DIY Careers: Lessons on Entrepreneurship & Small Biz – Torsten Gross

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 Levenstein, 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 Torsten’s talk.


Photo courtesy of Jovelle Tamayo

It’s okay to fail…just do it fast

Torsten started out by saying he has been fired before…and it’s okay. Chances are, you will know pretty quickly whether or not you are good or bad at something. The quicker you figure out you are bad at something, the quicker you can learn and move on from it. The silver lining to failing is once you fail and learn something, you’ll know it for the rest of your life. No need to to learn it again in a refresher course. For example, if you try coding and fail miserably at it, then in the future you’ll always know to outsource that skill or task to someone else who is actually super awesome at it. Failing is healthy, it’s how we all learn…just don’t wallow in the depths. Learn the lesson, dust yourself off, and move on. You’ll be better for it.

Understand the Rules

Not so you can break them, but so you don’t seem too different. Every industry or profession has a set of written and unwritten rules to them. Bend them too far and you’re already broken. People won’t buy from you or do business with you if you are too different. The last thing you want to come across as unseasoned, green, or an outsider. People will only listen to those who understand the world they live in. So take some time, do some research, and educate yourself about the world you are about to enter with your business.

Do something that makes you angry

However, once you understand the world you live in and all the complex rules that inhabit it, surely there must be something that makes you angry about, it right? There are aspects of every job or industry that make us angry. Are things just done the wrong way? Blatantly obvious inefficiencies? People desperately wish something can be done improve them? That’s where you come it. If you can spot something that makes you angry (that’s how Torsten started his businesses), and find ways to solve problems and alleviate your anger, chances are you’ve just stumbled upon a business idea.

Don’t protect your idea, tell people about it

Your business idea doesn’t really matter; it’s your execution that matters. And if you are anything like me, your ideas probably aren’t very good. The more people you share your ideas with, the more people can vet your ideas and tell you whether or not they are any good. They will help you poke holes in them, refine them, and make them foolproof. And after all, no business was built of an idea. Business are built off of many skilled hardworking people executing an idea. It’s not about the first person with the idea, it’s about the first person doing something with it.

No one really knows what they are doing

Most of all, just relax. Running a business is not an exact science and there’s now way to know everything. Even after many years, Torsten still admits he doesn’t really even know what he is doing at all times. You will learn, fail, and succeed every day as an entrepreneur. Take every day as it comes and if you admit your shortcomings, you’ll have way less stress on your mind.

Stay tuned for our next post about what Kate Levenstein had to say about entrepreneurship.

In the meantime, what do you think about what Torsten had to say? Things you agree with? Disagree? Were you at the panel and want to share your thoughts? Sound off in the comments below.

About the Author

Aaron is a former film production freelancer, who now works in digital media. Always keen to stay connected to the creative community, especially in film production, comedy, and all things digital. Aaron volunteers as IT support at FindSpark events and also can be seen writing the occasional blog post. Follow him on twitter <a href="

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