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Learn how to build a business. Take control of your time and make an impact in your community. Entrepreneurship, simplified.
Learn how to build a business. Take control of your time and make an impact in your community. Entrepreneurship, simplified.
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What is Create and Orchestrate?

Create And Orchestrate is my first book, designed to help simplify entrepreneurship for those looking to take control of their time and money while making an impact in their community. My name is Marcus Whitney.

This book and the company I have just founded to bring it to you (more on that below) is brought to you in partnership with the creative team at Mountain. You'll notice they are hosting this Kickstarter as well.

There are three things Create and Orchestrate will do for its reader:

  • The reader who lacks the courage necessary to start and run a business will be greatly encouraged, and learn why the entrepreneur is a vital role in our society. 
  •  The reader who doesn’t understand how to be a founder will become clear on the principles and practices a founder should have to be a strong leader. 
  •  The reader who has never started or run a business will become aware of what to do when starting and running a business. I want Create and Orchestrate to re-ignite a fire in America, the idea that innovation and enterprise will come from everywhere in this country. 

What we need is more shots on goal. And while business books are continually being written for the initiated few, I am writing this one for the uninitiated many.

Here is what you can expect to find in this book:

  • The simple way to embrace the mindset of a founder. 
  •  Stories from many unlikely entrepreneurs who bucked the odds and as a result did well for themselves and their community. 
  • The straight-forward blueprint for going from an idea to an operating business. 
  • A discussion (since there is no one right way) about the different approaches to growing your team and your business. 
  • A true demystification of business finance and operations (the thing that most of us get hung up on).

I believe that:

  • Entrepreneurship is a mindset and a way of doing things that everyone can learn. It is a skill, like swimming. Even though some people have more natural ability in it, the mindset and way of doing can be taught. 
  • Entrepreneurship can help you solve problems that traditional approaches can not. 
  • Through entrepreneurship, you can beat the odds of economic immobility for your family AND make a positive impact in your community. 

Because of these beliefs, and my first hand experience both being an entrepreneur and mentoring over 100 entrepreneurs, I'm writing a book to help develop a new wave of unlikely entrepreneurs, in hopes that they will mobilize in their communities and provide innovative solutions to the most pressing issues we face. 

The issue I'm addressing is Income Inequality. I want to help more people make more money and control more of their time so they can be better wives, husbands, mothers, fathers and members of their communities. 

Help me do that by pre-ordering Create and Orchestrate. 

Thank you so much for your support of Create and Orchestrate and The Unlikely Company. We hit our first goal, which pushes us forward on creating the book. We are now looking to fund our first initiative. As you know, I want to create 1000 unlikely entrepreneurs. I believe this will happen through a variety of efforts. I believe Create and Orchestrate will create many of them, but I also believe that grassroots efforts in our communities will be key to this goal as well. To that end, I am partnering with the Oasis Center in Nashville to launch an after school, social enterprise accelerator program called Oasis Venture.

This program will teach 20 high school students how to launch a social enterprise so that they can address the needs of their community sustainably. They also will be learning the basics of being an entrepreneur which will be a life skill they can use in many more endeavors throughout their lives.

This program will cost around $45K at a base. I am hoping to provide $30K of this funding from The Unlikely Company as part of our double bottom line commitment. If we can get to $100K in pledges than we can do that. The big number I want to see grow from here is the number of pledges.

Let's get 1000 pledges in the next 20 days. I know we can do it. Thanks for all your support and belief.

- Marcus

My name is Marcus Whitney, and I want to make the world a better place by developing “the unlikely entrepreneurs.”

My job as President of Jumpstart Foundry is to predictably launch successful startups in the Healthcare industry by educating, mentoring and investing in entrepreneurs. As a serial entrepreneur myself, I’ve been involved in the creation of almost 60 businesses over the last 5 years. This all started because in 2007 I left Emma Email Marketing where I led technology to start a business. Once I was on my own, I found out just how much I didn’t know about starting a business.

