Secrets to Successful Startup Fundraising 

Nic Cary interviews Stephen Bediako, a social entrepreneur, innovator, impact investor and design expert. They talk about Stephen's journey from selling household goods door-to-door in East London at 13 to starting the Social Innovation Partnership. He emphasizes the importance of education, family support, and the shift in social impact measurement towards integrating profitability and social responsibility. Stephen also discusses the Pathway Fund, which supports black and minoritized fund managers and social enterprises in the UK. He highlights the value of mentorship, maintaining personal well-being, and building a strong, supportive team in managing the stresses of entrepreneurship.

S3E1 - Stephen Bediako - Website Image 300x300

Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:

  • The critical role of education, family support, and mentorship in entrepreneurial success.
  • The evolving importance of integrating profitability and social responsibility in business.
  • Practical advice on conducting market research and finding product-market fit.
  • Strategies for managing stress and maintaining personal well-being while running a business.

In this episode…

Nic Cary interviews Stephen and they discuss the lessons learned during his career journey including:

  • How education and encouragement from family played a crucial role in guiding a person towards a professional career and higher studies.
  • How building long-term relationships with mentors can provide with valuable insights, credibility, and support throughout his entrepreneurial journey.
  • Why an aspiring entrepreneur need to prioritize collaboration and teamwork, highlighting that entrepreneurship is not a solo endeavor but a collective effort involving co-founders, partners, and a supportive network.

Sponsor for this episode:

This episode is brought to you by Sky’s The Limit, one of the largest nonprofit programs for underrepresented young adult entrepreneurs in the US. Sky’s The Limit is a quick-growing digital platform that connects entrepreneurs with their peers, volunteer business mentors, training resources, and funding.

Our goal is to develop the social capital that founders need to chase their business dreams.

To learn more, please visit today.

Episode transcript

Intro (00:04):

Welcome to the First Buck podcast where we feature stories about entrepreneurs and the people who support them. Now let's get started with the show.

Nic Cary (00:23):

Hello and welcome to the First Buck podcast, brought to you by We feature stories about entrepreneurs and the people that support them. Today, we're joined by Stephen Bediako, a social entrepreneur, innovator, impact investor, and design expert. Stephen has over 15 years of experience in strategy, innovation policy, and delivering programs at the earliest of stages. Not only has he worked with the likes of Tribal, Deloitte, and the Home Office, a major ministerial department in the UK responsible for immigration, security, and a lot more, he also worked at the headquarters of the 2012 presidential campaign of Barack Obama. So with a passion for justice, education, health, and investment, to name a few areas of interest, Stephen also works to support black founders and social enterprises in the wealth creation and sustainability space.


He's a quintessential entrepreneur, constantly searching for new opportunities to add value across his formidable network, driven by a true belief that the world can be made a better place. And so we're very excited to have Stephen on the podcast today. Stephen as you know, we have a little tradition around here. We got to know, how did you earn your first pound? And we call this podcast the first buck. A buck in the United States means a dollar, but in this case, we're talking about British Pounds. So, how do you earn your first pound?

Stephen Bediako (01:43):

Thank you. Nick. Yeah, I'm happy to share how I earned my first pound. Just want to say before we get going, thanks to you, Kelly Bo, and the team at Skype, the limit for this podcast for having me on here, giving me a platform, and for the work that you're doing to support entrepreneurs. You know, I mean, it's so important. There are so many people out there who want to be entrepreneurs and don't get access to the resources that they need. And I think what you guys are doing and are keeping doing is so important. So just grateful to have you in the ecosystem. Thank you.


