Dear Pamela: I want to be an entrepreneur, but I also want to be open to collaboration. How do I do this?

Q: Dear Pamela, I want to be an entrepreneur, but I also want to be open to collaboration. How do I do this?

 

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A: Dear Susann, thank you for a very insightful question!

We always want to be open to collaboration in many different ways. Collaboration can mean a partnership; collaboration can mean joining someone else’s idea, and collaboration can mean an actual merger.

 

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Often when we have entrepreneurial ideas, they might not quite have germinated.  We might not have the resources, or we might not have the right team — yet. So, we don’t want to drop that passion, but we also don’t want to miss a good opportunity to be involved in another great idea.

Here are some quick ideas on how you can do both:

1.  Network and improve on your entrepreneurial idea.

One of the areas as an entrepreneur you want to cultivate is being at events that are related to your product, your company, and your industry. Therefore, you can think about those times as serving both the needs of your entrepreneurial ideas and collaboration in an industry that you are passionate about.

2.  It’s good to be open.

I congratulate you for being open! Often, we get wedded to our own ideas without realizing that there may be another pathway. That divergent pathway may lead us to our idea.

We might meet future team members, future board members, or connections that would help us advance our business. Further, even if we have a great idea, we’re not always ready; or, we don’t have the skills to launch it. Being open to collaborations helps you attain those skills and meet those people who can be a part of your current and future teams. Therefore, keep attending events of all types that are of interest to you, and not just related to your business.

 

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3.  Slack Channels.

Slack channels are a great, low-investment-of-time that allow you to explore. You don’t have to go in person; you don’t even have to comment. You can simply visit Slack channels and see what people are talking about. If it is something of interest, chime in and be a strong contributor. To deepen the relationships, take it offline and offer to meet with people.

4.  Collaboration for the long-term.

By collaboration, you may mean merging an already existing business idea that you have with another organization. That’s very intentional and serious. In this case, we  want to be open to different opportunities with organizations. But, you don’t want to be distracted by it.

 

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A merger — and any conversation around this topic — is a big deal. Look at the values of the company with whom you want to work and meet with the founders or heads in an informal setting or at their office. Explore business mindsets; discuss values. Meet members of their team; look at their partnerships.

What you’re trying to do is to assess if these are people with whom you would like to partner. Will they advance your vision? Will you be able to do it together with similar values? If you listen inside, you’re going to have a strong instinct as to whether this is a partner that you would really want.

 

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I look forward to seeing whom you decide to meet with and collaborate with. People and team are most important in any successful, authentic venture!

 

​Please check back in and give an update.

I’d always love to hear,

Pamela

 

 

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Congratulations to Viet Thanh Nguyen!

Congratulations to Viet Thanh Nguyen who won the MacArthur Award for representing a diverse span of Vietnamese viewpoints.

He immigrated here as a refugee after the Vietnam War, during a time when 1.6 million Vietnamese were resettled. Around 120,000 Vietnamese were resettled into the United States. He’s a representative of this population, the war, resettlement.  It was a time where 2,709,918 Americans served in Vietnam, and also more than 2 million civilians were killed in Vietnam, alone. He has embraced these experiences in his native homeland to become an outstanding author and cultural storyteller.

 

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One of Nguyen’s great best-selling novels is called The Sympathizer, which explores one viewpoint of the Vietnam War through a spy for the Vietcong. In addition, he’s written fact-based historical works such as Nothing Ever Dies: Vietnam and the Memory of War; his latest is titled The Refugees. Nguyen’s focus is on finding people’s voices — uplifting them — and putting them out there for representation.

 

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One of the areas which he speaks about is listening to and understanding and representing different viewpoints about our world. In this way he helps us take into account other people’s perspectives. It helps them and helps ourselves be more understanding. Only by truly taking in many people’s hearts can we build an embedded, connected and understanding world.

 

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Will you help build our world today?  Here are ways you can support the Vietnamese community, its children and its entrepreneurship today. Perhaps you’ll see a different view of our world, the war, and how you can help!

