Mitchell Stern is an entrepreneur and author from Philadelphia, PA. He has a B.A. in Communications from American University in Washington D.C. Mitchell began his career as a television news producer for the Associated Press and later moved to Oakland, CA to start his own production company. Mitchell entered the cannabis industry in 2009 and quickly rose through the ranks to become a thought leader in the industry. In 2016, Mitchell opened his first eCommerce store and in 2020 he began transcribing his expertise with the goal of empowering others to be successful.
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Table of Contents
Thank you for joining us today. Please introduce yourself to our readers. They want to know you, some of the background story to bring some context to your interview.
Mitchell Stern: My first business was in the cannabis industry. We had no access to capital because banks wouldn’t work with us, nor could we utilize traditional marketing methods. We were also operating in contravention of federal law, though attitudes toward cannabis were beginning to shift. Despite these obstacles, I managed to run a successful business for 6 years. That experience made me into a hardened entrepreneur very quickly. I have since started several eCommerce businesses in other industries, and I have published two books about eCommerce.
You are a successful entrepreneur, so we’d like your view point, do you believe entrepreneurs are born or made? Explain.
Mitchell Stern: I believe entrepreneurs are born; but a SUCCESSFUL entrepreneur is usually made. It’s like anything else, natural ability only gets you so far. Eventually, you have to work to hone your craft.
If you were asked to describe yourself as an entrepreneur in a few words, what would you say?
Mitchell Stern: Beware the man who eats his lunch out of a brown paper bag.
Tell us about what your company does and how did it change over the years?
Mitchell Stern: My company “Mitchell Stern Ventures” is really just a shell for my various DBAs. Those DBAs have included a myriad of companies over the years from eclectic industries. Over the years, I would say that those entities have become more market-driven as close to passion-driven.
Thank you for all that. Now for the main focus of this interview. With close to 11.000 new businesses registered daily in the US, what must an entrepreneur assume when starting a business?
Mitchell Stern: Never assume that anyone is actually on your side. Realize that you’re entering into a new realm. Up until now, friends have been happy for you when you’ve succeeded, and people have encouraged you with genuine intentions. Once you become an entrepreneur, let me know whatever the case. It’s a darker worldview for sure, but once you start succeeding adversaries start coming out of the woodwork. You need to be ready for them, and you need to process such situations the way an athlete would. You need to outperform the other guy, or you need to go home.
Did you make any wrong assumptions before starting a business that you ended up paying dearly for?
Mitchell Stern: Absolutely. I made more mistakes than I can count. I was too trusting, I was sloppy about my bookkeeping, and I failed to keep up with the market. I continue to make mistakes to this day, I just try to never make the same mistake twice.
If you could go back in time to when you first started your business, what advice would you give yourself and why? Explain
Mitchell Stern: Do NOT get on Amazon’s bad side.
In your opinion, how has COVID-19 changed what entrepreneurs should assume before starting a business? What hasn’t changed?
Mitchell Stern: People buy more things online now.
What is a common myth about entrepreneurship that aspiring entrepreneurs and would-be business owners believe in? What advice would you give them?
Mitchell Stern: Myth: You can hire people to run the business for you. Advice: You need to make yourself into the smartest guy in the room.
What traits, qualities, and assumptions do you believe are most important to have before starting a business?
Mitchell Stern: You need to be the kind of person who wants to be the best at what they do. Accept that you’re not going to be good at it first, and be willing to do the work required to become better.
How can aspiring leaders prepare themselves for the future challenges of entrepreneurship? Are there any books, websites, or even movies to learn from?
Mitchell Stern: Yes, consuming all of those things will make you slightly better, but there’s no substitute for actual experience. Ultimately, the way to get good at it is just to do it.
You have shared quite a bit of your wisdom and our readers thank you for your generosity but would also love to know: If you could choose any job other than being an entrepreneur, what would it be?
Mitchell Stern: Firefighter.
Thank you so much for your time, I believe I speak for all of our readers when I say that this has been incredibly insightful. We do have one more question: If you could add anyone to Mount Rushmore, but not a politician, who would it be; why?
Mitchell Stern: Ruby Bridges for her bravery.
Jed Morley, VIP Contributor to ValiantCEO and the host of this interview would like to thank Mitchell Stern for taking the time to do this interview and share his knowledge and experience with our readers.
If you would like to get in touch with Mitchell Stern or his company, you can do it through his – Facebook
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