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33 University Ave
Toronto, ON, M5J 2S7




Kelli Wood


You know that saying, ‘Lighting In a Bottle’? Preparing for Little Big Words’ New York City experience and the learning curve that came with it should be called, ‘Education in a Bottle.’

1.    Success is about grit. Period. The true test (and results) come from hanging in there in your worst and scariest moments.

2.    Entrepreneurship – its media, the industry, and its commericialization have glorified the wrong things to sell stories. True, solid businesses take time to build – it’s about relationships, reputation, innovation, investment, failure, adaptation, steady, daily growth and continual brand improvement. It’s not about the Silicon Valley wonder-kid success stories that win millions of dollars in financing or head to Dragon’s Den with a creative pitch. Read the magazines, resources and network all with a grain of salt.

3.    The biggest skill that running a business – big or small, will teach you is problem solving. You often hear, ‘cash flow is king, sales cure everything’ – and there is certainly truth to that. But the crux of the issue of what you truly teach yourself to do is how to problem solve. Even if your business doesn’t work, this is the best asset you could ever offer to your next boss/employer.

4.    Patience is the hardest skill for Generation Y to develop. Innately, we are used to constant gratification and stimulus. This generation needs this more than anything. Because it pays off.

5.    So does persistence. Follow up. Follow up. Follow up. And again. Politely. Passion will outperform the competition, every time.

6.    Entrepreneurs seldom feel lonely, but often feel alone. Find a completely neutral, sounding board that can provide emotional support.

7.    There are fundamental differences to being a freelancer, building a business and building a company. All of these involve inherently different skill sets and resources. Tackle each, gradually and only if you feel that they are right for you.

8.    Prepare for the let down – emotionally and physically after attempting something really difficult, complex or comprehensive. Do not make important during this time and give your body and mind time to recover. You will make better decisions.

9.    Be brutally honest with yourself about your strengths and weaknesses and what your business needs. Have the courage to write down where you are medicore and the skill sets that you want to grow within yourself and find the links between you, your business and what it needs. This is your starting point (and working document) for your organizational structure. Hire freelancers to fill in the gaps.

10. If you are a first time entrepreneur, pick the easiest, most simple business model that you can find. I would highly suggest considering something that has really low overhead, with limited liability, something that doesn’t spoil, or leverages just-in-time inventory and allows you to ‘date’ it, before you marry it. There is just SO much to learn in the entrepreneurial experience and its like trying to drink from a firehose at timnes. Your product line can grow with the business, or exit certain products once you are more stable.

11. Standing out is a long term strategy that takes guts, but it produces results.