If you can make it past the drawing board and actually make it happen, startups can be one of the most exhilarating experiences of your life. They have their ups and downs but it takes a special kind of soul to push through the pain and make it happen. Here are five lessons that I have learned from working in this space.
1) You need a good team- There is absolutely no way you can become rich without a team around you holding you up. That doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t run your business on your own but know that you will need the emotional support of your employees and the special people in your life such as friends and family. There will be really highs, that you will want to celebrate and really lows that you will need a shoulder to lean on.
2) You need more money than you think- the money goes fast, very fast. It will go a lot faster than you budget. There will be cost overruns for things like marketing and advertising that you didn’t account for. Make sure you setup an emergency fund or find a way to fill the shortfall. With entrepreneurship you have to go all out. Cash out all you have and then some. It is better to fail and have to pick yourself up then spend every day wondering what if. Speculation about what could have been is very dangerous and harmful. You never want to be in that arena. When I started the e-commerce platform, Framestr.com , our money went at close to 3x the speed that we predicted.
3) Keep Healthy- While you may be sleep deprived and have no other choice, it is not something to celebrate. Sleep deprivation is worn as a sort of badge of honour in our society and I don’t personally prescribe to that school of belief. Make sure you are at least taking a multi-vitamin for those days when you also can’t eat well. It is a sort of insurance policy. If your health goes, nothing else matters. Health is the ultimate currency and you or your business can’t operate without it. Be mindful of that.
4) Work hard- You’re going to have to work 24-7 and multi-task at new levels. There is no way around hardwork. Anyone who did anything amazing worked their butt off to get there. Quality over Quantity. Manage your time and push through. Pick two things in your life that you won’t give up such as exercise and then the rest have to go. If you want to do something no one else has done before you have to work harder than you have ever worked.
5) Don’t get discouraged- Almost everyone is going to say no, especially if you are introducing something disruptive in any manner. All you need is one person to say yes. Don’t get argumentative. Thank investors, customers etc for their time and move on. In the end, going for your dream is worth anything.