348: You Don’t Need To Reinvent The Wheel To Make Money as an Entrepreneur

After our junior year of college, my business partner and I wanted to build something big. We had friends getting jobs in New York City and making great money, so we looked weird even trying to take a different path. We set our sights on getting 250 customers for our student storage business through the summer and considered it a success when we hit that.

During my senior year, I took an entrepreneurship class where everybody was tasked with pitching an idea that we worked on for the semester. Every group’s pitch was a new app, tool, or social media platform, while I pitched student storage. I didn’t win the capstone pitch competition, and my professor grilled me in front of the class asking about my moat, how we would scale, and how we could beat competitors. I responded that I didn’t have a moat, I didn’t think the competitors were doing things well, and I didn’t need millions of dollars to find success.

Fast forward to today, most of the people from that class didn’t even get started with their idea, and nobody with a sexy idea succeeded, they all have W-2 jobs now. The truth is that entrepreneurship is about momentum. You need cash, skills, and a network to succeed, and college kids have none of these things. Instead of diving into a big idea, I decided to build my cash, build my skills, and build a network.

As the years went by and my business grew, the decisions became higher stakes and more opportunities came my way. My professor was right, the business wasn’t sexy or scalable, but it put $500K in my bank account at the age of 25. It allowed me to pivot to self-storage, where I’ve made a life-changing amount of money and built a company of 45 people, while also selling my original company for seven figures. I’m now doing bigger, more exciting, and more scalable things, all because I started small and simple.

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About Me

I started the Sweaty Startup in December of 2018 because I believe the Shark Tank and Tech Crunch culture is ruining the real spirit of low-risk entrepreneurship.