Don’t stress about how long it takes to build your dream business. Contrary to the stereotype of the baby-faced founder, most entrepreneurs found businesses in their 40s, not their 20s.

 

Trevor Foster is the co-founder and CEO of Fulcrum, a San Diego-based talent cloud platform that empowers enterprises to unleash the power of the gig economy. Trevor is a lifelong learner with a relentless, impatient desire to innovate, and he firmly believes in thinking big to revolutionize the way we work.

What does your typical day look like, and how do you make it productive?

Three things are at play in my day. First, I’m fortunate to be the “dada” to my 2-year-old daughter, Vera. Second, I’m building the future of work with an amazing and driven team at Fulcrum. Third, I’m located on the West Coast and have found early traction with many clients on the East Coast. When those three things are brought together, my day starts off with a bang!

I’m up early enough to sneak in a workout, and then it’s off to the races answering emails, getting my daughter ready for daycare, walking the dogs, making breakfast, driving to daycare, and rushing to the nearest coffee shop for my first calls of the day. To be productive in this type of environment, I gave up a physical office long ago and became completely mobile — I carry my “office” in a backpack and make liberal use of my phone’s hotspot. This means I work anywhere and can easily travel from meeting to meeting knowing I can get things done on the run.

At the end of the day, it’s off to pick-up duty at daycare followed by three amazing hours of just being dad. Then, there’s some time in the evening to set up my second workday — after all, to build a company capable of delivering on a huge promise and providing immense value for customers, you should be using the gift that is your children’s slumber. It’s another chance to work!

How do you bring ideas to life?

I am a huge fan of collaboration. There’s no shortcut to perspective, so introducing a concept into the world of different viewpoints, experiences, expertise, values, cultures, and opinions only increases the likelihood that you can go from idea to action to value. Tactically, I am huge fan of attacking an idea with multiple mediums — using analogies, whiteboards for visualizing, etc. — in addition to just talking through things.

What’s one trend that really excites you?

The trend toward independent work. I love the fact that people are realizing that they can forego the perceived safety of full-time employment to contribute their unique skills, experience, education, and passions to the world at large, whether that’s a would-be employer, a nonprofit, another individual, or anything else. I believe it’s opening up unbelievable opportunity for our society.

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?

Resetting for the customer need. Truth be told, I’m not the most naturally productive person, so I rely on my passion to create value for the clients and users of Fulcrum. If I need to refocus and ensure the effort I’m putting in is the most productive, I go back to our “why” of democratizing access to talent for companies and creating meaningful work for people.

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

Obsess over the value you create, not the actions you take. If you can switch your viewpoint to taking pride in the value that occurred from your actions rather than the fact that you did lots of (supposedly) important things, I believe you’ll find success. That means taking ownership if the tactical plan you set out with doesn’t produce the desired outcome. Any time something doesn’t go the way you want, start by asking yourself what you could have done differently rather than by blaming the customer, partner, employee, investor, etc.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?

Finding good partners and being willing to bring innovation into the existing infrastructure instead of trying to disrupt the entire industry at once.

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

I don’t really consider anything a failure as long as you keep moving forward.

What is the best $100 you recently spent?

A (ridiculous) Lego set for my daughter. I love watching her mind work!

What software and web services do you use? What do you love about them?

Coming from an accounting and finance background, I need Microsoft Excel to operate, so we use Office 365. I’ve been impressed because Microsoft has continued to improve its cloud offerings, though it’s still behind the G Suite for convenience. Overall, Microsoft is making improvements to fully adopt a cloud strategy that’s paying off.

Besides Office 365, the main tool I use is Slack. I don’t know what I’d do without it.

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read?

It’s a toss-up between “Drive” by Daniel Pink and “Decisive” by Chip and Dan Heath. “Drive” is all about the real motivators for people at work: autonomy, mastery, and purpose. Notably missing from that list is income. (Although a low income can detract from motivation, there are diminishing returns past a particular point.) “Decisive” is all about how to make better decisions by using a decision framework called WRAP: Widen your options, reality-test your assumptions, attain some distance before deciding, and prepare to be wrong.

Tell us something that’s true that almost no one agrees with you on.

Traditional employment will cease to exist in 20 years and will be replaced by a better and more efficient model. It will be akin to how technology has disrupted other industries like retail, media, etc.

What advice would you give your younger self?

Don’t stress about how long it takes to build your dream business. Contrary to the stereotype of the baby-faced founder, most entrepreneurs found businesses in their 40s, not their 20s.

What is your favorite quote?

Luck is where preparation meets opportunity.

Key Learnings:

  • Work whenever and wherever you can.
  • Don’t be afraid of big industry changes.
  • Obsess over the value you create, not the things you do.
  • It’s never too late to start your dream business.
  • Read “Drive” and “Decisive.”

Connect:

https://fulcrumworks.com
Trevor Foster on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jtrevorfoster/
Fulcrum on Twitter: https://twitter.com/FulcrumWorks
Fulcrum on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/fulcrumworks/
Fulcrum on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/fulcrumworks/

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