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Employee Turned Entrepreneur – David Wolckenhauer

Posted Under: Entrepreneur, Entrepreneurship, Our Heroes, Startup

Today in the “Our Heroes” series, we have entrepreneur David Wolckenhauer who is the President of Cloudcutter Consignments, a rare coin and collectables venue. Let’s see how he works in the corporate world while keeping his entrepreneurship running smoothly.

DD: Who are you and what kind of corporate job were you at?

DW: My name is David Wolckenhauer, President and CEO of Cloudcutter Consignments.  I have worked in marketing and sales capacities for Fortune 100 companies over the last 13 years, have a BS in Chemical Engineering from NJIT and an MBA in Marketing from Rutgers University.

DD: What made you leave the job? When did you realize that you wanted to be an entrepreneur & why?

DW: As long as I can remember, I have always wanted to be an entrepreneur.  A very charismatic uncle of mine was an avid restaurateur, and his influence on me as a child has always stuck with me as a working professional.

At this time, I haven’t decided to leave my corporate job.  At Cloudcutter Consignments, I broker the sale of rare coins and other collectables via the internet.  I’ve created a scalable, low overhead business based on my personal expertise that I work in around my 9 to 5.  It’s given me a great opportunity to sample entrepreneurship in a relatively low-risk venture.

DD: What did you do to break the corporate jail? How did you prepare for the employee to entrepreneur transition?

DW: The Tennessee Small Business Development Center (TSBDC) in Memphis, TN was very helpful and motivating in preparing me to launch.  TSBDC is my local delegation of the SBA, which holds regular courses on weekends for entrepreneurs interested in areas such as writing a business plan, financing your business, and HR concerns amongst many other topics.  Not only were these SBA seminars informational, but they also presented an opportunity to meet other people with similar aspirations of self-employment.

DD: What is one resource that helped you the most/best?

DW: “The Art of the Start” by Guy Kawasaki was the grain of sand that tipped the scale, propelling me into my first venture.  “The Art of the Start” is packed with practical advice to get you from planning, planning, planning … to moving forward.

DD: What do you know now that you wish if only you knew when you made the transition?

DW: I wish I knew just how relatively easy it would be to start!  I would have started years ago had I known what I know now.

DD: What are your suggestions for aspiring entrepreneurs?

DW: My recommendation is to have a mentor and a great circle of advisors you can go to for support, and if you don’t have that, create it for yourself!  Talk to the owners of local businesses that you frequent; attend SBA seminars to meet other aspiring or successful entrepreneurs; and read books designed to inspire you like “The Art of the Start” by Guy Kawasaki or “The Knack” by Norm Brodsky.  How are you doing and how do you feel now?

I’m about a couple years into my new venture, and it is very exciting to be creating unique value for clients.  The uncertainty that originally kept me from starting into entrepreneurship is now what powers my company forward.  It’s very empowering creating something new and meaningful – go for it!

DD: David Wolckenhauer is still in the 9to5 jail, but he is making the best of it by dabbling in entrepreneurship. This has given him a chance to experience being an entrepreneur with less risk than if he had no other job to fall back on. While the corporate jail can be stifling, it can be what a starting entrepreneur needs to get off the ground with a new business. On top of that, he also recommends attending SBDC seminars whenever they are available so you learn about starting and running a business and gain more confident to start your new business.

Would you like to start a side business with your day job? We can help!

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