Entrepreneurs are Different and That’s OK

As part of our continuing series on student take aways from AZEC10, here’s a great message to keep in mind… It’s OK to be different.

By Ian Newell, Richmond Virginia

My name is Ian Newell, a recent college graduate with a degree in a philosophy and religious studies. Life up until this point has been pretty straight forward which many people find comfort in. You go to college, get a job, maybe find someone along the way and have a few kids. But now it’s time to pull myself off of that path of certainty. It’s time to start anew in something without any planned life expectancy or security, filled with unknowns and risk. This will be something that doesn’t start and stop with the tick of a clock or a punch of a card. I am in the process of starting my own business.A few weeks ago I caught a flight out of Richmond Virginia to visit with my grandfather. My destination, Phoenix Arizona. Towards the end of my trip a rather unexpected event took place; I was able to meet the wonderful Jeanne Leckie. There was nothing but talk of business from the time we shook hands until the time of our departure. And just as we were parting ways, she invited me to the AZEC10 conference.

AZEC10_LogoAlthough I had a flight home to catch, limiting my time spent at the conference to an hour an a half, I walked onto the plane with a boost in what I find to be one of the most powerful tools for any entrepreneur; confidence. After hearing the words of Kathy Kolbe and Eric Keosky-Smith, I learned that some of the traits I instantiate, such as a lack of organization, are quite normal for an entrepreneur. Entrepreneurs are not the type of people who go to bed every night on time, or who have a well thought out lunch packed for work the next day. Entrepreneurs are people who cram the night before a test, who’s desks are never clear because they are always working on a hundred different projects, trying to draw connections between them all. Entrepreneurs are those people who have a hard time sleeping most nights because the cogs never stop turning. At the AZEC10 conference I was in a room full of people just like that. A room full of people just like me. There, traits like these were not frowned upon, but instead praised.

My Entrepreneurial Endeavor

Gotacado-LogoAs for my own business, I am starting a vegetarian/vegan food cart. Our mission is to be able to server healthy, locally grown organic foods in record time while focusing on sustainability and efficiency. Our main attraction will be panini style gourmet sandwiches. To give you an idea of what we I mean by gourmet sandwiches… one sandwiches consists of bree cheese, thin slices of granny smith apple sprinkled with cinnamon, thinly sliced onion, topped with a stone ground whole grain mustard on crispy crust artisan country white bread. Another sandwich has spiced black beans, thinly sliced onions, with a seasoned tomato arugula salsa/spread, all which sits between slices of smoked gouda cheese on crispy crust artisan country white bread. For a vegan option, we have a sort of Asian barbecue sandwich consisting of pan fried tofu seasoned with garlic and other spices topped with an Asian cabbage slaw, and a light spread of plum sauce on the bun. In addition to sandwiches, will also be serving soups, fresh spring rolls, and cheaper snack orientated foods such as humus with pita chips.

Going Green – Cooking Green

The cart it self will be a full on mobile kitchen unit, measuring in at 6′ X 10′. Most all of the food will be made using two TurboChef ovens and a few induction burners. TurboChef’s ovens are the same ovens they use at Subway®. They can cook food up to 12 times faster than a conventional oven, saving on time and fuel. Induction burners will be used for there control, speed, safety and efficiency. The efficiency of a gas burner is around 30% where the efficiency of an induction burner is around 90%. The entire cart will be powered by a water cooled diesel generator. For our fuel, we have teamed with up fellow young entrepreneurs who started a bio taxi company. They will be supplying us with bio diesel which will not only power the generator, but also power the ford E 350 van we will be using to tow the cart with. The generator will also be made with an additional tank to run off of WVO (Waste Vegetable Oil) which we will be collecting from restaurants and fellow venders in the area.

We are also taking into consideration how we will package everything; using recyclable and compostable materials where we can. Charging people for a water cup but supplying free water to those who bring their own cups. Outside of the cart we will have a bin with separate compartments for trash, recyclables, and compostables, where the compostables will be taken to a large compost pile we have started which will feed into the community gardens around the area. At this point, it looks like we should be opening sometime in March 2011.

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About Joan Koerber-Walker

It makes no difference whether you are in a Fortune 500 - an entrepreneurial start up - a non profit - or an association. One simple formula equals sure fire success in any economic climate. Just combine strategy innovation execution. I've had the opportunity to apply this simple formula in all of these areas...and with great results! I enjoy sharing stories about great people, cool companies, some of the ideas I have gathered along the journey in this blog. I hope you'll join the conversation and share some secrets for success too! About Joan Koerber-Walker

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