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Issue #7: On Being an "Entrepreneur"


James Costa

April 11 · Issue #7 · View online
A batch of thoughts, resources, and motivation from a friendly digital agency owner delivered every Monday at 6am ET.

The word “entrepreneur” has always made me cringe. For me, the thought of being an entrepreneur meant building businesses solely for the purpose of selling them, or building ones that won’t last. Whenever anyone would tell me that I’m an entrepreneur, I told them I’d rather be called a business owner because I feel as though it implies a feeling of trust. I’m not building a business to be rich, I’m building one around the career I want.

Especially in technology where companies are being sold or invested in on high valuations daily, I think we lose track on what it means to be a business. This isn’t to say venture funding or acquisitions are dirty or the wrong way of going about building a business, but I do think that people who focus on these things as being the measure of success puts them on a crash course. The conversation becomes “how do I raise more funds” instead of “how do I build a profitable and sustainable business”.
Now, I don’t think of all entrepreneurs as sell outs, but I do want to think about what it means to be a business and to be building one. We interact with businesses ever day (yay capitalism!). From the coffee shop we walk into, to the corner store we buy milk from. Each of these businesses have their own problems, successes, and opportunities. Yet we don’t take the time to stop and learn from businesses outside of tech that have managed to be around longer than we’ve been using computers.
It’s not to say that business owners in other industries always have the answers to our problems, but I think our businesses would be shaped far differently if instead of being inspired solely by entrepreneurs in tech, we took the time to be inspired by “Jane from the convenience store across the street who has been running a business with her family for 29 years”. In case you want to learn from some of these businesses, I’ve shared a link below to a podcast by the folks at Basecamp called The Distance that you should check out!
P.S.: If you have a moment and enjoyed this week’s issue, I’d really appreciate your support sharing this newsletter. Whether it’s a forward, a Twitter post, or writing a love song about this, it would mean the world to me.

Good Reads
Until the End of the Internet
Structuring One on Ones to Maximize Your Team's Success
The Distance Podcast
Business Kryptonite
The 7 Step Evening Ritual That Will Make You Happy
It's Okay Not To Lead
Inspiration for the Week
“Our business in life is not to get ahead of others, but to get ahead of ourselves – to break our own records, to outstrip our yesterday by our today.” - Stewart B Johnson
In Closing
My computer has been in the shop for the past few days, and I’ve been working solely from my iPad. While the experience of working solely from an iPad can be tough at times (especially when selecting text, working in textareas, and working with incompatible sites), I love how much more focused I can be on individual tasks. I’ve ended up learning a lot about how I work most effectively, and how to make sure I don’t lose track of anything (writing notes on everything and reading them every time I’m changing context). Sometimes I think we forget to slow down, reflect, and improve on how we work so we can be more effective.
If you have any questions or I can help you in any way, all you have to do is respond to this email.
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