Zach Hogue is the founder of Ambos, a company that works with artisans in Guatemala to produce handmade goods. It is a business he has been running for the past two years or so and is now closing. They say most first-time businesses don’t succeed, but no one is telling that story or seeing what it looks like from the entrepreneur’s perspective. Therefore, I knew I had to talk to Zach and have him come on the show. During his interview, we talked about his entrepreneurial journey and the lessons he’s learned throughout it all.
The first lesson Zach learned was to become an expert in what you do. Network, learn about the business, go to industry events, meet new people. Zach believes it’s important to build a network for support, as well. That way you have people you can turn to for help when you start launching your business. The second important lesson he learned was to keep your day job. He advises you keep a consistent source of income and admits that giving that up a little early in his ‘Journey’ is something that hurt him. You want to make your business force you out of your day job. We also talked about the sacrifices you have to make for your business. For example, living at home with your parents or working odd jobs.
Although Zach didn’t want to miss the opportunity to live with friends and therefore moved out of his parent’s house, he acknowledges that these are the kinds of real decisions you have to make along your ‘Journey’ and it’s important to know what works for you. Zach’s final lesson is to have a bona fide go-to-market strategy. Your product and your story may be amazing, and with a good looking website and some promotion on social media, you may think people will just naturally be drawn to your business. But that’s not the way the cookie crumbles for most people. So how do you know when your market strategy is bona fide? Zach brings back that idea of having a strong network. Have a plan and submit it to other people. Ask around and then decide whether or not its bona fide.
Finally, Zach and I discussed the idea that your business does not define you. You’re going to have all kinds of influences in life but you don’t want to be based on things that come and go. You want something more permanent than that, and Zach believes having that is important for overall success.
- Keep building your network
- Ask for help
- Keep your day job
- Have a bona fide market strategy
- Know the kinds of sacrifices you’ll need to make