A startup coach can help you make your entrepreneurial launch happen faster and with more success. VocationVillage.com interviewed Devesh Dwivedi, Chief Entrepreneur, Business Coach, Consultant, and Author of Breaking The 9 To 5 Jail.
Hello, Devesh Dwivedi. Please tell us more about what you do.
I’m an entrepreneur and I wear many hats – a strategist, a coach, a consultant, an advisor, a blogger, an author, a friend, a helper, a connector and many more. To answer the question of what I do : I help cubicle imprisoned aspiring entrepreneurs in breaking the 9 to 5 jail and starting their own business.
How would you describe the main responsibilities of your work and what does a typical day look like for you?
Coaching and helping the aspiring entrepreneurs plan and execute their employee to entrepreneur transition is a big responsibility. I’m responsible for motivating them when they are down and showing them a direction when they feel lost, brainstorming never ending ideas and everything in between. I write and talk a lot; I guess that’s what all of us bloggers, authors and coaches do. It’s fun and fortunate that I do not have a typical day, depending on priorities, schedule and what I feel like doing – I could be doing a bunch of activities on any given day. My day starts with some java and breakfast for my brain by reading news and blogs that I follow, I would then either have a coaching or consulting call/session with a client, or I write for either my own blog or as a guest for other blogs to which I contribute. I also spend a major fraction of my time on social media and networking platforms and communicating with current and former clients. To tell you the truth, I do not work on Mondays and I have renamed them on my calendar and schedule as “Funday.” Now I run errands, do personal stuff or golf or do whatever I want on Monday, I’ve not had a single case of “the Mondays” in the last year and half.
What do you like best about your career?
The fact that I do what I love to do and that I’m surrounded with passionate, intelligent and optimistic entrepreneurs all the time is what I love the most. To see clients succeed is an awesome feeling. Starting a business could be compared with birthing and raising a child and everyone knows what an awesome feeling it is to be a father or mother. It’s even more awesome if you’re the guy who helps the parents from the conception until the delivery and they keep coming back showing off how well the child is doing and asking for more advice raising that kid going forward.
How did you build your current company?
I bootstrapped it. What started as a small Ning group took shape as a full- fledged blog, a forum and a niche consulting practice. I personally learned and continue learning so much from every clients and contacts who were a part of this initiative.
What was your professional and educational background before you launched your company?
I’ve been an entrepreneur since my childhood; I started a comic book rental company when I was 14 and then an event management company when I was 20. I did graduate with an accounting degree and later on finished my MBA with near perfect GPA at SUNY Oswego. I worked for multiple Fortune 50 companies in corporate America, only to realize I was not cut out for it. I also ran a small business consulting company where I was helping small business owners with all sorts of business issues ranging from web technology to marketing, before launching this business.
If a mid-career professional decided he/she wanted to make a career change into entrepreneurship, what are the steps he/she should take to make a successful transition?
I stay away from giving generic advice on how to make an employee to entrepreneur transition and that’s simply because each one of us has a unique life story, a unique situation in terms of finances, stage of life, priorities, interests and passion. For instance my approach to coaching and the strategy that we will build together for a young, single, early career professional to start a business would be totally different from the approach and strategy for a single parent, mid career executive who wants to start a business and that one would be totally different from how I would help a near retirement executive who is looking for a second career just to keep him/herself busy. However, there are three tips that I’d like to offer to almost anyone and everyone:
- Your business idea should be located at the intersection of (a) Your skills and strengths, (b) Something you always wanted to do, or love to do, and (c) An existing problem or gap in a product or service.
- Do NOT write a 100 page business plan; write an action plan instead. Could, should, or would do, don’t get results; action steps do. Write a precise and actionable plan and use it throughout your journey, and don’t just decorate your office shelves/desk with that plan.
- And finally, my favorite, the success equation: SucceeSS = Step out of your comfort zone (enough said), Sow the seeds of opportunity (do one activity everyday, that will pay you in the future) and Seize the moment (keep a close eye on opportunities and acknowledge, accept, and attack the opportunities to make the best use of them, when they show up).
Are there any commonly held misperceptions about entrepreneurship that you would like to clarify?
Well, there are many. Everyone has one or many. Some think you have to be lucky or rich to be an entrepreneur, some think it’s for those who are unemployed, some think it’s too easy and some think it’s impossible, some think you have to fail a certain number of times before you succeed and then the legendary misguiding stats that ninety some percent of the startups fail in the first year or two and many more similar misconceptions. Here’s what I’d like to say to everyone considering entrepreneurship – It is not just for rich guys and you can make yourself lucky by working hard; it’s not as easy as some of the gurus say who try to sell you their get-rich-quick eBooks but it’s not impossible as the naysayers tell you either. It is as much hard work as a full-time job so do not have commitment-related over or under expectations.
And those who talk about entrepreneurial or startup failure, I have one simple question for them : “How many people do you know that have changed jobs, got fired, or were let go within a year or two of starting that job?” The answer of course is almost every one of us or someone around us has been a victim of one such mishap. Does that make us failures? Does it mean we should give up on having a job or even going to an interview? Of course the answer is no. It’s precisely the same with entrepreneurship; if you fail, you’ll get up, walk off the failure, learn a lesson, move on. So, please do not let the fear of failure stop you from pursuing your dream.
What are your long-term career goals?
My long term goal is to free as many cubicle prisoners as I possibly can and to establish myself as a subject matter expert in the startup and small business space.
Any other comments?
I’d love to invite all the readers to take a look at BreakingThe9to5Jail.com as I’m always looking for constructive criticism and feedback and if there’s anything I can help you with, I’d be more than happy to do so. You can reach me via email to Devesh Dwivedi.
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