Sohin Shah is an entrepreneur and one of the early adopters of crowdfunding. He successfully crowdfunded Valuation App from 57 backers in 2012 and went on to start iFunding which is now one of the leading real estate crowdfunding platforms in the world. He is extremely passionate about entrepreneurship and loves discussing new ideas. Follow him at @sohinshah1.
Who is your hero? (In business, life, or both.)
My mother. Growing up, I have seen her work hard to build a business and still raise two kids while providing them with the best education and ethics. She has taught me everything I needed to learn about conduct, ethics and persistence. She taught me the importance of following your passion, which has made me the man I am today.
What’s the single best piece of business advice that helped shape who you are as an entrepreneur today, and why?
“Think big. Never show fear.” My father told me this when I shared with him that I wanted to quit my job at an investment bank and venture out by myself. This advice gave me the liberty to dream big and work hard without fear of failure. Since that day, I have pursued my dreams with the liberty to be comfortable failing.
What’s the biggest mistake you ever made in your business, and what did you learn from it that others can learn from too?
The biggest mistake I made was in hiring individuals without a defined plan of their role. This backfired drastically when many of them didn’t have clarity on their responsibilities and weren’t aware of immediate priorities. I have since made sure to create a 60-day plan for every new hire once they have spent a couple weeks at the company getting a better understanding of operations.
What do you do during the first hour of your business day and why?
I spend the first 15 minutes of the day making a list of any outstanding tasks from the previous day, writing to-dos for the day and checking my calendar for scheduled meetings. I then sit down with each member of my team for five minutes to understand what their priorities are for the day and what they would like from me, if anything.
What’s your best financial/cash-flow related tip for entrepreneurs just getting started?
Contrary to what they tell you, don’t raise a lot of money in your startup’s initial days. Only raise enough to survive. Your biggest learning will occur when you are hungry and not complacent. Also, you can raise more capital at a later stage when you’ve proved the concept, built a team, and are thus valued higher.
Quick: What’s ONE thing you recommend ALL aspiring or current entrepreneurs do right now to take their biz to the next level?
Share your vision with your team on a regular basis by being as transparent as possible. The most senior and the most junior individual in a company should be able to pitch the company’s mission with similar clarity.
What’s your definition of success? How will you know when you’ve finally “succeeded” in your business?
When I am considered worthy enough to mentor someone I will have succeeded. I think the biggest honor one can be bestowed with is when others consider their knowledge worthy enough to act upon. It gives you the ability to influence individuals and hopefully be a positive force in someone’s life.
The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched StartupCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.