7 Mistakes Every Student Entrepreneur Should Avoid














I’m sitting in a café in Durham, North of England – the frosty air sweeps in whenever the door opens, it’s snowing outside but nice and snug in here. I take a sip of my strong expresso.

It’s been 2 years almost to the week that I graduated from my Masters degree in Durham University, a romantic ancient city with a castle and cathedral in the North of England – and I’m back in Durham for a visit. For me, University = good times. I matured, got fit, fell in love and got some brains. However I’ve learnt a hell of a lot in the short time since I’ve left – I wanted to share some of that with you.

Are you a student entrepreneur? Or in a student startup?  – this article’s for you.

I believe there are few harder transitions than when you graduate from the structured and secure world of university – to the unstructured and risky world of entrepreneurship. And you learn some big hard lessons, fast.

I previously wrote an article on why Entrepreneurs should not bother with an MBA. This article is different. It’s written for those currently in university and planning to pursue entrepreneurship afterwards. It’s a collection of the biggest lessons I learnt since leaving university and what I’d do if I was in your shoes and back there now.

Here’s my 7 lessons to

1. Expectation

Think you deserve to be successful because you got a 1st, or studied hard, or went to a good university. This thinking might work if you’re going corporate – but not in entrepreneurship my friend.

When you start your business – you start from scratch again. Nobody owes you anything and your college degree means nothing. The guy who never finished school has the same chance of success as you do. It’s quite humbling when you realise this.

But if you had what it takes to do great in university I believe you’ll have the confidence & determination to make your startup business a success.

Top tip: Be humble – and be prepared to roll up your sleeves and get your hands dirty.

2. Think you know it all (you don’t, trust me)

Following from the previous point – just as in the world of entrepreneurship a degree doesn’t mean success – so too, knowledge of all the theory in the world, also doesn’t mean success.

Entrepreneurship is more about action than planning (or at least a healthy mix of both).

I never suffered too much from the first point of ‘expecting anything’ (see above) but I did suffer from thinking I knew it all (and probably still do to a degree – this is probably not a bad thing for an entrepreneur, but that’s a different topic).

I learnt all the theory in university, knew all the models to forecast growth and won 4 business plan competitions for a business I went on to launch in my final year of university – I was sure success was a formality.

The business went on to fail.

What I learnt is that this theory is good, but it’s not enough on it’s own – you need to learn just as much (probably more) on the practical side as you do on the theory side. The earlier you begin this, the better

For example, do you know to get professional liability insurance to protect your business? That’s something that’s not emphasized much in schools but is definitely an integral part of your future business.

Your Turn – Got experience being a Student Entrepreneur? Tell us in the comments below

How to Achieve Anything – Interview with Dan Brodky-Chenfeld

startup skydive

How do you Achieve Anything?

Recently I got the opportunity to connect with World Champion Skydiver Dan Brodky-Chenfeld, author of Above all else: A World Champion Skydiver’s Story of Survival & What it Taught Him about Fear, Adversity & Success. 

While training for national Skydiving championships, Dan Brodky-Chenfeld was involved in a plane crash that killed 16 out of 22 crew members (including two of his jump team), and left Dan seriously injured, with a broken neck. He was told he could never Skydive again. Despite this Dan went on recover fully and, against all odds, become a multi-world championship winning skydiver.

- I was so excited about speaking to Dan for this Interview that I stumbled over my intro – (nerves – yes I get ‘em sometimes!) – nevertheless, it’s one of my favourite interviews I’ve done to date – I’m sure you’d agree Dan is a really inspirational guy.

In this interview you will learn:

  • What one of the most common traits of successful people are
  • How to tell if you’ve chosen some thing you’re truly passionate about
  • How to decide what the next thing to do is
  • How and why mapping out your plan is so important
  • Why visualisation is so important – and how you should use it
  • How to have a great day – and replicate it whenever you want

Watch it here:

Buy the Book: Above All Else (It’s a really awesome read – highly recommended)

Check out Dan Brodky-Chenfeld’s Website

Your turn: What did you learn from the interview? Share it in the comments below


How to use a Twitterview to Reach 540,398 People














Want to grow your profile on Twitter? Want to grow awareness of your brand without spending a lot of money? Ever hear of a Twitterview but think it was a job interviewer with a twitch?

Maybe you should consider a Twitterview!

Recently I had the pleasure of being involved in my first Twitterview. Despite its buzz-termy sounding name, the concept is actually pretty simple: It’s an interview done over twitter. All questions & answers no longer than 140 characters.

So what’s the point of a twitterview?

Well the point is pretty simple too

Imagine you have a small, but growing twitter following, let’s say 500 people for example. Well that means that every time you send a tweet, it has the potential to be seen by 500 people (this is called ‘impressions’).