Volunteer to build homes and teach children in Vietnam: http://www.universalgiving.org/donate/volunteer_for_education_in_vie/id8222.do

Support disabled and orphaned children in Vietnam: http://www.universalgiving.org/donate/support_orphan_disable_childre/id11143.do

Help teach English in Vietnam: http://www.universalgiving.org/donate/volunteer_for_education_in_vie/id8222.do

 

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“Viet Thanh Nguyen’s novel The Sympathizer is a New York Times best seller and won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. Other honors include the Dayton Literary Peace Prize, the Edgar Award for Best First Novel from the Mystery Writers of America, the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction from the American Library Association, the First Novel Prize from the Center for Fiction, a Gold Medal in First Fiction from the California Book Awards, and the Asian/Pacific American Literature Award from the Asian/Pacific American Librarian Association. … He is the Aerol Arnold Chair of English and a Professor of English, American Studies and Ethnicity, and Comparative Literature at the University of Southern California. He is a critic-at-large for the Los Angeles Times and a contributing opinion writer for the New York Times.”

Bio taken from: https://vietnguyen.info/author-viet-thanh-nguyen

The Classic Pamela Positive: Stop For Three Dollars

The street always stops me.

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There are so many homeless people in San Francisco, that it can be overwhelming.

 

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It makes your heart stop — there are people who really need help.  And then there are people who make homelessness a lifestyle choice.  So I’m careful about how I donate and when I do it.

Today was different.  A wonderful gentleman who was selling our San Francisco homeless newspaper was kind and working hard. Street Sheet in San Francisco employs the homeless to sell the Street Sheet newspapers for $1.

They are working.

Obviously things on the street are really hard to track. But in this case, I just turned around. I went back. I just thought there was something right there. Follow, follow, your heart.

 

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I had a kind conversation with Ben*, but I didn’t have any ones.  I only had tens. Did he have any change?  He didn’t know, but he could check.

“I would like to give you three dollars. Keep the newspapers, and I want you to keep selling them again.  Would you be able to give me seven dollars, please?”

He goes, “I dunno, I’m a checking.” He pulled into his pocket…

And the miracle came.

He counted them out.

He had seven ones.

 

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Seven exactly.

I just looked into his eyes and said, “That was God, wasn’t it?”

He said, “It surely was.” He just started smiling and laughing.

I said, “Keep selling. I don’t need the papers — I read up on homeless issues all the time. I support you! Have a wonderful day!”

 

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When we hear that call in our hearts… listen….. it says

Stop

Listen

Give.

We have to do it. Otherwise we would miss one of the most meaningful opportunities of our lives right there about affecting someone.

It was the perfect interchange.

It’s just amazing.

Don’t miss listening to your heart today.  Then, give.

 

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*Name has been changed to protect Ben’s identity on the street.

20 vs. 2,000

I was meeting the other day with an entrepreneur who’s going through a tough time. Any entrepreneur faces challenges along their pathway, and needs encouragement. I was happy to meet with her and grateful for all the good she’s done, and how she’s grown as a leader.

She had started health retreat seminars to help bolster the healthy living and thinking of women. These retreats were open to women of all ages, and helped them through challenging periods of their lives, ensuring that they lived spiritually, physically, and emotionally healthy lives. Their retreats included yoga, inspirational talks, nutritional sessions, and healthy workouts. They kept gaining in popularity.

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But she went on to list a few other things that just didn’t seem to be going right.

“So now I don’t know what to do. I’ve run out of steam. I’ve got to get my mojo back. I’ve lost me. I’ve lost my motivation.”

This is a critical point. As an entrepreneur, you’re going to face these setbacks. And how do you face them?

Her points were valid. There were some serious things that needed to be addressed in her business, and she faced some challenges from the recent forest fires. She had been hosting events as part of her business, and the ranch in which she held events had burnt down. She had to refund some of the participants’ money. It seemed like a lot of the hard work had been undone over the past months.

Every entrepreneur faces setbacks, and the question you have to ask yourself is, what will you focus on?

At the end of the day, she had helped and was helping many, many people in these health events she was hosting. They felt better about themselves — and she felt better about herself. It was a very healing journey she set up for everyone who participated in her business.

