In my dream world, I am a wildly successful entrepreneur. I built a business from the ground up with nothing but grit and determination. I am looked up to by all of humanity for pulling off such a feat.
Of course, this is not actually the case. However, thanks to a new(ish) podcast, How I Built This, it’s easy to hear how others achieved success.
So far I have listened to five stories of how regular people developed an idea and created a business. It gives me so much inspiration to hear from the mouths of the founders how they were able to build so much from so little.
The coolest part of listening is figuring out what lessons are learned from listening to such successes.
Here are my five take-aways:
- Almost every business grew out of some sort of passion. Alli Webb of Drybar was originally a hair stylist, Doug of the toy company Melissa and Doug wanted to be an educator and work with children.
- Everyone knew when to look for additional help to round out their skill sets. Alli Webb might know how to talk with customers and do amazing hair, but she brought someone on to help her learn how to grow a business. Sara Blakely of Spanx had the lightbulb idea but needed someone to make the actual prototype.
- Most of the stories don’t involve a ton of planning and obsessing. It seems like most of these companies almost fell into their laps (perhaps this is just the way they are telling the story).
- It takes a lot of hard work (duh), but Alli Webb talks about how she worked every day for six-months straight, but guess what? She loved it.
- Almost every story grew out of a genuine need that needed to be filled. None of these stories talk about competitors because they somehow found a niche that hadn’t yet been discovered. Something that seems impossible to do.
Obviously I’m not the only one who loves these American-dream stories. The podcast quickly climbed to the top of the charts and since September has put out 19 episodes. And I’m sure that 90% of the people listening are sitting at their desks, or in the car, dreaming one day they will be on the show, too.