They Don’t Tell You

One of the things they don’t tell you in entrepreneur school about being nearly broke is that you have to break your own club crackers in half if you want them the “normal” size.

As a result, the package goes bad twice as fast. And the off-brand zip bags you have to buy to store ‘em in reek of plastic which subsequently taints your food.

They don’t tell you that certain grocery stores sell food that spoils faster. And you don’t know if you’ve selected poorly until two days after you’ve purchased – when all your “special splurge” fruit has mold. And to exchange it would require time that you don’t have or else that client project won’t make it on time.

Or that buying meat in bulk is super cost effective, but that you have to be really careful to make sure you segment and store it safely.

They don’t tell you that when you have $100 in your bank account and you’re starting a business, your food budget is directly competing against spending the $72 it takes to start a MeetUp group to grow a client base.

Or that, after you’ve spent the money on your MeetUp group organizer fees, you can eat filling meals for next to nothing—if you’re willing to eat mostly carhop-style fast food and bananas.

Or that coffee — any coffee, no matter the source — is a godsend when you’ve been too broke to afford it.

Go ahead, pick my brain. I’ll try to tone down my not-so-subtle ecstasy after each sip.

They don’t tell you that selling your boldly fluids (in my case: plasma) is how you can afford real food until your first client check comes in. Or that — and I’m not proud of this — your time is worth more than sorting laundry piles, so your clothes create a colossal colorful mountain in the corner of your room.

They don’t tell you all these little indignities will feel like tiny paper cuts to your spirit.

Each time a new mark appears, you count it and hope it’s not the fatal thousandth. Familiar cracks begin to form in your ego and each new challenge somehow finds a way into those old wounds.

Every entrepreneur has their own struggles. You might never have been broke, but I bet you’ve had your moments of “Holy hell, what am I gonna do next?”

Mine just seemed to always hover near food, being able to afford it, and what it meant as a measure of success.

When I started out on my own in 2009, I landed an amazing training gig.
Colloquially, I called it Facebook for the Golden Girls (because that’s the demographic that showed up, with a few minor exceptions).

Don’t get me wrong — I no way do I mean ‘Golden Girls’ as a derogatory. Sassy, smart, savvy business women around the ages of 60+ were the great majority of the audience, ready and eager to pick up a new skill. The Golden Girls epitomize the spirit of friendship, youthful vigor, and the constant aim to improve yourself. In short: they’re near perfect clients who know how to hold themselves accountable to their own learning.

I enjoyed teaching, but it struck me midway through the first class that Facebook had become a basic literacy skill.

You might roll your eyes at this, but for me, it’s akin to reading, writing, and knowing how to type. Texting has been in this realm for some time.

And there I was charging $90 a head. To teach someone how to, essentially, read.

I felt awful.

Please, hold your lecture that goes something like: “Yeah, but, certain skills have a price…” — that’s nonsense.

Something can have value (my time and expertise) while being unethical to charge for (basic literacy).

Picture my idea of a dystopian society: Sorry, Timmy, you can’t learn how to read because the man with the books wants $5 to lend them to you, and Mommy’s gotta charge you $1 for every word you learn. It’s only “fair.”

The next day, I launched my meetup group thanks to a very generous loan from a friend.
I ate car-hop fast food and bananas for the next two weeks until my paycheck came in from the first (and only) Facebook for Golden Girls class.

I committed to teaching social media basics every other week for $1 per head, and donated the proceeds to the Larimer County Food Bank.

Over the course of the next four years, I taught enough and earned enough trust in the community to create about 4,500 meals for the Foodbank.

I also landed a cool number of teaching gigs, clients, and created a whole network of friends who loved to learn as much as I loved to teach.

We’d start having lunches together and discussing strategy and new ideas. Some of those friends went on to start their own companies and MeetUps. I had a lot of brain-picking coffee meetings.

On the surface, I looked to be doing pretty well.
Behind the scenes, my life was in turmoil with my habit of undercharging for almost everything, every late client payment, every new unexpected expense, and the stress from near-constant hustling.

I’d work on my couch because there was nowhere else to work. I’d work until I fell asleep on the couch, wake up, pour some family-sized Cheerios into my bowl and start my work anew.

