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Get Ready to Create Your Successful Startup

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  • 2022
  • PODCAST #052

Developing an idea to be a successful business venture requires lots of blood, sweat, and tears. And for every startup founder, wisdom from people who have built startups can be invaluable. So we dedicated this episode of Establishing Your Empire to sharing the knowledge of someone who’s been in the startup space for a very long time. Sam Wong, Startup CEO coach, Interim CEO of Fundable Startups, and the author of ‘21 Secrets of Successful Startups: Pillars for an Entrepreneur’s Foundation,’ Joins us today to share what he learned throughout his long career in the startup ecosystem. 

The startup space is not for the faint-hearted. Many startups don’t really succeed, and the ones that do have to go through numerous obstacles. And it has been the same way for Sam as well. We start the conversation with Sam’s background, some of the stories from the early startups he was working on, and the learning points from the high and low points of those startups.

Listen on: Apple Podcasts | Spotify | YouTube | Pandora

“Stick with your vision and keep working on stuff… someone else is going to do it if you don’t… Use your imagination more and more. It’s not just about being an entrepreneur, it’s about being a gritty, dynamic person that survives chaos.”

Key Topics Discussed:

  1. Business and Money: The conversation begins with a discussion about the influence and challenges of money in business settings. It emphasizes the need to be aware of financial dynamics and their impact on business objectives and problems.
  2. Strategic Partnerships and Community Building: The speakers delve into the concept of creating an “information pack” in business, focusing on the importance of strategic partnerships, community engagement, and the role of investors and advisors in scaling a business.
  3. Business Goals and Revenue Generation: The dialogue touches upon the balance between focusing on future goals and the necessity of revenue generation in business ventures. The importance of having clear, achievable goals is highlighted.
  4. Team Dynamics in Startups: The discussion shifts to the significance of assembling the right team or “pack” in startups, stressing the need for diverse skills, clear communication, and aligned expectations among team members.
  5. Educational Transformation through Technology: There is a significant focus on the transformation of education through AI and blockchain, discussing personalized learning experiences and the potential for these technologies to revolutionize the educational landscape.
  6. Personal Entrepreneurial Journeys: The speakers share their personal backgrounds and experiences, providing various perspectives on entrepreneurial journeys and the lessons learned along the way.
  7. Equity and Startup Partnerships: The conversation explores the complex topic of equity distribution in startups, addressing the challenges of aligning contributions and expectations in partnerships.
  8. Blockchain Technology Potential: The potential applications of blockchain technology are discussed, particularly in education, emphasizing the need for innovative applications beyond its current usage.
  9. Writing and Publishing a Book: Michael Devellano shares insights into his process of writing and publishing a book, including challenges, strategies, and the importance of marketing and promotion.
  10. Advice to Younger Individuals and Entrepreneurs: The speakers provide personal advice for younger individuals and budding entrepreneurs, focusing on perseverance, vision, risk-taking, and the importance of learning from failures.
  11. Future Plans and Aspirations: Devellano talks about his future plans, particularly in the fields of AI and education, with a strong desire to provide mass-customized education and contribute positively to these sectors.
  12. Reflections on Personal Motivations and Legacy: The episode concludes with reflections on personal motivations for writing and contributing ideas, along with thoughts on the legacy and impact one hopes to leave, especially in entrepreneurial and technological spaces.

Devellano’s perspectives provide a blend of practical advice, personal anecdotes, and forward-looking ideas, particularly around technology and education. The conversation is engaging, informative, and offers valuable takeaways for anyone interested in entrepreneurship, technology, and personal growth.

Getting into the startup strategies, we dive deep into how to start a business venture properly. Sam shares his experience on what startup founders can do to evaluate the potential of business ideas, reach out to potential users to identify what the market needs, and how to create a business plan that practically helps founders make their businesses successful. Sam also dives into why founders should treat investors like they are customers and some of the mistakes he’s seen startup founders make when pitching their ideas to investors. 

Sam’s book is packed with lessons he learned from his long career in the startup space. We talk about what inspired him to write the book, the process of writing it, and how he made writing a part of his daily routine while writing the book. Wrapping up the episode, Sam shares some of his future plans for helping more startup founders, his work in photography, and teaching photography to children.

[00:30] Sam’s Story – We talk about Sam’s fascinating career journey through engineering, non-profit, management consulting, and startups.

[04:05] Lessons Learned – Sam shares with us some of the lessons he learned from the ups and downs of some of the early startups he was a part of.

[13:19] Founding a Startup – The process of creating Sam’s first startup and his advice for people who aspire to create their own startups. 

[20:18] Idea Validation – Sam elaborates on the first step of any new business venture: evaluating the business idea.

[26:48] Business Planning – How the way business plans are created has evolved over the years and some tips and tricks for creating a great business plan.

[32:28] Telling Your Story – What most startup founders fail to do when telling their story to investors and how to deliver a successful pitch to potential investors.

[37:27] Sam’s Book – The inspiration behind Sam’s Book, “21 Secrets of Successful Startups,” and the process of writing and publishing the book.

[41:14] Lessons for Young People – Sam brings up some stories from his life and the lessons that came with those experiences.

[48:57] Future Plans – Sam shares his future plans for sharing his knowledge and wisdom with more entrepreneurs.

Connect with Sam

LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/sam-wong-startup
Website: fundablestartups.com

Sam’s Book: 21 Secrets of Successful Startups

Mentioned in the Episode

Business Model Generation by Alexander Osterwalder:

Running Lean: Iterate from Plan A to a Plan That Works by Ash Maurya


“If there’s a wave that’s cresting, ride that bad boy!”

“Success is more enjoyable when you have people to celebrate it with, together.”

“When you’re fundraising, you are selling.”

“I started to realize that the things I thought were so important really weren’t that important.”

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