Aug 13 2019

The Life And Times Of A Product Entrepreneur

I recently attended a Product Anonymous networking event hosted by A Cloud Guru: The Life and Times of an Entrepreneur, featuring special guest speakers, Grant Hatamosa from Zen Ecosystems, Shannon Gilleland from Form-I-Baby and Carl Rigoni from SixSix.

The event was geared toward coming together as a product management community and supporting each other through our individual journeys; whether it be as an entrepreneur, a product engineer or anyone with a slight interest in product management. Right up my alley!

Kicking off with the presenters each sharing a lightbulb moment, we heard tales of how passion drove them each to become an entrepreneur, and what this means for them on a day to day basis. Whilst each story was unique, there were some common and complementary perspectives from these entrepreneurs so I thought I’d share with my product community some key takeaways…

What makes a Product Manager ‘great’? 

Often referred to as the mini-CEO, this person wears many hats. They have a good grasp on all the skills and attributes that make up the role, and have the ability to deliver on those being all those things eg. support, engineer, designer, etc. They are rounded enough to be able to influence all the disciplines that go into the product from inception all the way through to the market launch and beyond.

The ability to engage with people and choose the right words when speaking to your stakeholders, customers, and clients is paramount as a Product Manager.

And finally, the desire to solve problems and be truly driven by your passion for that product!

What are the top 3 most important skills to have as a Product Management entrepreneur? 

  1. Negotiation skills! When you boil it down, everything is negotiable: money, time, people, so negotiation skills are essential.
  2. Being an effective salesperson by talking to customers about their problems and solving through a short discovery conversation.  
  3. Multiple tasking and being able to influence a lot of people.

Thinking of making that leap and becoming an entrepreneur? 

There are several things you need to consider if you are thinking of making this leap. 

  • Firstly, everyone has financial needs. Make sure you don’t have financial pressure so you can set yourself up to give yourself the breathing space to make mistakes. 
  • Surround yourself with the right people, support groups and networks.
  • Don’t leave your day job (just yet) until you start networking; your networks will be the ones to help you through your toughest days and best days. 
  • Ask yourself; are you actually really passionate about your domain because being an entrepreneur is challenging, and if your heart isn’t in it you will find it hard to succeed.

Some final words of advice…

  • Be wary of who you trust and make sure you bring along the right people in your team or support group!
  • Understand that you have to go through all the hard and bad times before finding something that really works for your business. 

Attending an event like this is not only enlightening, but a great reminder that we are part of a supportive and knowledgeable Product community. We only need to put ourselves out there. I’m glad I did!


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