Entrepreneurship Is A Journey

Entreperneurship Is A Journey

Laurent Notin
Devin Miller
The Inventive Journey Podcast for Entrepreneurs
3/19/2021

Entrepreneurship Is A Journey

Entrepreneurship is a journey. It never ends. It's not something that you can say I am going to be an entrepreneur today and, then tomorrow it's off. No, if you start entrepreneurship today, you are in it all of your life. It will never stop. When I am saying entrepreneurship is a journey I am also saying be patient. Don't believe all the things you see on social media. Most entrepreneurs are not that successful.


The Inventive Journey

Starting and growing a business is a journey. On The Inventive Journey, your host, Devin Miller walks with startups along their different journeys startups take to success (or failure). You also get to hear from featured guests, such as venture firms and angel investors, that provide insight on the paths to a successful inventive journey.

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conversation they're like look we you can work with us if you want but we're not going to pay you a lot we can pay you like 250 a month and i was like you know my my business my my partner she has she has a good she has a good money i don't need really the money but i do need the experience i do need to start with with a job and i started i said yes let's let's do it and this was it was this uh the small research agency ten staff they had all all their low little people so it's well but they well most of them were talking english and i was behind me as like some sort of a project manager first that's so that's that's how it happened so so now you worked so you stayed in uh uh in laos for uh quite a while you mentioned i think it was like six and a half years six and a half years um and then you know so as you were and then you found you know i love the story of how you found the job and that's that's great you just kind of have hey here's the list i'll go through it and that's where i'll start because i don't have anywhere else to start so why not so and and i think you mentioned with that business you kind of had the owners that were wanting to move on to something else or otherwise so they kind of entered you the key so to speak of the business or had you take over so how was that making that transition and was it fun and enjoyable and exciting or was it overwhelming and you know didn't know how to do it or kind of how was that transition in your job it was like my first reaction was like really me but i was 25 i was 24 i had absolutely no confidence in myself uh but i liked i liked market research i i i kind of analytical person so and i you know market research i thought was matching my my skills and yeah they just said like this they said look we're going to move to cambodia we need someone to run the business there's nobody else but you so basically they gave me the keys of the company because they did not really have the choice i was there i was the only one there available they did not trust me to be clear i didn't trust myself but i said all right let's do it or they gave me a little bit of of a raise i think [Laughter] and i just studied and then it was like whoa i like it like it was it was like really a breakthrough like i was put into this management role suddenly running a running company they asked me to uh to send them a report every week like like a very detailed report like it was a bit of a micro management and i just i just enjoyed it so it was i don't remember struggling i just remember like really enjoying it and and having to learn but it was it was fascinating so so now you so you you know first of all you get thrown into it and apparently they had more competency or they as you said didn't have any other alternatives they said you're you're our best choice so to speak but you kind of dive into that get going on it you know try it out and you do that for a period of time and then i think that you know what then you know and i think you mentioned you kind of had to or turn around the business you got here made it profitable and you actually you know got it up and or continued to make it uh to work and then you moved over to cambodia so kind of what prompted the move to cambodia and and how did you make that transition yeah so cambodia uh that was like six and a half six and a half years ago six and a half years after laos and basically i was reaching a point where i was turning into circles uh it was getting a bit i was getting a bit bored laos is a very small country and i was working for a small company and so i i needed to change but my partner she had a great she had a great job she really enjoyed she really enjoyed her job so she didn't want to move and what i was working for for this small market research agency in laos there was one of our clients was another research agency that was in cambodia and we were doing a lot we were doing what we call the feed work for them so they will send you know they will find the clients but they didn't have any uh any uh people any resources in laos so they would use our resources to do the field work and ask the questions to uh to the consumers and one day so i i got to know the one of the owners of the company and one day i remember it was around christmas so merry christmas to me basically i received an email out of the blue from from the owner of the company he said hey i just lost my research director do you want the job and he sent me the contract with all the details and everything so i was like oh that is very interesting and i said yes and i saw and as i left to cambodia it's very interesting because i never had to look for a job except the first time like 20 years 20 years ago so so now you moved to cambodia you take that over and i think that as we chatted a bit before the podcast kind of a similar to the other yeah you know job in luis you know you kind of ended up taking over the business or you know um doing a little bit of the same thing of you know they were they were transitioning out and he kind of took it over so how was that the second time as a first as opposed to the first time uh so the the the business in cambodia was was bigger uh and by by then they also opened they'll also open an office in laos so they had a office in vietnam cambodia and in laos so i joined a business with uh at that time maybe like 30 30 40 staff something like that and so i ended up i joined as