5 Lessons of Leadership from the Weekend StartUp School with Paul C. Brunson

Hi, my name is Timi Komonibo and I am the founder of a fashion philanthropy startup called “Style Lottery.” Our mission is to “Restyle, Reuse, and Reward” with fashion.

I rehearsed my introduction in the mirror at least 20 times before I headed off to the Weekend Startup School. I knew that this weekend would be a game changer for me and my startup, Style Lottery. I would be rubbing elbows with creative thinkers and entrepreneurs who would help me overcome imposter’s syndrome and realize my potential for greatness.

There were so many great words of wisdom at the weekend that I couldn’t capture all in one post, so please make sure you check the #WeStartUp hashtag for all the tweets from the weekend. I boiled down my experience into 5 key lessons for starting up. Enjoy:

1. Do what you do and do it well

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Do you have a topic you could talk about tirelessly? Do you know how to use engaging storytelling to bring an issue or a product to life? All of our guest speakers had their individual niche areas and they had learned to convert their experiences into areas of expertise. Not sure where to start? Ask your friends and family what good things you’re best known for. From there you can pick an area of interest to learn more about. Remember to “be world class at all things” and develop a standard of excellence for yourself.

2. Plan Ambitiously

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When you plan for next business idea or event, plan thinking what’s the BEST that could happen? There’s something empowering that happens when we speak good things into existence. I’m not suggesting that you be unrealistic or irresponsible, I’m talking about entrepreneurial confidence. I once looked over a friend’s resume and saw that she wasn’t framing her experiences as well as she could. For example, she used passive voice which implied that she was just going along with the requirements of the job. She didn’t mention that she had driven sales and poineered a new team in the department. Often times, we sell ourselves short by how plainly we describe our ventures. Next time someone asks you about your business, challenge yourself to describe it as colorfully as you can.

3. Build a team that is for you and with you 

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One of the guest speakers, Tionna Smalls asks us to think about 10 people who would promote our businesses without being asked. Immediately, the names and faces of a few close friends and family came to mind. These are the people who invite their friends to my upcoming events; the ones who make email introductions to people they think would be good potential partners. You can’t pay to have people like this in your life, you can only recognize them and support them like they support you. People who are with you are along with you in the journey of your business– from the time before you figure out how to generate revenue to when you can afford a salaried team. There are people who are bring up your name and business ideas in their social circles when you’re not even around— these people are for you. As entrepreneurs, we must be vigilant against toxicity that threatens to compromise our company culture. Although it may be difficult at times, it’s important to cut out negative relationships, connections, and ties that may be detrimental to our businesses or your physique as an entrepreneur. Not everyone that approaches you is worthy of being involved in your idea. Toe the line of being a networker and a protector of your business idea. On the rare occasion when you find individuals who are with you and  for you, you must nurture that relationship and never let them go.

4. Invest in yourself

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A lot of entrepreneurs get so nervous about potentially disappointing investors that they let that fear paralyze them into inaction. In the start-up world, failure in some form is inevitable. That’s why experts recommend that you fail fast and early in the game. In the infancy stage of your business, explore and take calculated risks. Learn from the giants and success stories around you. I always appreciate how transparent entrepreneurs are. Cake Love owner, Warren Brown, will tell you himself that the concept for cake in a jar was not made in a day. It took a lot of research, as well as trial, and error. We have much to learn from the people who have gone before us and there are plenty of resources that share those lessons regularly. A few of my favorites are Inc. and Fast Company. Make sure you attend conferences and workshops that feed your mind and develop you. Remember to weigh the price tag with the benefit you’ll receive from the event.

5. Begin with no end in mind

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What would you do if you could not fail? Our business ideas are often finite and limited by our inability to predict the future. What if our business models became about forming precedents and leaving legacies? As we look into how we conduct business in our community, let’s start looking at long-established community organizations and studying their best practices. How about we aim to be game changers and industry interrupters! In fact, how about #WeStartUp together!

If you’re interested in jumpstarting your business, I highly recommend you attending the next Weekend Startup School on June 13th & 14th, 2015.

Here is the lovely March 2015 #WeStartUp group:

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Photo cred: #WeStartUp team

For other great recaps, check out these posts by:

Leave a comment below. What are you most interested in learning about, as an entrepreneur?

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11 thoughts on “5 Lessons of Leadership from the Weekend StartUp School with Paul C. Brunson

  1. I second everything you’ve said. Two weeks later and my mind is still reeling (as is my heart). It was a great experience to meet so many inspiring entrepreneurs and hear from such exceptional speakers. It was a very well put together experience.

    Liked by 1 person

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