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Entrepreneurship

Rohan Gilkes is a serial entrepreneur who has built several multi-million dollar companies in a few short years. He was recently voted one of the 100 most influential African Americans by the Root and has been recognized by the Obama White House for his work in entrepreneurship.

Rohan has developed and presented business case studies for Catholic University and Northwestern University's MBA programs. In addition, he is a regular speaker at startup conferences, and is a member of the Young Entrepreneur's Council.

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Key take aways from Rohan:

  • An unexpected blessing is coming across Trailblazers.FM in one of my Facebook groups, reaching out to you, connecting and finding out that you are a Caribbean man, as well.  The connection is nice and it makes my day.
  • I spent 4 years using my spare time and lunch hours working hard, researching and trying to figure out how to work for myself.  And as I read, I was actually implementing.
  • One of the things that led to where I am today is my obsessive personality.  I just had to figure things out.
  • I built software for myself to run my business. As I told the story of building my business others needed the software as well, so I grew the SaaS business — software as a service.
  • I was working in my living room and I felt I would have made it and seen myself as a real entrepreneur when I got myself a nice office, and I could have my employees come in. But when I did that, I put myself back in the same situation I was in before. It felt like I had gone right back into the same corporate job that I had just escaped from.
  • As an entrepreneur, think about where you’re the happiest and what works specifically for you and make your decisions around that.
  • Rohan advises entrepreneurs to determine Product/Market Fit — ensure that what you’re building is what people want.
  • No matter what business you’re running, build a Facebook group dedicated to the industry.  This will help you to become an authority and you also to connect with people who are interested in what you are working on and those who have expertise in that area as well.
  • Hire people from the communities that you build.
  • When considering recurring revenue, you want to measure the lifetime value of a customer, calculated on the money that they will spend with you over time.
  • How much did it cost you to find the customer?
  • Be aggressive about your search for purpose.
  • In my search for purpose I was curious about the failures and struggles of others who’ve made it — all the things that they tried before they found the thing that worked for them.
  • I observed that the people that founded their purpose thought they had found their purpose multiple times because they had tried so many things that failed.
  • They had to go through these steps, failures and hurdles and get them out of the way.
  • You learn so much each time you fail that the chances of failure are much lower in subsequent attempts.

One Action To Blaze Your Trail:

Create a landing page as a place to go for the thing you want to create, then get as many people as possible to see it. Set it up to capture email addresses and offer an introductory product.

 

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