Ian Han's avatar image.

I founded SideGuide (exited), a college campus tour guide app for the iPhone.

My name is Ian Han, I am an entrepreneur with various technical and non-technical businesses under my belt.

Anonymous profile image
  • What draws you to small business and the role of entrepreneur?

    Did you have an experience or mentor that ignited the desire to run your own company or not work for someone else ever again?

    Ian Han's avatar image.

    Entrepreneurship, for me, is not just a desire - it's an imperative. Like a surfer who is always thinking about the sea, an entrepreneur is always thinking about their next project or new ideas. Even if I do end up going and working for someone else, I will always be thinking about and working on new projects (which is exactly how SideGuide started - when it became too time intensive, I left the position and focused on the startup). This doesn't mean an entrepreneur is not a great employee. In fact, I would rather employ people who have previous entrepreneurial experience as they not only understand what it takes to run and be a part of a business but also lend the Swiss Army knife skill set entrepreneurs have. Everyone in a startup or an emerging company has to wear many hats and thus you learn many skills. These pop up all the time in supplementing your position. An engineer with marketing skills may understand how to create a better product than one who doesn't. A designer with a development background may understand how to craft a more refined user experience. I digress. What draws me primarily is a true love for it. I wake up excited.

    People often think of entrepreneurs as risk takers. I feel it's generally less risky in the grand scheme of things than it would be to being stuck at a job you hate for which you get paid too little for work that isn't impactful. You learn much while starting your own business - everyday bringing a new set of challenges - that anything you do after, I believe, will benefit from that experience. That is not to say a "safer" job will not stretch your skills and be wholesome in its own right.

    I have also been blessed beyond my wildest dreams with my family, friends, and mentors. I am lucky enough to have had a whole lot of things, by pure chance alone, go right for me. I know I'm extremely fortunate: fortunate to not worry about where my next meal will come from, where I am going to sleep tonight. Fortunate to have had the opportunities to attend the schools I did, meet the people I did, have the relationships I did. I am extremely fortunate to have the support structure that, even if I fail 1000 times, they'll be right there to pick me back up. So why not try? Why not go for it? People, much more capable than I, would kill for the opportunities I have had and those that are currently presented but are unable to for any number of reasons. I would never want to close a door because I was too afraid to walk through it.

    As for mentors, tons. Experiences? Tons. There are things that happen that in the moment seem small but retrospectively affected you immensely. There are things people say that echo for years later. Good and bad.

    TL;DR - Passion for creation, fear of missing out on these opportunities.