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Becoming an Entrepreneur with Minh Tran

Updated: Jul 27, 2021

Have you always known that working for someone else just wasn’t for you? Have you had this itch to create something or do something that is outside the lines of a traditional 9-5 in corporate America?

You may relate to the experience of Minh Tran, CEO and founder of Executive Fan.

Born to refugee parents from Vietnam, Minh grew up in a household that didn’t have the means to provide a luxury lifestyle, especially growing up with 7 older brothers and sisters. But he did always know he wanted something bigger. He looked at the lifestyle his family lived, and wanted to be able to give more. To leave a legacy worth passing on.

Diving into entrepreneurship

Minh’s first endeavor in starting his own business was when he decided to take something as simple and boring as duct tape and customizing it with sports teams logos (you must’ve seen these in tons of stores). After testing the market and seeing a booming success, he obtained the licensing to produce his product for over 100 different sports teams! (talk about success!)

I asked an important question to Minh: was it easy?

Minh’s advice is practical and every aspiring entrepreneur needs to hear it: Starting a business or diving into entrepreneurship is not easy. There are bad days that you ultimately learn from that produce those great days.

The real success was when Walmart came to Minh to put his product in their stores. This is almost unheard of for most products, and Minh credits his passion, drive, and belief for his success in the retail market.

Overcoming challenges in entrepreneurship

How did Minh overcome his challenges and how can you learn from his experience? Let’s dive into it.


Finding the right people to work with can be a challenge in itself. There are people who say they’re committed to bringing the best ideas and then they fall flat on that goal. Being selective on who you work with will help you in the long run. You want to work with people who have the same passion and drive as you do.


Similar to people, finding places to produce your products with the same care you would have is another challenge. If there’s a small error or mistake in a product, it’s not as forgivable in American culture as it may be in other places. Finding quality places to produce your products will save you a ton of headaches as your business propels forward.

Staying motivated

When challenges do arise, how can you stay motivated?

By looking at your support system. If you have a strong support system in place to be around to cheer you on on your bad days, you will have the drive to keep going. They’re the ones to remind you of how much you’ve already accomplished and what you will continue to accomplish. Even if it’s not your whole family or friends that support you, if you can find just one person to look to in those times of frustration, it will uplift you more than you could imagine.

Shaping your success with failure

We so often think about our next success or how quickly we can get to hitting that next milestone, but it’s in the failures that we learn the most.

Reflecting on our own individual failures is what will drive us forward and keep us from those same failures.

Not only will it show you how to move on and pick back up, but it lets you know if you’re meant for entrepreneurship. If you fail and decide not to move forward, then maybe it’s not for you. Because all entrepreneurs have failed in some way or another, and it’s in those moments of character building a force to drive you forward that will land you to those ultimate goals.

Getting rid of the doubts

If you’ve got a vision or idea for a business, then you truly just need to go for it. It’s when we start to hesitate that doubts will start to trickle into our minds, and make it that much harder to start.

It’s like anything right? Think about when you were a kid and you were ready to dive into the pool. If you just ran and jumped, there was less hesitation. Almost no hesitation. But when you thought about it, dipped your toe in the water… it made you much more nervous to get in.

Starting a business or starting anything can be nerve wrecking, but the less you think about it, and just go for it, the easier it will be.

Keys to success

Success isn’t just about making money, it’s how you carry yourself on the journey to making your goals and dreams happen.

If you’re making money, and everyone hates you… that may not be considered success.

For Minh, success is a combination of a few different things.

  • Loving what you do

  • Having a support system

  • Creating an environment that you love and feel creative in

Minh also encourages all new entrepreneurs to have a plan. What is the end goal and what are you truly trying to achieve? With so many new businesses failing within a year, having a solid foundation and plan is something that will help your business during the tough times.

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