John Duffy, co-founder of 3Cinteractive, a mobile marketing and payments company, is not the archetypal, risk-taking entrepreneur.
"I'm pragmatic and risk averse," he said. "Starting and operating my own company is how I meet I meet my need for security. I don't have a fear of failure. I just don't want to be in a situation where someone walks through my door and tells me I can't work here anymore."
As co-founder of a 125 employee business with 100 clients, many of which are the global leaders in their industries, Duffy is proof that you don't need to be a maverick to be a successful entrepreneur. Duffy parlayed his early corporate technology experience to found a series of startups, launching 3C in 2007.
"After 10 years in business, we believe our unfair advantage is the quality of our team and the reputation we've built through this first era of mobile," Duffy explained. "As founders, we set three first principles in place when we started. First was that we'd be sustainable, operating off our own steam to reduce the need to raise equity or debt funding and build the business from positive cash flow. Two we'd do important work for quality clients. Three was to build learning culture focused on the personal and professional development of our team. We've been unwavering in those principles. We don't necessarily have a secret sauce business model. What we do have is a 10 year track record of doing the right thing the right way all the time."
Duffy's advice for aspiring entrepreneurs is to know your why. "Consider why you're doing it because building a business from scratch is one of the most difficult things you can do," he said. "Trying to get rich quick or having materialistic reasons might not get you through the night when things are going wrong. Having a purpose or mission or cause will get you through the night. Make sure you can clearly articulate why you're doing it."