Noobpreneur – Best of the Best Blogger Series

Noobpreneur - Best of The Best Blogger SeriesIn our 43rd edition of our Best of the Best Blogger series, we had a special opportunity to sit down with Ivan Widjaya from Noobpreneur.

Ivan has a pretty unique entrepreneurial perspective.  He launched Noobpreneur.com for the simple purpose of providing tips and advice for a particular type of small business owner, those that he referred to as noobpreneurs.  For starters, a noobpreneur is a “newbie entrepreneur” whom he describes as an individual ALWAYS looking to learn, seeking new ideas and knowledge and willing to try new things, no matter how seasoned they might be in the business world.

Other characteristics of a noobpreneur include perseverance, resilience and outside the box thinking, as well as an insistence on the rejection of mainstream thinking and ideas.

A core principle of any successful noobpreneur, according to Widjaya, is the concept of “failing fast”.  But paradoxically, a fail fast mindset does many things to set the stage for future success.  Failing fast doesn’t define failure as inherently bad.  It identifies that dragging failure out unnecessarily for too long can be suicide for so many start-up entrepreneurs and new business owners.  Failing fast, however, allows business owners to find ‘unexpected behaviors’ of their product or service that may not have been anticipated with the owner’s original vision, setting the stage for better ideas.

For example, many people don’t realize that YouTube was originally intended to be a video website for the dating market.  YouTube’s founders discovered that more people were interested in uploading quirky or novel videos of their cats, dogs, children and friends doing funny things.  The founders quickly pivoted the business to focus on what their users wanted and turned away from the original vision they had for the business.

We sat down with Ivan recently to talk about franchising, the upside of failure and the downsides of success.

Tell me how you got started with Noobpreneur and the inspiration and vision behind the site.

Noobpreneur LogoIt was originally started out as a personal blog with a little bit of business flavor on it. I was the owner of a couple of franchise units several years ago and I also wanted to offer tips on Noobpreneur.com based on my experience in running my franchise units.

The Noobpreneur target audience is the “newbie entrepreneur”, someone who is “not afraid to learn new knowledge and try new things.” In what ways is an appetite for learning so critical to success in the new economy?

I always emphasize, either on Noobpreneur.com or anywhere I go – offline and online – that your willingness to learn and put what you learn into practice will make or break your entrepreneurial journey. In doing so, you should not be afraid of failure, as failures are – indeed – the best teacher (I know because I’ve been there!)

Of course, you can be successful today with what you have, but to make it everlasting, you need to learn continuously. With the Internet, you need to do to emphasize that especially because what works today might not work tomorrow.

You’ve also described a Noobpreneur’s characteristics as someone who “loves to fail fast”. Can an entrepreneur misinterpret a fail fast mindset? What are some of the pitfalls, if any, of this mindset?

Just like what I mentioned above, failures are the best teacher. To learn better and faster, I believe that we need to fail fast: Try things out; and as they fail, just employ your exit strategies quickly and move on. If they turn out to be a success stick with them. Rinse and repeat.

Misinterpretation can always happen. One pitfall I can think of is people will recklessly sell everything or borrow money and start a business, without proper business planning that learning by doing is always feasible and failing fast is an ideal situation. Most likely, when you do fail, you might not have resources to pick up the pieces and recover. Failing fast also requires proper planning, just like the risks associated with any businesses. Risks can’t be avoided but can be controlled. Just the same with failing fast – you can localize or limit damages caused in that way to preserve resources you can use to pursue other ventures.

What are 3 of the most important things you would tell any new aspiring Noobpreneur?

  1. Be persistent and resilient – Without persistence and resilience, your entrepreneurial journey won’t go far. Guaranteed.
  2. Embrace failures, beware of successes – Failing sucks, but you can learn a great deal from your failures, given you embrace #1 above. Successes , as far as I’ve experienced, are “poisonous” – it can kill you slowly as successes tend to cause procrastination.
  3. Find business mentors – You can’t do it all alone. You need to learn from others who have been there and done all of those things; you need their insight and helping hands.

Who are 2-3 bloggers who have been most influential on you and your business?

I can name 2 of the most prominent figures in my (online) entrepreneurial journey: Anita Campbell and Yaro Starak.

Anita’s SmallBizTrends.com inspires Noobpreneur.com and Yaro’s entrepreneurial journey has helped me get off the ground with my sites and the money making ventures that I’ve pursued.

How do you feel about using credit cards as a source of financing for a Noobpreneur? Good, bad or too dangerous to consider?

In my opinion, any funding resources are very useful for a budding entrepreneur, including credit cards. Of course, you need to understand the pros and cons of a funding method before you decide on anything.
I know some entrepreneurs who are using credit cards to start their businesses, and they are successful with their ventures. I even know a business that “recruits” partners based on their credit card resources. Purchasing items for your business via credit cards can be beneficial, especially when they offer plenty of benefits, such as reward points and the ability to buy now and pay later (great for cash flow).
Of course, properly managing your credit card purchases is obviously important as well to avoid late fees and such.

I want to thank Ivan from Noobpreneur.com for taking the time with us today to talk about success, failure and life as a small business owner. Thanks so much for your candor Ivan.

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