Kage Spatz is the Founder and CEO of Spacetwin. Follow him @KageSpatz.
Who is your hero? (In business, life, or both.)
There are so many definitions of what a hero is to me. The high school teacher who never let me quit, the middle school teacher who taught me it was OK to be different, and the elementary school teacher who supported me and my family through so much. My parents also worked hard to give us a life that was better than their own. OK I’ll choose one…
Nanny (my great-grandmother) is my hero. She went out her way to help others feel loved and important at all times. Her positive attitude clearly influenced everyone in the room to be the best version of themselves when she was around.
What’s the single best piece of business advice (unorthodox tips welcome!) that helped shape who you are as an entrepreneur today, and why?
My dad always told me: “Never let the assholes get you down.”
Entrepreneurship will test your mental toughness on a regular basis, especially in the beginning when you are still growing your thick skin. This life isn’t for everyone. So many people will doubt you, push you to take a different direction and potentially talk very bad about you behind your back with zero basis for what they tell others. As you become more successful, you’ll notice absolute strangers joining in on the fun.
By filtering out negative comments, I was able to fully accept and live like I’m the only person in the world who can stop me from achieving my goals. Taking advice from those who are not even close to where you want to be will only hold you back from where you want to go. You get to be in full control of your emotions and your future.
You decide what success is for you.
What’s the biggest mistake you ever made in your business, and what did you learn from it that others can learn from too?
Allowing fear to have a place in my decision-making process was the biggest mistake I ever made as an entrepreneur. I missed out on so many opportunities for myself and my companies over the years because of this.
For example, I didn’t like how my voice sounded so I would turn down podcasts. I was also never happy with what I looked like on camera so I’d hide from any video-related opportunities. After finally putting myself in situations that were the scariest for me personally, so many doors began opening up almost immediately.
Now I simply remind myself of how many more people I can help by sharing my voice (and my face) with the world. I quickly learned that allowing fear to hold me back from providing value to others would be selfish.
So much of your growth as an entrepreneur will come from what you learn by doing what scares you, both personally and professionally.
What do you do during the first hour of your business day and why?
Communication is my first priority every morning. I’ll respond to the most important texts and emails immediately. After that, I’ll set the tone for the day with my remote team and then finish handling any other urgent tasks, if necessary.
At this time, I’ll edit my personal plan of action for that day based on those first 45 minutes. This all happens at home before I get ready, allowing me the flexibility to tackle the day more efficiently.
What’s your best financial/cash-flow related tip for entrepreneurs just getting started?
So many people think they have the greatest idea and blame money for not being able to make it happen. I started two profitable companies without a dime of my own money and zero investors. How? By preselling a product or service before it existed.
This allows you to raise the money you need. But most importantly, you get to test it before you build it. When all of your friends say they’ll buy your idea, that doesn’t count for anything in the real world. If they are all paying in advance for early access, then maybe you do have a project worthwhile on your hands.
I understand that this isn’t always possible. But it is definitely an option so many aspiring entrepreneurs forget about.
Quick: What’s ONE thing you recommend ALL aspiring or current entrepreneurs do right now to take their biz to the next level?
Provide value to someone in your network without any thought of return. Do this as often as possible. I’m not talking about posting another motivational quote or piece of advice that people were thankful for. I’m talking about directly messaging someone behind the scenes, offering what you can and then adding value to their day when nobody else is looking.
It could be creating a new logo for a small business owner, helping a new artist get verified on Spotify or simply sharing a startup’s latest tweet with your social network if that is something they would appreciate. Always make it a point to give more than you receive. You’ll be amazed how much this will help you both personally and professionally.
What’s your definition of success? How will you know when you’ve finally “succeeded” in your business?
Success happens daily and takes on many different forms. One day success was negotiating a deal with a multi-billion dollar company. Another day success could be helping a small business owner create a new stream of income. Success could even be as simple as learning a new technique.
When the company lives on to continue providing value to the world consistently without any of my help, that is when I’ll allow myself a moment to celebrate our overall success.