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She had a good list of 20 things that weren’t going right. But I had a good list of 2,000 things that were going right. Here was my stream of consciousness:

  • She’d already hosted 6 successful events.
  • She had launched this in California, in the United States, a very pro-entrepreneurship place. In many countries, it’s extremely hard to start a business. She’s in an entrepreneur-friendly environment.
  • The sun is out so many days in California, allowing for positive nature to bless her seminars. It would be much harder to hold this in a place that rains all the time.
  • People are cheering her on.
  • People are asking when the next retreat is.
  • There isn’t one negative comment about her retreats. They all want to see more.
  • She had more new and different subscribers attending, as well as returning ones.
  • She had major high-network donors attending who could be strong sources of support in the future.
  • She’s learned lessons whereby she can encourage the next generation of entrepreneurs. As she overcomes these challenges, she will be yet another force that can encourage others.
  • She is not selling her soul to a corporate job.
  • She is living the dream where she has always wanted to live on a ranch.
  • She’s already given back more than so many other people. Hundreds of women have experienced her retreat, and become better people because of it.
  • Anxiety has gone down for these hundreds of women.
  • Anxiety has gone down for her.
  • Healthy living tips have increased in their lives, where they have taken them back and made them examples in their lives.
  • These women’s new lives have given encouragement and are an example to their families and friends.
  • Her results of these healthy retreats are already expansive, scaling to thousands of people, even if they haven’t attended.
  • She is encouraging people to model healthier lives which affect so many others.
  • She is preventing sickness, illness, and health issues.
  • She is a part of the movement to decrease anxiety.
  • She is part of the movement regarding organic food and eating healthier.
  • She is part of the movement to meditate and pray to become our best selves.
  • These tough incidents forced her to have different place other than the one ranch, making her business model stronger and more flexible, making the locations of her retreats more flexible. If she had more relationships with places to host it, she could have pivoted and still held the retreat. She learned great business lessons, which strengthen her business.
  • She has a loving relationship with her husband who is completely supportive of her business, even to the effect of possibly moving to a ranch, helping to cultivate the ranch while continuing their business there. That’s an extremely adaptable, kind, and supportive husband.
  • They have supportive in-laws.
  • She is smart and educated.
  • She has a huge group of friends.
  • She just completed a course in entrepreneurship and passed with flying colors.
  • In addition, she won the best business plan (with beautiful presentation and photos) of the entire group!
  • …and the list goes on! You can keep adding to it. 🙂

So, she had one setback. A setback will strengthen her. The setback allowed her to think about other parts of her business that are weak. How can she strengthen them? The setback allowed her to be prepared in the future.

This setback made her realize that she might have to push those dreams forward quicker than she imagined.

And that’s what happened!  She’s now living on a ranch now and hosting those events on the ranch now. Sometimes setbacks push us towards our destiny quicker.

Did you ever think you would say “Thank you for this challenge”? Yet she should. The challenges make our business become stronger, and give us wisdom.

She can focus on the negative, or she can focus on 2,000 and beyond things to be grateful for…

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I hope for you, that when facing setbacks, you choose the lessons learned and the gratitude. Don’t give up! Even if it doesn’t seem like it, you’re doing great.

You can start today and every day, listing the hundreds of things for which you will be grateful. That’s a healthy start and habit for you, and everyone around you.  

I believe in you,

Pamela

Sharing A Way I am Serving

Similar to UniversalGiving, I try to be a revelatory as possible.  I try to share my life so others can learn, as I am learning. Often when I share, I am in the midst of learning it, too!

So here is one group with whom I serve. It’s called Stephen Ministries. This ministry consists of dedicated people—pastors and laity—from a variety of denominational backgrounds. The goal is to help people who are struggling through a difficult time in life or are experiencing a life crisis. We ministers take one other person under our wings as a “care receiver,” meeting with them weekly.  Essentially, they receive our care: Mostly we listen, encourage, and help them see a positive way.

What I like so much is that in this volunteer work, you also get continuous, every-other-week training. It’s a community and a community of learning. We’re all growing spiritually, with the goal of helping others grow, too.

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This was part of our recent training, a wonderful exercise which I would like to share. We were asked to write out a blessing or prayer for someone we loved. I chose two people very dear to me, who have lost several dear friends over the past years.   It’s hard to have this happen. Yet this remarkable couple demonstrates trust, gratitude and joy for the friendships they have, even in the midst of when so many are ascending.

Here is what I prayed and wrote for them. I hope it may help you, too.

God is here, present, being with you and companioning you every moment. All your friends are eternally companioning with you, for God created them, and created you. God loves them, and loves you. That love is not past tense, but now. For as the Lord’s prayer says, “As in heaven, so on earth.” As in heaven, all are one with God, so on earth, all are one with God. That means you and all your friends are one with God, wherever you are. All is well, and we are all in the palm of his hand. Nothing is lost, but heaven gained.

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Dr. Kenneth C. Haugk founded Stephen Ministries in the 1970s. With a background as a pastor and a clinical psychologist, Dr. Haugk began to train and assign nine lay caregivers to help care receivers. Today, there are more than 170 Christian denominations participating with Stephen Ministries, spanning across the U.S. and Canada and in 29 other countries.

