If you occasionally get nostalgic for college - missing its around-the-clock access to homework help and social outlets -- or if you're tired of the lonely business owner's life, you may be captivated by the idea of living with a group of entrepreneurs. But could you take the constant stream of ideas, the high energy, the 24/7 lifestyle? To some, such as Chandler Bolt, this living situation is nothing short of a profitable dream come true.
Bolt, the founder of Self-Publishing School, has lived in San Diego for the last year with four other super smart and motivated online entrepreneurs. The goal in creating the living arrangement was to create an intentional community of likeminded business people intent on improving every level of their lives - from physical to financial.
“I thought, 'Why not put five people in a house?'” Bolt, said. “I thrive best when there's work going on around me - knowing there's stuff always happening.”
And in the Entrepreneur House, something is most definitely always happening. In just over a year, residents have generated some $6 million in revenue. Not too shabby for a collection of twenty-somethings.
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Bolt credits the residents success for an unyielding focus on their goals coupled with unyielding accountability. They're willing to call each other on lack of progress toward goals and commitments. They review eachother at a don't-miss weekly mastermind meeting.
“It's a smackdown every Monday night,” he says.
Didn't fire the client who is sucking the lifeblood out of you? Failed to double your prices? You're going to hear about it from your housemates until you take action.
The in-your-face aspect of the weekly meetings is tempered by some sweet benefits - not the least of which is a group of business people dedicated to your success. There's also a part-time personal assistant, who keeps the surprisingly clean kitchen stocked with the necessities. And there's a cook, who prepares lunch and dinner, seven days a week as well as a bi-monthly cleaning service, a constant influx of smart, savvy entrepreneurs, who crash in the guest space and hold brainstorming sessions. And last but not least, there's 24/7 access to colleagues, who understand the ups-and-downs of startup life. It's a recipe for entrepreneurial rocket fuel.
“It's like you jumped on one of those fast walkways at the airport,” Bolt said.
Entrepreneur House began with just an idea - that Bolt needed to be surrounded by like-minded people to perform his best. He went about recruiting others, who shared his vision of a shared space, commitment to growth on all fronts and community orientation. Once he found the centrally located, 3,300-square-foot house he jumped. And once he had the locale, filling the bedrooms was easy.
Bolt says when there are openings - such as when residents move onto different life stages or leave to travel the world -- they put out an open call for applications. Aspiring residents fill out a short questionnaire, and those who make it past the initial screening are invited to a group interview.
Bolt says they've whittled down the evaluation process, making decisions pretty quickly on whether or not someone is going to be a good fit with the intent and culture of the community.
When you're working 18-hour days for a week at a time, or trying the latest in high-performance diets, a la Tim Ferriss, you can seem like an outlier amongst friends and family.
Surrounding yourself with a collection of - admittedly somewhat quirky and intense fellow entrepreneurs -- can make this oddball behavior seem totally normal.
“Being an entrepreneur is lonely,” Bolt said. "Living with other entrepreneurs means that there's other people like me, who are all struggling with the same thing."
But what if you can't dump your mortgage, dog and family and run away to the entrepreneurial circus?
Bolt thinks anyone can incorporate the Entrepreneur House lifestyle into a more mainstream life. He suggests joining a high-level mastermind group that meets weekly or by just outsourcing non-essential tasks - actions any dedicated entrepreneur can take to free up time, energy and mindset for focusing on your business.