So my first pound, well, funnily enough I grew up in east London, United kingdom which is kind of. I mean, I think today it's probably very nice with Shoreditch and all sorts of places in Hackney. But when I was growing up there in the eighties and the early nineties, it was a little bit different, a little bit rough around the edges. And the first job I had was actually something that we called knocking. So I was about 13 years old, and me and a few friends, we met some slightly strange guys who would come around and pick us up and have kind of boxes of tea towels and washing up gloves and all sorts of stuff. And then they would drive us to a slightly more wealthy neighborhood, and we would go knocking on the doors. Selling people these tea towers and chamois levers and whatnot. You know, we were going to, like, nice neighborhoods where maybe, you know, people are at home in the day not doing much, and we'd just be pitching them, trying to sell them, washing up gloves, tea towels they don't need, or whatever it was. And you know, we would have a target of you get 40% of whatever you sell. But if you manage to sell 100 pounds worth of goods, which is always quite hard, you then got 50%. So that was, like, my real first job, and obviously opened me up to the importance of engaging with customers and clients and thinking about targets and goals and, yeah, it was hard work, man. We meet them at 10:00 a.m. and they drop us back 10:00 p.m. and we do that sometimes in the summer or on a Saturday to try and get a few extra pounds. So, yeah, that's me. That's where I started out.

Nic Cary (03:59):

Wow, I love that story. Going door to door, 13 years old, selling goods. What was the best day you ever had?

Stephen Bediako (04:08):

So Nic, definitely the best day was when I made over 100. But I think, I don't know. I can't remember where we went. I feel like we went to a neighborhood called sheen or somewhere in Barnes, I think, which is like a very nice, nice part of town. And, like, you know, we'd obviously do this in groups, right, because you know, these guys, we weren't too sure where they got the goods from and what it was all about. But, you know, when, I think there was a day when, like, it was a good summer's day, and, like, at least three of us all kind of toned off, as you say, we all passed 100 pounds and, you know, we got our 50 quid and, yeah, we were over the moon and went and bought drinks and food and had a good time.

Nic Cary (04:47):

It's so funny when you look at those models with, like, a lot more experience now, and you can get a better sense of the unit economics and everything. I remember they used to do these fundraisers when I was a kid, where we would go door to door and sell wrapping paper at Christmas time. And they used to have these contests. There were goals and the same thing, but if you sold a large amount of wrapping paper, you would get stupid prize, something really trivial. But we were so eager to be rewarded with these little prizes or a CD or something. But it did, you know, like you mentioned, it really did teach a lot about being polite, listening to the customer understanding what they're looking for, adjusting your tactics for responding to, you know, different inquiries those kind of things. And so it's a, you know, anyone that has in person sales experience it really helps shape them in the long run. So thank you for sharing that with us. So, all right, so we learned a little bit about how you earned your first pound. Talk to us a little bit about after 13 years old, when you sort of enter more of the business world, the entrepreneurial world, what were some sort of pivotal moments that help you grow and evolve into more responsibility?

Stephen Bediako (06:06):

Yeah, definitely, definitely been a few of those moments. Right. And again, I think it's always those people around you that lift you up and that help you to move forward. And I think, yeah, sometimes they're there. They're just there in existence, and sometimes you have to find them. Right. But I'd say that that is always so important. But I think the support of my siblings actually was quite an important piece, just in terms of, like, giving me advice, encouraging me to go and study, because, you know, I wasn't always on a track to go and study at university. I was definitely on a track to kind of go down other paths, but they really kind of helped me and pushed me to do that, actually. And I think that was really important in terms of my career. And so then getting in and studying and doing a degree and then doing a master's and then also supporting me to kind of get into a professional career. So that was. I think that was the first big pivot, actually, just getting in and making sure that I pursued my education, did it well, and harnessed it in the right way.


And then I think the next big leap was kind of, you know, I got out of university. You know, I worked in the home office. I worked at Deloitte and tribal and a couple of companies. And that was great, you know, and it's, like, for the background where I was coming from, you know, that was a really good place to be in, but actually, I wanted more. And so you know, taking that big first leap to, like, leave a job that I was doing well in, I was on a good track to kind of start my first business, the social innovation partnership, which was around the summer of 2010. Yeah it was just a big. A big lead. And again family was supportive, but also this time, I think friends both friends who I was working with on that professional career track was supportive, but then also friends who I'd met who were entrepreneurs already, and they were like, you know, you can do it. You should, you should go for it. You should, you should make it happen.

