Meet Ethan Simonton - Engineer turned entrepreneur, then revved up "bootcamp entrepreneur", on a mission for authentic gratitude and achieving the penultimate success for his business through mindfulness and challenge.
Tell us about your entrepreneurial background. What is EngineerU? Why did you start it?
I would love to say that I was born an entrepreneur. You know, a real boss baby. But, instead, I came out a natural born engineer. As a kid, I could build masterpieces with Legos, but I couldn’t do math worth a brick. This led me to dropping out of engineering early on in college, and trading the calculus for business. When the dust settled I earned a bachelor’s degree in Social Entrepreneurship. After a year or two of having unromantic flings with business ventures that crashed and burned, I got the idea to create an engineering education platform that taught engineers the practical knowledge they would actually use in their jobs. While working at engineering firms as a CAD drafter I noticed a large gap of knowledge exists between what engineers are learning in college and the practical knowledge they actually need to be competitive in the job place. So, I created, EngineerU , a company dedicated to educating, connecting, and inspiring engineers.
Tell us about the "entrepreneur boot camp" you are embarking on in a few weeks. What compelled you to take on this challenge?
The “Entrepreneur Bootcamp” is a self-development experiment that I creating for myself to develop as an founder and bootstrap EngineerU. The boot camp is designed to push me to my absolute limits. Sleeping on the street every night, having 5:30am wakeup calls, and enduring intense workouts is just the beginning of the boot camp. Wearing a uniform (EngineerU T-shirt) and eating the same thing every day are also a part of the regiment. Twelve hour work days are mandatory as well as daily meditation, reading, gratitude, and vision exercises. My inspiration for the bootcamp is the fact that I set a deadline to quit the consulting side of my business (The equivalent of a 9-5 job) by the end of the year. To make this happen, I realized I needed to do whatever it takes to meet this deadline, even if that means sleeping on the streets to cut expenses or eating the same thing every day to narrow my focus. By taking on this bootcamp I hope to face fear, develop gratitude, create urgency in my business, and strengthen my confidence. Besides building character, I also hope to increase revenue and save enough money to quit consulting and fund at least a 6 month runway for me to dedicate myself to scaling EngineerU.
What is the greatest lesson you have learned in your years as an entrepreneur?
I would have to say the absolute greatest lesson I have learned over my years of entrepreneurship is that selflessness leads to success. This has been an absolute game changer for me when it comes to customer service and product development. Anytime I have been selfish and chased money it hasn’t worked out well for me. Eventually, I realized that my success is dependent on how many people I help and the extent I help them. This has enabled me to focus on creating value and smashing customer’s expectations. Sometimes this means doing things I don’t want to do, or create products I’m not overly passionate about. But, that’s okay because the business isn’t about me. It’s about the value I create in other people’s lives.