Entrepreneur YOU!

Back on the Road Again?! Embarking Upon Yet Another Entrepreneurial Adventure.

Posted in Personal Journey by Robert Lindsay Thompson on May 1, 2011

Taking off again... embarking on yet another Entrepreneurial Adventure

I thought I had had enough! 30 plus years of doing entrepreneurial stuff was plenty. I had planned to help others realize their entrepreneurial vision. Teach, write, coach… but never start another business. Not that being an entrepreneur has been a bad life. On the contrary, it has been an extraordinary journey. It’s just that I didn’t want to do it anymore. Anyway, be that as it may, here I go again.

However, I really want to do things differently this time around. I want to incorporate better boundaries with time and money. I’ve always been an “all or nothing” kind of guy. I’ve never done anything half-hearted or moderately. It’s been “balls to the wall”. Jump into the deep end- I’ll learn to swim on the way down). Anything worth doing is worth overdoing.

So my (new) boundaries: Few or NO employees. Minimal $$ out-of-pocket. Keep things small, at least until I can start bringing in money. Keep a work – life balance. Allow time for people, relaxation as well as other interests. Sounds reasonable. I’m just finding it damn hard. I’m almost always pre-occupied with my new business. When I’m not working directly on my business, I’m thinking about my business, talking about my business, writing about my business. “It’s a small world after all.”

Another phenomenon I’ve noticed: Before I began this venture, I had plenty of other things to do, was never bored, felt relatively comfortable with myself, had a full life. Now, when I’m not working on work, I often feel restless, empty, anxious.

Another previous habit I’m trying to change, is the propensity to “super-size” a new venture. It’s always been about vision, mission, calling… changing the world. I’ve never attempted to create a relatively small, easy to do, money making business. It’s gotta be big. The bigger the better; The largest motion-picture studio in Hollywood. Revolutionary software for International Trade.

Like Icarus, I’ve reached high… almost touched the face of the sun… had my wings melt… and came crashing to the ground. Ouch! Yet, it’s hard to be convinced that a person shouldn’t fly when they have, occasionally pulled off the impossible. Most artists, prophets, inventors, entrepreneurs have dared to do things others thought ill advised and foolhardy.

Well, this time around, I’m going to do things differently. I am seeking to “right size” myself, right size my new venture. Keep both feet on the ground. Maintain work-life balance. Incorporate healthy boundaries. Not expand too fast. Take it slow and easy. Enjoy the journey. Stay in the process.

Then again, maybe it’s unrealistic to think, that after a life lived in the extremes, I can suddenly become sensible. Maybe a compromise is called for. Somewhere between crazy and sane. Not like Icarus. Not like a lap dog. Still maintain my specialness and uniqueness. Hmmm, what shall I be in this incarnation?


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My Personal Journey into the World of World Trade

Posted in Personal Journey by Robert Lindsay Thompson on February 15, 2011

I've always felt like a citizen of no certain country, except the world at large.

I’ve always been fascinated by the world of Trade. When I was a college student, I remember culling through the latest Almanac lists detailing country import & export figures just for fun during Christmas break, while everyone else was engaged in familial celebration.

I was also a student of the scriptures, “back in the day”. The epic stories describing the historic rise and fall of this or that world power intrigued me. Many times I noticed aspects of trade would be mentioned. Typically, the prosperity of a particular kingdom was founded upon its ability to acquire and sell goods to other kingdoms. The wealth of the government, transportation providers and merchants were contingent upon successful trading.

It was a circuitous route that led me into the Trade profession. Propelled by an idealists vision to “impact the world”, I got a B.F.A. in Cinematography and an M.A. in Marketing Communications. Being somewhat of a rouge genius, I pursued the life of an entrepreneur early. Amidst the litter of a handful of discarded business start-ups, I pioneered what became the largest independent motion-picture studio in Los Angeles.

For reasons I shall leave unmentioned, I abandoned this $25 million dollar enterprise to seek my fortunes elsewhere; first as the founder /director of a small offshore emerging market investment fund during the birth of the Chinese stock markets in the early 90’s. It was the Wild, Wild East of burgeoning capitalism. I visited many of the initial 26 companies listed on the Shenzhen or Shanghai stock exchanges. “To get rich is glorious!” was creed du jour.

China is at the great dragon that has awaken.

Thereafter, I diligently studied Chinese and got involved in several import – export opportunities. I recall my first import. An entire container packed with 36 8K Diesel generators which I distributed during Y2K fiasco. Scarier than a possible Y2K disaster was wiring $36,000 to folks in Hubei that I had never met in person… then anxiously waiting 6 weeks to see if my generators would actually arrive. It was also intriguing that even a tiny U.S. start-up could negotiate an “exclusive” distribution deal with a billion-dollar Chinese multi-national.

I’ve also always been a technologist. My first job, at 10 years old earning 50 cents an hour was as a keypunch verifier for my mothers data processing business in Dallas, Texas. As the Internet became a viable medium of exposition, communication and commerce I sought ways to set up my particular fruit stand along the information highway. In the late 90’s a handful of other “rogues” and myself conducted some rather interesting (and wildly successful) experiments in the “new” area of SEO and Internet marketing.

My reoccurring need for start-up capital led me to a veteran real-estate investor /philosopher in Nashville. Our interests aligned within the arena of International Trade information and technology. Subsequently, we created the company “Trade Made Easy” spring 2000, which endeavored to offer a missing “value added” component to readily available, inexpensive but obtuse trade statistics and reports. Four years of development resulted in a revolutionary way to put together and deliver trade data.

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