jeremy crawford

aka: "JerCraw"

STARTUP KING . Chapter One (Startup)

~ JEREMY CRAWFORD

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Why me? Why the startup life? I turned 40 this year and I’ve been asking this question for over 22 years. I think I have finally figured it out. All the details surrounding startups? Hell No! I mean why am I here and why am I writing this book? Why was I called to be a Startup Entrepreneur?

I’ve heard it said many times over that a true serial entrepreneur is born an entrepreneur. Is there any truth to this opinion? Do we have any medical proof that this is the case? No. But here are some interesting facts shared on Forbes, contributed by Freddie Dawson who has been covering the London start-up scene and how technology can improve lives.   

~ original source: https://www.forbes.com/sites/freddiedawson/2014/12/25/are-entrepreneurs-born-or-made/#6c1390e57e4b

Barclays Bank hosted a debate in London, speakers were divided as to what the exact percentage was. But most agreed that an entrepreneur was more made than born.

It’s a matter of nature versus nurture, said Jamal Edwards, founder of SB.TV, an online youth-oriented broadcaster. He reckoned that an entrepreneur was 5% born with innate abilities and 95% made through life experiences.

Many entrepreneurs get started on their path when they come up with ideas and are prevented from implementing them. For example, Edwards said he worked at HMV when at school and was frustrated by the chain of command that separated his ideas from implementation.

Edwards’s opinion was similar to that of many of the entrepreneurs present. But Doug Richards, founder of School for Start-ups and former investor on the TV show, Dragon’s Den, went further. “I wholly reject the idea that entrepreneurs are born,” he said. “It would be one of the most limiting ideas and it would be a real shame if it was true. To my mind, that we’re even still discussing whether an entrepreneur is born or made is sad.”

People have an enormous capacity for change, he added. As they grow and undertake new tasks, they become more confident. There is also a significant amount of information that can be learned through lessons. And as that knowledge expands, other intangibles such as the ability to calculate risk, perseverance, resilience, and desire also grows, he said.

Greg Davies, head of behavioral and quantitative finance at Barclays Bank, agreed that there are elements of entrepreneurship that can be taught. For example, entrepreneurs are significantly quicker and more effective at securing funding on subsequent projects, suggesting that they are learning something during the initial process. But there is a surprising amount of entrepreneurial success that can be attributed to genetics or personality development in early childhood, he added. “It’s pretty obvious it isn’t 100% either way. You can teach someone to be better at anything,” said Davies – who has studied entrepreneurial characteristics extensively. “You can teach someone to play the piano but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re going to be a concert pianist.”

There are a number of studies that show entrepreneurs are surprisingly different from other people, he added. This is not just a willingness to take a gamble but also psychological characteristics including greater resilience and perseverance.

So expert opinion remains divided. Where do you sit on the debate?

Anyone can change. It takes a decision. It takes absolute commitment. It takes an incredible work ethic. It takes some luck – or in my faith life, a complete dependence upon my faith. In my faith is where the magic happens. So if anyone can change with the right recipe – can anyone truly be an entrepreneur? This is where I sit on the debate. Yes – I believe anyone can be a startup entrepreneur!

So when did it start for me? 

I was just a little monkey – around 7 or 8. I had this old red wagon and I lived in a low-income housing complex in the Canadian city of Edmonton. Our townhouse backed onto our church and a strip mall. In this strip mall was a Dairy Queen. Oh my!!! I loved going to the Dairy Queen. So one day I got this bright idea that I was going to load up my red wagon with a broom and a shovel, dress up like a construction worker with my Dad’s hard hat and head over to the back door of the Dairy Queen. 

This was going back to the 1980’s – the days when you could leave home as a 7 or 8-year-old boy and not tell your Mom or Dad. You just went outside to play. In this case – I was going outside to start my first business. Yes – my first startup. No logo, no branding, no business card, no digital strategy, no website, no SEO, no Facebook page, no Google ads, no online store, just my tools, my red wagon and… yes, of course, me.

I rolled up to the back door of the Dairy Queen and knocked on the door. It was a big steel door and I was wearing my Dad’s work gloves. They were huge! I remember someone coming to the door and I asked to speak to the owner. The owner came back to see me and I asked him if I could clean up behind his store in the alleyway in exchange for some ice cream treats. I didn’t know at the time that this was called “contra” or “bartering” – but this was my proposal. Verbal – not written. The owner agreed to this deal and I got to work. 

Where I lived – we got a lot of winter. Lots of snow and lots of sand and gravel on the roads. So it was a mess back there. So I had to sweep up the sand and gravel into a pile and then scoop it up into the shovel and hall it in my wagon to the dumpster. I worked hard and got the job done. I remember getting my first paycheck – yes, a Dairy Queen Dilly Bar and walking back to my home so proud. I was officially in business! Well…not really. Lol.

Over the years as I started to grow up and we moved to a couple of other cities – St Albert and Morinville – this desire for business followed me everywhere we went. As I became a teenager I was always looking for ways to make money. My parents never had much money – so I began to realize that if there was something I wanted, I had to find a way to make the money. 

It wasn’t long after moving to the small town of Morinville I had discovered the lawn boy business. I hadn’t heard of the word “landscaping” as of yet – so I was just a “lawn boy”. There was this other kid down the street and his name was Billy. Yes – his name was “Billy” – no fake alias here. Billy the kid! He had a green lawn boy mower and had a couple of yards down the street he was cutting grass for. I knew nothing about this business, other than cutting my parent’s grass. I went to Billy one day and suggested we become business partners and do the jobs together. I said we could get more customers and get more yards done by working together. He liked the idea so we became partners. There was only one problem with this deal, this partnership – Billy was often a no-show! Not only a no show – but a flake that still wanted to get paid for not doing the work. This wasn’t cool! Have you ever met anyone like Billy?

This one afternoon I was driving by the grain elevator with my Mom that was at the end of our street. I noticed their grass was very long. All I could think about was how much money I could make if it did that massive yard. So after we got home – I walked down the street to the office of the grain elevator and asked the boss if I could cut the grass. I can’t remember how much we agreed to – but it was a lot more than the other yards I was cutting. I was going to need Billy’s help on this one! 

I walked down the street to Billy’s house and was so excited to tell him we got our first big account. A real business as a customer. There was only one problem – Billy wasn’t home. I promised the customer I would cut the grass that day since the grass was already so tall. So I went home, got my mower and went to work. I realized while I was cutting all that grass by myself that I couldn’t rely on other people for my commitments in business. As an entrepreneur – there will be times you will have to show up when your partner(s) or employees won’t. That day I made a lot of money – but it was hard work! That day I ended my partnership with Billy and started “Crawford Lawn Care” – well something like that. Lol! This was my first real business at the ripe old age of 13.

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STARTUP KING get my book

An intimate story through the journey of an entrepreneurs life. The dreams, the broken dreams, depression, a new dream, and the legacy project.

Jeremy Crawford, Serial Entrepreneur and Founder of No Bull Biz, tells all in his very real and raw startup story. He opens up about his Mental Health challenges with Anxiety and Depression, and how the thoughts of Suicide almost pushed him over the edge of a high-level bridge in Canada.

STARTUP KING is written and published by Jeremy Crawford and the No Bull Biz Group. © Copyright 2020. All Rights Reserved.
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