The mission of the Stephen Ministries organization focuses on Ephesians 4:12-13:
“To equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until all of us come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to maturity, to the measure of the full stature of Christ.”

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Fred Wilson Is Not Happy

Business Insider, December 27, 2012

Interesting to read this from #2 Venture Capital Investor in the world:

“Fred Wilson, the most influential venture capitalist in New York, sounds frustrated with some of his startups.

In a post on his blog site AVC, Wilson tells startups (and everyone, really) to quit screwing around and just deliver results in 2013.  It’s a timeless article for us all. One of standards, integrity and fulfillment of that which we promise. He asks you to do it for the investors, your company… and yourself. Read on and absorb his admonition.

Advice for 2013: Deliver On Your Promises

A VC, December 26, 2012

“There has been a lot of discussion out there about the Series A crunch, the consumer sector falling out of favor, VCs getting more conservative, the need to focus on revenues instead of users, and so on and so forth.

All of this is going on and the environment is certainly getting tougher for entrepreneurs. As I have said before, we have had the wind mostly at our back for the past seven years and I feel the winds changing on us. They are headwinds not tailwinds right now.

At times like this I think it is critical to focus hard on the most important things for your business. That could be revenues but may not be. That could be user traction but may not be.

I would like to tell a story. The company in this story will go nameless. It is not material to the story. We met the team a year ago as they were just launching. They had huge ambitions for 2012 and we thought they were delusional. We passed on the investment even though we really liked the team and the market. They came back in a month or two ago. And not only had they accomplished everything they said they would do, they got done a few things that were not even in their plans at year end 2011. We committed to lead their next round at a full valuation. There will always be money for teams and stories like this.

But as I look around the broader startup market (and certainly in our portfolio too), I don’t see a ton of those stories in 2012. I see delays in getting important new product initiatives out. I see revenues coming in well below plan. I see new ankle biter competitors emerging and taking share causing a loss of focus and missed numbers. I see “black swan” events that could not have been predicted causing short term disruptions.

None of these are fatal to a startup but in the environment we are in they will not help you. Investors are not giving the benefit of doubt in markets like this. And your employees aren’t going to be patient forever either.

So if I can give entrepreneurs a single piece of advice for 2013 it would be to deliver on your promises. Not just to your investors but also to your team and ultimately to yourself. This is no time to be in denial. That is a lethal attribute in times like these.

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If you took this article to heart, think about where you could make your promises more real.

Is that true for your business? Your marriage… your friendship… your boyfriend… your PTA role… where are you promising… and are you fulfilling it?

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Photo from: https://www.gettyimages.co.uk/pictures/fred-wilson–financier-15168790#cofounder-of-union-square-ventures-fred-wilson-is-photographed-for-picture-id188114061

Fred Wilson is known for his internet investment success and has backed companies such as Twitter, Tumblr, Zynga and Etsy; Wilson is now at the forefront of crypto circles. He is a co-founder of Union Square Ventures and Flatiron Partners, building a $570 million portfolio. He has also served as a guest lecturer at The Stern School of Business at New York University. Wilson has a Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from MIT and an MBA from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. In 2016, he was ranked as the number 2 venture capital investor worldwide by the New York Times and CB Insights. Wilson is an active philanthropist.

Bio from:
https://www.forbes.com/profile/fred-wilson/
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fred_Wilson_(financier)

The Classic Pamela Positive: Deal with the Complete Person — Zig Ziglar

Man is tridimensional (physical, mental, and spiritual). I deal with the complete person. This is the only way to have complete success.” —Zig Ziglar

 

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We can’t just deal with people from one viewpoint. We all have such important, varied qualities about us.  And that’s changing moment by moment… and needs to be honored moment by moment. Who the person is holistically, when honored, brings the greatest benefit to your relationship, your environment, your work, your home.

 

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Hilary Hinton “Zig” Ziglar was a motivational speaker, emphasizing Christian values and achieving success in all areas of life. He  was the author of nine books, including See You at the Top and Raising Positive Kids in a Negative World. In 2001, Ziglar was awarded the Cavett Award by The National Speakers Association for bringing honor to the profession and showing commitment to mentoring other members. He passed away November 2012, after his 40-year speaking career that brought him to consult for Fortune 500 companies and leaders around the world.