Employee to Entrepreneur with Steve Glaveski
What does it take to go from an employee to an entrepreneur? Do you have the personal characteristics to make it as an entrepreneur?
My next guest, Steve Glaveski, went from climbing the corporate ladder to becoming a successful entrepreneur.
Now, after working with over 150 start-ups he is revealing what every person thinking about becoming an entrepreneur should know.
Should you even consider becoming an entrepreneur, or just change jobs?
Find out now in this episode of the STRONG Men Podcast.
Connect with Steve Glaveski:
Check Out Steve's Book
STRONG Men Podcast Available in
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Ep. 23 - Steve Glaveski | Transcript
Hello and welcome to the Strong Men Podcast. I'm Anthony Treas from strongmencoaching.com, and I'm actually very excited today, as always, but more so for this next guest because it is the first topic of covering entrepreneurship. And I know there are a lot of men who often think about becoming an entrepreneur and starting the business and are curious about that and want to know more information. And I have an amazing expert who from the corporate world to entrepreneurship and has been extremely successful. So I am excited. Let's get this started. I want to welcome Steve Glaveski to the show. Welcome, Steve.
Thank you so much Anthony. Really excited to be here!
Yeah. Well, welcome to the strong men podcast. It's absolutely an honor to have you here today. You have this amazing experiencing in the corporate world and transitioning from that whole experience. Because getting to the point where you made it to in the corporate world, and making that transition can can often be very difficult. But you've learned a lot of things along the way. So tell me, what was the corporate life like, and how did it transfer over to being an entrepreneur?
Sure. So I did invest a lot of energy and time into making it, you know, quote, unquote, making it in the corporate world. And by my late 20s, I found myself working for big brands like Ernston Young and KPMG, and Macquarie Bank. And I was in my late 20s, has a six figure salary. I used to fly internationally, you know, business class flights, nothing less and we had a lot of corporate junkets and I'd say, it was a very much a work hard play hard environment. But, despite all of that, despite all of those trappings, despite the salary deep down, I found myself miserably comfortable because the work was essentially not very fulfilling, it was more or less playing a lot of politics, spending a lot of time in meetings and the work that you did deliver, oftentimes, in my case, I was making recommendations to help big companies comply with the SEC obligations. And oftentimes, they take those recommendations, put them in the in the closet, and you come back the next year and make the same recommendation. So ultimately, the nature of the work wasn't fulfilling, but also spending a lot of time in meetings and playing politics, as opposed to actually creating value just left me feeling miserably comfortable.
So come the end of the day. Sure, I had the salary, but I'm sitting there on the train station platform and just wondering, what the hell did I actually contribute today. So, you know, Steve Jobs often said that if he found himself waking up, say, three days in a row, and he looked in the mirror, and he said to himself, I don't want to do what I'm going to do today, then that's a trigger to make a change. And in my case, I needed to make a change.
My initial foray into entrepreneurship was with an idea I had, which was inspired by a lot of vacant office space that I saw. So, like every second person in the startup ecosystem, these days, I built a marketplace. So, kind of like an Airbnb for office space. And I knew nothing about building anything at that point, I found a developer on upwork, I spent little more than $2,000, building a prototype where you could search for space, book space, pay for space, all that good stuff. And then I saw, I thought, well, I've got a prototype, I now need this to basically be used, I need to get into the hands of customers. So I thought, I'll write a press release, didn't know anything about writing a press release, or just googled how to write a press release. And I wrote it. And ultimately, I said, I can now need to spend some journalists. And what I did on to do that this was many years ago. Now, it's much easier, you've got all sorts of growth hacking tools to do this. But back then I just jumped onto Twitter, look for tech journalists, oftentimes, that have the email address in the profile, pulled that out, and then proceeded to send one email after the other after the other, after the other, ultimately, sense close to 100 emails to journalists with this press release, saying, hey, check out my tool. If your cane, I'd love for you to cover it came for an interview.
Of course, 99 of them didn't get back to me. But after a couple of weeks, one did. And that was just one of the biggest newspapers in Australia with a circulation of almost half a million. And they proceeded to publish this article. And within three months of the article coming out, I managed to raise about hundred and $150,000 dollars, and I was still working full time at this point. And that was my ticket out of the corporate world. But ultimately, I learned that just because you raised some capital, that does not mean that you have made it and the journey had just begun.
Yes, yes. So this was the your opportunity. Now, it seems like that's the route that you wanted to go, you knew you wanted to be an entrepreneur, you wanted to start something yourself?
