By Tom Ballard, Chief Alliance Officer, PYA
We first met Rodolphe Pierre-Louis in early 2020 during one of the early events hosted by the Johnson City-based start-up support organization that had just rebranded itself as FoundersForge.
As we noted in this teknovation.biz article from April 2020, the native of Haiti who moved to this country at age 12 and lived briefly in Johnson City during his senior year in high school was back in the Appalachian Highlands shepherding his new venture named ActionVFX. The company provides stock video footage for visual effects and motion graphics. The letters VFX stand for visual effects and are used to describe imagery created, manipulated, or enhanced for any film or other moving media that cannot take place during live-action shooting.
Last Thursday, Pierre-Louis was the speaker at the noontime “Founders Meetup” hosted by FoundersForge. His topic was “What I Learned Building a Seven-Figure Business,” so we tuned-in to see what he had to say and share what Pierre-Louis said are the “10 main things that I have learned.”
While all of his observations were important, I was particularly moved by his conclusion. “In the end, it’s not about the money you make but the people you impact,” Pierre-Louis told the group. So, what were his 10 main learnings? Here they are in the order he presented them.
- You have to see it. It’s hard to go somewhere if you cannot see it. He also added that it is important to “expose yourself and rub elbows with people where you want to be.”
- Find a million dollar idea. Pierre-Louis reminded attendees that all ideas are not created equally, and entrepreneurs should realistically evaluate their ideas.
- Be persistent. “Falling down is guaranteed, but can you get back up” is the question, he suggested.
- Get yourself some money. “Big ideas usually cost money,” Pierre-Louis observed. “Learn how to get some (money). You need to learn to sell your idea.”
- Your vision is everything. “Without a good vision, you may as well not start,” he told the attendees. “Vision acts as a GPS.”
- Solopreneurship ain’t that cool. Noting that he has tried it both ways, Pierre-Louis said that “people are awesome . . . get you some!”
- You have to build awareness. He reminded attendees that just because you build it, people will not automatically buy it. “It’s not just the product but also marketing and sales” that require time and attention, Pierre-Louis noted.
- Take care of your customers. “Without them, you don’t have a business,” he said. “Build trust and loyalty.”
- Firing isn’t optional; in fact, it’s as normal as hiring. Pierre-Louis said it should not take long to recognize if a new hire is a good fit or not. If the latter, he said entrepreneurs should recognize the mistake and make a change sooner rather than later.
- Build sustainable habits. “It’s a marathon, not a sprint, so be ready for the long haul,” he urged attendees.