DIY Careers: Lessons on Entrepreneurship & Small Biz – Kate Levenstien

Ever want to start your own business? Be your own boss? Conquer the world? Well, at FindSpark’s Find & Follow Your Passion conference at NYU, attendees took in a day of panels, networking, and all-round awesomeness. Three entrepreneurs – Torsten Gross, Founding Partner at Partners and Partners, Kate Levenstien, Founder and President of Cannonball Productions, and Annie Scranton, Founder and President of Pace Public Relations – shared their insights into entrepreneurship at the DIY Careers: Lessons on Entrepreneurship & Small Biz panel discussion. Here are some takeaways from Kate’s talk.

FindSpark Kate Levenstein

Photo courtesy of Sean McGurn

You can’t connect the dots looking forward

Kate started with what she called a cheesy Steve Jobs quote: “You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever.”

As cheesy as it is, it is correct. You can’t predict events in your life looking forward, that is not something in your control. What is in your control is what can do right now, and you have to trust that what you have done in the past can help get you to where you want to go in the future. Exactly how that is going to play out? Nobody knows, so relax.

Work smart

Not that you shouldn’t work hard, but think about your future strategically. Kate went from working at the Oprah Winfrey Show to starting her own sales/event planning company. How does that happen? Only Kate can answer that, that is uniquely her story. Similarly, you have a story unique to you. No matter what you are doing now, or what you want to do in the future, you are the only person that can tell your story and your vision about your future.

The better you can tell your story about how your past built up to your present, and what steps you are looking to take next, the more opportunities you will have to shape your future.

You never know when your network will come back to help you

Lastly, never underestimate just how serendipitous life can be and how important your network will become. Kate, in the past, got a Facebook message from and old acquaintance that led to her moving to Chicago for a new job.

Once again, you can’t predict that this will happen or who will end up opening door for you down the road. The best you can do is to prepare yourself so when that opportunity comes you are ready to pounce on it. You can do this by building a strong network, developing your skills and building relationships with people while not burning bridges.

Check back soon for Annie Scranton’s contribution to the discussion of entrepreneurship.

What do you think about Kate’s points? Leave your thoughts in the comments!

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