Michael Garrity, president, CEO and co-founder of consumer lending firm Financeit, is a human(e) man. And he is an entrepreneur.

Today he gave a talk at our MaRS Mornings breakfast series about his journey as an entrepreneur, and here—the thesis of this very brief piece—is why it was excellent.

Because he told the truth. 

The myth of entrepreneurship is that everyone is “crushing it” and doing so all the time, without exception. Michael told the story about how little things such as bad timing, a global financial crisis, and a myriad of other stuff beyond and sometimes well within your control, can work against the success of your startup. And sometimes these things hit your startup so hard in the face that you reel for the remainder of your days.

Today in Toronto, here at MaRS, he communicated this in an immensely approachable way. After sharing his own story of entrepreneurial ups and downs, which has led him to the very successful present of his current startup, he shared his personal roadmap for entrepreneurs and startups.

Michael Garrity
Michael Garrity, CEO of FinanceIt, tells the MaRS Mornings audience about his journey as an entrepreneur.

Garrity’s personal roadmap for entrepreneurs

  1. It is likely to be really hard. Oh, and failure sucks.
  2. Pick a really big problem to solve. Like a really big one.
  3. Everyone likes to see skin in the game. Be committed. You’re asking people for things, so be in. Be very IN.
  4. It’s all about sales. No matter what anyone tells you, it’s about sales more than product. As I’ve written here before, you need to always be selling. Oh, and here are the three key steps to improve sales, according to Garrity:
    • Pain Avoidance: Buy my stuff so this bad thing doesn’t happen in the future. It’s best for me, by the way, if the pain and suffering you’re avoiding by buying my product will happen today, not five years from now.
    • Pound the Rock: Get up every day, hammer stuff. Grind. Persevere. Everything is against you when you create a startup. Pound the rock to beat the odds. Pound the rock to go from losing to winning.
    • Beat Inertia: Make it easy to say yes. Defeat the easiest path, which is always inaction.
  5. Regardless of the outcome, being an entrepreneur is about getting below the tip of the iceberg. It’s about your life.

Awesome talk. Full house. Superb advice for Toronto entrepreneurs. If you missed it, follow the conversation on Twitter using the hashtag #MaRSMornings.

Adam Nanjee and Michael Garrity
Adam Nanjee, Cluster Lead, Fintech at MaRS and Michael Garrity, CEO of FinanceIt.

Join us at the next MaRS Mornings

Join us at our next MaRS Mornings event on March 4 to hear from Dan Debow, founding partner of the Creative Destruction Lab, senior vice-president of emerging technologies at Salesforce.com, and the co-founder and co-CEO of Rypple, a social performance management platform that was acquired by Salesforce in early 2012. Dan will offer highlights of his entrepreneurial journey, with a focus on how to tell the right story to sell your product. Registration opens soon!

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Aron Solomon

Aron was the Innovation Lead for the LegalX cluster and Senior Advisor for education technology at MaRS. See more…