Out of pure stubbornness, I pushed through failure after failure until I developed a solid understanding of what it takes to launch and sustain a business. On my journey, I became fortunate to become known in some circles as someone who can mentor beginner entrepreneurs. In speaking with these founders, I found they usually were in need of two things:

  • a mindset that would give them the courage needed to be bold, and to endure during the inevitable tough times ahead. 
  •  a comprehensive base of knowledge about how a business operates and how you get one started

Then I started to look a bit deeper into who was reaching out to me and why. Yes, they were looking for mentorship and yes, I do that for a living. But a pattern emerged for me last year. Many people were coming to me to hear my story, not just to hear me tell them what to do. And I think part of why they were coming to hear my story is that it was kind of ‘unlikely’ that a guy like me (African American, college drop out) would be in the position I’m in.

Leading technology teams and making venture capital investment decisions aren’t typically things done by people like me. In fact, it’s not just me, the majority of people in America don’t actually fit the profile of today’s innovative entrepreneur. That is a big problem, and here’s why.

The accumulation and concentration of wealth in America happens in three primary ways:

Inheritance, Investment and Entrepreneurship

Just check the Forbes top 25 richest Americans and you’ll see that this is how most of them got there. And the vast majority of new entrants come as entrepreneurs. Gates, Zuckerberg, Page, Ellison, Bloomberg, Brin, Bezos & Dell. All mega powerful, all entrepreneurs. Also, all very similar demographically.

As the lower class, women, minorities, new Americans and others seek to balance the scales of power and representation in America, the most powerful approach available to them (us) is entrepreneurship. Yet that is not what we are being encouraged to do. I am working to change that.

I learned about the power of entrepreneurship from my mother.

She didn’t become rich from the business she started while I was in middle school and high school, but she did control her time, hire her friends and made sure that her work supported her life and not the other way around. I was lucky to have her show me that I could control my life and realize my dreams through entrepreneurship. For many, they don’t have those examples.

I learned after I gave my TEDxNashville Talk on Hustling, that people can draw inspiration from the stories of others, even stories from people like me. I was rocked when person after person told me that this talk had changed their life, and that they were believing in themselves in a way they hadn’t done before. I learned that I could make an impact just by sharing my story and what I’ve learned.

And two years later, after more keynotes, more failures, and some successes, I’ve seen little change in the world overall. Except, the gap between the haves and the have-nots is bigger than ever. The examples of diverse entrepreneurs are still few and far between with very few new entrants. And the impact of wealth on our most critical systems like politics, education and criminal justice, continues to tip things in favor of the rich.

Ok, fine.

It’s time to help the rest of us focus on getting rich then. The unlikely ones.

You might be an ‘unlikely’ entrepreneur if:

you are ambitious you are creative you are a little bit of a REBEL

and…

you are in the lower, to lower-middle class or you are a woman or minority or you didn’t finish college (or maybe even high school)

If so, listen up. I’m starting a new company dedicated to helping you become an entrepreneur. Unlike many people in the startup space who are saying there are too many entrepreneurs, I couldn’t disagree more. 

We need more entrepreneurs.

We need more artists to become entrepreneurs. 

We need more activists to become entrepreneurs. 

We need more educators to become entrepreneurs. 

We need more people who love people and want to help people to become entrepreneurs.

That is why I, with my mother Isabel Whitney, have launched The Unlikely Company, PBC.

You may not have seen a company before that has PBC at the end. PBC stands for Public Benefit Corporation. What this basically means is that even though The Unlikely Company is a for profit corporation (S Corp to the IRS), it is in our charter that we exist for the purpose of providing a public benefit or public good. I believe in this structure for companies seeking to do good in the world because it means the company can maintain a profit motive for its own sustainability (as opposed to dependence on donations), but is committed to doing good at its foundation.

The Unlikely Company exists to develop, mentor and eventually invest in the Unlikely Entrepreneurs.