Nic Cary (08:08):

So, yeah I think those moments are so interesting because, you know, there's a lot of risk in that situation. You don't know whether or not something's going to work. Yeah. And so, you know, the conditions that sort of give you you know, the headspace, the confidence, the emotional and personal support to take those leaps can be really almost intimidating, I guess. So it's interesting to hear what the ingredients were for you. Ambition, support from family, this curiosity and then seeing an opportunity. So what was that opportunity that you saw specifically to pursue the social innovation stuff?

Stephen Bediako (08:46):

Yeah, I mean that was really a combination of things. Right. So you're right. It was that kind of opportunity to at that moment in time, it was to look at social programs, how government philanthropy, corporates were designing social programs and measuring the way they determined whether they had an impact or not. And I think I saw an opportunity to do that in a more innovative way, a more practical way. In a way that would feed those organizations the true insights that they needed to then either improve or develop their programs or their services. And what I'd seen is that evaluation that had been going on or impact measurement that had been going on up to that point was very much academic driven. It was kind of like calling on an academic to come and assess your work and tell you whether it's working or not. So that was really the opportunity I saw.


But then there was also a push factor because, you know, I've been working four or five years in consulting. I developed skills, I developed techniques, but I was also thinking, actually, do I want to stay and do this for the next 1015 years? You know, do I see the individuals in these organizations as people that I aspire to be? And at that moment in time, I was like, actually, I don't, you know, I think I want to do something else, but I want to take these skills that I've learned and combine it with that. So really it was a case of, like, seeing that gap, knowing that I had kind of consulting skills, strategy skills, evaluation skills that I built from business, and then also wanting to align to something that I was even more interested in. So while I was working at those companies, great work, great experience, gave me amazing foundations, but I wasn't hugely excited about doing a new target operating model for news of the world or, you know, coming up with new strategies for Sab Miller. And I think one of my last projects was like, you know, working for a tobacco company in Russia, and I was just like, okay, something probably needs to, needs to change here. So that combination of things meant, like, you know, that was the right time to pivot and go for it.

Nic Cary (10:54):

So talk to us a little bit about, you know, what social impact sort of means today, where it aligns with, I would say entrepreneurship doing good with business and how that sort of changed maybe from when you first started evaluating and exploring that to where it is today.

Stephen Bediako (11:09):

Oh, wow, that's a great question. I think when we first started exploring that work people were doing things and they were doing it because they wanted to do it. In the case of government, they're mandated to do it. You know, you're getting paid to do it, you're passionate about stuff. But I think the idea of getting sophisticated about evaluating and measuring whether something is working or having the social impact it's meant to have, that was a bit more of an afterthought. I think that was a bit more of a kind of like, oh, yeah, we'll get to that once we're coming to the end, and we'll work out whether something has been useful or not. And I think, and that's how it was really approached. And I think I think the feeling as well, that it wasn't necessarily, you know, an important input into either the design of something or whether to continue doing something or to grow or develop something. Whereas I think today, fast forward today, I think, you know any company worth its salt is realizing that it's about both. Making a profit, but also being a good corporate citizen and also making sure that, you know it's not just purely about making profit, it's about having an impact in the world. You know, like you work in blockchain, right? That's about, you know, giving people access to technology that enables them to, you know, track and monitor not just their crypto, but all sorts of things, right. In a really effective and seamless way. And so, you know, that's improving our ability to exist. And I think what you see today is, you see government and philanthropy really engage with the question of measuring their impact and the learning of their social programs, both at the start and at the end. But I also think we see business thinking about that and thinking about it in terms of how they communicate their products and services, how they secure and retain customers, how they secure and retain talent. You know, it's right at the heart of it.

