For those of you that don't know me, my name is Jake Jorgovan and in January of 2013 I entered the Nashville Entrepreneur Center's Incubator program.
I had an angel investor
I had an amazing pitch
I even won the 2013 Spark Pitch Competition
Yet even after all of that my startup failed.
My goal with this blog post is to educate you on some of the fatal mistakes that led to the downfall of my venture.
1) Don't be an opportunist
This was my biggest mistake and what ultimately led to my failure.
I chased a pipe dream of launching a scaleable healthcare venture, only to fail at it because I wasn't passionate about healthcare.
If you are just chasing dollar signs, eventually you will burn out. Instead, find a way to align your passions with an opportunity in the market.
Ross Hill from Picturebooth is a shining example of aligning passion with opportunity. He turned his passion for parties into a wildly profitable business. You can do the same.
2) Choose your team wisely
When you are a startup, you don't have the luxury of screwing this up. Every dollar and every day counts.
One wrong choice with your team members can mean sink or swim.
Vet them wisely, check references, and be certain before bringing anyone on board.
3) Define what success looks like for YOU
My third fatal mistake was a flawed vision of how I defined success. Like many other EC members, I entered the program with dreams of building a scaleable venture that would sell for millions of dollars someday. My plan was to work relentlessly for a few years, build a company, sell it and then relax on a beach somewhere.
Eventually I realized that was not what I actually wanted out of life. I much prefer a simple, stress free small business that generates a good income while allowing for personal freedom of time and location. That is very different than tackling a scaleable venture.
Before diving into a venture, pitching investors, and entering the venture capital world, make sure that is what you really want.
Many EC members want this lifestyle. For others, success may have a very different definition.
Be true to yourself, and don't get lost trying to live someone else's dream.
My hopes are that this post can act as words of caution and inspiration to the current and incoming EC members.
These simple mistakes cost me a lot of time, money and stress.
The EC is truly an incredible place that is full of opportunity. Make sure you have a clear head on your shoulders when you enter the program and always stay true to yourself.
Jake Jorgovan regularly blogs at jake-jorgovan.com about entrepreneurship, inspiration and living a non-traditional lifestyle.