Startup Secrets and Sh#$ to Know: Graduate’s Hustle Handbook To Entrepreneurship
Aleckson Nyamwaya has his beat on the pulse of the startup world in MN. He is an Associate at @gener8tor, contributor for @startupgrind, ambassador for @1millioncupsspl and a lover of all things tech & startups. We are pleased to have his monthly insight with our blog “Startup Secrets and Sh#$ to Know.” Check back each month for his thoughts, observations and featured companies.
Recent Graduate’s Hustle Handbook To Entrepreneurship
Are you a recent grad? Want to get involved with entrepreneurship?
What you need are friends.
Other people will call them “connections” but I think that’s a buzzword that doesn’t mean anything anymore.
To do this, you’ll need a healthy combination of online and offline hustling…
- Discover and engage with them online
- Connect with them in person
Below I’ve outlined steps on how you can discover the right people and connect with them. Ask good questions and ask for advice – what would they do if they were in your position? Finally, provide value. Literally ask them how you can help!
1. What is your goal?
What is your journey, why are you doing this? What is your end goal.
Understanding your end goal will help you create a more concrete plan and will also keep you motivated when you are thinking about quitting.
2. Get on Twitter
Follow and engage with local influences on Twitter with the goal of setting up a meeting in real life. Once you set up a live meeting, you are ready for step 4.
Influences can be journalist who write about your local internship scene, meetup and hackathon hosts, current founders, entrepreneurs with exits, investors, people who lead organizations that are dedicated to serving entrepreneurs etc.
3. Live events
Other good places to meet people involved with startups/tech and entrepreneurship are Meetups, hackathons, reach out to local organizations like accelerators, venture firms, current startups, etc.
4. Share your story
Once you’ve connected with local influences and people who are where you want to be, ask them questions. Find out how they got where they are today!
– What did they do to get here?
– Share your story.
– What would they do if they were in your shoes?
At the end of the meeting ask them “how can I help you?”
5. Provide value
How will you provide value?
Are you a coder? Are you a Google Analytics wizard? Facebook ads? Salesforce? Business development? Maybe you’ve had a few projects to show for it, etc. Offering services for free is a common “get-your-foot-in-the-door-technique.”
It’s 2017, if you can Google, you have a special skill.
At the very least you can manage a social media account. So don’t even say that you don’t have any skills.
- Checkout the business section of your local newspaper, or local entrepreneurship blog
- Angel lists are a great place to find startups
- If a startup recently raised money ,chances are they are hiring
- Same with VC firms
- Follow up with emails within 1 hour (or 24 hours max)
Stick to the process and you will eventually luck out and connect with someone who is gracious enough to give you a shot.
When you do, work you butt off, under promise, over deliver and go above and beyond. The last thing you want to do is disrespect and embarrass the person who stuck their neck out for you.
If you drop the ball, don’t worry it happens, do not make this a habit. Follow up ASAP and remember, actions speak louder than words.