I have been in the business of business for seven years now – sure, it’s not incredibly long, but at the same time, I’m not that incredibly old either.
Regardless of how old or young you may be, when founding a startup and running it, you’ll always come up against the same issues. It doesn’t change with age because just about everything to do with entrepreneurship is completely out of the entrepreneur’s hands.
Okay, maybe not everything, but enough to make our endeavors basically unpredictable until tested. What this means is that regardless of whether this is your first time at the rodeo or if you’re a veteran, you’ll still be dealing with these 25 realities:
1. You’re going to fail over and over again – it’s not going to feel good any of those times.
2. Getting up in the morning isn’t always easy. It may have been in the beginning, but it’s been over a year and you still haven’t gotten it quite right.
3. Your ideas are only good ideas if people are willing to pay for those ideas. No matter how great you may think something is, if it’s not making money, then it’s not a good business.
4. Sometimes you have to kill your baby. You worked very hard to get your company to where it is, but unfortunately, the road ends here.
5. Starting something you don’t believe in is guaranteed to bring you one thing: failure.
6. You should wait for the right idea, but you shouldn’t wait for the right time to launch that idea. The right time to launch any startup doesn’t actually exist.
7. Approximately 99% of the time, your product or service won’t take off from day one. It takes several iteration cycles to get anything just right.
8. There are always improvements to be made – whether to the product/service or business as a whole.
9. Hiring the right people is key, but unfortunately it isn’t easy finding those individuals. Most people are schmucks – and they’re not afraid to apply for jobs they aren’t actually qualified for.
10. Your first round of employees are, more than likely, going to be horrible. Even if they are your friends.
11. Money isn’t as good a motivator as most would think. What really matters is that employees are doing a job that they believe matters and needs to be done in order to make a difference.
12. Building a business solely around the goal of making money is the fastest way to fail. Being passionate about money isn’t enough to be a successful entrepreneur.
13. You should never be afraid of failing. On the contrary, you should fail as often as humanly possible – just never make the same mistake twice.
14. Without a solid team behind you, you will fail and you will do so miserably. The employees make the company.
15. Everyone has opinions, but in the end you are the captain and the ship must head in the direction that you believe it should head. Listening to others only allows you to push the blame of failure onto others.
16. Your personal life is going to suffer. Although, if you’re doing what you ought to be doing then you probably don’t notice too often.
17. A partner is likely to be one of two things: the best decision you’ve ever made or the worst decision you’ve ever made.
18. Dating while running a company is difficult. More often than not, both the relationship and the business suffer.
19. Unhealthy habits all of a sudden become incredibly appealing to you. Keeping away from them will be difficult, but it can be done.
20. You’re more than likely to lose contact with many of your friends, which can be especially tough when you could use the extra support – you’ll need it sooner or later.
21. Your days are basically scheduled from the moment you wake up to the moment you go back to sleep. There isn’t much room for flexibility either because you’ll fall behind.
22. Success is subjective. A winner is only a winner when he decides he’s a winner.
23. When you’re working your way up, trying to make it, people will tell you that it won’t work – that you won’t succeed.
24. When you do succeed, these same people become jealous of your success and believe that you somehow cheated. They blame their failures on you.
25. Once you get a taste of entrepreneurial success, don’t expect to ever retire. It’s a bug that’s hard to get rid of.