Ideally you’d like your tweets to have 500,000,000+impressions right?

Well what if you interviewed someone famous in your field who has over 100,000 followers?

And what if you asked them 50 questions, and both the question and the answer, carry your company branding?

And what if you asked 50 other people with 10,000+ followers to also tweet in questions (also carrying your company branding)?

Starts to sound pretty interesting doesn’t it? Oh, and it’s free.

This is a Twitterview!

So, recently for the football social game I work for, we decided to carry out a Twitterview involving a real life football star. This is how we did it and if it was worth doing:

Twitterview objectives

We had 3 core objectives for the Twitterview

  1. Drive new users to our game I Am Playr
  2. Increase awareness of I Am Playr
  3. Increase our @iamplayr twitter following

All of these objectives were measured for success using real metrics (of course), by:

  1. Deciding the correct metric to measure each by
  2. Taking a pre-campaign baseline metric for each
  3. Assessing the change in these baseline metrics after the Twitterview

I’ll go into detail into how these metrics performed a little further down.

Getting started – How to do a Twitterview

This was the first Twitterview I had been involved in, so I did a bit of research. There’s not a lot of good stuff out there about Twitterviews, but I found this article to be the best of a bad lot

Our Twitterview Plan

For our Twitterview we invited Lee Dixon – and ex Arsenal Football club legend, and current pundit on Match of the Day (the biggest soccer TV programme here in the UK) in to do a Twitterview.

We thought Lee was a good fit as:

We put together a three step plan to get maximum benefit from the Twitterview to happen:

  • Pre-interview (making sure people knew about it)
  • During Interview (Making sure it ran smoothly)
  • Post interview (prolonging the exposure of the Twitterview)

I have a step by step guide to exactly what we did during these three steps documented. If enough people request it I’m happy to share these here on the blog.

Lee Dixon

trending on #iamplayr










#I Am Playr

The core way the Twitterview worked was by people tweeting in questions using the #iamplayr hashtag on each tweet. This hashtag allowed everyone to follow the conversation, and worked as awareness branding for us as I Am Playr is the name of our game (I’d highly recommend you doing similar). Lee would then tweet replies to people who posted questions to this hashtag – meaning every tweet in the Twitterview was branded with our soccer game.

Throughout the Twitterview we dropped in messages to the conversation with links to our game. We used bit.ly tracking links to track click throughs.

We promoted it across all our channels a week before a few days before and on the day of the Twitterview to make sure enough people knew about it.


The Twitterview

We ran the Twitterview 90 minutes, lunchtime of the football transfer deadline day here in the UK. We had Lee in the room with us, he answered questions and I typed them up and posted to twitter using his twitter account. We used Tweetdeck for this.

The Results

It was great fun and the results spoke for themselves:

  • Total 774 tweets using #iamplayr during the 24 hours around the Twitterview
  • Total impressions with #iamplayr: 14 million
  • Total audience reached: 540,398
  • Click-throughs to the game: 505
  • Increase in Twitter followers: 360
  • We were 5th trending topic on Twitter
  • The day of the Twitterview was the 2nd highest number of Google searches for I Am Playr, ever!
  • Other celebs Will Carling (ex England Rugby captain),  Zoo magazine (UK lads mag) and some other professional footballers began tweeting in, all of which have big influential reach and added to the fun

So it’s clear that the Twitterview was a success. But leaving the ‘vanity metrics’(see impressions) listed above aside, the number that really matters most was the 505 click through directly to the game (all of which were highly qualified UK based users, who are expensive to acquire through advertising).

And What Went Wrong?

Ok so we learnt a few things. Three main things were:

  • Tweetdeck wasn’t able to handle the number of tweets and was lagging up to 20 minutes behind real time & kept crashing. It was a clear case of ‘victims of our own success’. Next time will need to use a more powerful twitter client
  • We originally began by RT’ing the questions and then answering it – but we got negative feedback from people, saying their timeline was being clogged up – so we changed to just @replying directly to answers with #iamplayr. People seemed to prefer this.
  • Be prepared that you’ll get some nutters saying stupid stiff in the conversation. We (and Lee) thought this was funny, I wouldn’t take it too seriously – but something to consider if your client or company is uber sensitive

In Summary

Twitterview can be a really effective tool to raising exposure of your brand/cause and can drive real users through to your site. It was fun too.

If you have access to someone with a strong Twitter presence, I’d highly recommend it. However I’d be cautious about paying someone to do a Twitterview, as they’ll be receiving just as much exposure as your brand will be.

Your Turn:

Any further questions about how we did our Twitterview, or if you’ve any experiences to add to this – please post in the comments below.
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