Yeah, look, I think entrepreneurship was one part that I had identified. And I think a lot of people who are thinking about entrepreneurship, perhaps need to reflect on why because many get enamored by the bright lights of being their own boss, and doing it their way. But if you're in the corporate world, and you're making a comfortable salary, and it's secure, and you get that weekly paycheck, that's comfortable.
Now, when you jump out on your own, there's a lot of ambiguity and uncertainty. And there's no more weekly paycheck, particularly when you're just starting out. So really understanding what do you want to do this Is it because you hate your job, is it because you hate your boss, is because you haven't got a hobby on the side that perhaps you haven't got a creative outlet that you should just take up, maybe you just want to work for a different organization, or make a lateral move inside the current company, or maybe join a start up rather than starting your own. These may all be viable alternatives to doing it your own way. But if you truly truly, truly believe that you have what it takes to push through the adversity and, and you've got the resilience to create something new, take it to the world and grind for a year or two before you can kind of start to break through that entrepreneurship is for you.
In my case, entrepreneurship was one path. I mean, I had considered just working for a different organization, I had considered changing my profession. And if I was given the opportunities to be innovative, or to be entrepreneurial inside a larger organization, I perhaps would have stayed. But in my case, I needed to be rewarded, not just intrinsically, not just with salary and bonuses, I needed to be rewarded intrinsically. So I needed to feel that the work I was doing had purpose that it was creating value. And that was something that would get me up in the morning with a spring in my step, rather than just something that's just going to get me paid effectively.
Now, Steve, how would someone know, and you brought up a couple points that it is difficult and you know, you're going to learn a lot that first year, obviously, but how would someone know if they should even be considering becoming an entrepreneur?
Great question. So I think to answer that question, you need to bring it back to what are some of the key sort of character attributes that underpin entrepreneurship and some of the behavioral skills things like Are you someone who questions things? Are you very observant? Do you network voraciously? Do you read widely because entrepreneurship is about connecting dots between disparate topics. So if you read widely, or listen to lots of different types of podcasts, and read lots of different blogs, and hang out with different types of people, that puts you in a prime position to see things that most people don't see. Because genius is just the ability to see. And now if you want to see opportunities, most people don't, you need to collect a lot of dots or a lot of information. And then you start connecting those dots. It's at the intersection of different fields, different disciplines, different things, that innovation basically happens, I use somebody who is comfortable taking risks, and challenging the status quo.
Like, if you work for a large organization, you just going through the motions, just doing what people have always done? Or are you questioning why things are done the way they are? Are you trying to push for new ways of doing things? And also, the key thing that underpins all of this is resilience, dealing with the ambiguity and how do you currently go about building resilience in your own life, and it doesn't have to do anything with entrepreneurship. Perhaps it's that, you know, like yourself, maybe you took a BJJ recently, or maybe you took it up a year or two ago, and those first few times rolling on the mat. Absolutely. You know, just just eager destroying, right? Soul destroying, you know, you got tapped out by someone half your size. How did you deal with that? Did you just see that as, Okay, well, I got tapped out, let's reflect on what I could have done better. And that's come back better, stronger, smarter tomorrow. But if you took got tapped out, and you said, Oh, I don't like the way these makes my ego feel. And then you quit, and you never came back to that gym, then you're probably not going to have a great time as an entrepreneur, because it's just like getting tapped out every day.
Yes, it is difficult. And, you know, I knew at a very young age that I wanted to be an entrepreneur. And lucky for me, I had many influences my mother, several uncles of mine. And so what do you see are the common pitfalls for first time entrepreneurs?
One of the biggest ones is jumping to conclusions. So you might have an idea, and you think this idea is just going to solve a massive problem. And oftentimes, what they do, first time entrepreneurs do, is they won't share this idea with anyone, because they think something they go because it's such a great idea, everyone's gonna steal it, right. But that never happens. It may happen, one in, you know, 100,000 cases. But for somebody to steal your idea, and then to hustle, hustle, hustle, and to make it something over the next say, two or three years, then good luck to them. But then today, it's about who can execute faster because whatever idea you have, chances are, there's 20-50 to 100 people around the world with a similar idea. And then jumping to conclusions.
So especially for tech entrepreneurs, what they'll do is they'll say, Well, I want to build this app or this platform. And so they'll hire a company, they'll pay them upwards of 10 figures, sometimes upwards of six figures, they might even take out a bank loan. So now they leverage and they won't tell anyone about this product, they'll spend six months developing it, then they'll take it to market. And ultimately, it's a lemon, and they're burnt a big hole in their pocket, and there's no bouncing back from that. So they just go back to whatever they were doing before with the tail between the legs.
