English translation of Shortcut interview with our CEO Therese Gedda

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The latest issue of Swedish work and lifestyle magazine (#2, 2016), Shortcut features an in-depth and inspiring interview with our CEO Therése Gedda.

The 4-page feature explores Therése’s story, from the formation of her own company at 17 to founding 30minMBA, then discusses startup culture and startup communities before Therése shares 5 crucial tips for entrepreneurs.

The interview was originally published in Swedish, however, we’re excited to share an English transcription below:

Everyone’s talking about startups!

Close your eyes and point to the map, take the laptop under your arm and let the adventure begin. The startup culture is filled with dreams of freedom and independence, the next big innovation, and the whole world as your workplace. The Startup pro, Therése Gedda, gives an insight into the entrepreneur’s rollercoaster lifestyle.

The Startup Scene is so hot that it has its own lexicon – Silicon Valley dictionary – to keep track of all the new phrases that are born. Take, for example, the term “wantrepreneur” –  a person who wants to start a business to collect social capital rather than to realize an idea, or “fuck you money” – when you earn enough money from a startup that you can do what you want.

The list of new buzz-words is massive and symbolic of this current startup trend. But why does everyone want to become an entrepreneur today?

– It is not something that is new; Sweden has always been an entrepreneurial country. What has happened in recent years is that we have a startup community that has become better at telling our story both here at home and internationally, says Therése Gedda, Founder and CEO of the startup 30minMBA which empowers companies to develop their business skills under 30 minutes.

Therése knows what she’s talking about. At the of age 17, she started her first company, and since then she has been a startup advisor, run a dozen companies, earned a Master degree from the Stockholm School of Economics, and for several years she has traveled the world as a speaker holding talks and workshops on entrepreneurship and startups.

She has noticed a change in the approach to work. The security from a permanent job versus the freedom to create and run something yourself. Role models from the startup world and the endless possibilities of the internet have meant that more people have chosen the road less traveled.

– It’s possible to realize ideas without having to ask a manager for permission, and this is something that is re-enforced time again in the startup community. The internet and social media have made it easier to reach out globally, and you no longer need a large amount of capital to start your own business.

What sets startups apart from traditional businesses is that startups think globally from the start and focus a lot on growth.

– One day in a startup can be equivalent to two weeks in a traditional organization. Things happen really fast, and the product or service is already pre-designed so that it can be scaled up quickly and rolled out globally. You get instant feedback on what you do – if there is interest from the market, it’s immediately clear.

– There can be extreme highs and lows. You can get some amazing news at lunch, then your website crashes at 2 pm and then get a new customer at 4 pm.

Therése emphasizes the importance of support from the startup community, and that’s one of the main reasons for the current startup explosion.

– We who are working with startups are better coordinated. We help each other to realize the dreams and change the world. There are a lot more meeting places, mentors, incubators, co-working places and the like.

There is much more support, especially for first-time entrepreneurs. That, combined with role models showing that it is possible to succeed in the startup world, increases the interest.

Research at the Stockholm School of Economics shows that entrepreneurs are happier, even though they are more stressed, work more and earn less. In pop culture, we see the cool tech startup world depicted in television shows like “Silicon Valley”. Have startups become a lifestyle?

– Yes, it’s definitely a lifestyle. Boundaries between work and play don’t exist. You are driven by passion and a determination of achieving something. The work never ends. It is a roller-coaster, but if you thrive in a fast pace environment, it’s incredibly rewarding and fulfilling.

Therése believes that people’s ability to create something from nothing, see it grow and build and design a company in a way that aligns with the founder’s ideas is attractive to many.

– There is no floor or ceiling in the startup world; it is limitless. There is also no security, so everything depends on how you relate to risk. You must dare to try new things, challenge your own fears and thrive when things heat up. But the possibilities to use your passion and talents to realize your dream makes the risk worth taking.

Stop talking and start doing – 5 Tips for the Entrepreneur

Think beyond ready-made templates and design your own lifestyle. Turn your dreams into measurable and concrete goals. Here are Therése Gedda’s tips to succeed as an entrepreneur:

1. “There is no spoon”

Just like in the movie “The Matrix”, the limitations of what you can achieve exists only in your mind. Entrepreneurship is limitless. You can create the lifestyle you want and design a company based on your dreams and values. There is not only one way to succeed as an entrepreneur – there is no magic formula.

2. Be prepared for a rollercoaster

The entrepreneurial lifestyle is full of rapid change and constant development, regardless of whether you run or work in a startup. But it is also tough. Make sure to surround yourself with people who will give you energy and have the same drive and values that you have. Find role models, mentors and sounding boards. Ask for help and help others.

3. Invest in yourself

Make sure to use your talents. Create time to constantly develop yourself and learn new things. We have an average of thirty minutes per day to spend on personal and professional development, so use the time wisely.

4. Turn your dreams into goals

Make your dreams into concrete and measurable goals that inspire you every day. Let the goals guide how you spend your time – develop habits that support you in achieving them. Visualization and meditation are also two effective methods. Focus on what is possible, and keep a positive mindset.

5. Design a strong company culture

How would you design the company of your dreams? What kind of environment do you enjoy the most? What kind of people do you want to be surrounded by every day and grow with? Design a culture in your startup from a strong vision based on values that matter to you. Invite people with the same drive and dedication on your startup journey.

Original interview by Therese Johansson for Shortcut.