We are committed to transparency and at present, our business model is to commit 30% of our net profits to initiatives that will achieve our mission. You can learn more about our business model here.

Our first product is why you are here.

I want to write the book that gets you at least 80% of the way there. The book that I wish I had when I got started. A book where I could look inside and read stories about people who I could identify with. A book that turns a steep learning curve into a bunny hill. A book with wisdom, inspiration and simple guidance on how to start and run a business. And, a book that speaks to you as the founder, about your important role in this process.

I want to bring you, Create and Orchestrate.

I have become overwhelmed by how convoluted the topic of entrepreneurship has become. What I believe is needed are stories that will resonate and stick with people, as well as simple and clear directions on a very complicated topic. 

I expect to have to spend time, money and other resources to gather the stories and do the research necessary for this book to make an impact. Also, there will be production costs, design, editing etc. It's going to be my first book and I want to make it worth the time you would invest in reading it. 

So, let's go a little deeper. 

This is a pre-order for a book. If we hit the goal, I'm gonna do everything in my power to deliver that book. However, as a pre-order, I'm going to handle the money as I would with any purchase made through The Unlikely Company. Rather than allocate a dollar amount (because I want to go way beyond this goal), I'll share how the money will be allocated. The more money raised, the better the end product will be.

I will invest 20% of the money for travel expenses to capture stories and information for the book. 

Another 20% will go to Mountain who is managing all aspects of my marketing, multi-media production, design and my primary collaborator on strategy. They also are managing the fulfillment of rewards, so they are pretty important.

30% will fund The Unlikely Company's operations. That's mostly my time and our operating costs. 

And the final 30% will be directed towards The Unlikely Company's commitment to Public Good. Our direct impact. 

30% of The Unlikely Company's net profits go to public good. Our first initiative will set out to develop Unlikely Social Entrepreneurs in Nashville. Average age: 16 years old. 

We are thrilled to partner with the Oasis Center in Nashville to launch "Oasis Venture", an after-school social enterprise accelerator for Nashville's most vulnerable and disconnected youth. We believe introducing entrepreneurship to children during their high school years, as well as the principles of Social Enterprise, will be an empowering experience for all. 

We also believe that there is the potential for true innovation to emerge from this program that can take root in Nashville's most challenged neighborhoods. 

STRETCH GOAL:

While Oasis Center is seeking funding along side of The Unlikely Company's commitment, we would like to fully fund the venture as soon as possible. The program will require ~$40K to operate. So our super stretch goal is to hit $100K in this campaign so that we can commit $30K to fund the program. 

NOTE: $30K is more than 30% net profit on $100K revenue (net profit means what's left after we pay all the bills) , but if we hit the stretch goal we will go beyond our normal double bottom line commitment. 

In the first reward level, you'll find access to the E-book, the first print edition, custom Create And Orchestrate merchandise and updates from me not only during the campaign, but during the process of further researching and writing the book itself.

The Create and Orchestrate brand (as well as my new personal brand and The Unlikely Company brand) were designed by the ultra talented Stephen Jones. Stephen is an entrepreneur that I admire because of his commitment to integrity in every thing he designs. He absolutely nailed our brands and we are proud to offer a limited edition T-Shirt for our community to represent our mission in the world.

The sold out crowd at CHARGE 2014 in Nashville.
The sold out crowd at CHARGE 2014 in Nashville.

In level 2, I'm including ways backers can also get engaged in the annual conference I produce with Jumpstart Foundry and Mountain called CHARGE. CHARGE is all about the story. Last year's kick off event in Nashville sold out and we heard seven incredible, authentic backstories from entrepreneurs of all types.

Jeni Britton Bauer explain how she built an Ice Cream empire and stayed true to herself. We heard James Ellis from Athletics explain how not knowing what you're doing at first is just fine. The important part is that you decide to do it anyway. We heard from Clint Smith on how he built Emma and how Bailey Spaulding is growing a unique brewery in Nashville. We heard quite a bit more as well.

