Jim McCarthy is the CEO of a successful business, but he remembers how he got there and he wants to share his knowledge with other entrepreneurs.
Jim wears many hats: co-founder, CEO, speaker, author, and Innovate Pasadena board member. Now we can add… meetup organizer to the list! While it might seem like a minor role compared to his past accomplishments, Jim is passionate about sharing his knowledge and experiences — so much so that he launched Pasadena Entrepreneurs’ Meetup to bring together current entrepreneurs and start-up founders, those with an idea or interest in starting a business, and successful former entrepreneurs to create a support network.
We took a few moments of Jim’s time to learn more about his new group and how the meetup format can help entrepreneurs troubleshoot, learn, and discover their own path.
You already seem quite busy, and are already quite involved in the community. What made you decide to form the Pasadena Entrepreneurs’ Meetup — was there any driving force behind this particular group?
Entrepreneurs and potential entrepreneurs need support, and this meetup is very hands-on. There’s lots of great events in Pasadena, but I’m not aware of one that does what this one does. I felt it was something we needed to provide to entrepreneurs that are going to build Pasadena’s next and future tech companies.
The great thing about running a meetup is that you can dictate the format — some meetups have a speaker each week, some do beer and pizza with a little show & tell… share with us a little about the typical format for your meetups. How often do you meet? What do you discuss?
We use what’s known as a Mastermind format, with my own modifications. The way it works is that a current entrepreneur tells the group about a place where they are “stuck.” It could be a decision or problem. They give the group a thorough background, and then the group works to help them through the problem. It’s a very effective way of getting an entrepreneur “unstuck” really fast.
We do two of these per session, and right now, we’re meeting once a month. It’s real work, but it’s also a blast. People are always stunned at how this process works, even for the people just listening.
I realize that you just launched this group at Connect Week this October, so the group is pretty new at this point. Still, do you have a favorite moment from one of your meetups?
In one session, the entrepreneur we were helping had a very clear breakthrough moment. She’d been stuck on how to deal with a competitor/potential partner and had really thought herself into a muddle. The members of the group, almost unanimously, cut right through the confusion, saw into her “blind spot”. It was honestly pretty obvious, but sometimes you need a perspective other than your own, and she got it! She said she’d been wrestling with this issue for months, but after this session, she was clear on what to do.Something like this happens every time.
Another example is that we had an entrepreneur with a product in early release who’s trying to figure out how/if it makes sense in the market. Another member of the group connected him — the next day — to a perfect potential client who was willing to give him extensive feedback on his product and his pitch.
I want to put out a call to Pasadena’s seasoned entrepreneurs to come to our meetup because your expertise is going to accelerate the success of the budding entrepreneurs that we help. Please do come!
The Pasadena Entrepreneurs’ Meetup is part of Innovate Pasadena’s Meetup Creator Program. Can you share a little about your experience as a Meetup Creator, and perhaps give a little advice to anyone out there who is looking to start a meetup around a topic near and dear to them?
My advice for people who want to start a meetup is simple: do it. Go ahead, just do it. The great thing about the Meetup Creator Program is that Innovate Pasadena can help connect you to an audience to get the event off the ground.Seriously, don’t overthink this.
If there’s something valuable that you can help bring to the table, bring it! Get your first one on the calendar and see what happens. Tweak it, test it, but you’ve got to get it started. I reject your excuse. 🙂
The end of the year is almost upon us — can you share what your group has planned for 2017? Any growth plans or special meetings or events?
We’re going to keep doing the event once a month, though we fill up pretty fast. I’m not sure if we’re going to expand the size of the group, because the size is important, but we may do it more often so more people can participate. We’ll see.
And once again, to the seasoned and successful entrepreneurs and business people of Pasadena, if you want to contribute to the well-being of our city and our area, helping entrepreneurs succeed is a pretty good way to do it. And you can do that at our meetup, so please come.