Here at CorpNet, we’re in the business helping people start a business – so it’s always a special joy when we get to work with partners who are also focused on helping entrepreneurs. One of our partners, Bryan Janeczko, is the founder of Wicked Start, a 100% free online “startup incubator” that provides expert tools, guidance, templates and resources to help budding entrepreneurs start a business by going through the entire process from idea to launch.
We recently talked with Bryan to learn more about his entrepreneurial journey, and see what advice he could offer to other people who are trying to decide whether (and how) to start a business of their own.
From “corporate refugee” to multimillion-dollar deal-maker
Bryan Janeczko describes himself as a “corporate refugee” who left a job in finance back in 2003 to found his first entrepreneurial endeavor: NuKitchen, an online diet service, which he built from the ground up before selling to Nutrisystem in a multimillion-dollar deal.
“I learned a lot of important lessons in entrepreneurship during those early years,” said Bryan. “After the sale of NuKitchen, I decided to devote my life to helping other startups get going.”
For the past three years, Bryan has been advising and incubating new business ideas for other entrepreneurs. As an extension of that work, he founded Wicked Start, a 100% free online startup “incubator” with an online platform to entrepreneurs plan, fund and market a new business or idea.
“Wicked Start is a great free resource for aspiring entrepreneurs to get the roadmap for a successful business launch,” said Bryan. “This is something that I wish I had during my early years as an entrepreneur!”
Bryan was motivated to become an entrepreneur after he realized that climbing the corporate ladder wasn’t his ideal path to fulfillment. “I had a lot of success in my corporate career, but at the same time, inside of me there was this burning desire to build and create something new,” said Bryan. “I wanted to make something that was truly my own, as my own boss under my own terms.”
Businesses built on passion
Many of the most successful business ideas spring from the entrepreneur’s passions in life. Bryan’s first business was an ideal example of building a business based on a passionate personal interest.
“I had a passion for healthier living and an interest in Internet communication and marketing,” said Bryan. “My first business, NuKitchen, combined both of these interests.”
Over time, after selling NuKitchen and trying to decide what to do next, Bryan realized that he had found a new passion, and established Wicked Start to help other entrepreneurs. The two businesses have different customers and contexts, but Bryan realized that the processes and themes of both businesses have important similarities.
“With NuKitchen, we were helping people customize a diet plan that helped them lead healthier lives,” said Bryan. “With Wicked Start, we’re helping people customize a startup roadmap for a successful business launch. These aspects of planning, informative advice, and helping people organize and reach for their goals, are the common threads that link all that I do in my life.”
Touched by an “angel” (investor)
Many people are hesitant to start a business because they’re worried about getting business financing – unless you have significant personal savings, it can be hard to get a bank loan or startup capital to launch a new business.
When Bryan Janeczko launched NuKitchen, he relied on funding from his own savings, and from friends, family and angel investors (wealthy individuals – often serial entrepreneurs – who invest in new startups to help get them off the ground).
“The process of getting funding for my new business was daunting, but enlightening at the same time,” said Bryan. “I was scared as hell to ask people for money for fear of rejection – or worse – fear of failure that I wouldn’t be able to repay it. However, as I soon realized, it was a business opportunity. I believed so passionately in what I was doing, plus I had invested my own resources, so I gave investors the confidence that I could succeed.”
Although not every startup succeeds, when investors commit money to your startup they still want to make sure that the entrepreneur is committed to building a viable business and are prepared for the risks, which may include losing their investment. Having a detailed business plan with sound financial details is an essential part of getting funding from outside investors.
“Fortunately, with NuKitchen, my investors were handsomely rewarded for their efforts,” said Bryan. “I was fortunate to be part of a startup experience that worked just the way we had intended – the investors believed in me, and our company rewarded their belief with a successful business and a big return on their initial investment.”
Staying balanced as an entrepreneur
Work-life balance for entrepreneurs can often seem like an oxymoron; Bryan says that he seems to work “even in my sleep.” Bryan stays emotionally healthy, energized and balanced by keeping up a good blend of social and business activities, he practices Kundalini yoga, and he always makes sure to take at least 1 day off each weekend when he does nothing work-related.
“It’s important for entrepreneurs to give themselves some time to rest and recover so you can find clarity,” Bryan said “I often find more creative solutions to problems during my time away from work. Then I go back to the office feeling refreshed and recharged, and ready to conquer the world!”
Life as an entrepreneur is full of ups and downs, but this stress is also part of what makes the journey worthwhile. “I once read a quote, ‘If you’re not living life on the edge, then you’re taking up too much room,’” said Bryan. “I try to remember that. The point of life, I think, is to make a difference. I’m trying to make a difference every day for people who want to change their lives by launching a successful business. And honestly, if I were working at a big corporation, I’m sure there would still be plenty of stress since job security is not what it once was.”
Bryan Janeczko’s favorite motivational quote is “A closed mouth gathers no food.” “To succeed as an entrepreneur, you have to stay hungry,” he said. “You have to be open to opportunities, speak up to promote yourself and your business, and share what you have to offer to the world.”
Asked what advice he would give to a new entrepreneur, Bryan said, simply: “Be a passionate, persistent problem solver.”
Bryan uses and recommends CorpNet’s services to Wicked Start’s entrepreneur clients; CorpNet is Wicked Start’s exclusive partner and fullfilment source to file incorporation paperwork for Wicked Start cleientele. “CorpNet is a great low cost way to make your business legal and legitimate,” said Bryan. “With online corporate name searches and incorporation filings, structuring your business has never been easier and cheaper. This is especially important for early stage entrepreneurs since every dollar counts when you’re in startup mode!”
About Wicked Start
Wicked Start is a 100% free online “startup incubator” platform that helps entrepreneurs plan, fund and market a new business idea. Every Wicked Start client gets a customized 10-step roadmap to help launch their business. Check out the Wicked Start 10 Steps to Startup blog for free advice and guidance on how to navigate the challenges of starting a business.
Follow Wicked Start on Twitter: @WickedStart
Friend Wicked Start on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/WickedStart