations for your organization. Take those baby steps not based on assumptions, but on real life.
3) ...
4) ...
5) more to come in our Live Conversation!

This Live Conversation will open on January 12, 2012 at 12PM EST / 9AM PST

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Closing Statement from Jodie Wu

I think we all echoed the same sentiment.
1) Know your passion, and when the going gets rough, have whatever it is on your wall to keep reminding you why you do what you do.
2) Seek out resources. Don't go it alone. Yes, you'll feel alone being that sole person with that crazy idea that will sacrifice anything to make it a reality, but don't feel afraid to ask questions. There's tons of resources out there.
3) Build a great team around you, so together you can build a strong foundation for your company or organization. Yes, it might be only you at first, but grow slowly and build a strong, core team.
4) Be patient. It's going to be hard. Things are not going to work, and you're going to have to innovate. But when you get things working, get your word out there. Grow your team. Spread the word about your organization through social media and the like. Inspire others to follow in your mission!
5) Jumping in and doing it can be scary, but what's the worst thing that can happen? When you start following your passion, believe it or not, there's many people who'd be jealous that you're doing what you're doing, and you'll be changing the world. Just do it! And if you fail, who cares? You've paved the way for the next generation to stand on the shoulders of giants...your shoulders!

Thanks so much for everyone's contribution, and I hope to continue this conversation! I had a ton of fun!

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  • Jan 12 2012: What is the best way to determine if one should run as profit or non-profit? I want to transition from high school teacher to establishing a retreat center that also offers opportunities for finding common ground in the worlds of Art and Science....kind of like a coffeehouse / arts installation gallery / theater / lecture series. Not too big....no more than 80-100 audience at a time. Want to keep it small but effective. I'm all ears.
    • Jan 12 2012: Wow - what an amazing and ambitious idea! What kind of location were you thinking - rural retreat, or in the heart of the city? (Just trying to get the picture in my head.)

      One advantage of the non-profit route is that there are - at least here in Canada - many government supported grants that would not be available to you going the other way. It may also make people feel more comfortable seeing that you are doing something without a 'profit motive'. On the other hand - if it really does go over gangbusters, it would be nice to benefit... ;)
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      Jan 12 2012: For-profit vs. non-profit is just a tax status. I think if you're in education, stick to non-profit and find revenue-generating models that allows your model to be sustainable beyond donations. Plus, if you're non-profit, I'm sure there's lots of people who'd love to give to keep your organization alive. You just have to continue to inspire.
      • Jan 12 2012: Thank you...it's been in the envisioning stage for some time. A chance to "pay back" what's been given. I am hoping to locate in the area of Asheville, North Carolina. Definitely rural--want to find a place that is mature forest; streams / waterfall....hoping to finance the land / property purchase with my retirement package. Put it on the line. Too often I have seen groups be overly ambitious with purchases and then are saddled with a mortgage when business sags.

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