Nic Cary (13:18):

Yeah, I think what you've said is so I see it too, and I think it's coming from a whole bunch of different perspectives. But, you know, basically consumer preferences have changed. They want to know that the foods they're consuming, the clothes they're wearing, the products and services they're using have both, I would say, a social and an economic motive for doing so. They know it needs to be sustainable from can this business cover its costs? Because I want to have a reliable relationship with a vendor, but it also needs to basically fulfill some social duty to leaving this place better than we found it. And we understand a lot more about the externalities of business today than we did 50 years ago or 100 years ago. When the industrial revolution started in the UK, we were cutting down trees and burning coal, and we needed all of this energy to basically revolutionize how commerce happened. But we didn't really understand the consequences of pollution how it would change the environment and much more. And as we're becoming more aware of all of these externalities, it really provides an opportunity for us to course correct. And so I like to think of it a little bit like companies have this sort of duty, like almost like a hippocratic oath, to be good and to do good for the world and create mutual benefit for their customers and clients. And so I love the way you talk about that, too, because to me, it speaks a lot about how a modern business should be talking about its brand, about its products and its duty to its customers and its community. So I would love to talk a little bit about this because you look at a lot of startups and so many entrepreneurs out there, they may have an idea but a lot of them start by thinking they need funding. They got to have money to do this thing. Where do you sort of help entrepreneurs think about how to take where they are from a zero to one from a concept to an idea? What are some things they should be thinking about? Is it really just about money, or is there a bit more that you might encourage people to consider as they think about entrepreneurship as a path for themselves?

Stephen Bediako (15:22):

Yeah, no great questions. I mean, I think, I think. I think it's so much more than money, right? I mean, I think, I think, you know, obviously money helps, and I don't want to kind of sit here and pretend that it's not a critical piece, but I think there are other critical pieces in the jigsaw to determine, you know, well, at least that I look for when looking at businesses and to determine whether to get involved or not. And also that I think entrepreneurs should consider. And so, you know, I think some of those are you know, I think for me, one is just like, you know, you've got to try and get something going. I would say, you know, like, you got to be scrappy and make something happen, right? I mean, I know there are some parts of the world where it's like, you know, PowerPoint slides enough and you kind of up to the moon. But my view would be, you know, try and make something happen, try and do some deeper research you know, like you really. So I think if you can move and make something happen and get something moving, that's really helpful. If not, I think at least before you start looking for funding, you really got to try and refine what it is you're trying to do and try and get closer to some sense of product or service market fit. So it's like, what are you offering into what market? What problem are you solving? Wheres the fit for that? Can you speak to some potential customers, get some feedback? Can you do some interviews with clients? You've got to try and build some sense that you really interrogated what it is you want to pursue, rather than just like, hey, I got this idea and I want to make it happen.

Nic Cary (17:00):

I love that. Yeah, it's one of the things we really try and concentrate on at Sky's the limit with our entrepreneurial community, we've had 80,000 entrepreneurs from around the world sign up. And a lot of them just have an idea. But what you're talking about is creating that mindset to basically effectuate the idea, meaning create the conditions under which you can actually get started on doing it. So just like he says, just do it. This is part of the process of actually shaping the world that you want to create, and it happens through actions. And so you have to begin the process of taking that first step so you can take a few more. And I think a lot of entrepreneurs get a little caught up in building out a big business plan, and they go all the way to the vision of step 100 when they really need to do a bunch of little things first, which is interview potential customers, ask them how expensive the problem is that you're trying to build a solution for how much they'd be willing to pay for it. Get feedback, very carefully. Interrogate the market, the size, what your advantages are. And if you do those things, you can maybe try and sell something. And if you do a little bit of that, then going out and maybe raising money, if you need to, gives you a lot of advantages, because if you just show up with a blank sheet of paper with an idea on it, it doesn't really show that you've done the work yet. And as a founder of companies and owner of companies, you know, you get to trade on all kinds of terms when you raise money. And the more prepared, the. The more evidence you have of demand, the more clients you have. If you can get some revenue, even these things all give you a lot more leverage in those conversations when you go maybe get a loan or raise capital from an angel investor or friends and family. And so I think your advice is, like, do your research. What's the problem? Is there a good fit interview customers, get prepared. That's just fantastic advice.

