‘The E-Factor: Entrepreneurship in the Social Media Age’ : Review and author interview

Do you have the E-Factor?

The E-Factor is the largest social network for entrepreneurs in the world.

Today, I’m going to tell you about E-Factor’s founders Adrie Reinders and Marion Freijsen’s new book The E-Factor: Entrepreneurship in the Social Media Age.

And I’m really pleased to have done a short email interview with Marion too – you can read it at the bottom of this post.

I guess we all knew that recent changes in technology, including the explosion of social media, have changed the world for entrepreneurs. But I’d not seen the full picture put together by experienced entrepreneurs until I read this book.

So what has changed?

  • Entrepreneurs have become younger. People now start businesses straight out of university (or even before) whereas you used to need a good few years of work experience before you could even consider it. There were always a few exceptions, but generally entrepreneurs were not starting up in their twenties. Today’s entrepreneurs are also more willing to take more risks at a younger age.
  • New technology means entrepreneurs can collaborate, seek funding, network and find clients and suppliers.
  • …but whatever you do, good or bad, can be spread around the internet in minutes. As the authors say “internet awareness can make or break you”
  • There are many more entrepreneurs, which means there is a community where entrepreneurs can exchange ideas and opportunities between each other.
  • …which also means you have to stay a few steps ahead of the copycats if you’re going to survive.
  • Crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter have arrived.
  • …but there are more entrepreneurs competing for funding now.
  • You can have a virtual team working on your product around the world and around the clock
  • …but new demands and expectations have changed the speed at which entrepreneurs must operate.

That said, some things have not changed:

  • Traditional sources of funding like bank loans and grants are still available (but you need to spend longer making the right contacts to stand a chance of getting them).
  • There is still a strong need for real-world events and meeting face-to-face. Today’s entrepreneurs need to communicate effectively in both the real world and the virtual one.

The e-Factor explores all of these issues and gives useful advice on using the tools for entrepreneurship (Twitter, Facebook, Skype, Foursquare, Cloud Computing, YouTube, LinkedIn and many more) plus case studies on businesses that have both got it right and those who have got it wrong.

So if you would like to see how the social media world has changed the life of the entrepreneur – and in much wider terms than simply promoting a product or service – then I really recommend The E-Factor: Entrepreneurship in the Social Media Age.

I asked one of the authors Marion Freijsen, some questions about how the advice in The e-Factor could apply to Business Plus Baby’s readers:

1) Have you found that women approach entrepreneurship differently to men? If so, is there any advice you’d give to women entrepreneurs? Are there any mistakes that women in particular tend to make and and how can we avoid them?

Interesting question….first of all, our philosophy is that you are an Entrepreneur first – before gender, race, religion and other labels that may apply. In that sense, we don’t think the passion that drives entrepreneurs is different between men and women.

However, women in general are more cautious. They are under-confident about their own capabilities and will play down their skills. This is something I am always passionate to teach other women – be bold, be brazen, be OUT THERE because the guys are for sure. They are OVER confident, and will fail more often but simply pick themselves up, dust of their jackets and add it to their CV with pride as newly gained “expertise” 🙂 We women have to start copying that attitude but keep our own gut feel close by to guide us away from real dangers.

2) In the introduction, you mention mumpreneur Sari Crevin of Booginhead and how she built her business part-time. What tips or advice can you give to someone who wants to be an entrepreneur but in part-time hours?

Simple: just do it! If you don’t start, you will never know what it may grow into.

3) It’s fantastic to read that people in their twenties are now becoming entrepreneurs straight out of university. My own experience was that we were encouraged to get a corporate job after university. It was only when we realised years later that the corporate career ladder was never going to satisfy us that we thought about going into business.

Do you have any advice for  those of us who are in out thirties and forties who are trying to ‘unlearn’ being taught to be employees?

