Business Advice 101

August 11, 2014



I’m riding BART from Richmond to Daly City when a young man steps on at Embarcadero.  We lock eyes and he smiles.  I move my backpack from the empty seat and he slides in next to me. 

“How are you today?” he asks. 

“Super good,” I say, even though I’m running on fumes after an eight-day, whirlwind SoCal trip to visit my mom, attend a friend’s wedding, and an overnight visit to check on my son who’s just graduated from UC Davis.

“Did you just get off work?” the young man asks, eager for conversation.

“No,” I tell him, allowing the weight of silence to either discourage further questions or to pique his interest.

“I just finished for the day,” he said.  “I’m an IT tech.”  

It’s on, I thought to myself, and engaged in the playful banter between two strangers who have only a short time to talk before a final train destination arrives.

“Do you work?” he asks.

I tell him I’m a social media strategist and his ears perk up. His face, which looks to be about the same age as my 23-year-old son, animates.

“Wow.  That’s great.  Me and my friend have started an IT consulting business.  We’ve got the URL and everything.  Right now I’m still in school, going to SF State and will graduate in one year.  Maybe we’ll use your services.  That’s just what we need, social media.  Do you have a card?”

I reach into my purse, find my wallet, extract a business card and hand it to him.

He examines my card with a tenderness I equate with innocence. 

“I’m Elvyn,” he said, reaching out his hand for me to shake.

“I’m Ingrid.”

The Balboa Park station arrives and Elvyn quickly exits BART. 

He flashes a smile and extends a little wave of his hand.

I relax into the train’s rumbling, close my eyes for a moment and consider this chance encounter. 

There are no accidents, only opportunities for discovery.

Soon enough the Daly City station arrives.  I gather my purse, backpack and then step off the train.  The scent of salt air from the Pacific Ocean fills me with longing for my Half Moon Bay home, only 20 minutes away.

As I pull into the driveway of my home, I hear a Ding! chime on my cell phone, and recognize the sound of incoming email.  It’s Elvyn. 

“It was nice to meet you today on BART. As I mentioned, myself and a couple friends are starting a company that will offer A through Z business solutions.  Any suggestions or advice regarding business success?”

I turn the cell phone to the off position.

My exhaustion complete.

I have nothing left to give anyone, especially an eager kid who was planning to embark into the entrepreneurial world, a place where the price of entry is true grit, only the super gnarly need apply.  Check your fear at the door, there’s no place for it here.

That night, I slept for 12 hours. 

When I awoke, I thought about Elvyn’s query.

Any suggestions or advice regarding business success?

Yes, I do have business advice. 

 #1 ~ Passion requires risk

An entrepreneur must be passionate about the service or product they are providing.  This passion is a lot like falling in love.  It’s a sense of empowerment at finding the right idea at the right time and then doing all you can to keep it going.  That means talking about it with others, and sharing the enthusiasm with great clarity and focus.  At this phase of entrepreneurship, there’s no room for fear.  It’s all about confidence and the ability to execute the idea. 

Look for the next post called “Generate an action plan.”


One Response to “Business Advice 101”

  1. Elvyn Says:

    Thank you for taking the time to write about our encounter on Bart and for your business advice.

    With Warm Regards,
    Elvyn Mejia

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