a research director so the guy was basically in charge of all the all the projects and the client the client service but in reality i was also the the director the managing director because my boss who was one of the owner of the of the company too was super busy doing his own stuff and so gradually he was just giving me giving me more uh responsibilities without really acknowledging that you know but i was taking them and gradually i was telling him look maybe we should reduce this kind of things like that you know maybe maybe we should uh we should do this like this or maybe you should get out and don't take take care of that of that project you know and so it happens gradually until he made it he made it like official until he said oh okay but you're going gonna take my role uh you're gonna become the managing director of of the cambodian cambodian office so that's what happened and from there it was i spent eight years working for this company i loved every moment of it i learned adam so much it was fantastic and so no that it's always fun you know i think that you know being able to run or manage or otherwise you know do a business is always fun and exciting it's a different experience every time i mean even as you said you kind of did this twice but every experience is different it's a different business different setup different arrangement different culture different everything and so i think that's always kind of the fun and exciting part and then you figure out how to build it how to grow it how to make it successful and you know have or ride those ups and downs so now you worked with cambodia for a while and then i think after that you trans or you switched over and started doing marketing and advertising company and did that for a period of time yeah so so i went to vietnam so i was in kabul i went to vietnam and then and then came back and then when i came back from from vietnam i started working for this other company uh so basically another another entrepreneur i always worked for entrepreneurs and sam didn't have to look for the job i was like he was telling me look i have all these businesses and one of them is the research this marketing agency i can't manage all the businesses i need someone uh i can't pay you what you want but i can give you shares and so i needed to change so i said yes let's let's do that it was uh okay starting from going back to a smaller a smaller business into a more for an industry that i i knew a little bit about but not but not too much so i i accepted the challenge because it's it's always about the challenge you know and so that's really my first taste about being uh some sort of uh an entrepreneur [Laughter] no that's that's fun and exciting so and you did that for now a period of time now remind me so you were doing that for a while and then you kind of got into more of the the coaching aspect so how did you kind of transition from doing kind of the marketing in sales and getting some shares in the company and working for the startup to say okay i've done this enough i'm finally going to start my own thing kind of what prompted that or how did you transition over there yeah so so i worked for this agency for four and a half years more or less and inside me i had this feeling growing and going that you know i need to do something for me it's it's it's time i think it's i think it's uh it's that i've always been in contact with entrepreneurs i've always worked with entrepreneurs i have a i have a friend in laos a very good friend who's an awesome entrepreneur it's always been pushing me was like what are you waiting for just just do something for yourself and i was reaching the age of 40 and i'm like man if i don't do this if i don't do anything now i will never do it so that was a long maturing process but once i got there it took me another maybe another year to decide what is it that i want to do because i you know being an entrepreneur fine but i was i had to find out what is that i'm really what i'm really good at and so i did a lot of introspection a little i i looked really i look at my career at what i was enjoying the most and i realized that what was you know when i was at my best was when i was training mentoring coaching my stuff like i've loved all these moments and i can i do remember a lot of a lot of them you know all these moments they give me the goosebumps and i also realized that i was born to to help other people like i always care more about other people than myself and so i'm like this must be something around it you know and then i go on vacation and i was in uh in august uh 2017. i i am at my parents and one morning it's true it happened like that one morning i woke up and i'm like i found it i know i'm gonna be a business coach [Laughter] and so just wake up i've decided what i'm going to do and now we got to figure out how to do it right yeah and that morning i brought i wrote an email to uh my my my boss and uh and uh business partner and i told him look i'm gonna leave i'm going to start my own thing i'm going to leave in october and he said yeah i'm not surprised you've been talking about it for a while [Laughter] so saw he's he was he was supportive or saw the writing on the wall but that's that's a great interesting and having a partner saying hey appreciate all the work you've done i see that you're you're wanting to do something else i support you all the way good luck and kind of you know much better than being frustrated or mad so that's awesome that your partner took that well and was supportive yeah it was even uh they became my first one of my first clients too okay so that was another way of supporting supporting me so so now you so you finally have kind of this epiphany okay i'm going to go into doing coaching and training and you know that's what i love and enjoy and so you do that and you said okay gonna let my business partner know i'm gonna go explore that now how did you take that from an idea or take that from a business how did you get it going or started or kind of build that yeah so the first thing i did was to think about okay there is business coaching and business coaching so what sort of business coach i want i want i want to be i knew i had to i knew i had to specialize so again i look at what i'm good at what i have been what i've been doing and and the skills i've developed throughout throughout my career and you know there were elements like business