Entrepreneur Lessons

I thought this week would be sort of a chill one. My assistant is in Japan right now and with her being away I dialed back the typical high volume meetings we normally have for a little less intensity on the work front. Maybe a week off? Think again. This week has been one of the busiest ones in ages and I swear I say that each week to myself as I huff and puff in the bathroom getting ready for work thinking how could it get any crazier but really this one is major.

My days seem to start drifting into one another where I tell myself I need “more hours” in the day to get stuff done. When an email and call comes in I wish I had twenty fingers to quickly respond to the deluge of emails and calls. I used to never be a morning person, in fact growing up I had a true disdain for mornings. I was *that* kid in school who loved faking a tummy ache so I could sleep a little more.  I was also that kid who loved sleeping in and then mom making me ridiculously delicious stacks of homemade pancakes smothered in butter and rich Aunt Jemima syrup dripping off and playing a little hooky.  What’s wrong with a little vacation and play day with mom? Those were the days!

Now with the demands of my job and Linx truly being on the so-called map in a huge way, my previous repulsion of morning has started to drift away as I evolve as a founder, small business owner, wife, and mother to our pup. It has actually been our dog who has helped shift my body clock to become more of a morning person. He wakes up at the crack of dawn stretching and giving us the sweetest little puppy kisses ever. It’s feeding time and game on for him!  While that is my husband’s job, I can’t help but sort of toss and turn by his affection and the fact that my two favorite guys are already wide awake. hopper.morning-sunMorning Sun by Edward Hopper

I used to do the majority of all client interviews in the later afternoon hours and evening hours. Bang three out in one night, last interview with new client ending wrapping at 10:00pm in my old office in Palo Alto. I’d do my personal notes from my assessment of the interview and then deliriously cruise home for dinner at 11:00pm most week nights. It just wasn’t healthy nor balanced in anyway. I had truthfully always believed my clients wanted evening hours since they were all busy professionals working during the day. I’ve learned in my business lessons of running my company, when it comes to matters of the heart people will do what it takes to carve out time for themselves at any hour of the day for a meeting with me. Morning. Noon. Night. It doesn’t matter.

My sacred time has now become the silence of the morning with the sun rising. The occasional car passing by, the birds starting the sing their songs, and Peninsula Cal Train’s faint horn sound in the distance. I actually now really enjoy doing morning meetings. In fact, I love wrapping my client interviews by 2:00pm so I can have time to reflect on notes and then get to emails in the afternoon. Ironically I find my mind is a ton sharper and I’m more “on” in the morning. I’m ready to go, excited for the day, and can hardly wait to get to start discussions with my first client. For an entrepreneur in Silicon Valley it is a complete rush of endorphins and a massive satisfaction of absolutely loving being a passionate and innovative entrepreneur here. 94.428_01_a02                   Coffee by Richard Diebenkorn

Last night I worked with a prospect by phone quite late as he doesn’t like computers and does everything he can to get away from them. I had sent him his Linx application and other materials to get started on weeks ago and in our call last night before today’s big meeting he admitted he was *that* kid at Stanford who waited till 12:00am to complete his homework for that day. Some things don’t change. I’ve learned that not every new client is the same on many fundamental levels. As a CEO you have to be nimble and adapt to what he or she might feel more comfortable with.

I had a very long day yesterday and luckily sweated it out some at the gym which I really needed (blog post on that coming soon) yet was not as nearly prepared as I always am for today’s meeting since my client had not sent me ANY of his materials. I acted quickly and responded to a way I knew he would appreciate. I took am hour and a half on the phone with him dancing through my database and application questions in an effortless way for him. He was more than happy to share everything on the phone and will do the same in person today but just having to fill out forms isn’t his thing. I get that. If I had been too rigid about my standard methodology and forcing him to do it my way, I would have absolutely lost him as a potential amazing client. In fact he texted me the other day saying “Are you sure you aren’t from New York?” I wrote back saying, “Why, cuz I work all the time?” He said, “No cause you are so persistant…and that is a good thing.” I smiled. As a former Wall Street financier he respects my drive and creativity too where sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do to get the job done.

Luckily we went through all of the important points I need in order to represent him as a client last night. Now it’s a new day and the birds are chirping. The sun is slowing rising and there seem to be more cars buzzing by on this Friday morning. Maybe families are getting out of dodge at 5:30am before everyone else for the holiday weekend. As I reflect on this blog entry I can’t help but smile. I watch as my pup is asleep in front of me and laugh as my husband is at a kickboxing class right now (talk about a maniac..blog entry for later on that one too!). My stomach is starting to rumble. I can’t help but crave those pancakes with gooey and totally artificial fantastic syrup. 865339_com_pancakePancakes by Wayne Thiebaud

The artists selected here: Hopper, Diebenkorn, and Thiebaud reflect some of my favorite contemporary artists. Interestingly they each had an influence on one another.

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