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Entrepreneurial Endeavors, 3/17/11

One summer during my elementary school years I was sitting around the house and I decided to create my own magazine. I mean, anyone could stir together water and a package of powdered lemonade, but being an editor and publisher as a kid? Now that was exciting.

Out came the paper, scissors, glue, and Scotch tape—this was pre-computers in every household, mind you (or “the stone ages,” as my 14-year-old nephew calls the era of my sister’s and my childhood). If the copyright police had been around, I totally would have been busted, because I merrily went about cutting out the photos of the current heartthrobs from other magazines and pasting them onto the pages of my creation. But I was a kid. What did I know of copyright law? I did include some original work, however. The early signs of my journalistic tendencies were revealed when I walked over to the yellow house next door, with my notebook and jotted-down questions in hand, and interviewed Mrs. Cullan for a feature story.

When I had enough material for a magazine, I took it to my dad’s office to make photocopies (again, complete violation of copyright laws; don’t try this at home), stapled them, and then promptly tried to sell copies to the neighbors for a nickel or dime apiece (I think one or two of them actually bought it and I gave the others away for, uh, marketing purposes…brand-building, you know).

Many people have ideas for their own product or business. It’s fun coming up with ideas and thinking of all the possibilities of what could be. It’s more of a challenge to step out and do something with those ideas—especially if you actually want to make money at it. At BenBella we’re particularly partial to entrepreneurs because we were founded when our CEO one day had the brainchild that he, too, wanted to become a publisher—paid to read books, he thought, how fun! (I’m sure he’s very thankful that technology was in much better place when he launched our company in 2002. And yes, we’re very careful with copyright law. In fact, I’m sure I drive my authors crazy sometimes with all my “Do you have permission for that?” questions.)

Last spring we came out with author Jen Groover’s book What If? & Why Not? The book is an inspirational look at how to stop dreaming and start doing so you can transform your idea from a crazy thought into a viable business. Author Carol Roth takes a different approach in her book, Entrepreneur Equation, which debuts next week. Roth says, maybe you can be an entrepreneur, but should you? She helps you ask yourself the hard questions about what you really hope to accomplish and if starting a business aligns with those goals as well as looking at if other factors are in your favor, including timing and funding. The two books are a nice complement to each other, as they focus on the dream stage and then the practical stage, both of which are needed if you want to start a business and be successful at it.

Let us know what you think about them. We love feedback.

Just thinking about entrepreneurship gets me excited. Has anyone seen my scissors and Scotch tape?


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