The first week into 2017 and with it we leave behind the plethora of Christmas cards, clothes (and everything else) covered in wrapping paper glitter and the firm and final resolution that this year, yes this year you will finally give up chocolate.
For us, though we also start the year by bringing to light the men and women, both mentors and members, that have helped forge Launch22 into what it is today.
Eddie Holmes works to provide advice, support and even pizza to those willing to try and catch their dreams and follow the path of an entrepreneur.
His own journey began years ago with his first business related to importing the first mp3 players. No doubt it would date him to point out that, at the time, 64MB was considered large enough! Now he mentors at Launch22, aids other business in finding employees and offers M&A advice in the world of PropTech.
Sometimes the hardest challenge that awaits an entrepreneur is keeping a stable perspective, not allowing yourself to be brought low by setback or taken over by the thrill of success. Fortunately, mentors like Eddie have grappled with these issues themselves and provide the advice and support necessary for running and maintaining a successful start-up. Drawn away for a few minutes from his beloved Fussball he spoke of his own experience working as an entrepreneur and the tips he picked up over the years.
1) As an entrepreneur what was the biggest challenge you faced?
I would say that there are no biggest challenges. Starting a business and keep going with it is an everyday challenge. The thing I noticed is that a successful entrepreneur can roll with the punches, not getting too excited when things are going well but staying resilient when times are tough. If you stay in the middle, you are always ready to face anything that happens.
2) Following your own experience, how do you usually find an opportunity? And how do you evaluate it?
There are many people saying just analyse the market and find the right thing but to me, it’s a ‘just do it’ approach. Most of the time, it is better to think less at the beginning and start acting. The important part is spotting when things might not be going so well and being honest about whether you should continue to invest time and resource or stop before the risks become too high.
3) As a mentor at L22, what are the main difficulties you see entrepreneurs faced with?
I’ve been mentoring for many years and I believe that mentoring is more motivational stuff than giving technical advice. Many people already know how to make their business great; you just need to dig it out from them. What they might struggle with is how high (or low) the experience can make them feel.
4) Do you believe that people can learn how to become entrepreneurs or were they simply born with the right characteristics?
Do I really need to answer? As a human being, you can learn everything and do whatever you want. Of course, if you want to achieve your objectives, you need to be resilient and determined, know that no one can stop you. In this way, you can be an entrepreneur.
5) What advice would you give entrepreneurs afraid to start their own venture because of a fear of failure?
If not now, then when? If not you, then who? Go for it, it’s not a matter of failure but inertia. Everything can be done if you set your mind to it. Just be active and don’t stand still. It’s always an amazing learning experience.
6) To conclude with something more personal, what’s your favourite book?
I have many and I really like ‘Life of Pi’. It is amazing because it is a metaphor of life as a journey in which you face your fears and go on, you fight, you grow and learn. You become a better person.
7) And any business book for entrepreneurs to suggest?
Well, ‘Bounce’ by Matthew Syed is an impressive book. Think about entrepreneurship as a sport. It’s like a long run, a marathon, and this book shows it is not talent that drives you to the end but it’s your mind and dedication. With it, you can beat anything. Now Fede go back to work please I have to play fuss ball with an investor.
OK, Eddie thank you very much!
So what are the big takeaways?
A. Don’t let yourself get overwhelmed by the fear of failure or lifted up by the thrill of success. Keeping a level head is key to maintaining your perspective, not to mention sanity.
B. Mentors can be a great benefit in not only providing business support but also advice in keeping yourself motivated. Mentors have walked the same path you have and incubators like Lanunch22 help forge an understanding and supportive community.
C. It might seem obvious but it’s important to not let fear cripple your dreams. Fear of failure is a natural part of life but it is a barrier like any other and all barriers can be overcome with hard work and determination.
D. Perhaps the most important thing of all, however, is that anyone can be an entrepreneur. No matter your background or your education anyone determined and willing to take the risk can find success as an entrepreneur.
Mentors such as Eddie always strive to provide the advice and support for those taking their first step, whether it’s a start-up focusing in Proptech or any other industry, let us know!