Sean Frank is the founder and managing partner at Cloud Equity Group, a boutique investment management firm specializing in leveraged buyouts of tech-enabled business service providers.
Sean is widely revered as a successful serial entrepreneur who started his first business venture over 20 years ago as a middle school student in his parent’s house. Today, Sean is a self-made multi-millionaire who has a passion for helping other entrepreneurs achieve their dreams.
Sean’s first business started as just a hobby. The accessibility of the internet was relatively new and there was a strong demand for people looking to create an online presence for the first time. Sean, who had a very early interest in computers, taught himself to code websites and then offered to make websites for both individuals and small businesses in return for a small monthly fee to maintain them. In just a short period of time, Sean grew what started as a hobby to make some passive income into a full business operation. By the time he graduated high school, Sean was running an online conglomerate that provided a vast array of web-based services internationally to both individuals and small businesses through its various subsidiaries.
Sean always points out that the odds that someone will succeed in their new business venture largely depends on their “why?”. According to Sean, “The only question aspiring entrepreneurs need to ask themselves is “Why?”. If you don’t have a good reason, you probably won’t make it.” He then adds, “Your why needs to be something meaningful and impactful if you are truly going to have the willpower and perseverance to push through the struggles that all startups face.”
He continues, “The odds will always be stacked against you, and you must have the will to succeed with your whole being. You need persistence—willingness to give up everything else and to work harder and longer than anyone else. Anyone can read about how to run a business or come up with a good idea, but at the end of the day, entrepreneurship is a matter of will; either you have it, or you don’t.”
According to Sean, an aspiring entrepreneur’s most essential quality is his or her willingness to learn and improve continually. “You need to become an expert in whatever you are trying to do. You will never learn everything, but there will always be an opportunity to learn more,” says Sean. “At the end of the day, your success depends on your ability to convey your confidence in what you are doing to other people.”
Sean further explains that young, inexperienced entrepreneurs shouldn’t shy away from seeking expert help. Sean boasts about the many mentors that he had while developing as a serial entrepreneur, including Andy McKelvey – founder and former CEO of Monster.com.
“Starting a business at such a young age, you don’t really know what you’re doing,” says Sean. “I had no real life experience and no formal education in business – I was just a kid who generally knew things that needed to be done and was willing to work hard to figure it out.” In seeking out mentors to help him problem solve and to help guide him with tasks he was doing for the first time, Sean was able to develop more real-world hands-on experience before college than many people gain in their entire working careers.
Today, Sean speaks at universities and industry conferences across the nation on various topics including entrepreneurship. He is also very actively involved with the senior management teams of the various companies that his firm is invested in.