Is entrepreneurship one of your biggest dreams? Our ‘Gent of the Month’ Steffen Hedebrandt gives you great advise and takes you into the world of entrepreneurship.
Only few people think about how time-consuming and life changing it really is to become an entrepreneur. You will say goodbye to a ‘safe’ everyday-life and find yourself in an unknown world. So, what happens when you say goodbye to everything you know and welcome entrepreneurship?
Only your imagination is the limit. Some try and become an entrepreneur based on the fact that they want to be their own boss, and then along the way they work on different strategies behind the business idea. Others start becoming an entrepreneur because they have a brilliant idea for a product/service, which will make up the actual business. There are tons of opportunities, but common for all of them are that it takes a tenacious and strong man or woman to create great success.
Some people dream about being their own boss – having power and being able to do whatever they want. But how do you start up and manage a successful business? We have asked the entrepreneur – and this ‘Gent of the Month’ - Steffen Hedebrandt, who –though he is only 32-years-old – have been through the hard process of becoming an entrepreneur. He will share his experiences as an entrepreneur:
Can you tell us about your best experience as an entrepreneur?
- That is easy – It is when curiosity is followed up by learning and hard work, which gives great results. I have a Master in Cand. Merc, and I knew absolutely nothing about the Internet and Google, but hard work and me being persistent made the traffic on our website grow from 4 to 6 digits each month. This just means that you can do whatever you want to!
What characterize a good entrepreneur?
- A solid and good entrepreneur appears resolved – yet a little cynical. Too many good ideas go to waste when entrepreneurs do not focus – both on a personal level, but even more important on a business level. To be successful in your business it is so extremely important to work hard and be persistent. Almost nothing goes as you have planned – you need to stop up, take a look at the situation and continuously adjust your work.
What advice would you give hopeful entrepreneurs out there?
- Today an entrepreneur has greater opportunities than for only 5-7 years ago. Technology has become available both economically and pedagogically. Whatever step you make, you need to make sure that it will have some sort of digital reflection. With that said – get to it! Test, test, test. Perceive everything you do as a test. No one is capable of figuring out everything beforehand, and you will get smarter each time you dare to take action. Do not listen to pessimists – when you get a ‘NO’ from someone you instantly need to think, that it is not a barrier, but an opportunity to take action. Keep learning each day. Keep doing what you do!
What status has entrepreneurship and innovation got in Denmark?
- Since I started interesting me for entrepreneurship, while I went to CBS – Copenhagen Business School – from 2007-2010 the general interest has exploded. In my opinion there is a kind of hype going around. Remember that everything that glitters is not made of gold – meaning that many entrepreneurs will fail with their projects. With that said, I really admire those who dare take a leap and try to make a difference. Especially the hashtag (#) and the union CPHFTW have really shoved Copenhagen in the right direction. If you want to know more about entrepreneurship these are great starting points.
How important is education in connection with entrepreneurship and innovation?
- It is a really hard question. On the one hand entrepreneurship is a so-called DO IT sport. Everybody can write down ideas on a piece of paper, but making them become more than ideas is difficult. On the other hand my education has made me capable of handling problems in a constructive way and made me understand that the world is not always the way it seems to be. The university needs to be able to connect teaching and learning with reality to be able to give strong tools within innovation and entrepreneurship.
How does the Danish mentality affect our understanding of entrepreneurship and innovation?
- That is a hard one – I think I am a special example. I have always played sports on a very high level, and I have grown up in so-called ‘winner environments’, where we played as a team, but also functioned well individually. My idols back then were always winners. If we take a look at it with more critical glasses many do not understand the necessity of hard work - basically because we live in a world with no consequences if we do not work hard. In our society there hardly never occur situations, where an individual have the option “food on the table or no food on the table”. If you are in a bad period of your life there will almost always be someone who will take care of you – e.g. The Danish Government. On the other hand Denmark is continuously chosen as one of the best countries to do business. Our level of education is sky high, and most often the public works well. That is something to be grateful for – it is amazing.
How do you perceive the conditions for entrepreneurship and innovation in Denmark compared to other countries?
- In general this question is misguided – if you ask me. It is about individuals and how they make things happen despite different circumstances. STOP with all the excuses, get ready and get the job done. “Play it as it lies”, as they say in golf. Every man is his own fortune.
Name: Steffen Hedebrandt
Lives: Born and raised in Aalborg – lives in Copenhagen
Education: Cand.Merc - CBS
2015 – d.d.: Marketing director - Airtame.com
2012 – 2015: Nordic director - Upwork.com
2010 – 2012: Chief of Operations - Vintageandrare.com
We would like to say thanks to our great photographer Philip Høpner, for all the great photos for this interview: www.philiphopner.com