Another big one is complating, raising capital with market validation. So many entrepreneurs waste so much time initially trying to raising funding, because they read TechCrunch they read Mashable and all these entrepreneurship websites. And they think that it's all about raising funding, when you first start out. No, it's about value proposition, it's about generating revenue. Because if you can generate revenue, and then if you need the funding, and only if you need the funding, you can raise at a much higher valuation and give away list of your business. But if you raise from day one, you're going to raise at a lower valuation, because you're not making any money yet. So you can't ask for a big valuation, you're going to give away a bigger chunk of your business. And guess what, now instead of being accountable to people in the corporate world, you know, accountable to your investors. And when you raise funding, that's not validation, that just means that an investor has taken a bet your business is now a bet, because they're hoping that of the 10 bets they've made, one of them will cover the losses and make them a profit. That's how venture capital effectively works.
And the fourth key thing out that I just want to hone in on in terms of those pitfalls is around comparing yourself. So it's a big mindset piece. So if you're coming out of the corporate world, and inevitably, your former colleagues, and perhaps still your friends will be making more than you when you first start out. So if you're just going to be comparing yourself on that one metric, and that one metric alone during the first year or two of your entrepreneur journey, it's going to eat you up inside, and you're going to either snap and go back into that world or just hate yourself. So you need to identify what are the metrics that really matter to you, the freedom, the fulfillment, the learning the journey, and just look at those leading indicators. For example, if I am building a business, maybe I may not be making a letter revenue from this thought, but are my I customer numbers starting to track upwards. For every 10 lead prospecting emails, I send out are three to four coming back and saying, yes, this is interesting, we want to chat, because they're the kinds of metrics you want to focus on in the short term, not the big salary that will come later, providing you create value and find that value proposition.
When when someone's deciding on a business. I know you mentioned this briefly is like the mindset, right? And it seems like that's a lot of what is happening in that first year. And that and also including in that transition, right, because you mentioned you go from a secure job to becoming an entrepreneur where the money income can be very sporadic, if any at all right? And so it's it's that mindset that you've got to be fully committed into it. So would you recommend new entrepreneurs to have a mentor, a coach, what are you recommending, for the first time entrepreneurs.
I never really had someone you would call a mentor or a coach during those early early days. I had reached out to people and had some conversations, but no one that I was saying in touch with often enough to call them a mentor. But what I would say is, if you can find someone who can help you, not necessarily knocking on people's doors, saying, Hey, will you be my mentor, but just speaking to different people who you can learn different things from. I would be conscious of just relying on one person because one person can teach you maybe a narrow number of things, but not everything, right. So I would extend beyond the realm of just looking at mentors. I would try and join local community groups, whether it's like a Startup Grind meetup. That way, you can connect with fellow people who are on that journey. You can share your journey. You can share learning's, tools, techniques that are helping them grow their businesses, and also I mean, some of my best mentors have been authors, podcast hosts, things like that. So and doesn't matter where you are in the world. As long as you've got an internet connection and a device. You can read blogs, you can read books, you can listen to podcast, you can listen to audio books, fill your brain with that stuff. And don't just look at business books because like you said a few moments ago Anthony like the mindset pace is absolutely key. So reading books on say philosophy.
You know, some of the most transformational books in my life have been Marcus Arileus meditations Senecas, letters letters from a stoic mindset from Carol Dweck, which isn't philosophy, but about basically human behavior. And then even branching out into biological evolution, like trying to better understand yourself so that you can make better decisions throughout the day. So Robert S??? to his book, Behave, help me better understand myself. And the more emotional intelligence you can develop, the better you will respond to different challenges, setbacks, circumstances that inevitably arise every single day.
So bringing it back to the mindset pace and something Ben Horowitz says Who is the co-founder of Andreessen and Horowitz, one of the world's biggest venture capital firms, and he's worked with hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of successful startups. He says, the number one skill that an CEO or an entrepreneur needs to develop is managing their psychology. You can't afford to be in a state of constant responsiveness or reactivenessness, rather, you need to be proactive, and if something comes up, you need to just take a step back. Realize firstly, what it's doing to your emotional state, label that and then choose your response based on what's going to move you closer to your goal. So don't just react but choose your response. I think that's absolutely key.
Phenomenal. Now, Steve, speaking about books, you have a book coming out soon. And the title is "Employee to Entrepreneur, How to Earn Your Freedom and Do Work that Matters". Tell me about your book.