strategy that i really that i enjoy leadership of course of building a team and having people follow you uh sales um i got a strong background in uh in uh b2b b2b sales and then also i was thinking okay who do i want to coach you know who would be my ideal client and it made sense that there would be entrepreneurs because i always worked for entrepreneurs because before becoming one you know when they gave me the keys they gave me the keys and i said they didn't give me the money money to support the business you know so i had to learn everything by myself i had i had they were kind of mentoring me yes i wasn't i was not i was not alone but it was kind of it was my company and it has always been like that it's i always had the feeling that it was my company's to the point that people where like my clients uh or people i knew they were always asking me but is it your company because i was speaking like it was my company and so i thought you know i speak the entrepreneur the entrepreneur language i sat in their seats i i i've gone through the same pain uh i've gone through the same the same successes so i think i can't help them so that's that's that's how i decided that i'm gonna be a business coach i'm gonna help entrepreneurs make sense of all that thing that is entrepreneurship so now you kind of find your niche you say okay this is where i'm going to focus this is where i'm going to coach so now how did you build a how do you build a coaching business or how did you build that around that meaning did you start to reach out to your network and say this is what i'm doing you know do you have any need for this and or do you have any leads or do you cold call people or email them or website and seo or kind of how did you kind of take that idea in that niche now and build it into a business yeah so i was in cambodia uh when i when i launched i was uh we are in october 2017 and you know i lived there for 14 years so i knew a lot of people and so that's what i did i reached out to my network uh i knew who i wanted to target and so you know entrepreneurs so i look at my my network and i just started reaching out to all my network of entrepreneurs telling them hey guys you know can we just have a can we just chat and run a coffee or have a lunch i'm starting this new venture would you like would you like to uh uh to know about it and some said no and some said yes and basically this is this is this is how i started and and because they knew me they already had the you know the the trust was already was already established so it was it was a little bit it was a little bit easier and this is how i get my i got my my first clients so and i think that's cool you know one of the interesting your best er i think that you know starting with the network you have or the people you know you know it's always it's better it's a double-edged sword on the one hand you know it's people that you know you can get feedback and it's you know a natural network that you can get things launched and yet on the other hand so often people are kind of almost a bit scared in the sense hey i don't want to ruin friendships or relationships or anything else you know and it's always a bit backward in the sense that most people they're gonna they're your friends they're your you know they're um they want you to succeed they want you to be successful and if they can help you along the way it's always a great resource and a great way to to get things going so i think that why it can be sometimes a bit scary to reach out to them to your point it's a great way to get things started and it sounds like it worked well for you so now as we kind of that kind of brings us up to where you're at today and if you're to look now kind of the next six to 12 months kind of what does that look like where are things heading okay um well i think first i have to tell you that i was in cambodia and i left to finland and then by the same time i'm pretty much at the same time like six months after kovit hit so basically i had i took a big big slap in the face so it was a new country where i had no network and kovit really affected me so i really had to rethink about the business and how i approach how i approach people uh and what for me this year is really about is i want to be more visible because my goal i have this goal in my mind my dream is that i become you know i become the simon sinek of entrepreneurship i always compared to simon sinek because i love simon sinek i'm right there with it he has some great great great material great information yeah i'm reading his last his last book right now the infinite infinite game it's it's crazy and so i have this big dream of becoming you know a thoughtful leader for everything that is uh that touch entrepreneurship entrepreneurship you know uh my stage line is cracking the entrepreneurship code and that's that's what i'm trying to do i'm trying to crack the entrepreneurship code and i want most a lot of people to know about that i want to help entrepreneurs because i believe there are ways to do entrepreneurship right yes i know every entrepreneur is different because of the personality so every company will be will be different sure guaranteed but they are the you you find some commonalities and that's what i'm trying that's what i'm trying to crack i want i'm trying to find what makes an entrepreneur an entrepreneur what makes a successful entrepreneur a successful entrepreneur and i want to share that with the maximum number of entrepreneurs out there no and i think i think that's a a great direction ahead and i i love simon sinek by the way i loved it he has a lot of interesting information a lot of insights but i think that take that and say here's my goal i'm going to be the simon cynic so to speak of entrepreneurs and help them along the way you know goals i think that it gives you direction and gives you a place to then say this is how now i've got my goal now let's work backwards and figure out how to do that so i think that that's awesome so well now as we start to reach towards the end of the podcast i always ask two questions towards the end of the podcast so we'll transition and jump to those now so the first question i always ask is along your journey what was the worst business decision you ever made and what did you learn from it oh there's so many wow i think the worst decisions always are around people i think like decisions around not hiring