Stephen Bediako (18:54):

I think that's right, Nick. And, you know, I mean, I think the other thing I would throw in there as well is, you know, people, people also have this romantic sense that entrepreneurialism is like this, you know, this great hero figure, and that's who you're gonna be, and you're gonna do it all and come up with all the answers, and it's just like, nah, it's not the case. Right. Like, actually, you know, collaborate with someone on this. Right? Like, you probably need a co founder, maybe two, you know, like, again, right, like, in the work that we're doing on the pathway fund, where, you know, we are supporting black and minoritized entrepreneurs in the UK, and we're looking at how we support fund managers as well. But, you know, there's just some basic stuff, which is that, you know, you're looking for organizations that are two to three founders, typically. Right. Because you want two or three brains in there. People have different skills and bring different approaches and, you know, so I think. I think it's important as well to think about your entrepreneurial journey in the context of, you know, how and in what way and who are you going to collaborate and partner with and what does that look like? And the last thing I'd say is, in my career, I would always say, I've always enjoyed the idea of, it's better to have a part of something than a lot of nothing. Yeah so that was my take.

Nic Cary (20:09):

Yeah, I think there's this sort of false narrative. We celebrate these icons of entrepreneurship, whether it's Steve Jobs or Elon Musk or Oprah and they did it all by themselves. And that's just ridiculous. These people have huge teams, they have loads of support. Entrepreneurship is actually a team sport. Once you get past the very earliest stages of working on something, and I think that's really thoughtful to share. People need to talk to other entrepreneurs. This is one of my favorite things I get to do with the podcast is entrepreneurs are their own tribe of people out there. They're trying to solve problems, and they have their own challenges that are very difficult to relate to except with other entrepreneurs. Absolutely. You know, talking to other entrepreneurs is always something that's always worthwhile to me. I learn something from every entrepreneur I interview and talk with, and the other is the importance of finding those coaches, those experts around you, and support systems, whether that's family members like you described, or mentors or advisors that, you know, can help you see your blind spot. So one of the things I wanted to ask you about a little bit was you know, who, you know, who were personalities that you leaned on when you didn't have the answer to something or needed to get advice on something. Like, how important is that sort of mentor mentee relationship been in your career?

Stephen Bediako (21:33):

Yeah. Its been fundamental in it. I mean, you know I don't know if I should name names, but, yeah, throughout my journey there has been individuals who I have actively built long term relationships, you know, coaches, mentors, and typically, actually, it's not been kind of like formal, oh, you know, sign up for a coaching program somewhere. It's been much more like I'm working in a space or I'm trying to do something and, you know, you meet and you end up connecting with someone who's also in that space but is 10, 15, 20 years deep in it. Right. They've got deep experience in it and they can give you that, that credibility, that insight and whatever it might be. So, you know, I think when I was starting up, you know, there were great, great people like Victor, Ada Bolly, who I will name, who, you know, kind of very much mentored me and coached me and supported me in setting up and developing that business. And, you know, we remain friends and still go to him for advice to this day. And so, you know, and again, it's just been about being thoughtful, knowing that I don't have all the answers and that, you know, accessing some of that wisdom is incredible. But again, right, it's a privilege. You know, you meet people if they make time for you, if you connect, you've got to build that out. Right. Not everyone has access to that. And sometimes you do need to go on programs and meet people. I mean, I went on a Goldman Sachs small business program and I met another person, Jason Holt, who is big in kind of apprenticeships and UK business person. And again, we just have become very good friends. Again, another good mentor support mechanism. And those people have helped me to realize, just like, what are my skills and strengths and where do I play best, you know? So I know that I'm someone who likes to start things, spark things, I'm a fire starter, but, you know, need to pass it on someone else to do the building and the growing and stacking, stacking it up. So I think they help you to work that. And the other thing I'd say as well is that for mentors, it's a two way street, you know, like they're learning stuff from you. Yeah. And, you know, they're connecting with the next generation, coming through the pipe and learning what's happening and what's, what's interesting and what's bubbling up. So, you know, I think, I think to those entrepreneurs, potential entrepreneurs out there, embrace that, you know, like secure mentors don't. Don't turn your nose up to experience and the lessons that others have, you know, take. Take that on and build that into what you're doing.

