Nathan Resnick has quite the resume. While still in college, he founded Yes Man Watches, a watch design company that racked up thousands on kickstarter. After selling the company for a comfy profit, he has since founded two more. Sourcify is a database that connects companies to vetted manufacturers, while Cork Supply Co. is a high end accessory store. Nathan and his work have been featured in The Huffington Post, the New York Times, Bloomberg Businessweek, and Entrepreneur, as well as on Shark Tank. All this is even more impressive when you discover he only graduated college last year.
Stop Talking, Start Doing
Nathan attributes his quick rise to his ability to take action. It’s his top takeaway for any aspiring entrepreneur:
“Stop talking and start doing. I think one of the biggest setbacks for an entrepreneur is thinking too much—you’ll think about ideas you want to pursue, try to network with others, and go back and forth with yourself about a business. The fact of the matter is, no work happens during this phase. If you actually want to create a business as an entrepreneur, you need to actually do something.”
However, Nathan was careful to not rule out talking entirely. He gave this addendum, “I want to be clear that I’m not saying never talk. What I am saying is that when you’re talking, you’re not working.”
Trust Brings out the Best in Your Employees
His flexible outlook is part of his success, as well as his readiness to work with others. As a young entrepreneur, Nathan was at first hesitant to share his workload. He threw himself headfirst into his first company and took on most tasks alone.
“Yes Man Watches was on the way to hitting six figures in sales during our first year. I felt this business was my baby and I wanted to do everything—I micromanaged and pretty much reviewed everything before it went anywhere. I rarely slept, as I was way too hands-on with my business and didn’t really let any of my team members do anything.”
His change of heart came after some trusted advice. Nathan realized he couldn’t do everything on his own, not if he wanted his business to flourish.
“The big shift came after a meeting with a fellow entrepreneur, Will Caldwell. Will told me I needed to trust my team. Without trust, you can’t grow. When I started to trust my team I was amazed to see the actual work they were able to get done. When you’re managing people and leting them be responsible for their own work while instilling trust in them, you’ll be amazed to see how talented some people are.”
Surround Yourself with Adventurous People
There’s another bonus to fostering trust and surrounding yourself with great people: it pushes your limits. Nathan illustrated this principle with a story from his college days. He and his friends had a chance to visit the Amalfi coast, and took turns fearlessly jumping off 50+ foot cliffs. At first, Nathan was hesitant to join in, but decided he’d rather jump than be left alone on the cliffs.
Nathan likened the experience to the entrepreneurship community. When you spend your time with brave and adventurous friends, you are more likely to take risks. “In business, I surround myself with other entrepreneurs who turn their ideas into realities. Your environment will have a big difference on who you become.”
Know What You Want, and Be Flexible Enough to Get It
Nathan also emphasized the importance of motivation. Wanting more is essential to success. In fact, it’s how he got his start. His freshman year of college, he made cold-call after cold-call as an intern. He did extremely well, but realized he disliked the experience, despite the accolades.
“I made an endless amount of cold calls. Within a week I became the employee with the highest converting outbound calls and I was just an intern. That job taught me to work hard, but I wasn’t satisfied. I felt like I was creating someone else’s dream.
After the internship, I read The 4-Hour Workweek, by Tim Ferriss. This book became my entrepreneurship bible. It made me realize how easy it is to start a business. Though not all aspects are true across industries and it is now a bit outdated, I’d still recommend the book to anyone looking to start a business.”
The last great takeaway I got from Nathan was to foster a constant sense of adaptability. It certainly shows in his own work, where he dabbles in various strategies and makes constant adjustments.
“What you started out to create probably isn’t going to be your finished product. If you aren’t willing to adapt your designs, business model, or marketing strategies, chances are you will fail. Entrepreneurs that are successful focus on the data and the results.”
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