“The most difficult thing is the decision to act; the rest is merely tenacity.” – Amelia Earhart
Because I work with first-time entrepreneurs that don’t have a business management background or education, lots of the people who come to me have been thinking about entrepreneurship for years – sometimes even for decades – but they have been held back from starting to build their businesses by fear and a lack of confidence. I’m not a life coach or a motivational speaker so I’m not going to try to tell you how to squash that fear or gain confidence. However, I can appeal to the logical thinker within all of you and get you to start building your business, if you really want to, right now.
It’s not rocket science and it’s not a magical technique, but the key to not letting fear stop you is to simply start small. That’s pretty generic (a.k.a lame) advice though, so let’s get a bit more specific.
Still feeling apprehensive? That’s normal. You’ll need to have a thick skin and a real commitment to your idea to succeed but you’re human. You will be nervous and stressed and that’s okay. Just start small and take little steps towards building your business. Eventually, those little projects will have helped you build up enough momentum that you’ll keep moving forward despite your insecurities.
If you’re a Spanish speaker, check out this talk by Startup Nomad interviewee Stefy Cohen for a little inspiration: If you’re not already watching at CateCosta.com you’ll have to head over to the site to get the link for Stefy’s talk.
If you liked this video, please let me know by giving it a thumbs up on YouTube and Facebook and be sure to subscribe to my channel and to email updates to make sure you never miss any tips or info to help you build your business.
“The critical ingredient is getting off your butt and doing something. It’s as simple as that. A lot of people have ideas but there are few who decide to do something about them NOW; not tomorrow, not next week, but TODAY.” -Nolan Bushnell
This week we’re talking to Berta Lázaro, Co-Founder of TeamLabs, about the entrepreneurial ecosystem and startup scene in Madrid.
After my Latin American adventures last year I felt like Mexico City is just too big a city and I needed to come back and dig a little deeper into the entrepreneurial ecosystem before I head off to Spain (and maybe some other parts of Europe). My first interview back in D.F. was with Beto Marquez, the Marketing and Project Manager for NextLab Ventures Group.
Now that I’ve had time to explore a large chunk of the rest of Latin America (Mexico was my first stop on the Startup Nomad tour), I have a bit of a broader perspective on Mexico and its ecosystem, so it was interesting to come back to where I started with a more mature view of the overall Latin American ecosystem and Mexico’s place within it.
According to Beto,
“Mexico is seen like this country that is more Americanized than Latin Americanized…we’ve been kind of segregated from all of the activity and all of the agreements that they make. We’re not really a part of it.”
This is partly because of Mexico’s physical proximity to the U.S. and partly because of its sheer size. With a population of roughly 121 million and a GDP of just under 1.2 trillion USD (the next largest Spanish-speaking Latin American country has fewer than 50 million people), Mexico’s in a bit of a different position than it’s much smaller Latin American neighbors. That could explain why, despite its separation, it’s been attracting foreign entrepreneurs who want to set up their companies and lives in Mexico City.
“[The entrepreneurial ecosystem] is a really nice mix of Mexicans and foreigners,” Beto said, “but not as many from the United States.”
While Mexico has a large enough market to sustain major business growth, however, there are still a number of issues holding back its entrepreneurial ecosystem, one of which being a lack of a mature investment ecosystem.
“The exits here are much more difficult than in the US,” Beto told me.
“Going for an IPO is not really a likely exit option here, so it’s not attractive for investors to take risks on startups here. What I have seen is a VC invests and then a bigger VC buys out the first VC but, eventually, the biggest VC firm has to IPO the company and that’s where it gets it’s return. But here that cycle gets cut off because there isn’t a proper way to make a company public” and so investors have reduced potential for successful exits.
Because of that, Beto believes that,
“the biggest challenge [to the ecosystem] is the investor part.” He continued to say that, “we [Mexico] have some firms but we are really green. We are not even close to being mature yet.”
At the same time that the economic factors hold back the growth of Mexico’s entrepreneurial ecosystem, there are also cultural factors in play that make it more difficult for the startup scene to develop. “There are two issues that I’ve seen that I really struggle with in young people,” Beto said. “The first one is that, I don’t know why, but they are somewhat apathetic. You have to really push this entrepreneurial view of life…The other one is our culture. This is a country that has suffered a lot of macro-economic devaluations …and our parents have this way of seeing things that you have to work, you have to make money as fast as possible, and, most of all, not to take risks and not to take loans. So most young people still have this way of seeing things from their parents…
…We are not raised to take risks, just to get a job and ‘yeah, that’s life, deal with it.'”
Beto believes that mentality is slowly changing, however.
“A lot of people more and more are trying to get out of this square way of thinking and be more entrepreneurial,” he said. “It’s definitely a trend here.”
Startup Nomad will have to come back to Mexico in a few years to see how the ecosystem has developed.
What’s your take on what Beto had to say about Mexico’s entrepreneurial ecosystem? Do you agree that both cultural and economic factors are holding it back? Please weigh in in the comments section below.
Also, please let me know where I should go and whom I should interview next. Let me know below 🙂
My next stop in Argentina was to speak with Martin Vivas. He’s a powerhouse in the entrepreneurship scene in Buenos Aires helping to organize Palermo Valley, Founders’ Place, and Startup Weekend and basically being a part of everything having to do with startups. Because he’s been involved in the ecosystem for so long and has been an integral part of helping it to continue to mature, he had some interesting observations about what the entrepreneurial ecosystem is like in Argentina and why it has developed the way it has. Check out the video below to hear what he had to say and then weigh in with your thoughts in the comments section.
This is interview is in Spanish (except for the first few seconds) so I apologize in advance for my lack of skills in the language department.
“There is only one success: to be able to spend your life in your own way.” – Christopher Morley
“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” – Chinese Proverb