Nothing really changed during that first year until I met the woman who would become my wife.

Stacy and I met online. Our first date was to a mall. I was an hour late, thanks to the aforementioned non-stop hustling, but she took it in stride and I showed up with a lot of flowers, which I’m sure kinda helped.

We nervously speed-walked around the whole mall. We went to the shoe store (I had on bright red Chuck Taylors and Stacy thought they were cool). I got down on my knees and helped her tie a pair of Chucks on.

Later we got dinner at Mimi’s Cafe where a rambunctious child was running rampant through the restaurant. We simultaneously made a joke about tripping the kid as she ran past, and that’s when I knew I’d met The One.

I owe a lot to Stacy, who helped me realize that I couldn’t afford to bachelor or hustle myself to death.
I got my act together. Learned how to price responsibly. Landed some ridiculously cool clients like Fort Collins Brewery and Poudre Libraries.

I upped my game so I could support Stacy while she sought out the long and winding path toward her two dream jobs — teaching and being a Stay-At-Home Mom. (I’ve since come to the conclusion that this is the single-most difficult, demanding job in the world. Not only must you be consistent, you must be creative, kind, fair, and entertaining while being mostly sleep deprived.)

It wasn’t just that she was there, it was that I had to become a better version of myself to help her achieve her goals.

Clients are like that, too.

I love to grow along with my clients. As their needs expand, so too do my skills to service them.

If something is way outside my wheelhouse, we pass it along to a trusted friend. But if I can learn how to it, there’s no power in the world to stop me — except for me.

That’s the real lesson in all those hard-earned cracks, cuts, and bruises.

Only you can stop you.

So what’s stopping you from working as hard as you need to? Failing and failing and failing over again until you succeed or learn a better way?

You. That’s it. You’re playing against yourself, mostly. They don’t tell you that, either.

So why not go for the high score?

Mean or thieving competitors can get bent (nice, honest competitors get referrals).

Haters will need a support group after you prove ‘em wrong.

Something in your way? Break it in half like dollar store club crackers and put it over your stew.

About the Author:

Our first Guest Blogger in 2017, Nick Armstrong is a member of the FCSW steering committee as well as a dad, author, Geek-in-Chief of WTF Marketing, and the Co-Organizer of Fort Collins Comic Con. Want to blog your thoughts on livin’ la vida startup? Contact us.

Startup Week 2017 Dates Announced: February 27 – March 3

Startup Week returns to Fort Collins, Colorado February 6-10, 2017 February 27 – March 3, 2017.

Startup Week in Fort Collins, Colorado and similar events across the nation are a platform to bring together like-minded individuals to foster and to celebrate entrepreneurship. This is the second year that the event will happen in early February.

“We’re excited to help make this great community event happen again in 2017.” share co-organizers Charisse Bowen, Campus Director at Galvanize Fort Collins and Christine Hudson, Advisor at The Food Corridor and Emerging Services Program Manager at CA Technologies (Rally Software).

Like Startup Week events in other top tech cities, the co-organizers see this as a grassroots effort to bring together great our entrepreneurial community for a fun week of startup education, collaboration, creation — and community.

The public is invited and encouraged to suggest events through the Fort Collins Startup Week site, to become a volunteer or sponsor — and of course to attend all of the week’s activities which are free of charge.

 

Join the conversation…
Facebook
Twitter
#FoCoStartupWeek17 #FCSW17

Sponsorship for 2016

This post is about sponsorship for 2016’s Startup Week. If you are interested in sponsoring 2018, please visit: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdfC5hCMsinQK4vYHwIfDay8o-O3Vz3FhqXjncwG7c_1Fv26A/viewform

StartupWeek_FortCollins

Fort Collins Startup Week is returning Feb. 1- Feb. 5, 2016. We are looking forward to engaging with the community through sponsorship. Below are the available sponsorship levels opportunities. If you are interested in this opportunity or would like to customize your sponsorship relationship, please reach out to Jordan Mathews, Event Manager at Galvanize-Fort Collins, directly at [email protected]

