Name: Steve Spalding
Email: sbspalding [at] gmail.com
A friend once debated with me: “All young entrepreneurs are just people who couldn’t make it as Investment Bankers or Management Consultants and who want to break free from the 9-5. If you had made it as an I-Banker, you would have never started your own company.”
To be honest, the money in the finance world is extremely enticing. I admit that I never made it past the first round interviews at investment banks, but if I really think about it, I don’t think I would take the position even if I was offered it. In this interview, Steve Spalding talks about why he is an entrepreneur and why it’s more than just about the money for him.
I hit him with some tough questions towards the end of the interview, and his answers were nothing less than enlightening to me. I can now articulate why I struggle so much as an entrepreneur and yet I still keep pushing to succeed. Thanks to Steve, I know why I’ll never quit.
Here’s a recap of our interview:
Why did you join a startup after graduating rather than join a traditional engineering corporate job?
Steve loves engineering because he loves to problem solve. He loves to break a problem apart and find a way to make a solution to the problem. But he hates the idea of sitting down in a cubicle every single day of his life hoping that one day he’ll get a decent project to do.
He loves startups because he can use the problem solving skillset that he loves and apply them to things where he can actually see the growth of the business.
After becoming an entrepreneur straight from your undergrad and going through many hardships, would you advise others to do the same?
Steve didn’t actually just suddenly start a company after his undergrad out of nowhere; there was a lot of work and build up involved in the process.
Because of Steve’s work ethic, he knew a lot of people coming out of college that he could turn to for advice and that could mentor him. So when Steve graduated from college, he knew exactly who to talk to so that he wouldn’t be poor for an extended period of time.
Would you advise someone who wants to start a company to follow his passion or solve a pain?
If you build to your passion, and your passion is sitting around and watching TV all day, you’re most likely going to fail.
If you just chase trends and build something that everyone else is building, then you’re going to fail because you don’t have love and enthusiasm for the company that you’re building.
When you first started Crossing Gaps, how did you get your first clients?
Beg, borrow, and steal
Steve called everyone in his network and told them what he was doing. Eventually, someone needed his services and he did an excellent job, getting him referrals. All of his clients have come from referrals, or from his ability to network with people.
Before you had your first client, how were you sustaining life?
Steve had money saved in the bank, he ate really poorly, and he didn’t have any credit card debt.
Are entrepreneurs just people who couldn’t make it as Investment Bankers?
The satisfaction of going from barely being able to afford ramen noodles to now being able to buy the big screen TV is the reason Steve gets up in the morning.