Yeah, so I mean, it was basically inspired by a lot of the people I work with them, whether it's corporate clients, whether it's, I mean, I've incubated close to 100 startups. And for those who are still in that world, I often get asked a question, Hey, Steve, I've got this idea. I don't know where to start. Well, I don't think it's the right time. How did you go about it. And, you know, I've been writing I've been blogging voraciously for almost a decade, and published hundreds of blogs. I've self published a couple of books. And I thought, well, this is clearly something that we need to package up because there are books out there on business building, and things of that nature. But one thing that those books didn't really cover is coming out of say, long-term employment, you know, becoming an entrepreneur, because as an employee, you will develop certain attributes that will inhibit your growth as an entrepreneur. For example, say you're in the corporate world, you're probably spending a lot of your time in meetings, probably doing a lot of research, analysis, planning, project management. Now, all of those things are beneficial if use properly. But if you take them too far, they will be around doing. And so oftentimes, in the corporate world, we take those things too far in. And the difference here is in an existing business, you've got a business model that makes money today, you've got a roadmap, all you're doing is executing.
Now, in the entrepreneurial demand, you're dealing with uncertainty, you're going to start off with the business model that doesn't money you need to figure out what that business model is. So sitting in long meetings, planning to the nth degree, won't help you the thing that will help you is experimentation, fast, rapid experimentation, getting out of the building, testing those assumptions underpin your business model that underpin your problem, your solution, your customer segment, learning as quickly as you can, adapting to those learning's. And by doing that you'll get towards product market fit. So that's one of the key things that the book covers in terms of how do you actually figure out something worth doing. But the other things that cause so there's corporate behaviors that will inhibit, you what to look out for, how to circumvent all of the different pitfalls that first time entrepreneurs coming out of employment fall into. There's a number of methods, tools and techniques, top that mix accelerate the growth initially. But what I do in this book is I bring it back to why are you doing this, on what should you do, and how do you go about it. And then it delves into philosophy and mindset, even critical things like productivity, like how do you go about your day? How do you go about managing your team, because you could have a great idea you could have funding, you could be a very talented person. But if you don't know how to manage your time, if you're spending your time in meetings that don't create any value or, you know, reflecting on what's the 80/20 here. What's the 20% of things I can do to deliver 80% of the value. If you're not leveraging automation tools. If you're not outsourcing what I like to call $10 an hour tasks, you will find yourself on the back foot very, very quickly. And oftentimes, you could have an amazing value prop. But if you don't, you know, as Peter Drucker said, you know, famous management author from the 20th century, there's nothing worse than the wrong things done, right, especially as an entrepreneur, because time is your most precious commodity.
So the book basically tries to distill hundreds of books that I've read, hundreds of podcasts I listened to, you know, eight years of experiencing the entrepreneurial domain, having worked with almost 100 startups and worked with over 50 big brands on their own innovation programs that tries to distill all of that into 250 pages. And it's the kind of book I wish I had picked up when I started my journey, you know, at years ago.
Well, Steve. Excellent, thank you. And we'll definitely leave a link to get some more information about your upcoming book. Final tip, what would you say to men listening on how they can stay on top of their game in life, in business? What would you say? Is that number one tip that you would leave for the listener?
That's a great question. Now, the number one tip that I would leave for the listener and this one is inspired by my book I mentioned a few minutes ago, Marcus Aurelius "Meditation". So Marcus Aurelius was a philosopher King, one of the last great Roman emperors. We walked the earth circle 150 AD. And he basically spent his time writing these journals, which were never meant for publication. But we're eventually found after his death. And so there's generals were captured in a book called Meditations. And this book is one book that I take with me everywhere I go, wherever I travel, I leave it on my bedside table, if I need to find some calm, be grounded, if I've had a tough day, I read a few passages, and then I'm back to my good self. So one thing that Mark has says in his book is that you have control over your mind, not external events, realize this and you will find strength. And so for people listening, for the men listening, doesn't matter what happens during your day, you are always in control of how you choose to respond to that. So you can let external circumstances dictate how you behave, how you show up, how you perform every day. Or you can choose how you want to interpret these external events, respond in a deliberate way, and therefore set up action items that are going to serve you rather than sabotage you.
Wonderful! wonderful way to end this show. Steve one final thing how can people get in touch with you
Sure, so people can find me on Twitter at Steve Glaveski. They can find out more about the book and download a free bonus bundle employeetoentrepreneur.io and if they want to find out more about my different sort of projects and whatnot, they can head over to Steveglaveski.com.
Excellent. And I'll be leaving those links in the show notes for this episode. Steve, thank you very much once again for your time. Appreciate the information and for you being here today. So for all those listening, I'm Anthony Treas. Until next time, stay STRONG!
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