KEY TAKEAWAYS FROM THE EPISODE:
Create an environment in which you can learn by doing:
Revolve could have launched with a massive roll-out in multiple markets, but instead, it’s being piloted in South Florida and will scale up over time. Revolve carefully chose their pilot market based on the company’s needs. They also honed in on their ideal customer, who is a risk-taker who wants to get in on the ground floor and help shape the company. This allows the company to safely make mistakes that will provide valuable learning opportunities.
Asoka distinguishes between these two kinds of mistakes. “Type one mistakes” are small, but not fatal, and learning from them will help build success in the long run. “Type two mistakes” are the kind that can be impossible to recover from. As Asoka’s experience reveals, it’s important to learn by doing… but it’s also important to construct a space in which it’s safe to try things out that might not work. When it comes to launching
big idea, consider how you can also surround yourself with a community that believes in your vision and is going to stick with you as you improve by trial and error.
Rely on the Three P’s: Passion, Purpose, and Perseverance:
Through his own experience and by looking at the successes of other entrepreneurs, Asoka has identified three keys to success: passion, purpose, and perseverance. All three of these keys are closely intertwined.
means having a clear understanding of how you’re addressing your customer’s needs, or making an improvement in the world.
is the thing you need to keep you going through tough times, because there will definitely be setbacks along the way. But both of these stem from
passion. Starting from a foundation of passion for your work will naturally lead to perseverance. Having a passion for your niche, or the community you are serving, is essential to clarifying and believing in your purpose.
Entrepreneurship is not a linear path:
According to Asoka, in order to become a successful entrepreneur you need two things that might sound contradictory. First, you’ll boundless optimism that you’ll succeed in order to be bold enough to invest in your dream. You’re also going to need a healthy dose of realism, in order to be realistic about what it’ll take to achieve your goals and keep going when things get tough.
Asoka describes the “trough of sorrow” - the feeling that sets in after the initial cheerleaders who are excited by your big idea have started to fade away, and the reality of the time, money, and commitment it takes to create a new business begins to set in. It’s important to remember that entrepreneurship, as with the pursuit of any big goal, is not a linear path. It’s normal for success to look messy, and to feel like you’re moving backwards as you attempt to forge onward.
[1:35] Introduction - Asoka Veeravagu and his company, Revolve Automotive.
[4:16] The Sharing Economy 2.0, and how Revolve is part of this trend.
[5:00] How childhood passions (cars and electronics) evolved into a career.
[6:28] When and how Revolve launched as a business.
[8:25] Developing Revolve’s pilot market and planning for scaling the business.
[10:00] Identifying Revolve’s core customer: someone who wants to innovate.
[13:22] How customers access Revolve’s diverse collection of cars.
[18:25] The three P keys to success: passion, purpose, and perseverance.
[23:00] Chasing your passion means stepping away from a comfortable reality.
[23:45] How to handle feelings of doubt and the “trough of sorrow”.
[25:00] How being successful over the long haul requires both boundless optimism and a dose of reality.
[27:00] The three stages of an idea, and how the best, most marketable ideas sound contrarian at first.
[32:14] Advice Asoka would give to someone trying to make it their era.
[34:42] How Asoka is making this his era.
Take Massive Action Now:
Map out your small steps –
Asoka’s advice to aspiring entrepreneurs, and to anyone who is seeking to make a big change in their life, is to avoid the temptation to do everything at once. Instead, map out a series of small steps that will move you towards your goal and tackle these one by one. (If you’ve listened to Sam Vaghar's episode, you might remember him making a similar observation - “It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by all the change needed in the world. Instead, take small actions to make a difference.”)
What’s your big goal, and how do you get there? Brainstorm the small steps that will get you closer to your endpoint. For example, if you want to start a new business, maybe one goal is to join a local networking group of entrepreneurs. This goal could be broken down even further:
1) Locate a local networking group and join their email list.
2) Get business cards printed so that you’re ready to network.
3) Show up to the group’s next event.
4) Follow up via email with someone you met at the event.
While “networking” can be intimidating as an abstract goal, each of these steps is easy and doable. Assign them a date for completion (write them down in your 90 Day Planner, and use the SMART goal setting tools to make sure you’re on the right track.) All of these small steps done over time will add up to big things. Now, go and complete the first task today.
Consider how your goals fit into a holistic life –
A theme that resonates between the change makers interviewed on #ThisIsMyEra is the importance of a balanced life – like how Alexander Star says that his time management is motivated by wanting to prioritize time with his son. In this episode, Asoka makes it clear that success in business, for him, is not enough. He’s making it his era by creating success in every area of his life. As Asoka says in this episode, “We’re going to look at our lives in totality and say who did I impact, who did I spend time with, and where did I make a bigger mark beyond just my profession?”
Take the time to check in on your priorities. Write down the areas of life that are important to you – family, health, financial success, giving back to the community – and rank them in order as best you can. Then, consider if the way you spend your time is in line with this ranking. (If you’re not sure how your time breaks down, try using a time-tracking tool like Toggl for a few days to get a better idea.) It’s probably not realistic that your time can be spent exactly in your order of priority, but closely examining your time can reveal gaps that need to be filled. Maybe you’ll decide to start getting up a half hour earlier every day to spend time on your spiritual life, or start volunteering once a month to better connect with your local community.
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“It [Entrepreneurship] starts with passion, connects to purpose, and is driven over the long haul by a burning sense of perseverance.”
“We’re going to look at our lives in totality and say who did I impact, who did I spend time with, and where did I make a bigger mark beyond just my profession?”