The Quick Stab on Becoming a Growth Warrior

Every Thursday, we bring you the Warrior Weekly, full of insights, tips and founder stories of underdog entrepreneurs who have learned how to operate like a Growth Warrior.
  • Book, “The Way of the Growth Warrior” launching soon! Pre-order now
  • Growth Warrior Insight: The 7 Non-negotiable Skills of a Growth Warrior
  • AMA: Promise Phelon takes questions from our readers
  • Weekly Wrap-up: stories about startups, tech & investors from around the web
  • Resources: everything you need to become a Growth Warrior


Hey there, I’m Nelly and this is my Growth Warrior story. I grew up in a small town in northeastern New Jersey where the winters were blisteringly cold, and neighbors were delightfully nosy. Regardless, I had happy memories as a kid. That changed somewhat when I was 12 years old. After my parents noticed changes in my behavior and school performance, I was diagnosed with ADHD.

As a low-income family, we couldn’t afford continued therapy and there were no counselors at my school. I struggled through high school, every field of which was affected by my condition. I couldn’t focus on tasks with too many instructions, tests were a nightmare, and I had crippling social anxiety as a result of my poor concentration. Home life wasn’t easy either and it didn’t help that everyone knew we were poor. I was different in every way, living among normal kids with normal lives. Looking at them, I felt I was never going to get where they were academically, socially, or financially.

After high school, I became a quiet adult, keeping out of everyone’s way. I didn’t go to university and worked a dead-end job, where the only qualification was being able to breathe. I dreamed of being a chef with my own restaurant, but I was an underdog, disadvantaged. It seemed so impossible to stand out in such a competitive world filled with those much more fortunate than I. Until I found The Growth Warrior, I didn’t know how to achieve my goals. How could I amount to anything big if even the smallest tasks were so hard? That’s what the Way of the Growth Warrior taught me to do with 7 non-negotiable skills:

Skill #1 = Master Self-Management

I would be exhausted and burnt out. Wouldn’t know what to do. And it seemed that the whole world, all the odds were against me getting anywhere. What I didn’t know was, the problem wasn’t me managing my affairs wrong. I just wasn’t managing myself right.

What I learned is that you have to keep in touch with yourself, your goals, priorities, and most important of all, your needs. You can’t control what happens to you, but you can control how you react to and deal with it. Some people are born with challenges, others develop them in the course of their lives. You simply cannot live a problem-free life, but you can live your life. And this was one of the biggest truths that aided in the realization of my dream.

What day is it today? Do you remember or did you just fall out of bed and be guided through your waking hours with an invisible leash?


Skill #2 = Craft Your Warrior Story

I felt like a nobody with nothing to offer, but this wasn’t true, and it isn’t for you either. Who are you? What’s your purpose? What do you offer that no one could ever imagine? Where have you changed and improved, struggled through your passion where nobody saw you?

You are a fighter, here for your purpose against all odds. You are unique and you must remind yourself of this narrative, because it is your life. While negative thoughts may bring you down, make you feel small, you must realize you’ve been through much greater problems, and similarly, much greater things await. You are a Warrior.


Skill #3 = Form Anti-fragile Relationships

This is a skill that took me a long time to learn. Make relationships based not on flighty needs, but on a solid base. The goal is to connect and have long-term relationships with reliable people. Be on alert against those who try to use you for their own gain. Befriend people based on mutual respect, understanding and commitment.

Healthy relationships culture a symbiotic environment where all involved can grow, learn and mature together. And don’t let anyone make you feel small. Be in a positive environment that brings out the best in you, so you can focus on your strengths rather than be criticized about weaknesses both internally and externally.


Skill #4 = Build a Dream Team

As you reach out and expand your circle of connections, you’ll realize that many people have many different strengths. Keep in mind the strengths of the people you meet and how they may apply to a project or an idea you have. Good teams have to be balanced – they consist of a variety of people from different backgrounds, perspectives, and skill sets.


Skill #5 = Know, Serve & Innovate Your Market

Know your market and who you serve with your business. Know how to address your clientele and relate to them. Stand out from the competition by offering your unique perspective as an underdog. Tailor to the needs of people in a similar situation as yourself. You may have things no one else has offered before – like skills from an unrelated market that could work well in your venture. Pay attention to market trends and see what’s lacking. You can be the one to fill that gap.


Skill #6 = Build Your Company for Exit

Even if you’d rather not think about it, it’s crucial to figure out an exit strategy for your business. In unexpected circumstances such as a market crash or the uncertain times we are in now, you have to be ready, mentally and financially, to give up your business while making sure to get the most out of your loss. This is to be able to sustain and hold out until your next venture. Weigh between options such as closing or selling your business, analyze all relevant factors, and make your decision.


Skill #7 = Capitalize Everything You Do

Make the most of your experience and your market sense to continue in business and grow further. Think of your biggest strengths, most successful projects and fruitful relationships, and double the potential. Take it to the next level by using your expertise – because now you’re on the ladder, and just a good business decision away from the top.

Now what, you ask? Consider developing these 7 non-negotiable skills so that you, too, can become a Growth Warrior!


Promise Phelon

This is a new addition to our upcoming weekly blog. It’s an opportunity for readers of the Warrior Weekly to ask questions about your business. Promise Phelon, the founder of The Growth Warrior company and method to achieve success as an underdog entrepreneur, will personally answer them.

This week’s question comes from Jesse, he’s just incorporating his LLC in NJ but already has his eyes on VC funding to get the capital he needs to build his EdTech platform.

How do I prepare for a VC meeting? What should I research and where?

The keyword here is prepare! I’ve personally seen it happen where a founder came into an investor pitch opportunity at a startup event and was not ready. Sure, he had his pitch deck, but he had not conducted any research into the VC. For example, you want to find out (you need to do this before you have any contact with the prospective VC) which niche they fund. If they’re a SaaS investment shop and you’re starting a cosmetics business, that’s likely a non-starter.

Every VC firm and fund has publicly available info regarding their portfolio, often naming the companies they have invested in and certainly highlighting which geographical, business niche or sector that they are keen on. You’ll also want to look who is in their portfolio. Which companies have they invested in? Be prepared to intertwine your conversation during the meeting with some of the names and how you’re similar – or different. Do you compete with them? Complement them with a potential additional revenue channel for the VC to earn a return? Sources like CrunchBase, Bloomberg and even GlassDoor can be helpful here.

Finally, research the fund managers, essentially the team that you’ll be pitching too. Do a Linkedin look-up and most VC firms also have an “About” webpage providing background on their executive team. Which one of the exec team members do you or your co-founders have something in common with? Did you graduate from the same college? Study the same discipline? Find something as your icebreaker and to showcase that you are indeed ready for your meeting!


The Weekly Wrap-up highlights key news stories in tech over the past week. Of course, no surprise, the emphasis will be on the underdog entrepreneurs, their challenges and their victories.


Download the 2020 Underdog Report

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Promise Phelon
CEO, The Growth Warrior