Thursday, April 7, 2011

The Entrepreneurial Generation | Full Interview with

I was approached by Tolu Babalola, a writer at Generation-Y Startup, to contribute some thoughts to an article on entrepreneurship and generation Y. You can read the article here at
Here is the full interview:

What inspired you to get into entrepreneurship?
I think my main inspiration came out of a need for a lifestyle plan. I took a step back from my life and asked myself what I wanted most out of my daily routine. I came up with a short list that has influenced my decision-making ever since and I always come back to it when things get tough. This list is the driving force behind my business mission and goals.

My List:
1. Immerse myself in the arts while providing a much needed service to the artist community
2. Own my own schedule while working feverishly/passionately
3. Enjoy everyday through exploration and lifelong learning

Does location, (Baltimore, NYC, Silicon Valley) affect success rate of entrepreneurs?
Of course location affects the success rate of entrepreneurs, but I believe it is a common misconception that location "limits" entrepreneurship. In most cases it's the entrepreneur that limits success rate. Every location has its own entrepreneurial energy; it's up to the entrepreneur to harvest it.

Baltimore is a wonderful city for creative entrepreneurs. There is a great energy from the professionals in this city and there are so many people that support the fusion of entrepreneurship, arts, and technology. You can find out more from organizations like Startup Baltimore or going to events like Startup Weekend.
Do you see a shift in work dynamic of the gen y compared to previous generations? Are more college grads looking to 'do their own thing' versus work for other people?
Great question, at this point there have been many books written about how to "deal with" Gen Y. Really, you just have to understand the way we think and give us space to grow. The most recent Ignite Baltimore (an event that invites artists/entrepreneurs/personalities to present for 5 minutes on any topic) and one presenter named Greg Dekker presented on how "71 Million Americans Say Your Cubicle is Stupid". The reality is that Gen Y (the 71 million Americans referred to in the title) will be filling the shoes of the retiring baby boomers within the next decade. Though they are ready to break down the cubicle walls, not all of their actions will be destructive. Within the corporations, Gen Y will rewrite job descriptions and bring a new perspective to the traditional idea of the 9-5. Though, if businesses remain rigid, Gen Y will look towards greener pastures and choose to collaborate with fellow classmates either as leaders or supporters of new exciting ventures. If you challenge us just right, we will move mountains--deny us stimuli and assign us busy work, we will focus our energy on our own interests and leave your traditional job in the dust.

What are your biggest struggles as an entrepreneur?
Since I am at the beginning of my entrepreneurial journey, I will say my biggest struggles as at this point are my impatience with progress, learning to embrace my mistakes, and balancing my home life with my desire to work constantly.

Another big struggle is finding the time get involved in the community. I believe it is so important to get out and interact. Today, building a business brick-by-brick on your own is no longer necessary. Many of my efforts have gone into networking or simply making connections with other inspired and passionate people. Do not let the fear of rejection or that you are "not worthy" get in the way of making friends (professional and non-professional). Any open community forum, event, or lecture is just that, open! I believe a real experience with another person will always make more of an impact then any handshake or business card (though those do help).

I cannot thank my friends and family enough (not to mention my two dogs and a cat) for their unconditional support. If you're not having fun and enjoying life while you build your business, then you risk burning out and losing sight of why you started in the first place.

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