The pace of innovation is rapidly increasing, with no signs of slowing down any time soon. New industries have been created and there’s a race to see who will come out not only on top, but as the first in their field.
To learn how entrepreneurs can establish themselves at the forefront of a new industry, I spoke with Deniz Ozgur and Won Soh, co-founders of Space Runners, the first digital fashion brand for the metaverse. Ozgur and Soh shared how they’re managing to innovate and stay ahead of the curve in this fast-paced and rapidly growing industry.
If you want to succeed in a rapidly changing field of work, you have to embrace change. “If you really want to be an innovator, don’t be afraid of trying and don’t be afraid of change,” advises Soh. “Things inevitably change, and change now happens faster than ever.” This is especially true in emerging industries and fields such as the metaverse, cryptocurrency, and NFTs. Ozgur agrees, adding that “if you want to achieve something you should really start right now. Take the step. Don’t wait. Time is precious and you don’t even realize how quickly it passes.” It’s also important to remember that no one’s an expert in the beginning, you simply learn as you go.
Stay focused on the big picture.
When you’re creating something new, it’s important to stay focused on the big picture while also taking into account the fact that things are constantly shifting and changing. This is something that they focus on at Space Runners, where Ozgur says that “we are constantly open to innovation and try to come up with new ideas every day. We try to be as agile as possible while also keeping our long term mission stable.” Being agile is the key to finding the right balance between following the roadmap you’ve laid out for your business as well as pivoting to keep up with change and innovation along the way.
A mentor of mine once said that everything in business has a season. At times, you simply have to put in extra hours and make small sacrifices elsewhere in your life to account for the amount of work that needs to be done, but that time is not forever and will eventually transition into something more balanced. The key to surviving times of extended working hours is to find balance and ensure that you give yourself the chance to step back a bit when things slow down. If things aren’t slowing down, a way to find balance is to bring on additional support, either by hiring additional employees or using freelancers.
It’s much easier to weather these demanding times if you truly love and believe in your business. Ozgur explains that “we enjoy what we’re doing, so the sleepless nights aren’t such a trouble for us.” Soh agrees, adding that “it’s been very exhilarating seeing this growth and sometimes I find myself still working at 3:00am, but I have to stop and go ‘oh, wait, is it actually work? Because it really doesn’t feel like it. It’s just something enjoyable I’ve been doing all day.” This just goes to prove that the definition of balance is very open to interpretation. If at the end of the day you can go to sleep happy, then you’ve achieved the right sense of balance for yourself in the present moment.
Build a community.
At Space Runners, the community is an integral part of their success. “We are building a company in a decentralized way, meaning when we build we actually involve our entire community which includes tens of thousands of people on social media and Discord,” explains Soh. “We actually communicate with them every single day and seek out their feedback. We incorporate their feedback and suggestions into our products as we’re building them. So while we’re only a 15 person company, it actually feels like we already have 60,000 people that are working together.” Ozgur adds that the community is a big source of support as they grow and expand the company. “We have a big community behind us, which makes it easy to find the motivation and energy to innovate even more.”
The best way to utilize a community is to actively engage with them and make them a true part of your business. So often businesses just approach communities as a passive audience, sending out the occasional poll or survey but not really asking for feedback. If you can turn your community into a devoted fan base that actively supports your company and products, that can be instrumental in business growth and success.