Nic Cary (24:19):

Thats great. And one of the things, I try and put some little calendar reminders. Even if I haven't talked to someone who was influential in my career, who took a chance on me when I was young I reach out every once in a while, I just say, hey, I was thinking about you. I just always am grateful for that moment that you gave me to think about this thing or. Or if they shared a blog post that was influential with me, or really those people that just, they saw a bit of opportunity in you before you saw it in yourself. And it's important to say thank you to those people. And I always encourage to anyone to spend a little time expressing gratitude to those that help us out along the way because it's so key.

Stephen Bediako (25:00):

It's such an important point, Nick. It's such an important point. Right. And I love the way you described it as like, expressing gratitude. Sometimes it's like people will say to me, oh, you know, but why am I going to reach out to that person? I haven't got a reason. No, just, just reach out and just say hi, you know, or just say thanks, or, you know, just have a chat. Right? Like, you know, not everyone everywhere needs a structured agenda. But also, as you're saying, when people have helped you or people have contributed or you've connected and done something, yeah, just, just stay in touch, man. Just show honor. But for what, what they did. And you don't have to have a reason to do it all the time. You can just reach out and just be like, hey, thanks, you know, and all that stuff, like adds up. Putting all that goodwill out there adds up. You know, yeah.

Nic Cary (25:50):

I completely agree with that. Like, I call it social capital. I think other people have other words for it. But you know, when, when you make investments in people over time and over a long duration of time, those things create community and cultivate all these people that have an invested interest in your output, your opportunities in life, your success and they're going to be there for you when stuff gets difficult too, which entrepreneurs have good years and bad years and good months and bad months and good days and bad days, just like everybody. And it does get a little bit easier when you can share that with a support system. So it's super important to cultivate.

Stephen Bediako (26:30):

Yeah, I mean, look, I mean, we're like singing in harmony here. But you took the words, I was going to say that. Right. It's like, this stuff is not all rosy, right? You know, like, being an entrepreneur does mean that you're putting your head above the parapet, you're leading, you're taking on responsibility. And that can mean, and in reality, it does mean tough times and having to engage and navigate during tough times. And you're absolutely right. Being able to reach out to people and ask for help or share or connect helps you to navigate that stuff. And, you know, I think it's just so, so important.

Nic Cary (27:05):

So talk to us a little bit about pathway fund. What are you guys doing now? What are you focused on in this year? Tell us a bit about that.

Stephen Bediako (27:14):

Yeah, so we are building out this fund. We've raised about 3 million so far to kind of help us build it out. So just to give a bit of background, it's going to be a wholesale fund in the UK focused on supporting black and minoritized fund managers and social enterprise. We are aiming to try and raise around 65 million. And we'll be doing three things. One, we'll be investing via what we call intermediaries, and then also via fund managers to basically solve. Support black and minoritized enterprise to raise investment, secure investment, whatever it might be. We'll also then be doing policy research and influence. And finally we'll be doing something called asset acquisition where we will be helping communities enterprises to acquire assets and strengthen their balance sheets up and down the UK. Well be hopefully securing some funding from the dormant Assets fund. We're also speaking to philanthropic foundations and corporate foundations. And yeah, you know, the plan is that we've developed some pilots where we're deploying like half a million to twelve enterprises, another two, three hundred k to three or four fund managers. But yeah, we're looking to kind of scale that up this year. We're looking to build out and raise our fund. We're also looking to build out our board this year. And it's, it's super exciting, you know, I mean we're obviously going to be focused in the UK, but there's lots happening in the US on this agenda that we want to link into as well. But yeah, no, the website up people are interested, do get in touch. It's exciting.

