1. What does being an entrepreneur mean to you?
Being an entrepreneur to me means being an individual that creates innovation to help the world be a better place. Everywhere we see great systems and things that help us live our lives, stay healthy, and be efficient. Being an entrepreneur is seeing the ability to always improve these systems, and also taking the time to build better ones.
2. What was your first entrepreneurial venture?
My first company was a food app that I developed from a science experiment. I graduated from college, and was working to be a doctor. I was in a research lab to help with medicine and cures for disease and found a pain point in an industry that wasn’t being solved. I worked my tail off to create a technology to solve it. Unfortunately, I failed in the long run. But, the failure was my biggest success. I learned all about what NOT to do when trying to build a business. As a result, I have been able to start my current company and build it to what it is today.
3. What are 3 tips you would give to first-time entrepreneurs?
First, find solutions, not features. Make sure whatever you are trying to build fixes something in an industry you care about. Finding solutions to problems helps create long term success. If you create something that only has “features” to “help” a cause rather then solve the whole issue, its much more difficult to create a sustainable product that will last.
Second, don’t be scared of your competitors. It doesn’t matter what industry you are in or what you are building… there will always be someone building something similar. They should never scare or discourage you, they should fuel your fire! When a competitor comes into your space, your job is to be the superior product by creating the best customer experience and most efficient solution. It will only help your product grow if you have the right attitude about it
Third, DON’T GIVE UP! If you ask a CEO what there best skills are for their success… many will tell you about characteristics that build users, make good products, or raise lots of money. But every GREAT CEO will tell you their best skill is that they don’t give up. Barriers are always going to come up, and starting a business is the hardest thing you may ever do. But it’s also the BEST thing you can do! If you don’t give up, success is the only result.
4. Do you have any recommendations for resources that could help young entrepreneurs?
Blogs! Find the leaders in the industries of your interests and follow their content. People love compliments! Commenting on their content and ventures will help them remember you. Most influencers actually do read their feedback from their readers and fans. When you are ready to start your business they may be able to help. Cold calling and emailing is not dead, and it has worked numerous times in my own experiences to grab mentors and advisors
5. What’s your favorite part about being an entrepreneur?
My favorite thing about being an entrepreneur is the process. Building something from scratch is not for everyone, and it’s really hard. This career path is the toughest of them all. And, most likely, you will fail 10 times before you succeed. But don’t let that discourage you! That is the process of learning, and that is the process of creating success. I am more skeptical of entrepreneurs that say they haven’t failed. Enjoy every of this process, work your butt off, and be crazy enough to think you can change the world. YOU CAN! You just have to work for it.
About Kellin Haley:
Kellin Haley is a San Diego native who now resides in Los Angeles. She consults and helps with many early stage technology startup companies on operations and fundraising. As an avid surfer and traveler, and her and her team built a travel e-commerce platform called CityScout to help connect travelers and locals to do fun activities while on vacation. CityScout is approaching their seed round in funding and has just launched in Los Angeles.
Entrepreneur Q&A by Jacqueline Jensen is a regular column that seeks out successful entrepreneurs who are doing really cool things and asks the 5 questions we’re all dying to know about the startup life. Find her on the web at blog.cityscout.io