1109 – Being a Self-Aware Entrepreneur with Next Coast Venture’s Mike Smerklo

In this episode of the Thoughtful Entrepreneur, your host Josh Elledge speaks to the co-founder and managing director of Next Coast Ventures and the author of Mr. Monkey and Me: A Real Survival Guide for Entrepreneurs, Mike Smerklo

Mike worked his way through various entrepreneurial ventures and for various different companies before he finally co-founded the venture capital firm Next Coast Ventures. Mike shares that early on, he was money-motivated. He worked as a CPA and investment banker and he learned a lot, but wasn’t fulfilled by his work. He then worked in Silicon Valley before learning what he could from that and leaving that job to co-found his own business. He got to experience how to scale successfully and take something from a small idea to a publicly traded company.  

Next Coast Ventures invests in technology companies in either consumer or enterprise software. They look for early stage tech startups that are ready to scale. Mike shares that investing can be amazing, but also negatively glamorized. There’s a lot of hard work but also empathy involved in being a capital firm. Mike shares that 30% of the entrepreneurs they work with are women – far above the industry average. He explains that his company didn’t intentionally set out with that as a goal, but that he only wanted to work with the best and brightest – the demographic outcome came with that goal. 

Josh and Mike also explore the ideas behind Mike’s book. It’s all about taming your fears and hang-ups relating to being a business owner. We all have those doubts and anxieties, or maybe we avoid issues altogether. Whatever your inner fears stem from and manifest as, it’s a very common phenomenon. 

Mike and Josh also talk about how no one is good at everything. The adage says that it’s much easier to thrive through your strengths than to overcome your weaknesses. The best entrepreneurs are self-aware of their issues. Know what you're good at and align your time and effort with that zone of genius. Whenever you struggle, delegate to someone who thrives in that area. The mark of a true successful business owner is that they understand themselves and they surround themselves with a team that can help them collaboratively overcome their weaknesses. 

Want to learn more? Check out Next Coast Venture’s website at

Check out Mike’s website at

Check out Mike’s book, Mr. Monkey and Me: A Real Survival Guide for Entrepreneurs at

Check out Next Coast Ventures on LinkedIn at

Check out Mike Smerklo on LinkedIn at

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