The internet is full of startup advice for entrepreneurs. Articles claiming to help your turn a profit before your first year is up abound, but much of the advice is questionable at best. It takes a good scouring of the web to find unique nuggets of entrepreneurial wisdom. We’ve done the hard work for you; here are some of the most surreptitious tidbits for startup success out there.
You’re Going to be Isolated
We don’t mean to start this out on an unhappy note; but if you’re seriously considering starting your own business enterprise, you should know that you’ll be pretty lonely at first. When you’re an employee in a business, you have co-workers and work friends. There are work parties and post-shift drinks and commiseration. When you start off on your own, that all goes away. You may have a business partner, but that’s if you’re one of the lucky ones. You’ll understand that cocktails and post-work griping sessions were enjoyable things that you took for granted. Entrepreneurship can be a lonely road, no matter how much people like to deny it. This isolation will go away as your business grows, but being prepared for it is an essential step to the future success of your company.
You’re Not Going to Be (Materially) Wealthy
Most people who go into business for themselves envision themselves as the next Mark Zuckerberg or Elon Musk (you don’t have to be embarrassed; we get it). As much as we would like to see ourselves as fearless pioneers, skipping our way down the solid gold road to a billion dollar initial public offering (IPO), the reality is that entrepreneurship rarely leads to that level of lucrative wealth. Don’t approach entrepreneurship with the assumption that you’re going to be rich; you’re more likely to burn out that way.
It’s also important to recognize that achieving your (realistic) desired lifestyle will take time. Business owners work for years, sometimes decades, to get to a place where they’re really comfortable. It even took Mark Zuckerberg five years to make Facebook profitable. Some things simply can’t be changed by a plucky good attitude and a can-do spirit – though those things certainly help.
You Need To Define Success
In order to grow your business effectively, you need to think long and hard about what success means. When you think of business and success, you automatically think of your success, right? Wrong. Your business success is linked inextricably to your customers’ success. In other words, their success should be your primary focus.
What we mean by this is that you can’t just jump into the market without a strategic plan. What does your product or service do, specifically, to help your customer? How will it bring them value? Once you have the answers to these questions, you can articulate it back to other potential customers. Your clients need to have a good idea of how you can help them accomplish their goals. The more customers you help succeed, the more you establish yourself as a trusted industry expert – and a leader.
You Need to Recognize the Link between Your Personal and Professional Life
When you’re starting your own business, your personal and professional lives become one blurry, amorphous blob. You work until you head hits the keyboard, dead asleep; you may sneak naps in between service calls. Meals are drive-through concoctions of dubious quality and supersized vats of caffeine.
This may be fine in the short-term, but it’s not a sustainable lifestyle. If you skimp on your self-care, then it’s ultimately your work that’s going to suffer. You can’t execute high-quality work if you’re a shell. Carve out time for yourself: Exercise regularly, keep up with your preventive health care, eat reasonably, and get as much sleep as you can. This is ultimately easier said than done, so make attainable goals for yourself. A virtual phone system such as those offered by Booth can serve you wherever you are, allowing you to take care of yourself and your business at the same time.
Some of this advice is less-than-groundbreaking, but it’s wisdom worth sharing. Why? These are the details that most articles leave out. Your journey to business success is a long one, and it’s one that will likely take a hefty emotional and physical toll on your life. It’s also an endeavor that we think is well worth undertaking.
What about you? What must-have advice would you bestow upon budding entrepreneurs?