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Episode 1: Practical Entrepreneurism

Updated: Jun 29, 2020

Main Idea: What is Practical Entrepreneurism?

Sub topic: Intro to the Podcast and what we thought the podcast universe was missing without us


  • The state of entrepreneurial education

  • How our approach is different

  • Define Practical Entrepreneurism

  • Where we go from here

Let’s get right into the topic of the show which is this concept I’m building out in the textbook I’m writing for Great River Learning. It’s not a textbook, really, it’s a digital course supplement. This is a great example of our overall operating philosophy.

Here’s the story: My students are required to buy books every term for class, they never read the books. At the end of the term, they sell them back for a fraction of their value. I wanted to give them something that is 1) relevant to how entrepreneurship works right now, and 2) multimedia with videos, hyperlinks, and audio files that all present content in the way they’re used to consuming it for fun. So i’m writing a digital course supplement, not a textbook.

In everything we’ve done as entrepreneurs in Clemson Road Creative we have listened to what our customers said they would actually use and then tried to build useful things. The market philosophy says that if you make something useful, people will willingly pay you for it.

So that’s what we’ve been trying to do.

So the book is called “Practical Entrepreneurism” and the reasons are:

1. A lot of entrepreneurial education teaches ‘how to start a business’ which can pretty much be learned through a series of website visits, YouTube tutorials, and local government-sponsored training programs. So we don’t really need to write that book.

How did we learn about entrepreneurship?

What were our earliest resources? What were the best ones? The worst ones?

2. A lot of entrepreneurial education is tactical: set up a website, get a business license, etc. Or Contradictory: you can do it for less than $50, you should plan to invest at least $1000

How did we decide on which tactics to use?

What were some of our “tested & failed” solutions?

What are we still using today?

3. “Practical” means this shit actually works. So the Girlfriend’s Guide to Starting a Business told me that if I didn’t have 6 months living expenses saved I should put the book down and not come back until I did. How realistic is that? You will go into debt for your business. You may go break trying to find the thing people will actually pay you to do. But if you believe in what you’re doing, keep working at it. Keep pivoting. Keep hustling. Keep selling.

Best practical advice you ever got regarding this entrepreneurship thing?

What was the hardest lesson to learn (so far)?

4. Entrepreneurism is about the philosophy -- the idea that businesses can solve problems. That free enterprise can meet social needs. You can build a business to solve all of the major issues we face and someone will pay you for that product or service; if not, then it’s not needed.

When did you realize you were philosophically fit to be an entrepreneur? What’s that moment where you decide, “fuck it, I’m just gonna do this.”?

What about building the business has surprised you? About yourself? About us?

Practical Entrepreneurism is:

  • Tried & Tested -- what works stays, what doesn’t is left behind; that goes for tools, advice, people, products

  • Change Oriented -- when you’re looking for results, you have to be willing to change, pivot, revise, improve.

  • Never Satisfied -- there may be places where you take a beat and say, “this works,” but the next two words are, “for now.”

We’re looking for an effort that does four things: 1) identifies the opportunities in the world around us (what do people need?), 2) imagines products, services, and processes to match those opportunities (how would we solve this need?), 3) designs the solutions using whatever tools are available (create a minimum viable product), and 4) tests that product, service, or process with real customers to learn if they’re willing to pay for it.

This is a patient, evolution-oriented approach to entrepreneurship. It’s not rushing headlong into a brick wall, it’s picking through the rubble, climbing over and ducking underneath the things that stood here previously until we’ve pieced together the next iteration.

Additional Resources:

Hayden Peddle reviews and recommends podcasts for entrepreneurs in this video

Joi Wade offers these recommendations for entrepreneurs

“I think positivity and good is practical advice to building an empire,” Gary Vaynerchuck in this video at the 14:34 mark. Whole video is worth a watch.

Learn more about Clemson Road Academy here.

Have some ideas about practical entrepreneurism? Is advice from other entrepreneurs useful to you? Leave a comment and we'll address your ideas in a future episode.

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