Seed Sponsor:  $500

  • Banner displayed for chosen event
  • Present during “Lightning Talks: Local Resources Pitch Back!” event plus booth display Thursday/Friday
  • Logo on Fort Collins Startup Week webpage, Facebook page and digital signage
  • 10% discount off future weekday event space rental of 120 people or less at Galvanize-Fort Collins**

Angel Sponsor: $1000

  • Banner displayed at Basecamp (Galvanize FoCo) for chosen day
  • Presentation during “Lightning Talks: Local Resources Pitch Back!” event
  • Logo on Fort Collins Startup Week webpage, Facebook page, and digital signage
  • Social media promotion for specified day* on Facebook & Twitter
  • Opportunity to introduce one event of choice
  • 25% discount off future weekday event of 120 people or less @ Galvanize-Fort Collins**

Title Sponsor: $2000

  • Banner displayed at Basecamp (Galvanize FoCo) for entire week
  • Presentation during “Lightning Talks: Local Resource Pitch Back!” event
  • Logo on Fort Collins Startup Week webpage, Facebook page, and digital signage
  • Social media promotion for entire week* on Facebook & Twitter
  • Included as a sponsor in all press releases
  • Opportunity to introduce three events of choice
  • 50% discount off future weekday event of 120 people of less @ Galvanize-Fort Collins**

Galvanize is the fiscal sponsor of Fort Collins Startup Week.  All sponsorship invoices will come from Galvanize’s and checks will be made out to Galvanize.

*Social media promotion: One mention per platform per day

** Event discount valid through August 1, 2016

Startup Week is returning to Fort Collins // Feb. 1 – Feb. 5 2016

The public encouraged to celebrate the spirit of our entrepreneurial community through multiple events being conducted throughout the city.

Startup Week in Fort Collins, Colorado and similar events across the nation are a platform to bring together like-minded individuals to foster and to celebrate entrepreneurship. In years past, Startup week Fort Collins has happened just after Memorial Day, and this year in an effort to increase participation from across the state, organizers have moved the event to earlier in the year.

The Fort Collins Startup Week organizers see this as a grassroots opportunity to bring together great entrepreneurial business leaders for a fun week of collaboration, creation and community.

“I am thrilled that our startup community here in Fort Collins is as robust and energized as it is to host a startup week for a third year in a row.” said Charisse Bowen, Campus Director Galvanize FoCo. “I am looking forward to seeing how this change in date and format increases participation and involvement.”

Whether you are one person with a great idea or an already scaling startup, the events already lined up have been created by entrepreneurs and experts in the community who want to share what they’ve learned with you. Participants can expect a diverse schedule of events driven by entrepreneurs for entrepreneurs, including workshops, guest speakers, networking happy hours and much more. If you do not see a session you need, feel free to create it.

These events will take place all over Fort Collins, including the Innosphere who has been an organizing partner this year. Startup Week basecamp will be held at Galvanize-Fort Collins located at 242 Linden St. in Old Town, this is where participants can check-in and get all of their Startup Week questions answered during the week of events. Basecamp will be open daily from 8:30am-5:30pm.

The public is invited and encouraged to attend all of the week’s activities which are free of charge. Organizers are also seeking additional content and are soliciting for people to submit their event concepts through a form on their website. Events to be held this year must be submitted by January 21st, 2016 for consideration. Fort Collins Startup Week is also currently seeking volunteers and sponsors, for more information please reach out to [email protected].

To see the schedule and learn more about how to get involved with Fort Collins Startup Week please visit this link.

 

Join the conversation…
Facebook
Twitter
#startupweekfoco

Interview With our Keynote

Do not miss this exclusive interview with our Keynote

Collaboratively administrate empowered markets via plug-and-play networks. Dynamically procrastinate B2C users after installed base benefits. Dramatically visualize customer directed convergence without revolutionary ROI.

Efficiently unleash cross-media information without cross-media value. Quickly maximize timely deliverables for real-time schemas. Dramatically maintain clicks-and-mortar solutions without functional solutions.

Completely synergize resource sucking relationships via premier niche markets. Professionally cultivate one-to-one customer service with robust ideas. Dynamically innovate resource-leveling customer service for state of the art customer service.

