Entrepreneurial Advice from a Global Startup Battle Winner
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13 Feb 2015

Denny Hollick , vice president marketing  and operations, Shan Shan Fu, vice president business development, Jonathan Zou,  production manager and Tony Yang, CEO, at Startup Weekend Vancouver last fall.

 

Last fall, over 200 cities around the world hosted Startup Weekends as part of the Global Startup Battle, a global pick of Global Entrepreneurship Week. This year’s winner, ConceptKicker is a platform that allows emerging and established concept artists to exhibit, promote, share, and sell their works within a peer community dedicated to the arts.

Once a novel concept, crowdfunding has become an accepted practice in the realm of entrepreneurship. For entrepreneur Denny Hollick, co-founder of ConceptKicker, providing a 3D printing service to artists in the form of a crowdfunded service seemed like a natural next step.

We checked in with Hollick before he heads to Milan to attend the Global Entrepreneurship Congressnext month to get his thoughts on entrepreneurship, creating your own opportunities and the importance of coffee.

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Find your niche. 

ConceptKicker is an extremely niche company that has created a new market space. Many people think that we are just a crowdfunding platform, but really we are a crowdfunded service. There are many businesses that could operate off this model and I think we are just hitting the tip of the iceberg in terms of seeing full services being funded by crowdfunding.

Master time management skills.

I think one of the most difficult things as an entrepreneur is balancing how busy things can get. Every day I have to make tough decisions about how I’ll spend my time. This has meant having to take time away from things I love - friends, other work, or sometimes even just getting a good night’s sleep!

Never stop learning.

The learning process is why most of [my team] decided to participate in Startup Weekend. The amount we learned was immense, from how to use the lean canvas appropriately, to how to win a pitch competition. I like to call it 'a business degree in a weekend.' It's astonishing what you can take away when you put yourself in a room where everyone has the goal of sharing and learning about entrepreneurship.

Everyone can be an inventor.

When I was a kid I wanted to be an inventor. I never really knew what that entailed, and as I grew older it seemed unrealistic. But the world has changed. Now, people can prototype, design and create almost anything with 3D printers, Arduinos, and an army of tools that make creating, inventing and designing realistic for anyone.

Surround yourself with the best people.

The best advice I've gotten has been to surround myself with smart, hardworking, and successful people that I respect. We really are a product of our environment - and surrounding yourself with good people in everything you do is what I believe can make or break someone.

Know your strengths. 

I'm a night owl, living in a morning person's world. This means I consume a lot more caffeine than the average person. It also means that I don't do meetings until 10am after having a full cup of coffee!

Do not fear failure.

One of my favorite quotes is by Robert Schuller: "What would you attempt if you knew you could not fail?” This quote has significance for me because it reminds me how fear often rules people’s hearts and minds, preventing them from accomplishing what they really desire. If we know we can’t fail, it changes how we think about possibilities for the future.

Constantly challenge yourself with new opportunities. 

I'd encourage any entrepreneur, or anyone who wants to get involved in entrepreneurship to take full advantage of the learning experiences and opportunities provided by participating in Global Entrepreneurship Week and the Global Startup Battle. The opportunities that come from these events are massive, be that meeting someone who could change the course of your life, or just learning something radically new that challenges you to pursue your life dream of becoming an entrepreneur.