Entrepreneurs Are Heroes
Ever since I can remember I’ve been fascinated with business. The idea that there’s a place that attracts people from all over, based on direct and indirect communication. To come and exchange their hard earned dollars for items/experiences, was always just so fascinating. In addition, the staff and how they all came together with a common goal to make these people that were coming to their stores satisfied. How the item of interest had even arrived to the store always boggled my mind, supply chains were a real interest of mine as a child. When I was in elementary school, while joining my grandfather on a trip to the Dry Cleaners I took the business owner’s card from the stack on the bright red counter and put it in my pocket. The owner asked me what I was going to do with it. My grandfather explained to him that I collect business cards because one day I’m going to call him for advice when I start my own company. I literally had a binder full of pages with the slots for baseball cards, full with all the business cards from stores that I had visited over the years. I remember asking him about how he got the hangers for the clothes he cleaned. How he hired people, how he chose the store location, how people knew how to find his store. I asked him so many questions that he began to become skeptical of my grandfather, as if this was an act for him to get information on how to be his competition. I’ll never forget how he looked at my grandfather when it clicked, “What’s going on here?” he asked. Hilarious!
How he was able to have a team of people who he paid in exchange for their hard work and they used that money to buy items from other stores to support their families. It all just seemed so powerful and mesmerizing. I’ve always looked at business owners as heroes, not because the money or the freedom, but primarily because of the impact they made in the lives of others by offering a way for them to earn a living. Above all the aspects of business that fascinated me the most, was that this “well oiled machine” of a small business all started with an idea. A thought that one person had at some time before that day. That lead him to creating a business that not only added a convenience to the lives of hundreds of people, but also put food on the table for a select few. That to me, was and still is incredible. While as Heroic as many entrepreneurs are in my eyes, I do not believe in the mystique of the entrepreneur. There’s this false belief that only some people can be entrepreneurial. It’s ok to be an employee. If everyone was a business owner, who’d help the business owners? Either way, everyone has the ability to be a hero and everyone should give it a try.
In Northern Virginia where I am from; I grew up around some of the funniest, most wittiest and fearless people that I have ever met. Many of these people would be fantastic entrepreneurs because they are very smart and likeable, but instead went the route of building a career. I distinctly remember many of my friends being frustrated with deciding on whether or not to go to college, and if so what should they study. To them they didn’t have a particular career that they were excited about pursuing, but they were excited about starting a business. Many of my male friends wanted to start a clothing line, a shoe store or a barbershop. Many of my lady friends wanted to create a clothing line as well, beauty shops or day care centers. Regardless of the different ventures these teenagers wanted to create, they all had one thing in common. They had no idea how to start a business and they didn’t know anyone who knew how to, either. It’s my guess that many people have found themselves in that same seat at one time or another. It’s a frustrating position to be in, it’s like a painter with no canvas or brush and just an image in her mind. Eventually you choose an alternative, no matter if it satisfies your soul or not.
I moved to San Francisco, California in June, 2008. Primarily due to happenstance, but secondarily because I was fascinated with Social Networks and how they made money. The easy answer that even my grandmother was aware of is that they make money from advertising. But I didn’t know anyone who could tell me what that actually meant and how they achieved that exactly. In fact, how do businesses online operate, in general? How do they gain and maintain customers. It’s not like you can go knock on their door, you know? I realized the best way to find out was to go to talk to the horse. And that I did.
Over the past eight years I worked in retail sales, drove for Uber and Lyft, interned at 2 startups, was hired full-time by one of them which was a Venture Capital firm for agricultural startups in Sub-Saharan Africa. I was the marketing manager for a startup crowdfunding platform, I cofounded and founded two startups, I went back to school to get a BA in International Business and I’ve traveled to ten countries. And, none of those were done in that order. My point is that over the past 8 years, I’ve been busy exposing myself to every business and travel opportunity I could get my hands on. After all of that, you know what I’ve realized? That being an entrepreneur, being a business person, isn’t American; it’s global. It isn’t easy to be good at; it’s hard as f*ck. And most importantly, it isn’t rocket science.
As entrepreneurs, as business people, we produce products and services that provide a heightened level of convenience for our customers. It doesn’t take a genius to understand what would make the lives of a group of people more convenient and what is the best way to provide that convenience. I know that you, without ever meeting you, are a member of at least two unique groups. No, I’m not referring to your gender or the color of your skin. If you are a curly haired athlete from the southern region of The USA, that’s a unique group. If you are a single mother going to school at night online, you are a part of a unique group. I’ll guarantee you that no one understands what would make your life more convenient, than you. I’ll also guarantee you that no matter how unique you think your thing is that you wish was more convenient, there are at a bare minimum thousands of other people who wish that it was too. That my friends, is what we call a business opportunity.
Entrepreneurs are problem solvers. Entrepreneurs are convenience creators.
When I realized how simple entrepreneurship can be, when I realized that it wasn’t rocket science, that was when I realized my passion. My friends that I grew up with weren’t unique. My friends who wanted to start businesses but were crippled by the “know how”, were much like many other teenagers around the world. Who were realizing what our parents hadn’t, that owning a business is not only more lucrative but safer than building a career. As we watched many of our parents lose their jobs and some lose their homes, in the wake of the 2008 subprime mortgage crisis. It was quite clear to many of us that having a job just wasn’t the answer to security and prosperity. I started Champagne Wishes TV, my true passion, because I wanted to inform people on the factual steps that anyone can take to turn an idea into a business. This isn’t about me getting on a soap box, screaming out theories that I came up with while in the shower. These are tried and true methods, that are both modern and classic fundamentals of business. I got tired of meeting people who were bummed out because they feel that they didn’t have the answers and they knew Sway didn’t either. I wanted to make it easier for people to start businesses, I wanted to shorten the learning curve.
If you have been following Champagne Wishes TV for awhile, you know that CWTV started out as a blog/YouTube channel. I started out with doing just interviews of entrepreneurs, back before it was cool. Well, I guess it was always cool, but now it’s just really popular. I’ve realized that Champagne Wishes TV is at a point in its journey, where it is time to evolve. It’s time to become something that was unexpected from the beginning, but so necessary. Throughout 2017 you will see Champagne Wishes TV evolve into a video platform for entrepreneurs, that will provide a thorough understanding of business fundamentals at a very affordable price for all levels of business people. I really look forward to 2017 and working with many of you on figuring out how you can turn your ideas into reality.
Here's to a new year, here's to monetizing our passions.
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Chadwick Burnaw - Founder