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creativity

In the pause: Don’t let money run the show. At least not at the beginning.

On Friday, I was talking to a friend about a new business she’s thinking of starting. She reached out to another friend of hers to ask for advice. Though she has a lot of passion for the idea, she wasn’t sure how to monetize it. Her friend, a very successful entrepreneur in the financial services space, said, “Don’t worry about monetization right now. Just build what you want to build.”

That might sound like odd advice, especially from someone who works in finance. Aren’t we taught that to build a business we must think about bootstrapping or raising capital and an exit strategy? Doesn’t it all start with how to get money in and then how to get your money back out? This is where a lot of ventures fall down – they worry so much about the money at the start that they lose sight of why they’re building a business in the first place. It starts with passion and heart.

At the beginning of a business idea, you’re experimenting and testing. You’re trying to figure out what you can do and who you can help. To do that, you build the smallest possible piece that you can with as little money as possible for a very small number of people. Go ahead and dream big, but build small. You don’t need to save the whole planet in the next hour. All you need to do is make one thing better for one person. That’s the seed. Start there and see where the path leads. Stay curious. Stay hungry. Stay alert. Pay attention. Listen. Try, fail, and try again. Right now, that’s the only work you have to do.

About Christa Avampato

The short of it: Writer. Health, education, and art advocate. Theater and film producer. Visual artist. Product geek. Proud alumnae of the University of Pennsylvania (BA) and the Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia (MBA). Inspired by ancient wisdom & modern tech. Proliferator of goodness. Opener of doors. Friend to animals. Fan of creative work in all its wondrous forms. I use my business skills to create passion projects that build a better world. I’ve been called the happiest New Yorker, and I try hard to live up to that title every day. The long of it: My career has stretched across Capitol Hill, Broadway theatre, education, nonprofit fundraising, health and wellness, and Fortune 500 companies in retail, media, entertainment, technology, and financial services. I’ve been a product developer and product manager, theater manager, strategic consultant, marketer, voice over artist, , teacher, and fundraiser. I use my business and storytelling to support and sustain passion projects that build a better world. In every experience, I’ve used my sense of and respect for elegant design to develop meaningful products, services, programs, and events. While building a business career, I also built a strong portfolio as a journalist, novelist, freelance writer, interviewer, presenter, and public speaker. My writing has appeared in The Washington Post, The Huffington Post, PBS.org, Boston.com, Royal Media Partners publications, and The Motley Fool on a wide range of topics including business, technology, science, health, education, culture, and lifestyle. I have also been an invited speaker at SXSW, Teach for America, Avon headquarters, Games for Change, NYU, Columbia University, Hunter College, and the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America. The first book in my young adult book series, Emerson Page and Where the Light Enters, was acquired by a publisher and launched in November 2017. I’m currently working on the second book in the series. A recovering multi-tasker, I’m equally at home in front of my Mac, on my yoga mat, walking my rescue dog, Phineas, traveling with a purpose, or practicing the high-art of people watching. I also cut up small bits of paper and put them back together as a collage artist. My company: I’m bringing together all of my business and creative career paths as the Founder of Double or Nothing Media: • I craft products, programs, and projects that make a difference; • I build the business plans that make what I craft financially sustainable; • I tell the stories that matter about the people, places, and products that inspire me. Follow my adventures on Twitter at https://twitter.com/christanyc and Instagram at https://instagram.com/christarosenyc.

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