Another Thursday. Another dude kicking ass. Meet young entrepreneur and start-up guru Jordan Skole —>Twitter.
Jordan specializes in helping people win. I share that passion, which is why I talked to him. Jordan is the owner of the boutique digital agency, Robot Couture” and has helped others launch their own micro-enterprises. He’s also authentic: he has a heart for people, which I picked up on about three minutes into our conversation.
Highlights of our discussion that you want to read:
- Location Independence in Business
- Jumping in to Business: From head to heart
- Giving Away Free Content: Why People Flock to Bobby Flay
You really love the topic of location independence and the new economy. Talk more about that:
There’s a lot of talk lately of the concept of ‘the new economy.’ The new economy is Internet-based and driven. Think about this: because of the Internet, companies can allocate resources from pretty much where ever there is an Internet connection. This means there is a decreased cost of information logistics and companies can locate and pull resources from where they are most cost efficient.
How does this translate to the working person?
There is one keystone species which is a special type of a person: the knowledge worker. This person is an individual that can work from anywhere. Typically he or she is an entrepreneur.
The question I love to ask is, “If you could work from anywhere, where would it be and why?”
How did you get to where you are today?
My knowledge background is in economic development. At the root I wanted to be an anthropologist though. In order to be an economic development expert, I had to get my butt out of the ivory tower and see what it takes to be an entrepreneur and knowledge worker in the new economy.
So I started Skole Business Opera. We created micro enterprises. I would hire students to run them and if the students met their performance against objective goals then they would inherit the company.
This is not an uncommon model in developing countries and NGOs. However, I looked at Michigan and realized that we are a developing economy. So I wanted to take some international NGO development models and use them here at home.
What Challenges Did You Face at the Time?
I needed more practice and money. So I started Robot Couture which is my web design development and content consulting company. We take educational technology methodologies, specifically “flipping the classroom” developed by the Khan Academy and apply it to small business.
Giving Away Free Content?
Here’s how it works. If you are an accountant, we help you teach your skill online to potential clients. Once people see that you know what you’re doing, people will earn your trust and business. However it’s not intuitive for a small business owner to give away their knowledge. This seems backwards a lot of times to small business owners.
But look at Bobby Flay. He gives away his recipes all day long and yet people flock to his restaurant. The reason is because they want to taste and see how the master himself does it.
What’s Working in Business for You Right Now?
Location. I recently moved to a home in a commericial business district area. This has been helpful to move to an urban downtown. For one, I don’t have to drive anywhere. But also I am able to walk around and actively participate in the community, and it’s great. I know the coffee shop lady and the general store owner down here.
Any Advice for New Entrepreneurs?
First, say nice things and help the people you admire most. Be humble, be cool. It wont’ guarantee that people will like or help you back, but if you are genuine and sincere in helping others out, the darma will come back around.
Second, ff you’ve started in business, go! There is a process of getting over the reality that you “are starting” vs. “have started”. Treat yourself as a grown-up. Do your work professionally and work hard.
Third, realize that there are a TON of people out here doing the same thing you are. I had to learn that in the beginning. But they are not competition. Many of my “competitors” are my closest friends. If I have a client who is a big lead and a great project but its out of my scope, I would rather pass them along to my friends. Clients respect that and it pays off in the long run.
Stay focused. If you’re flying solo and the only employee, it can be challengeing to stay on one task.