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One month as a “Team Yrittäjä”

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One month as a “Team Yrittäjä”


It’s Friday 10th of February. Today marks the end of the first 4 weeks as a new “team yrittäjä” or “team entrepreneur” at Proakatemia.

One month passed quickly and looking back on it, it feels like we have done a lot and not so much at the same time. Two things are certain though, learning and trying are key and failures and figuring out a better way is a part of the process and something to appreciate.

For me personally, there are two key lessons that I will take with me on my entrepreneurial journey. Within this first month, three different people gave a very similar advice to our group. Three times cannot be ignored…

Advice #1

First was our coach Salla. While our team tried hard to reach our 3000€ goal for the end of January, she gave us the challenge to make 100 meaningful business contacts as a team. I understood the point and benefit but, in the moment, I put it to the side thinking that right now we need 3000€ and not 100 meaningful connections.

Advice #2

Second was Petra, sister of one of our team members and graduate of Tiimiakatemia in Jyväskylä. During a Paja she hosted for us, one of her tips for our new group was to visit as many companies as possible, invite business owners and make as many business connections as possible. Fair enough, I thought, but still, by doing that we don’t hit the money goal in the next two weeks.

Advice #3

Coach Timo was the third one. He mentioned that making many connections with businesses and leaders will open opportunities, both for business and learning.

Lesson #1

The obvious lesson from this is that we will learn most and contribute best to others when we make authentic connections first. In the first month we were very focused on the short time money goal but from now on the strategy forward must be different. We are in the early stages as a team and many things are still unclear, including what our common interests and passions are. Visiting companies, inviting people, getting to know different industries, and getting a wider perspective might be the right way forward for us. As we do all of that, opportunities for business and learning will present themselves.

Lesson #2

The other lesson that hit home for me is that an entrepreneur tries 100+ times, makes 100+ connections before giving up.

I like the Finnish word for entrepreneur, “yrittäjä” someone who tries something. In German we have the word “Unternehmer”, someone who undertakes something. Both are very descriptive of key characteristics of an entrepreneur.

Up to this point I approached a potential business idea in the following way. I called 10 places, e-mailed 5 companies and if there was no positive response, I was a little bummed and put it to the side for a while.

Now I understand that in this game the “point of being bummed” cannot be after 1, 2 or even 20 tries. As a Yrittäjä the “point of being bummed” should start somewhere around 100 tries. Of course, after some time one should consider and question if it’s the right way forward and what to improve to get better results but one can not give up quickly.

Getting this new perspective on when to give up or say one has tried something helps me and gives me a more realistic picture for future projects.

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