by Josh Ludin, founder of the subscription box Blind Surprise
Let me tell you a quick story. When the idea of my first internet business was conceived, I was stuck where many young entrepreneurs frequently get caught – getting past that idea stage. I simply knew what I wanted to sell, and that I wanted to sell it over the internet, but had no real direction. I emailed the local start up community and introduced myself, and the guy who replied simply said “How about we meet for coffee and discuss your idea?” The following morning ended up being the most productive two hours I ever spent on my business, as I spent time with one of the most successful entrepreneurs in the Tampa Bay area.
If you’re looking to start a business, pull thirty dollars out of your pocket and take an expert out for coffee. Think about it this way – entrepreneurial experts that become consultants typically charge hundreds of dollars an hour for their time and advice, and usually this isn’t in a very intimate setting. If you have the opportunity to spend a solid two hours with an expert one-on-one, TAKE ADVANTAGE!
Here is what I have learned since I entered the entrepreneurial community – entrepreneurs like helping other entrepreneurs.
Another thing I learned is that entrepreneurs love talking about themselves, so take this coffee date as an opportunity to listen. Ask the right question, and then sit back and absorb.
Ask them – What mistakes did you make early? What were some of the toughest decisions that you had to make and how did they impact your business? What resources do you suggest I utilize? And then, allow the expert to analyze your idea – should I dig in and start grinding away, or maybe start flexing those thinking muscles and come up with something else great? (and then regardless of what advice they give you here, take it with a grain of salt, because oftentimes, even the experts pass up on a fantastic idea).
It is amazing what happens when you just ASK. Many of you reading this post will think “what a great idea” and then never actually email some of the experts in their field for a meeting, because it takes guts! And this is the barrier of entry that makes it so much easier for those of us with the guts to successfully meet with people we admire. Since this story took place, I have emailed countless experts who I figured would just ignore me, and ended up with extended conversations that have significantly impacted my company, and filled me with ideas to develop and grow.
So here is my challenge to you, fellow entrepreneurs; reach out to those you admire, introduce yourself, and ask for a coffee. It doesn’t need to be somebody that has succeeded in your specific field. For example, if you are interested in selling billiards cues online, reach out to anyone that has had success in eCommerce, or even just a successful billiards player, and introduce yourself. I promise that you will be pleasantly surprised by the results.
Josh Ludin is the founder of the subscription box Blind Surprise and writes about his path to making money online, and more importantly his mistakes to avoid, at NeverJobHunt.com. He is determined to motivate aspiring entrepreneurs to take the leap of faith and begin building businesses and create the lifestyles many only dream of from the confines of their cubicle. Additinonally, he writes about start up advice and hacks to help young businesses get over that first plateau and find profitability.