Inspiration & AdviceHow to Succeed in Business in 1,295 Easy Steps: Speaker Spotlight on Molly Lindquist

Molly Lindquist, Founder of ConsanoWelcome to The School of Hard Knocks, where real-life entrepreneurs teach you the lessons they learned the hard way. This week’s course will be taught by ‘Professor’ Molly Lindquist, Founder of Consano.

Molly, a mom and breast cancer survivor, founded Consano, a 501(c)(3) crowdfunding platform for medical research, after her cancer diagnosis in 2011 at the age of 32. Molly graduated from Stanford University with a degree in economics and went on to work as an investment banking analyst in the consumer group at Robertson Stephens. It was there that her love of Excel was born.

After her stint in banking, Molly transitioned into the corporate world, travelling the globe sourcing products for World Market and then doing company planning for the Banana Republic brand of Gap Inc. After the birth of her first child in 2006, Molly took on the most difficult job she’s ever had as a stay-at-home mom, and learned that there was no Excel model that could map out the whims of a small child.

The complexity and joy of work only grew in 2008 when her second daughter joined the family. Molly has been excited to dust off her Excel skills and leverage her previous work experience as well as her journey as a patient to launch Consano.

Molly will be speaking at our upcoming Entrepreneurial Summit. Here, she teaches us…

How to Succeed in Business in 1,295 Easy Steps

(or ‘Welcome to the Entrepreneurial Jungle,’ or ‘Venture In’)

Key lessons the course will teach:

  • Passion is key: Do what you love and love what you do. Life’s too short not to live by this rule!
  • You can’t please everyone: There will never be a time when everyone likes you. For those of us who have historically been people-pleasers, this is difficult to digest at first. When you struggle with that, just remember that life’s too short (are you sensing a trend?) to worry about the nay-sayers.
  • Persistence pays off: Rejection is never fun, but sometimes a ‘no’ can turn into a ‘yes’ down the road… or at least into a ‘maybe.’ Don’t give up!

Key skills the course will develop:

  • Being an entrepreneur is a roller-coaster of emotions. The highs are high and the lows are low. You have to be able to embrace the highs without losing focus, and recover from the lows without feeling hopeless.
  • Sense of humor: There are some crappy parts of life (yes, cancer, I’m talking to you!), but if you can maintain a sense of humor, and laugh through it (or at least through some of it), I’ve found that the lows of life become a little more bearable.
  • Compassion: Developing relationships is the key to success – we can’t do it alone, as the old adage goes. Not only is this important professionally, but it is a wonderful way to enrich your personal life with new friends as well. It’s a win-win.
  • Know your audience: Know them well.
Field trips:
  • Students will visit a chemotherapy infusion room and talk with the patients, nurses and families. There’s no better place to practice compassion, learn listening skills, and gain insight into how life can change in an instant. Then on those days when the entrepreneurial roller coaster seems like it’s too much, they will have a clear understanding that things could be much worse – aka perspective.
  • Students will attend a ‘speed-dating’ type event where each student will learn three things about each other and share those with the group. Learning to listen is key and synthesizing important facts (in a chaotic environment), particularly about people that you hope to interact with on a regular basis. And maybe there would even be a love-connection, and I could add ‘match-maker’ to my resume (cue Fiddler on the Roof music).
  • Students will join me for a walking tour of my favorite Portland coffee shops. That’s really where the networking magic happens for me (and allows me to enjoy my favorite roasts on a regular basis).

Projects & Tests:

  • Pitch yourself in three minutes and convince me why I should support you as a person.
  • You have a business idea. Come up with three strategic partnerships that will help grow your business and develop five bullet points that will convince that partner to help you.
  • Each student must bring in a home-made macaroni and cheese casserole. I will taste-test each recipe and award the winner with an automatic ‘A’ for the class. Just because I like mac and cheese. A lot.

Reading list:

  • Oh the Places You’ll Go by Dr. Seuss – Sometimes looking at things at the most basic level creates unique clarity (like through the eyes of a child, for instance). This book is brilliant. It’s imperative to know that your life is a journey of ups and downs, but you can “do it” if you believe in yourself and keep moving forward. This book also doubles as a great bedtime story for those fellow parent-entrepreneurs who are looking for ways to multitask.

Ready to register? OEN invites you to come and be schooled at The Kennedy School on June 6, where Molly Lindquist and 14 other successful entrepreneurs will share their stories. Appropriately themed The School of Hard Knocks, our Entrepreneurial Summit is a chance for you to learn what they didn’t learn in school. Learn more and register here.

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