You made it!
You have got past your initial fears. You have got the tools you need. You have made headway into creating your own business.
Maybe you have already thrown off the shackles of the 9 to 5, maybe you haven’t. Either way you can count yourself as an entrepreneur, a risk taker and business shaker!
I really do hope that you haven’t given up, because even after starting up your own business things can still be difficult.
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If you think that once you have got your fledgling business off the mark that things will get easy, then wake up!
Like life there are good times and bad times in the business world and how you cope with those will determine how successful you will be in the long term.
If there is one facet of human nature that seems to shine most brightly in entrepreneurs, it is persistence.
This ability to keep going through the highs and lows of start-up life, working through the failures and ignoring the naysayers, is paramount to success.
If something doesn’t work out, pivot and change direction or start again.
No, don’t skip breakfast or lunch, those are important meals, but stay hungry in a business sense.
Keep the financial aspect of your business tight, and keep your dreams in view.
Being a lean business will make sure that complacency doesn’t happen, because when you are complacent you can easily miss the mark with things, whether it’s a new angle on a niche market, a new idea for a product, etc.
And keeping your dreams as a focal point will help you get up in the morning and face the day’s challenges.
If you are at this point, then you should already know that there is no magic formula, no push button success. It is still worth re-stating though: there are no shortcuts, only hard work and perseverance will get you there.
In the last article I covered some aspects of time management, and this will always be an issue, as we cannot bank or get time back.
One of the absolute best ways to save time is to learn to say no. No I cannot have that ten minute chat (because they always turn into 1 hour chats), no I cannot take on more work, no I do not need to spend time making something that I can buy for $20.
It is also important to remember that nothing happens instantly. Growing your business is not an overnight thing.
I bet you have read about all those start up comings that have popped up “overnight”? Well the next time you read something like that, replace overnight with “2-5 years of blood, sweat and tears”.
That’s the reality of it.
The Devil is in the Details
Even now you must not get caught up in minutia, which is something I always struggle with. Finding the perfect font for your blog, the perfect color scheme for your app, or any of the fiddly things, are just not worth it.
For the most part people want information or functionality when they buy something, so as long as it doesn’t look downright ugly people will deal with.
The only exception to this is when testing things like landing pages. Even then you must be careful not to get too sucked in.
Just consider that while you spent three hours finding a floral background for your site, you could have written two lots of sales copy of closed a deal with a local business.
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Don’t Think. Do!
Take action is a mantra that I constantly use, both to myself and to newbies seeking advice.
No matter where you are in your journey, this is good advice. There are always times where you think and keep on thinking about something, failing to take action.
If you have an idea, don’t think, do! Create a minimum viable product, create some basic marketing or landing pages to gauge interest, do something that will help validate this idea of yours.
Regardless of whether you have an actual product or are marketing other people’s products, people are (potential) customers – treat them as such.
In fact, treat them as VIPs. Give them your all.
Provide them with the most interesting of articles, and tutorials and guides. Provide them with feature rich products. Give customer service that is so good, that they will sing your praises afterwards.
Without people you don’t have a business, never forget that.
Entrepreneurship is risky, stressful, wonderful, freeing and crazy.
To get to the stage where you are calling the shots is an achievement in itself.
The best advice I can give you is to keep pushing forward, to keep striving for your goals and to learn from everything including your mistakes.
While I know this little series of articles has not covered every base, I hope that they have at least provided you with grounding in the realities and issues that occur when you become an entrepreneur.