8 hard learned lessons for startup entrepreneurs

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There’s much more to being a startup entrepreneur than just having a good idea – in fact, many entrepreneurs consider their choices around how they work and make an income to be a distinct way of life.

If being an entrepreneur is the path you’d like to take, it’s important that you follow in the footsteps of those who have done it successfully before you whether you are an agency that offers web design Glasgow or just a small local retailer then learning from the success of others will help you achieve your goals..

Here are 8 of the most hard learned lessons successful entrepreneurs cite as being essential for those hoping to live the same lifestyle:

Understand that there are going to be long hours

There’s no successful entrepreneur on the planet who got to where they are without some serious hard work – and from the outset that hard work is going to come with some serious hours.

The reason is simple, there’s an almost infinite amount of work that’s going to need to be done if you want your business to fly – so opting for a 30 hour week instead of a 60 hour week is really just rolling your workload into tomorrow.

Doing so is fine, but understand that you’re also rolling any result way beyond tomorrow too.

Have the right attitude every day

To make it as an entrepreneur you’re going to have to get out of bed every morning ready to defy the odds – as majority of small startups won’t make it, and it’s often because of a lacking attitude.

It’s useful to have some goals, daily, weekly, annually and even on a longer basis. Break those goals down into manageable chunks and ask yourself, even if it’s on an hour by hour basis, if you want to take a step toward or away from that goal.

Perfection never comes

There are very very few businesses that have started with the perfect product and seen success from day 1. Look at Facebook, Google or even more traditional brands like Nike or Adidas – they did not start with a perfect product, they started with an innovative product that has developed over a number of years to become the industry leader today.

If you strive for perfection then you’re going to spend a lot of time at the drawing board and very little time bringing money and feedback in.

Make the minutes count

Remember we said you’re going to have to put the long hours in to see the results you’re dreaming about? Well, those hours can either add up or escape in the most unexpected places. Take a bit of well-meaning procrastination for example:

10 minutes spent socially on Facebook each day adds up to 70 minutes a week. 52 weeks of casual Facebook browsing equals 3,640 minutes each year – or, in more simple terms, around 60 hours. That’s an additional full working week that you could be spending working on your business – and we shouldn’t pretend that social media is the only distraction too.

Be aware of where your minutes go – then work on harnessing them for the good of your business.

Think lessons, not mistakes

There are countless entrepreneurs who have fallen at the first, very avoidable, hurdle – dwelling on failure.

If you become fixated on failure you’ll beat yourself up and hesitate when the time comes to take action again, instead, get into the habit of journaling what you’ve learned when something goes wrong.

If you can pull some value from a ‘mistake’ then it’s no longer a mistake – and, as cliched as it might sound, it’s just a lesson that you can apply to your future plans.

Prioritise your own well-being

If you’re familiar with motorsport you’ll know about ‘pitstops’ – when the car or bike takes a pause from the race to refuel, tweak settings, adjust strategy – and so forth.

You need pitstops too – perhaps daily, perhaps monthly, perhaps annually – everyone’s different, but continue to put your all into the race when there’s no fuel in the tank and you’ll find yourself exhausted and unable to continue – or worse still, under the impression you can continue but performing at a much reduced level.

Keep some awareness of your mood, your productivity levels and motivation. If you find they’re slipping it might be time to do something that puts some fuel back in the tank.

Understand there are no magic bullets

If there really was ‘one weird trick’ that got you anything in life we’d be overrun by multi-millionaire entrepreneurs at every turn – and the fact we’re not should lead you to understand that there’s no one thing you can do that’s going to make you a success overnight – weird or not.

Starting a business or being an entrepreneur becomes a success when you learn to keep dozens – if not hundreds – or metaphorical plates spinning, and as the person at the top of the business, you should have all of them in your sight.

In fact, if there’s one piece of advice that trumps all others, it’s understanding that there are no shortcuts, you path is going to be long and difficult – and if it were any other way, everyone would be on it.

Do what you’re good at

Every entrepreneur has a set of strengths – and an equal, if not larger list of weaknesses. If you think you’re good at everything then you likely to be massively undervaluing your time in certain areas.

It’s really important that you identify elements of your roll that only you can do – and if something can be picked up by someone who isn’t required to have your level of knowledge, let them do it. Perhaps you could take on another member of staff? Or if funds don’t allow for that, perhaps there are freelance contractors who would work on a casual ‘as needed’ basis.

There are some extremely talented people out there who can be brought in to the business on your terms, from social media experts to admin staff – make the most of them, and make the most of your time.

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