Nic Cary (28:55):

Amazing. All right, well, where should they go if they want to follow you on the Internet?

Stephen Bediako (28:59):

So a few different places, but you can definitely find me on LinkedIn, Stephen Benjiako. Or you can find me on Twitter even. But also pathway fund is dot uk. And actually people can go in there, inquire, we're supporting entrepreneurs, we're supporting first time fund managers and get involved in the work.

Nic Cary (29:37):

Okay. So yeah, if you're a black or minoritized fund manager entrepreneur, you heard it here first. Please go visit pathwayfund dot uk to learn more or follow Stephen online. So Stephen, we're gonna wrap up here in just a minute, but I wanted to ask you one last question. Yeah we sort of covered this a little bit. And you talked about those moments where a combination of opportunity and support were critical for you to take an entrepreneurial leap. You know, taking the steps to pursue entrepreneurship can be really scary or intimidating. What advice can you give our listeners for how to kind of manage some of the stress that comes with running and owning and growing your own business?

Stephen Bediako (30:09):

Oh, wow. Yeah, I mean I think it's definitely about, you know, obviously you have to throw yourself in to the business. Right. You have to throw yourself into the idea and make it happen. But I also would just say, also try to stay balanced. You know, like, focus on yourself. You know invest in your mental health, your spiritual health, your physical health. You know, try not to lose contact with those most important friends and family members, because, you know, they will be important. But also, I think you said it earlier, Nick. Right. I think one of the things I noticed was. That as I got into being an entrepreneur and really that became my existence, I found myself gravitating towards other entrepreneurs, finding connection with other entrepreneurs, because you have that shared experience. And so I think making sure that you're building that team around you is really important, as well as focusing on yourself will really help with handling the stresses and, and the challenges. And I think as well, you know making sure you're intentional about the team that you build out in your organization as well, is really important. You know, I think I've learned some lessons in rushing to hire or, you know, you hire because it's certain resources you've got and maybe not always hiring to spec or to people that you need. Also, like, how do you incentivize and bring people in so that they are partners and owners in the business? So it's kind of like yourself, you know, that team of family and friends and support network, as well as like that team that you build. I think if you can get those things right, you know, the rest of the stress is manageable, right? It's like you're trying to build a product get it out there, make the business, make the business happen, but getting the right people around you is critical.

Nic Cary (32:14):

Well, Stephen, thank you so much for coming on the podcast today. If I could summarize, I think some of the things you said basically, if you're going to pursue entrepreneurship, you got to be committed. It's going to be a lot of work. But if you stay balanced, invest in yourself, and I can see that as a value that's super important to you personally. But also surround yourself with a team of people that can help you through the tough times, give you advice and be supporters through your entrepreneurial journey. It will make it a bit easier. And then we could probably have a whole other podcast about the challenges of hiring and building a team and incentivizing organizations. And we may have to leave that one for a future one, but we'd love to have you back here, Stephen. So thank you so much for joining us today. At, we connect underrepresented entrepreneurs with volunteer business professionals for free, one on one mentoring. We also provide business guides to all our members and monthly funding opportunities. So you can sign up for free, and if you like what you heard, please subscribe and share. You can also find us in the app store to search for, and you can download the app for free as well. So thank you very much, and we hope you had a good day. Thanks for listening to the first Buck podcast. Don't forget to join the community of underrepresented entrepreneurs and their supporters by signing up at click subscribe and we'll see you next time.


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