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Career Story: Advisor To Entrepreneurs

Advisor To Entrepreneurs

Job Title: Serial Entrepreneur

Type of Company: I work as an outsourced exec and advisor to start-up companies.

Education: BA, Liberal Arts

Previous Experience: Carpenter, mechanic, machinist, news reporter, magazine reporter, minister of propaganda, new product development, deal making, management consulting, deal making, fundraising, fundraising, fundraising, new service development, consulting, dealmaking.

Job Tasks: I assist entrepreneurs in developing their ideas, ambitions and dreams into commercial realities -- or at least I try. Startups are tough, really tough. I invest my time in return for ownership stakes in businesses that may never be worth a dime, and, if the model works, may be worth a sizable amount. I help with fundraising... how to go to market... business model... approach to the market. I help them tell a story about themselves, their business, and why someone should invest in them either as a customer or investor. I help them do deals, structure deals, find people to help them. I try to coach them on being better entrepreneurs and managers. I help refer them to quality service providers who will give them good advice: lawyers, accountants, consultants. I try to find people who can help who will actually invest in new ideas. You can easily find lots of bad advice out there when you are trying to start, finance and grow a company. I try to steer people away from that.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: It takes a long time to get to know someone, to assess how you can help, whether the business is a quality business, how to be an effective consultant, etc. When that time invested pays off it's great. When it doesn't, it is really emotionally challenging to deal with the fact that, well, maybe it didn't work out for one reason or another. The fatality rate of start-ups is very high. It makes the business a rush and a nerve-wracker.

Job Tips: Don't let school interfere with your education. Make darn sure you have a great education as a foundation, but understand it's just that: a foundation to build on. There is no substitute for experience, varied and wide as possible, narrow and deep as required. And you need some deep savings accounts to do this. Start-ups can't pay consultants much at all, so you need substantial funds to provide underlying expenses as you hope and prey one of those startups will be super successful.

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