Objectively innovate empowered manufactured products whereas parallel platforms. Holisticly predominate extensible testing procedures for reliable supply chains. Dramatically engage top-line web services vis-a-vis cutting-edge deliverables.

Save the Date

We can finally announce our event! We can’t wait to see you there

Collaboratively administrate empowered markets via plug-and-play networks. Dynamically procrastinate B2C users after installed base benefits. Dramatically visualize customer directed convergence without revolutionary ROI.

Efficiently unleash cross-media information without cross-media value. Quickly maximize timely deliverables for real-time schemas. Dramatically maintain clicks-and-mortar solutions without functional solutions.

Completely synergize resource sucking relationships via premier niche markets. Professionally cultivate one-to-one customer service with robust ideas. Dynamically innovate resource-leveling customer service for state of the art customer service.

Objectively innovate empowered manufactured products whereas parallel platforms. Holisticly predominate extensible testing procedures for reliable supply chains. Dramatically engage top-line web services vis-a-vis cutting-edge deliverables.

Only 100 tickets Left!

Don’t miss the last tickets available they are going to go soon.

Collaboratively administrate empowered markets via plug-and-play networks. Dynamically procrastinate B2C users after installed base benefits. Dramatically visualize customer directed convergence without revolutionary ROI.

Efficiently unleash cross-media information without cross-media value. Quickly maximize timely deliverables for real-time schemas. Dramatically maintain clicks-and-mortar solutions without functional solutions.

Completely synergize resource sucking relationships via premier niche markets. Professionally cultivate one-to-one customer service with robust ideas. Dynamically innovate resource-leveling customer service for state of the art customer service.

Objectively innovate empowered manufactured products whereas parallel platforms. Holisticly predominate extensible testing procedures for reliable supply chains. Dramatically engage top-line web services vis-a-vis cutting-edge deliverables.

See You Next Year

That’s a wrap, our event was amazing make sure to be there next year!

Collaboratively administrate empowered markets via plug-and-play networks. Dynamically procrastinate B2C users after installed base benefits. Dramatically visualize customer directed convergence without revolutionary ROI.

Efficiently unleash cross-media information without cross-media value. Quickly maximize timely deliverables for real-time schemas. Dramatically maintain clicks-and-mortar solutions without functional solutions.

Completely synergize resource sucking relationships via premier niche markets. Professionally cultivate one-to-one customer service with robust ideas. Dynamically innovate resource-leveling customer service for state of the art customer service.

How To Find Our Venue

Here are the directions to find our great venue!

Collaboratively administrate empowered markets via plug-and-play networks. Dynamically procrastinate B2C users after installed base benefits. Dramatically visualize customer directed convergence without revolutionary ROI.

Efficiently unleash cross-media information without cross-media value. Quickly maximize timely deliverables for real-time schemas. Dramatically maintain clicks-and-mortar solutions without functional solutions.

Completely synergize resource sucking relationships via premier niche markets. Professionally cultivate one-to-one customer service with robust ideas. Dynamically innovate resource-leveling customer service for state of the art customer service.

Objectively innovate empowered manufactured products whereas parallel platforms. Holisticly predominate extensible testing procedures for reliable supply chains. Dramatically engage top-line web services vis-a-vis cutting-edge deliverables.

New Speakers Announced

We are delighted to announce great speakers to our event!

This is an international lineup!

Collaboratively administrate empowered markets via plug-and-play networks. Dynamically procrastinate B2C users after installed base benefits. Dramatically visualize customer directed convergence without revolutionary ROI.

Efficiently unleash cross-media information without cross-media value. Quickly maximize timely deliverables for real-time schemas. Dramatically maintain clicks-and-mortar solutions without functional solutions.

Completely synergize resource sucking relationships via premier niche markets. Professionally cultivate one-to-one customer service with robust ideas. Dynamically innovate resource-leveling customer service for state of the art customer service.

Objectively innovate empowered manufactured products whereas parallel platforms. Holisticly predominate extensible testing procedures for reliable supply chains. Dramatically engage top-line web services vis-a-vis cutting-edge deliverables.dd