In this episode of The Daily Real Estate Investor, Josiah Smelser interviews one of his all time favorite people and professors – Ted Zoller. Ted’s CV is packed and diverse, and well worth paying attention to. He is a professor of strategy and entrepreneurship in the University of North Carolina’s MBA program. He is a director of the Entrepreneurship Center at UNC; has been voted Teacher of The Year by the MBA students multiple times; is the founding instructor of Launching the Venture which helps students form and launch their ideas; he is a senior fellow at the Kauffman Foundation, an organization that helps entrepreneurs. Additionally, Ted is a former president of the US Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship and is a small business owner, himself. It is obvious that he is a gifted person in the area of entrepreneurship, and what he has to share is really valuable.
Josiah met Ted during his MBA classes, where Ted served as his entrepreneurship professor. According to Josiah, Ted simply has a great mind for entrepreneurship in general, and for helping entrepreneurs launch their ventures onto the market. He is currently involved with the Kauffman Foundation, where he is working on developing high-performance ecosystems. The Kauffman Foundation is a wonderful resource for all entrepreneurs, and they recommend that listeners visit the website (https://www.kauffman.org) and connect with them.
Ted also shares valuable advice on entrepreneurs launching their business. He states that they should not be discouraged by anyone considering their idea as bad. Every idea can be refined until it is successful. However, don’t put yourself at extraordinary risk until you have something really sound. The best teacher is the market, not other people. He explains that you can fast forward your experience in the market by testing your concepts before committing a great amount of resources. He also suggests that you socialize your ideas to as many people as possible as a way of improving it. You also never know when you will find a partner, or someone to open a door for you that you didn’t expect.
Building a business is all about the execution and action – not the idea itself. Entrepreneurs really need to be on the edge of tomorrow, building and profiting from the new ways of doing things. It’s best to be aware of the upcoming changes and adjust to that, i.e. by realizing that real estate, working spaces, communication, and other manners of living and working are going to change dramatically over the next few decades. Entrepreneurship is based on freedom. This is what Ted discovered while working on his new book based on the concept he dubs the “entrepreneur genome”. Entrepreneurs give themselves permission and the freedom to go out there and build something great. The path is never about waiting for the government to come to help. The path always has been about people helping themselves, and entrepreneurs are at the forefront of this. One of the most exciting things Ted got to experience is building communities, and getting to see the outcomes of his work. This is what you should be striving for.
Wrapping up the episode, Ted shares his favorite books on entrepreneurship, such as Tribe of Mentors by Tim Ferris and Singularity by Ray Kurzweil. He also shares some final advice for those that work on achieving financial freedom through real estate. Simply put, while you are “young and stupid,” take some chances, experiment, and learn – the experience you will get through failure and success is invaluable. And finally, be the linchpin – the thing that holds everything together.
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