If you watched Mad Men’s finale the other night, and have even an ounce of entrepreneurial blood running through your veins, your heart had to start pumping a little faster with thoughts of being in that hotel room at the Pierre, ready to start something new. Nothing is more exciting than the launch of a new venture.
Of course in those days, it took money; the Madison Ave boys (and girls) estimated they needed $30 million in billings to start the new Sterling, Cooper, Draper, Pryce. Fear and the risk of failure come cheap. But office space, Xerox machines, furniture, and phone lines all called for a hefty balance in the checkbook.
Granted even then it was possible to start a new company with less. Anyone who has ever worked in Boston has undoubtedly heard the story of Jack Connors, the legendary founder of Hill, Holliday, who launched his agency with a “roll of dimes and a phone booth on Newbury St.”
But today it really is a lot easier. Your only mandatory equipment is a laptop, an Internet connection, and cell phone. Free platforms, free applications, free tools and free advice are the norm.
If you’re making a new ice cream machine or a product that has to be manufactured and distributed, sure you need investors and capital. But if you want to start an ad agency, a social media consultancy, a company that designs blogs and websites, or a new online publication, you don’t need that much: just a crazy commitment to working hard, an abundance of imagination, and the ability to dream.
In the last few months, I’ve watched my friend John Winsor announce Victors and Spoils. I’ve cheered on Erik Proulx as he’s started plans to grow his Please Feed the Animals blog and service. I’ve met the folks at Dart Boston, who are encouraging under 25-year old entrepreneurs. I’ve envied the likes of Laura Fitton who’s introduced us to oneforty, the new Twitter app “store.” I’ve gotten to know Gary Vaynerchuk as he’s brought yet another new venture online. All these folks work their asses off. Some of them did have to raise money. But from what I can tell, they’re pretty happy. None of them are sitting around complaining about the economy or what’s happening to them, they’re too busy making things happen for themselves.
Recently I’ve been working to satisfy my own urge to start something with The Next Great Generation. It’s energizing. I highly recommend it.
Maybe you’re out of work. Maybe you’re tired of working for someone else. Maybe you just need a change. If so, now’s a good time to start something. What’ll it be?
Photo by: Carin Baer