This year, CHARGE is already looking to be bigger and better. It will sell out again, no doubt. At this backer level you can secure a spot at the November 2016 event. You can also secure a very limited VIP pass which includes a night before dinner with myself, Jumpstart Foundry, Mountain and any available speakers. 

I strongly urge you to engage at this level. There is nothing like learning from these stories first hand.

Me introducing a speaker at CHARGE in 2014
Me introducing a speaker at CHARGE in 2014

At our final backer level, I'm offering not only the first edition of Create And Orchestrate but a couple options for a one-on-one experience with me. These range from a 30 minute Skype conference to a full day, in person strategy and design session with me. I'll even fly to you if you're not near me (as long as you are in the US)! 

If you're idea or your company is at the right place for this kind of in-depth face to face help, then these rewards are for you.

First, thanks to you for making it all the way to this part of the story :) That was a lot to read! 

I appreciate you, and I thank you for your pledge. This is a work of passion and conviction, a calling. Your pledge is vital to my ability to do this, far beyond money. It's confirmation and validation. So thank you. 

Thank you to the Unlikely ones who trudge ahead in this world in spite of all the odds against you. You are inspiration enough for me to do all I can to support you. Hell, I'm one of you. 

Now, for the team. 

I can not and did not do this alone. 

I want to thank my family. My parents, Isabel and John who relentlessly and irrationally support and encourage me to do anything I want to do. I'm glad we are finally partnering on a venture together!

Thank you to my wife, Rachel. You literally brought me back to life when we met and everyday with you is a blessing. Best Partner Ever. I love you. 

Thank you to my kids, I'm sorry I have to spend so much time working. I love you both and just about everything I do has you in mind. You're growing up to be great, young men. 

Thank you to my best friends in the world, RO5 and NPHI. Y'all are my backbone everyday. 

And to all my friends for all your love and support. Especially with the delay of this launch, you have all been so amazing. 

Thank you to Vic Gatto and the entire Jumpstart Foundry team for your confidence in me to do this and still be your President. Best Team Ever. 

Thank you to Mark and Tom with Oasis Center. I'm thrilled to be partnered with you. 

Thank you to the Nashville EC and the Social Enterprise Alliance for your support. 

Thank you Leadership Nashville, Future Ready Nashville and Young American Leaders Program for transforming me over the last 12 months. 

Thank you Make It Pop for your masterful work and bringing my idea to life. 

Thank you Stephen Jones for being such a giving, amazing friend. You made all this look so damn good. Glad we could partner on this and hope to partner more in the future. 

Thank you to Mountain. You crazy, ambitious, creative rebels. Keep Being Awesome.

And finally, thank you Jacob Jones. You are one badass MF. Literally, none of this happens without you so thank you for your friendship, commitment and your belief in me. 

Risks and challenges

This is a creative work and I am committing to do it. Therefore, all of the risk is built around me and my ability to deliver. Health, unforeseen changes in my primary employment and acts of God are all risks that can impact this project. I pray that they don't and I will work hard to finish ahead of schedule, which right now is to have the book in to print by February of 2016.

Should any major situation occur, I will absolutely communicate proactively and engage you in a survey to get your feedback on the right course of action.

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    The Backer

    At this level, I'll be sending you updates and content throughout the campaign about the book, The Unlikely Company and basic entrepreneur tips.

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    The Digital Package

    Digital copy of Create And Orchestrate. This 1st edition is only available to Kickstarter backers.

    Updates and first look at select new chapters as I put together the book in 2015.

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    1st Edition Print Package

    Print copy of Create And Orchestrate. This 1st edition is only available to Kickstarter backers.

    Updates and first look at select new chapters as I put together the book in 2015.

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    The Signature Package

    A one of a kind signed print 1st edition of Create & Orchestrate with a personal forward by me. Only available on Kickstarter.

    Updates and first look at select new chapters as I put together the book in 2015.

