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Three Secrets to Entrepreneurial Success

by Heidi Lynn Russell, Contributing Editor

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Article Sponsored by: Xcel Energy

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1. You may need to hone your expertise. Triplett didn’t launch her business as soon as she was out of the Marines. Initially, she thought she’d open a salon. Then she went to school for radio and television, receiving a B.A. in that field from Southern Illinois University. She segued to human resources, receiving an M.A. from Webster University, and worked with students at a technical college. But she wanted to run her own operation, so she launched her consulting business in 1995. Two years later, it was incorporated.

Inc. Magazine recognized the company in 2012 as one of the Top 500 Fastest Growing Companies in America. In May 2014, Triplett received her Ph.D. in Values-Driven Leadership from Benedictine University. She’s also a public speaker and author.

“It takes a lot of sweat equity. Forbes magazine says that entrepreneurs work 80 hours for themselves and 40 for someone else. You make very little the first couple of years because you’re busy building,” she says. That said, her expertise is widely recognized, and her firm is now reaping the results.

2. Be open to surprising yourself with new discoveries. Tim Scott is the founder of Mitscoots, a sock company in Austin, Texas. Mitscoots makes fun and funky socks in three different styles for men, women and children. However, this isn’t an ordinary sock company.

Scott happened upon the idea because he and his wife, Agata, were volunteering along the streets to feed the homeless. They discovered that right after food and water, there was no greater request among the less fortunate than for a clean pair of socks.

They established Mitscoots through crowdfunding, launching in August 2012. Mitscoots socks are American-sourced, and packaging is made from recycled materials. They are built to last a long time, because they are given to individuals who may wear the same pair of socks for several days or months at a time.

Scott served as a United States Air Force SrA from 2001 to 2005. “I remember how critical socks were for me at the end of the flight line, and during boot camp, when you’d change your socks. I thought it’s a silly problem, and it makes sense that guys need socks. It almost seems trivial and tragic that when dealing with circumstances like homelessness, that socks have to be a primary concern,” Scott says.

For every pair purchased, Mitscoots gives away a pair of socks to someone in need - at least 1,000 pair per month. The company also employs those transitioning out of homelessness to help package the socks at its office in Austin.

“I wish I would not have waited as long as I did to start it,” Scott says. “I had the idea in 2009, and kept thinking I will need to gain this skill or wait until this thing happens before I jump in. I’m still learning every day. I’d tell others, if you’re waiting until you’re ready, you’re too late. With business, whoever is first out of the gate succeeds. You have to learn on the fly.”

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