THE BLOG
02/06/2012 02:48 pm ET Updated Apr 07, 2012

The Perfect Entrepreneurial Resume Doesn't Exist

You have an idea for a phenomenal company. Problem is you have zero background in that industry, no prior entrepreneurial experience, never got an MBA and can't lean on your family for financing or business resources.

At first glance, you're facing an uphill battle. Likewise for the second glance and the foreseeable future. Your background and ability to leverage connections is a major draw for investors and early stage employees. There is no sugarcoating that there are major advantages to having industry knowledge, entrepreneurial know-how, advanced business degrees or family money. Regardless, personal and empirical evidence has proven that it can be done. With some tweaks and persistence, it's possible to overcome these massive roadblocks.

Industry Knowledge:
If you're lacking industry knowledge, surround yourself with people who aren't so deficient. Find the experts, the "grey hairs", and the passionate in your field. I first came up with concept for Recyclebank because I was fascinated with the amount of consumer materials that would remain stuck in landfills for generations. I was 25 and far from an expert. No one who knew me at the time would have considered me an avid environmentalist. Further, my only experience in the trash business was limited to a half hearted effort to earn more allowance in grade school. Luckily, our earliest investors had 30+ years in the waste industry. They in turn introduced us to one of our earliest employees, Bob Milligan. His rare combination of "grey hair" and passion lended Recyclebank immense credibility early on and was a continuing sounding board for all things related to the industry. There is nothing better than the ying and the yang of fresh perspective and the veteran.

Entrepreneurial Experience:
Entering the fires of entrepreneurship is akin to being thrown into an NFL game after playing flag football in your backyard. One day you're kicking ideas around with friends and the next, if you're lucky, you're in charge of 10 employees and their livelihoods, growing revenues, satisfied and unsatisfied customers, taking out the trash, and so on. It's a daunting task of which there is no formal training. Lessons are indeed learned by serial entrepreneurs and there is real value to having played a few "NFL" games in the past. That said, rookies in the NFL and entrepreneurship succeed and fail every day. Over time, if you're good, you will pick up the nuances of running your business but don't let the lack of prior entrepreneurial experience stop you from stepping out on your own.

Education:
We all have heard the success stories of the dropouts and barely finished high school entrepreneurs. Excellent tales--all of them. The reality of the situation is that most forms of education will make your life easier as an entrepreneur. Personally, I practiced law for two years before I made the leap to start Recyclebank. In those two years, I learned a basic understanding of corporate law which has served me to this day. It has helped to conserve much needed capital and put my mind at ease when reading contracts. Having an advanced degree is certainly a plus when looking to start your own company. It's not required by any stretch but for the majority of us, dropping out of college to start your own company is not the best recipe for success.

Personal finances: More often than not, this is perceived as the main stumbling block for those weighing their entrepreneurial dreams. In popular culture, Donald Trump is considered the ultimate entrepreneur. His inheritance made it that much easier to hit the ground running though. Yet, most successful entrepreneurs didn't have the luxury of leaning on family financial resources. Free room and board perhaps, but $200K to start your own company? An unlikely scenario for most potential entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurship is risky and it often requires crafty funding in the very beginning. So don't steal but by all means beg, barter, and borrow.

We all have deficiencies wrapped up our in our bios. The true entrepreneur figures out how to correct those perceived gaps. Great ideas don't need perfectly crafted resumes, they just need perfectly passionate individuals willing to look beyond initial roadblocks.