Hustle and Grit: An Introduction

Can you actually teach entrepreneurship?

The answer depends on two questions:

  1. How do you define ‘entrepreneurship’.

  2. What is the goal or teaching/learning outcome?

Definition of an Entrepreneur

If you narrowly define an entrepreneur as someone who starts companies and grows them into thriving and enduring organizations then teaching someone everything that they’d need to know in order to be successful in that pursuit would be a huge challenge.

I’d propose that instead we define an entrepreneur as:

  • Someone who identifies a need or problem and fills it

  • Is able to recognize an opportunity and through consistent action executes on it

By this definition, I believe we can inspire those willing to learn how to bring new ideas into the world, or start things that have never existed before.

More specifically, we can help answer questions like:

  • How do I search for good ideas?

  • How do I screen them?

  • How do I set up a plan for success?

  • How to I get buy-in and actually start?

  • How do I grow?

A framework for bringing new ideas into the world.

A framework for bringing new ideas into the world.

Answering these questions is valuable for anyone interested in starting a company, joining a start-up, or becoming an ‘intrapreneur’ within a large organization. 

What is the Goal?

What I definitely can’t promise is a hardcore, quantitative, black-or-white, one-size-fits all recipe for entrepreneurial success.  

Sorry to disappoint, it doesn’t exist.

The main goal is to teach students how to recognize opportunities, navigate uncertainty, and build the guts, tools, and discipline to act on new ideas (big or small).

Here’s the reality:  starting new things is really hard (spoiler alert!).  Seeing them through the ‘ups and downs’ is even harder.  Starting things is about being able to recognize a good idea when it hits you, and then having the courage and the drive to put one foot in front of the other to turn that idea in your head into a reality.

While it’s challenging to outline the exact step-by-step process to make any idea successful, we can uncover the common ingredients, learn from those who have brought ideas to fruition (big and small), and model their habits, mindset, and processes.

Process vs. Abilities

The steps outlined above are just a starting point.

To execute on this process requires a set of abilities, or skills that aren’t often taught, they are ‘learned’ through experience, and trial-and-error.

With Hustle & Grit I wanted to study how successful entrepreneurs learned from setbacks, and discovered breakthrough opportunities throughout their journey.

The series will focus on ten skills and abilities that will improve your odds of entrepreneurial success, including:

  1. Motivation: How to get started.

  2. Innovation: How to be different.

  3. Feedback: How to take it, give it, and ignore it.

  4. Mastery: How to learn.

  5. Effectiveness: How to be useful and get stuff done.

  6. Leverage: How to thrive with other humans.

  7. Prioritization: How to focus on what matters.

  8. Resilience: How to dig in when things get hard.

  9. Acting as if: How to assemble a plane while you’re in the air.

  10. Move: How to tell a story and inspire partners, investors, and customers.

Through candid, and thought-provoking conversations with world-class entrepreneurs, we break down the actual abilities and skills that contributed to their entrepreneurial successes.

Eric Janssen