What we learned from the Food Cowboy.

One year ago, I got this crazy of idea of saving pain, time and money to high-school kids in Mexico City by teaching them what I have learned as an entrepreneur, so that they could avoid at least a few of my mistakes. This led to a book on Irreverent Traction and a workshop. The highlight of the 13-week workshop was a humble-spectacular 40-minute lecture by Roger Gordon.

This is a summary of the life-changing lessons the kids and I took from this visionary man.

  1. Size of the fight

Before you jump into an entrepreneurial project, try and size the fight. If thought of, the fight may be larger than you think, and end up costing much more than you initially thought of. This is no reason to back out, but it will help you figure out whether it is the right fight for you at the moment.

2. Find a niche, a hot market

Whatever you do, try to seek projects in a market that is hot. This means, a market that is growing, a market with potential. If you are to change things, try to achieve the largest change you can.

3. Find support (ie: make sure you are not high)

Put together an advisory board with people who are great in the field relevant to your project, support from actual leaders in the industry will prove that you are not high, and it is not only your mom who thinks your idea is awesome. This means pitching your idea to successful people, it also means not asking them for money.

4. Don’t die in the crib

When you are small, its when you are most likely to die. Getting support from big names in the industry will improve your chances of surviving. When you are in the reality changing game, people set in their ways will come after you, and they will think twice about a coupe if you have some high-profile friends to back you up.

5. Show respect. Be Coachable

Wear something nice when you show up to people to ask them to side with you. Yes, we get it, you are young and the world will be yours, but regardless of how powerful you may think you are, you will need the experience of the people you are approaching. Achieve that delicate balance between listening and standing your ground.

6. Don’t rely on faith

Relying solely on faith that your idea will be awesome is “not an entrepreneurial” way of doing things. Sure, great projects require conviction, but faith is often blind to reality, and that blindness may keep you from seeing beyond your nose and placing too much on something that never had potential to begin with.

7. Get cash, and don’t be afraid to spend it

Once your idea has achieved some traction, it will need cash to grow and consolidate. Get investors, get funding and spend it without fear. This does not mean squandering on jewelry and expensive cars, rather, make sure you do use the cash the wisest way you can.

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