I hope your Tuesday is going well. Welcome back to another episode of Ask Ash, where I interview WatchMojo Founder & CEO Ashkan Karbasfrooshan and ask him questions about various topics, ranging from what is going on in the news, to career advice for students & entrepreneurs.
Today, I wanted to talk about the skills that actually go into becoming a successful entrepreneur. It seems that there is more change and innovation than ever before, and people are looking to start their own businesses hoping to attain success in their field. I wanted to ask Ash about some of the skills that he learned as an entrepreneur when building up WatchMojo, how he built relationships with other top entrepreneurs, and if there was a skill that was harder for him to master than others.
1. What are the top three skills needed for people to become successful entrepreneurs?
Interesting you use the term skills.
In 2012, I wrote something on TechCrunch re the ingredients for startup success. I would call these ingredients traits:
Vision + Ambition + Execution + Persistence + Luck + Timing + Focus + Resilience (boldfaced were added subsequently).
But if we focus on Skills, I would say
– Trend-spotting: we’ve all heard the saying about “skating where the puck is going, not where it’s been,” and indeed, since all overnight successes are years in the making, you want to be able to spot trends, connect the dots and devote your energy to areas where over time you can bring together the ingredients to make it all come together at the same time. Success in entrepreneurship is like an eclipse.
– Problem-solving: it’s great to spot the trends, but unless you can solve problems and find solutions to obstacles, you will be DOA.
– Alignment: Entrepreneurs tend to be idealistic, selfless and are driven by unconventional things. Most people however tend to be more self-serving and driven by tangible things like money, title, fame, etc. so being able to align different people with different, personal objectives is definitely the X-factor.
2. How do you connect/form relationships with entrepreneurs?
I have been working for 20 years in the industry. Writing for TechCrunch, MediaPost etc. also helped me “punch above our weight.” But those diligent efforts build a powerful network. You have heard the saying that it takes years to build your relationship, but minutes to lose it… so by being someone with a reputation for integrity and character (at least I hope!) then it definitely helps in building an amazing network, and thus deal flow. The key is being a solution-minded person who gives before taking, creates value for all stakeholders… in line with the “being long term greedy” mindset.
3. What was a skill as an entrepreneur that took you longer to master than others?
Patience and focus. I wrote an article called Patience is a Virtue, for Suckers. The headline was tongue in cheek, but as an entrepreneur, you are always moving your feet, tinkering, iterating, until you find product/market fit… and then you have to focus. I had (and still have) a lot of difficulty in focusing, but without a doubt, to really be great, you have to focus and do one, maybe two things, really well… and keep getting better at it.
Lastly, if you want to submit questions to Ash directly, you can do so by clicking the link here: https://watchmojo.com/suggest/AskMojo%20-%20WatchMojo’s%20founder%20Ash