the right person because because i was too much in it too much in a rush like i was rushing to hire someone and instead of taking my client to hire the right person i had someone you know who was there because i needed to fill in a position and i always paid the price for that oh yeah go on no it's because i think that that is an easy mistake to make in the sense that you're in the business you're saying hey i got to get this going i need this covered i'm overwhelmed or i need to get everything done and i don't do it so then you rush to find someone to fill the position because you need someone and yet if you're taking a step back you know that's too often when you're rushing the decision to rush into higher they're never a good you know never a good or good hire because they may not be the right fit it's not even you know the fault of the person you hired it's just that you didn't you know you didn't bet them enough or you didn't make sure that everything lines up so i think that that's definitely one that it's an easy mistake because you're saying hey i need i need assistance i need help and so let's hire someone and you you rush too quickly so i think that definitely makes sense and and i wanted i wanted to add sorry david i just want i just wanted to add that the opposite also uh was uh like you know when you need there are moments where the people you're working with they you know we are not in harmony anymore you know and you need to do something about that and that many times i haven't done it it's fast fast enough you know no it's not necessarily about uh telling the person well i'm sorry i have to let you go but at least having a conversation with the person and saying look i can see something is wrong here are you happy you know are you still doing what you're supposed to be doing because if you're not you know there's no reason for you to stay with us yep no and i agree and i think that because if they're not happy if they're not excited about the job if they're not doing it well you take your productivity hit they're not happy and it just it's not a good situation to be in so i love that let's check you know check in with them if you can see that there's a shift or a change or anything else if you can't address it and if you can't you know then it's a at least hit it head-on and see how you can best help them to transition to something that they will be excited about so now i'm going to jump to the second question which is if you do now you know talking to someone that's just getting to a startup or small business what would be the one piece of advice you'd give them that's easy entrepreneurship is a journey like it's it never it never ends it's not like something like you know oh i'm gonna be an entrepreneur today and well tomorrow is it's it's it's off now it's if you start entrepreneurship today and you're in it all your life it will never ever ever stop you and what i'm saying entrepreneurship is the journey i'm also saying be patient like you know don't believe all the things that you see on social media and it's most of the entrepreneurs are not that successful a lot of them don't want to be that successful even the ones that are successful social media or me or movies or televisions or books you get the highlight reel right you get to hear well it was i did all these things and then i started this business as an overnight success and it's never that way and it's always an overnight success it's really 10 years in the making and even like your journey and everybody else has been on the podcast everybody has the things it led up to whether it's you know taking over other people's businesses going to different places building that network getting ideas you know figuring everything out and there's always that journey and i think to your point it is a journey and it's not this hey i'm going to have this great idea i'm going to throw it up on a website and everybody's going to pay me millions of dollars it doesn't work out that way that's what it looks like on social media and movie and television and everything else but it's not like that at all you know i like i like to compare entrepreneurship as uh look uh to look at entrepreneurship like it is a nice bag so everybody sees the the tip of the iceberg but we always we all forget about what is what we don't see what is under water that's what entrepreneurship is like i completely agree on that or a hundred percent so well now as we wrap up and i think that's some great great pieces of advice and things to learn from but as we wrap up if people want to find out more they want to be a client of yours and a coaching client they want to hire you they want to reach out to you find out more they want to be an employee they want to be an investor they want to be your next best friend any or all of the above what's the best way to reach out to you and find out more all right so they can go on my website laurennota.com they can reach out on linkedin same name or by email contact at laurenthotan.com and i offer for those people who want to try business coaching entrepreneurs who want to try business coaching i offer one-hour discovery discovery sessions awesome well i definitely encourage everybody and that's just your first name dot your first name lastname.com or contact firstnamelastname.com so make it easy for people just in case they didn't catch it with the accent which i love the accent well thank you again uh it's been a it's been a fun it's been a pleasure to have you on now all of you listeners that if you have your own journey to tell and you'd love to be or want to come on the podcast and share we'd love to have you just go to inventiveguest.com and apply to be on the podcast also um if you're a listener make sure to click subscribe in your podcast players and get notifications as all of our awesome episodes come out and leave us a review so new people can find us and and and find out more about everybody's journeys last but not least if you ever need help with your patents trademarks or anything else related to your business feel free to reach out to us by going to strategymeeting.com and we're always here to help thank you again uh laurent it's been a fun it's been a pleasure to have you on and wish the next leg of your journey even better than the last well thank you very much devin i really enjoyed this conversation absolutely you

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