Entrepreneurship: 14 Rules of the Game

I’m not here to bullshit you. It’s a waste of your time and mine. So please, if you are looking for puff-piece, feel-good business articles from people who don’t know anything about entrepreneurship, go over to LinkedIn and scroll through the newsfeed for a few hours. We’ll both be better off.

Now, if you’re still with me…grab a seat

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I’m Chris and I’m an entrepreneur. I’ve heard us described as the only people who work twelve hours a day to avoid working eight. That’s me and I hope you too.

So, who the hell am I? Let’s just say I’ve been in the start-up trenches for many years and am here to share my story along with a few rules to give you a better edge.

The Early Days

I graduated from a university with a degree, which I’m not going to tell you where from or what in because it doesn’t mean a damn thing (Rule 1). A week later, I took my life savings of several thousand dollars and bought a one-way plane ticket to China (Rule 2).

I left the USA with two simple goals (Rule 3):

  1. Learn Mandarin
  2. Start a company in China

It took me eight years, but I did both.

Living in China

During my early China years, I had all sorts of jobs: taught business English to executives at Microsoft, helped guide a bicycle tour across Asia and Africa, founded a bluegrass band and toured across China playing ‘Wagon Wheel’ far too many times; all the while studying Mandarin 1-1 with a retired teacher in Beijing (#4).

After four years, I had a decent grasp of Mandarin and stumbled across a copy of Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill (Rule 5). That book changed everything for me. My mind was ready for opportunity and sure enough an opportunity came within a few weeks.

My First Company

With an idea in mind, I put together a founding team, all smarter than me and with complimentary skill sets (Rules 6 & 7). This lead to heated discussions, debates and…if we’re being candid…huge arguments. It was sometimes tough on morale, but we always ended up with the best ideas, strategies and plans.

Over four years, we grew from a bootstrapped startup to a VC funded company. Not bad for a rag-tag group of founders.

While building the business, it became evident to me that self mastery is the mark of a great leader (Rule 8). So along with a heavy work load, I made it a goal to improve the three keystone habits: nutrition, exercise and sleep.

I chipped away at the trifecta, little by little, and wound up immersed in the world of weight lifting, paleo diets and sleep hacking. Before I knew it, health and wellness became my mistress and I made the difficult decision to pursue my passion (Rule 9).

Healthy Food and a Grand Idea

I traded China for San Francisco, hot with the idea of disrupting Big Food and creating a good-for-the-world big food company. Also during this time, I met the greatest business coach out there (Rule 10), who mentored me through the ins and outs of a “roll-up” business model.

Our plan was to acquire good-for-the-world food brands and unite them under a Benefit Corporation holding company—the first of its kind. This structure allowed us to protect the authenticity of brands, along with their mission and values.

I worked night and day for 18 months raising capital, building an experienced board, prospecting companies and managing our holding company. But, as the project progressed, it became clear the world was not ready for a Benefit Corporation holding company.

It was a heart wrenching decision, but it was time to move on (Rule 11).

Working at Bulletproof

As Napoleon Hill said: “Every adversity, every failure, every heartache carries with it the seed of an equal or greater benefit.”

Upon hearing of my transition, my former board member Dave Asprey invited me to join his rapidly growing company. You may have heard of his famous concoction, Bulletproof Coffee as I and countless other entrepreneurs down it daily.

While at Bulletproof, I helped Dave launch his brand in Japan and also vetted inbound opportunities. It was a valuable experience to have an employee perspective once again. Also, it was amazing to be temporarily free from founder stress.

But you should avoid hiring entrepreneurs (Rule 12). Why? We are risk takers by nature and are always hunting for the next big idea.

Back to Sweet, Sunny South

These days, I’m living with my fiancé in Nashville, Tennessee. I’m in various founding or advising stages with a diagnostic testing and supplementation company, a health-focused tour company and a business solving a biomechanics crisis.

So that’s me. I’ve seen a lot. Feast and famine, ups and downs. I have a good idea of what might work and what is a complete waste of time (ahem…business plans…Rule 13).

Again, I’m not here to bullshit you. I’m here to share some of my battle scars and with any luck, you can learn from my mistakes. However, YOU WILL MAKE MISTAKES (Rule 14). Get that through you head now and it will save you a lot of heartache down the road.

Check out my recap of the Entrepreneurship Rules of the Game below and I’ll catch you again soon.

-CB

 

CB’s Rules for Entrepreneurship

In case you missed them, here are my rules for entrepreneurship:

  1. College does not and will not prepare you for entrepreneurship. Don’t believe their marketing and don’t be wooed by fancy degrees.
  2. Put your back against the wall when you want to achieve your goal.
  3. Focus on the few, not the many.
  4. Seek the advice and guidance of experts.
  5. Read Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill.
  6. Your team should be everything you’re not.
  7. Aim to be the dumbest person in the room.
  8. You must master yourself before leading others.
  9. Do what you love.
  10. Find a mentor that’s been there and done that.
  11. Never underestimate how wrong you can be.
  12. Entrepreneurs: create companies with them, but don’t hire them.
  13. Business plans are a complete and utter waste of time.
  14. YOU WILL MAKE MISTAKES.

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