I don’t think you need to “unlearn” those attitudes to be honest. I was an “intra-preneur” for many years myself. But when I look back, I used all those corporate years to learn valuable information that now helps me run my own business. I think there are two types of “would-be-entrepreneurs” in the corporate world. Those that dream of being their own boss – and those that dream and will go out and do it. It’s good to dream for anyone, but ultimately – if you find yourself making excuses every time you get the opportunity to turn it into a real something – you are probably never going to really get out there and do it. And that is fine too!

If you are leaning towards really wanting to run your business, look at where you are in the company you are in right now, look at the skills you have but particularly at the skills you lack – you should be completely honest with yourself about those latter ones even more then the former! And then set about making the connections and acquiring the skills you need – not to make it another hurdle (ie. I have to learn this first….) but more to road map yourself and see yourself achieving that goal.

Trust me, whatever you manage to take with you is golden, and then you find you still have a ton to learn when you do take that step!! And that’s where EFactor.com can help 🙂

Thank you very much, Marion!

Don’t miss a thing here at Business Plus Baby! Click here to get my newsletterI’ll also send you a copy of  my e-book Running a business around a family: 9 steps to success.

 

The easiest time ever to start a business. Seriously.

Seriously? After the credit crunch and double-dip recession? Yes.

Sage recently carried out a piece of research on entrepreneurship in the UK and found that…

… more parents (50%) are considering starting their own business in the next 2 years than those with no children (40%). One in five budding entrepreneurs wants set up their own business as they want a job that fits around their family life.  However, on the flipside, half said they are concerned about starting their own business as their family life means they appreciate the stability being employed gives them.

To that I would say “So what’s stopping you?”. The old days when you had little choice but to give up your job, get a huge bank loan and then work full time on your start-up are now over.

Instead, you can start a business in your evening and weekends, test your concept and grow your entrepreneurial muscles all without risking more than a few hundred pounds. How? Start any business that doesn’t involve a commitment to bricks and mortar or much stock, so I’m talking eBay, pop-up shops, Etsy and stalls at events or markets as well as online stores.

In my experience, what holds people back is the way we have been trained to only accept payment in return for employment. There’s this weird mental barrier in finding something that people want to buy and exchanging it for money. Learn more about this exchange process (selling in its most basic, one-to-one form) and how to do it well and you’re well on your way to starting up on your own.

Yes, the fact that starting up is so easy means that there’s a lot of competition and many copycats out there. But many don’t have the stamina, creativity or determination to keep going. You do.

So are women’s attitudes different to men’s? Sage say..

Women (41%) are less likely than men (44%) to consider starting their own business in the next two years; with the greatest challenge for women (23%) being not knowing where to start. For men the biggest perceived challenge is access to funding (28%). Women also worry more about the stress of starting their own business (30%) but interestingly are less likely than men (19% to 24%) to feel they don’t have what it takes to succeed in the current economic climate.

It’s no surprise that women are less willing to risk debt, and I’m sure the fear of stress comes from already having a lot on our plates.   But how much of this is a vague fear that comes from out-of-date assumptions about what it takes to start a business?

Of course, if you genuinely have problems with debt then it’s best to seek insolvency help or debt recovery advice or get in touch with the Citizens Advice Bureau.

As for the economic climate, yes people are more careful with their money at the moment. But there are signs that things are picking up and our communities are actively looking for new businesses to revive them. The Portas Pilot Towns (my home town Bedford is one) are a great example of this.

So don’t be held back by outdated beliefs about starting your own business. Keep it simple: find something, sell it and learn from the process. Then repeat it.

Want some company as you start your business? Click here to get my newsletterI’ll also send you a copy of  my e-book Running a business around a family: 9 steps to success.

Get 90% off courses from the most respected online entrepreneurs (plus my interview with Man vs Debt!)

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Why the world needs you to be an entrepreneur

We often think of entrepreneurs as building big companies to making themselves richer. But last week I found this video that explains why innovators, inventors and entrepreneurs are critical to the wealth of society as a whole…

The statistics are for the USA, but the theory is the same wherever you live in the world.

So if you ever feel selfish for working late on your business or guilty for asking a high (but fair!) price for what you do, remember this video 🙂

(Thanks to David Perdew of myNAMS for posting this video on his blog.)