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    The Represent

    Get a custom, one of a kind super soft "Create And Orchestrate" t shirt. This version only available right now through Kickstarter.

    Print copy of Create And Orchestrate. This 1st edition is only available to Kickstarter backers.

    Updates and first look at select new chapters as I put together the book in 2015.

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    The All In Package

    1st Edition Print copy of Create And Orchestrate, only available on Kickstarter.

    1st Edition Digital copy of Create And Orchestrate, only available on Kickstarter.

    A custom, one of a kind super soft "Create And Orchestrate" t shirt. This version only available right now through Kickstarter.

    Updates and first look at select new chapters as I put together the book in 2015.

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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    LAST 48 HOURS SPECIAL!

    An Unlikely Workshop

    On December 4th, I am going to host a full day workshop centered around the fundamentals of entrepreneurship. Not only will we discuss the basics of how to build your business, but how that business can then empower your life. There are only 30 slots for this.

    You'll also receive:

    The 1st Edition Print copy of Create And Orchestrate, only available on Kickstarter.

    Updates and first look at select new chapters as I put together the book in 2015.

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    The One On One

    I want to talk to you directly about your ideas!

    // 1 virtual 30 minute one on one Q+A session with Marcus in 2015.

    // A one of a kind signed print 1st edition of Create & Orchestrate with a personal forward by me. Only available on Kickstarter.

    // Digital copy of Create & Orchestrate. This 1st edition is only available to Kickstarter backers.

    // Updates and first look at select new chapters as I put together the book in 2015.

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    THE CHARGE PASS

    1st Edition Print copy of Create And Orchestrate, only available on Kickstarter.

    1st Edition Digital copy of Create And Orchestrate, only available on Kickstarter.

    You'll also get an early bird pass to the annual CHARGE conference taking place in Nashville, Tennessee in November 2015. Last year this event sold out and we expect it will sell even faster this year. This reward tier gets you the book and a guaranteed spot at the conference to hear entrepeneurs tell their stories of success and failure in person to an intimate crowd. More at Chargestories.com

    Get a custom, one of a kind super soft "Create And Orchestrate" t shirt. This version only available right now through Kickstarter.

    You'll get early access to all digital releases as the book develops such as chapters, drafts, and video content we develop while in the research phase.

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    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    THE CHARGE VIP PACKAGE

    This is the real deal here. You'll get the 1st Edition print and digital copies of Create & Orchestrate.

    You'll also get an early bird pass to the annual CHARGE conference taking place in Nashville, Tennessee in November 2015. Last year this event sold out and we expect it will sell even faster this year. This reward tier gets you the book and a guaranteed spot at the conference to hear entrepeneurs tell their stories of success and failure in person to an intimate crowd. More at Chargestories.com

    You'll get early access to all digital releases as the book develops such as chapters, drafts, and video content we develop while in the research phase.

    You'll get a VIP pass to the 2015 CHARGE which includes an invitation to an exclusive dinner the night before with Marcus, the Jumpstart Foundry team, the Mountain team and any available speakers.

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    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    The Big Backer

    I couldn't do this without the encouragement and support of my peers. At this backer level, your name will appear in print in the 1st Edition of Create And Orchestrate as a significant supporter of the book and what it stands for. I'll send a signed 1st Edition and you'll receive the Digital Edition as well, also including your name in the forward.

    You'll get early access to all digital releases as the book develops such as chapters, drafts, and video content we develop while in the research phase.

    Thank you!

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    Pledge $5,000 or more About $5,000

    Personal Start Up Workshop / Speaking Engagement

    At this backer level, I will travel anywhere in the continental U.S. and provide you and/or your team with a personalized, immersive all day start up workshop in person. We'll go over start up hurdles, strategy, growth goals, marketing and how to leverage your network amongst other topics.

    OR

    I will deliver a keynote at your event.

    I can deliver this before the book is officially released in February of 2016.

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Funding period

- (30 days)