36: Steve Boerner | Founder of Hatch House Ventures

Johnathan Gryzbowski

June 25, 2016

After graduating college from Delaware, Steve left questioning himself on what to do next. But we’ll get to that soon. Steve was one of those people who started businesses since he was 15! One of the earliest businesses he had was cutting lawns and landscaping. He then graduated into businesses more sophisticated, such as being an asset liquidator.

In 2008, when the economy went under, many organizations and industries failed, Steve’s was one of them. While being in college, Steve remembers one of his professors saying that “If one market goes down, another is benefiting from it. And you should go out and find a business model for that.” That same processor asked the class to do a project, in which their task was to start a business.

Steve and his team went around to manufacturing plants, industrial plants, things students left behind and other forms of machinery and tried to sell some of the stuff for profit. Consider them the broker. They sold their first piece of machinery and the commission check was 12k. This was the first time Steve got that feeling of accomplishment. It was also the first time he created a plan and got compensated for it.

Steve relied heavily on his school and it was something that meant a lot to him. Not only was Steve not able to use the schools computers (due to a problem with his laptop), he also lost the collegiate network. Mentors were important to Steve, but unfortunately since he graduated he noticed that his mentors were focusing on current students. This taught Steve an incredible lesson. The lesson was that when you graduate, you’re not the treasured soul, you’re just another fish in the pond. The company collapsed and then he went into the working world.

In the world of business, Steve wanted to be in sales because he thought it was the most entrepreneurial part of business and was comfortable to acknowledge that he wanted to further develop this skill. Steve sold employee benefits to high end organizations. For Steve, the job was incredible because he was thrown into board rooms with large organizations.

For months, although the job paid incredibly well, it wasn’t rewarding for Steve. Then on one Sunday, Steve wanted to get out. He wanted to get out because he wanted start hanging out with ambitious companies. Companies that were socially conscious and were robotic like the Fortune companies he was selling benefits too. Not to mention, he wasn’t passionate about selling employee benefits.

The next day, Steve was called into the office. Steve went into the meeting with one objective, to quit. He rambled for 20 minutes about being his future, his passions, and desires to be his own boss by not chasing the almighty dollar. The only problem was the real purpose of being called into the office was to be promoted. After Steve finished his rambling. his bosses asked Steve to take 2 weeks off and they will pretend that he never said any of this and move on. The job he was being promoted to would have earned him $350k a year. To Steve, it wasn’t about money, he stuck with his promise to himself and left the company in a month after agreeing to his bosses to teach and train the person that would eventually take over his job.

During his time “off” Steve went over what he calls the deep end. Steve started selling his valuables to prepare for his next journey. In fact, he sold everything of value, except for his motorcycle, clothes and a back pack. Steve then went on an 8 month journey across the world. During his travels, Steve met a ton of people through his travels, cleared his mind by listening to podcasts, and used the internet to meet people. He spent 2 weeks traveling the US to learn businesses practices and the rest of the time backpacking Asia.

At Steve’s core, he loves giving back. He made it his mission that during his travels, he wanted to get a better understanding of B corps. B Corps are social conscious companies that have a mission to giving back.

On the last leg of his journey, Steve received an email, it was for a masters program from Lehigh University. Steve never thought about going back to school, but felt the need to invest in graduate school to regain what mattered to him most, the university network. Steve thought that if he could learn about business, while bettering his network, he was all in. What intrigued him about Lehigh’s program was that it wasn’t test based but more so experience based.Steve wrote his thesis ion what is now Hatch hHouse Ventures.

Learn more about what Hatch House Ventures is and how it’s not just an incubator to work, but also to live.

Don’t Settle

Steve went off what he considers the deep end, but it worked for him. By traveling for over 8 months across the world, it allowed Steve to find himself. During his travels, Steve cut off everything off, and he means everything. The lease on his apartment, the selling of all of his belongings, his girlfriend at the time, and we are sure much more was let go. Steve’s goal in traveling was the thought of being  “35,45,55 and not being fulfilled. Pursue your passion and you will find ways to get revenue.” Says Steve.

Validate Your Assumptions Without Emotions

Steve cant run a business, unless he’s passionate about what he is selling. “Emotions are the biggest detriments to any startup. you get emotionally tied and vested into business. That leads to assumptions into the market that are false. Startups get their head in the sand and assume the market wants product and they may not. Validate that there is an opportunity and revenue follow.” Says the millennial entrepreneur.