If you’re thinking about starting a company or going off on your own to be a soloprenuer, here’s a bit of advice I’ve gathered over the years through my various entrepreneurial ventures.
1.The buck stops with you
When you have partners or work in a company it’s easy to rely on others, use them as a support system or even as a scapegoat. (don’t do that) But when you’re your own boss there are no excuses. If you have a team, reward them for their successes and take credit or their failures. Never blame anyone else for what happens to your company — it’s your responsibility.
2. If you don’t work, you don’t eat
This is especially true if you’re a solorepreneur. You level of activity and more importantly, your productivity, is directly related to your income. If you’re not hustling every day to make the next sale, call the next prospect, or biz dev, you’ll be wondering where your next meal is coming from in no time.
3. There are no days off
Without sounding too “rah rah…work 24/7/365!” your business needs to be your top priority…especially in the first few years. Working nights and weekends is required, so get ready to skip a few parties, drinks with friends and happy hour celebrations. Learn to say no and keep your nose to the grindstone.
4. Hustle like someone is trying to take it all from you
Chances are you’re not entering a market with no competitors (if you are, you may want to reevaluate your business.) There’s always someone who’s smarter than you, has more connections, has more money to throw at the problem, etc. Use hard work to your advantage and outwork the competition.
5. Consistency is key
You don’t have to make huge strides every day but you do have to make progress. It’s easy to work at something for a week but can you work at something for 1, 2, 3 years without seeing a big return on your time and investment? That’s what’s required when starting/running a business. Stringing together 6 months of productive days is harder than you think.
6. Know what motivates you — what’s your WHY?
Maybe you want to buy a new house for your family or pay your child’s college tuition or maybe even quit your job. Determine your “why” before you start and use that as fuel for your fire to push you on the days you want to give up, throw in the towel and let your dreams go to die.
7. Don’t chase the money…you’ll lose
This probably should have been at the top of the list. If you’re chasing the money you’re going to lose…period. To be clear, revenue is the most important part of business, but you can’t let it drive you personally. If you do, you’ll never make enough and you’ll never be satisfied. Focus on providing the best product or service and the money will come naturally.
8. This isn’t for everyone
Not everyone is cut out to be an entrepreneur. It’s physically and mentally draining on a regular basis. There is risk, uncertainty, sleepless nights and extremely long hours. It’s not for the faint of heart and most people can’t handle it.
9. It’s a rollercoaster
There are good days and bad days. Sometimes there are good and bad hours in the same day. You may find that you’ve lost a key client and your best employee is quitting the same day. The beauty is that you never know what tomorrow is going to bring…but therein lies the curse.
10. Done is better than perfect
Perfection doesn’t exist so don’t try to achieve it. A good idea that is finished is always better than a great idea in a notebook or on your mind. You have the ability to change and adapt along the way so focus on getting your product or service out to the marketplace and make improvements as you go.
11. Pay yourself last
Your responsibility is to pay your employees and your bills. If there’s anything left over I suggest reinvesting it into the business to fuel growth. If you must take something, take as little as your need to put food on your table and keep the lights on.