Mike Hostetler is a husband, father, entrepreneur and polyglot technologist. He’s the founder & CEO of @appendTo and passionate about virtual working, HTML5, JS, entrepreneurship and freedom. Follow him @mikehostetler.
Who is your hero?
What’s the single best piece of business advice that helped shape who you are as an entrepreneur today, and why?
Entrepreneurship is more about leadership than anything else. Learn to be an amazing leader and you’ll be an amazing entrepreneur.
What’s the biggest mistake you ever made in your business, and what did you learn from it that others can learn from too?
The mistake was private, but I learned the hard lesson of, “Trust but verify.” Also, invest in a good lawyer — and even if you think you know what to do, verify your ideas with them.
What do you do during the first hour of your business day and why?
The first two hours of my day are blocked out as “Maker Time.” To me, the act of exercising my creativity to produce something of value is incredibly important. The company I’ve founded is in the business of creating value and by picking a task and focusing on that for two hours each morning, I’m reminding myself of that fact.
The task varies; I typically pick small projects such as coding or writing. What I create doesn’t matter as much as engaging in the act of creation.
The rest of my day exists to support my staff who have the honored position of creating something all day long. My role exists to support them and I feel I can support them better by engaging in the same type of work during a small part of my day.
What’s your best financial or cash-flow related tip for entrepreneurs just getting started?
Learn the difference between cash and accrual accounting.
Always make sure that you sign the checks. Set your systems up to allow others to transact on your behalf but keep control over the approval of those transactions.
Finally, learn to run your business from *only* the numbers. The difference is like flying an airplane by looking at your eyes or your instruments. Your instruments are more trustworthy every time.
Quick: What’s ONE thing you recommend ALL aspiring or current entrepreneurs do right now to take their biz to the next level?
Slow down. Most leaders I know are trying to run too fast and end up running in the wrong direction.
I’d rather run at a slower, consistent pace towards well-thought-out goals than sprinting around chasing my tail.
What’s your definition of success? How will you know when you’ve finally “succeeded” in your business?
Success is knowing that the organization I’ve helped create is transforming the lives of my employees, customers and industry in a positive way. I feel I’ve succeeded and the rest is just zeroes.