Why Entrepreneurs Focus on Mission Over Market

As I’m building Teaching Startup, a new, affordable way to advise entrepreneurs, I have to keep reminding myself that it’s not for everyone.


There’s a real easy trap an entrepreneur can fall into when the lure of broad customer acceptance starts to compromise the original vision for the product. In other words, if I try to make my startup everything to all people, I’ll wind up with just another cog in the gears of the problem I’m trying to solve.

I know this to be true because I’ve been there in the past.

Even though I say, quite boldly, “Teaching Startup is for everyone,” I know very well that Teaching Startup isn’t for everyone. First of all, it’s for entrepreneurs. Sure. But even while typing “it’s for entrepreneurs,” I’m tempted to add:

“And people who want to be entrepreneurs.”

“And people who think like entrepreneurs.”

“And leaders and executives who need some entrepreneurial insight.”

And on and on.

And yes, it very well could work for all of those folks, and more. There’s a side of entrepreneurism that’s not just widgets and dollars. It’s independence and freedom. It’s rebellion and revolution. It’s the application of the kinds of skills that make most anyone better at most anything.

But Teaching Startup isn’t that, yet. For now, it’s a novel way to bring what’s usually very expensive advice to serious entrepreneurs. It’s for those who are beyond the ideal and into the grind, those who are tired of reading the same soundbites from books and stages and TED talks or wherever it is that I’m pulling all these smart and talented people out of to try this new and effective paradigm.

It’s not for the posers and the talkers and the get-rich-quickers. But it is for the doers — the folks who think “I can do that,” not because it looks easy, but because it doesn’t, and they know they’ve got what it takes to try it.

Teaching Startup just did a survey of our paying members, and the results were shocking to me. I always score a survey before I send it, to level set where I think progress is being made and where I expect some work is needed. The survey came back overwhelmingly positive in places I hadn’t suspected we had even taken a foothold yet.

Those are the customers. That is the market. It’s the people who are living the problem, see this solution, and understand the solution.

I’ve done this long enough to know that the only way this becomes a success is to succeed at that mission.

If you’re one of those entrepreneurs — if your game could use a little polish, maybe your strategy could do with a tweak — I’d encourage you to join us at Teaching Startup for free for 30 days. Use invite code GRIND to get your first month after the trial for $5. After that, Teaching Startup is affordable, at just $10 a month.

Like I said, it’s for everyone.

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