Expert Advice for Entrepreneurs: Lessons From The Startup Catalyst Podcast

Click here to read Lessons From The Startup Catalyst Podcast: Part 1


In Season 2, we asked accomplished founders and investors what advice they had for aspiring entrepreneurs. Here’s what they said:

1. Know yourself and know your unique truth

Kathryn Finney, Founder & Managing Director, digitalundivided

I think it is really important as an entrepreneur to really have a firm grasp on who you are, not even on what you’re doingyour ideabut who you are as a person and what you believe in and what you know is true.


2. Never, ever think that you don’t have competition

Kirstie Chadwick, President & CEO of InBIA

You always have competition. If you don’t have competition, you don’t have a market. The question is what are you going to do about it and how are you gonna win?


3. Think big and think beyond your role

Julie Lenzer, Co-Director of UM Ventures

Really successful entrepreneurs build things bigger than themselves. The minute you’re the center of it and it’s all about you, then you’ve completely limited it’s growth…if you build something that’s way bigger than youyou empower people, you build a structure, you leave something better than when you found it.


4. Turn the negatives into positives you can embrace

Donavan Kealoha, Director at Startup Capital Ventures

problems or issues in which you operate from a deficit, I try to flip it. I guess it’s the way  that my brain is wired i just flip it on its head and operate from a position of strength or positiveness.


5. Get really excited about problem solving

Brittney Riley, Former VP Of U.S. Ventures At Village Capital

Building a company is just a series of solving problems, and if you look at it that way you’ll get through each day and make progress. It can seem really hard and long and difficult if you don’t break it down to a series of problems and find excitement in solving those problems.


6. Have a vision and understand what the guardrails are on that vision

Aaron Walker, Founder & CEO of Camelback Ventures

There are so many things that can take you to the left, and to the right, and can be distracting. Have a clear idea of what the vision is and that can change from time to time as you interact with the worldbut also know what the guardrails are and be able to really be firm about that and know when you’re going outside of that. That framework will put you on the right path to building the right product, to building the right team, to attracting the right investors.


7. Don’t take feedback about your business personally

Julie Lenzer, Co-Director of UM Ventures

I wish I’d learned earlier in my career not to take things so personallycriticism, or if my system wasn’t working, or there was a bug in the program. I think you can take ownership and pride in your work without getting defensive about it and being open to suggestion and criticism, and learning and growing.  


8. Learn how to sell

Aaron Walker, Founder & CEO of Camelback Ventures

Whatever you’re doing, particularly as a CEO, you’re always selling, so I would say that if there’s one thing that you need to learn, it’s how to do sales. Because that’s going to come into play whether you’re trying to recruit a team, whether you’re trying to raise money, whether you’re trying to build partnerships. If I was leaving college today and I was really clear that I wanted to be an entrepreneur, I would work at a good company that developed my chops in sales.


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