So you started a business. It’s labeled a startup because it’s still in its early stages of being a business. You’re passionate about what you’re doing or what you’re selling, and you intend to ride out every negative and positive wave you meet along your journey. While you’re fully aware that it’s far easier said than done, every single bone in your body is pushing you to get it done; for that reason, you’re confident things will work out in due time.
However, during your journey you meet face to face with obstacle after obstacle. Everywhere you look there are issues, conflicts, and crises at your corner. Fires to be put out. Relationships to salvage. Projects to complete. Unreachable deadlines to meet.
Welcome to the life of a startup entrepreneur – and that’s only half of it.
As you face these challenges, it’s going to be paramount that you constantly remind yourself that you’re not alone; that there have been plenty of bright startup business leaders that came before you, and that there will be even more that come after you.
Furthermore, because you are not alone in this perpetual grind, it will behoove you to learn from those that have succeeded (and failed) years before you began your startup. Along your quest, you can begin with these five inspirational lessons for all startup entrepreneurs for guidance and reassurance.
1) Success requires a lot of things most of the time, but it requires confidence and decisiveness all of the time.
In order to live like the 1%, you have to be superior in your business, otherwise everyone would be able to succeed and reach an infinite level of luxury. Some people blend confidence and decisiveness and equate the two to ruthlessness. The term might have a negative connotation, but the parameters that make up the term consist of ideas that are logical and absolute.
For example, being ruthless can be understood as exerting confidence and possessing the capacity to make quick decisions based on your gut. To a plethora of business leaders, the act of being ruthless is wholly justifiable. This concept can be supported by a business leader’s need to drive a company’s vision, protect the company, and overcome adversity.
In order to be ruthless you need to tap into the part in your brain that set you off on your course to becoming a startup entrepreneur in the first place: the confidence to dream big.
2) You have to take risks in order to succeed. No one says you have to swing for the fences, per se… But you do have to swing.
One of the most common debates in all of business is whether you should be prudent and calculated or aggressive and fast. The issue with this debate is that the two approaches aren’t binary; they overlap in a multitude of ways. Startups can grow quickly through prudent decision making. The idea of something like that not being feasible is a false inference.
The main takeaway is this: Whether you want to accomplish a small project or an enormous project, whether you want to rollout a minor iteration to your product or a complete overall, whether you want to sharpen your organization’s design – none of it really matters as long as you’re moving forward. What matters most is that you are making decisions and making progress with your business.
According to TimeManagementNinja, it’s all about getting three important things done per day. Plans change in too frequent of sequences, but if you can structure your days around items that are important to your progress, you will be confident, decisive, calculated, and efficient with your time. In other words, why care for monthly plans if they’re always going to change? Keep pushing day by day and you’ll get there.
Think of the metaphor regarding a car’s headlights. When you drive a car, its lights can only present a opening of clear vision a few mere feet ahead. But as you keep driving, the car’s lights will continue to show you a few feet ahead of every point the vehicle reaches. You can’t see miles ahead; you can only keep going and see where the road takes you, feet by feet.
3) Failure is a part of business. It might sound like a cliche, but it’s the truth. Once you recognize that failure is probable, not possible, you’ll be able to make the decisions that really count.
Here’s the short list of a few key individuals who have experienced failures as business leaders prior to creating successes, according to SmallBizTrends:
- Jeff Bezos created the failed online auction startup zShops in conjunction with Amazon.
- Evan Williams created the failed podcast platform Odeo before co-founding Twitter.
- Seth Goldman experienced numerous failed companies prior to building Honest Tea.
4) Surround yourself with positive people. The importance of optimism in business cannot be understated.
Gabriele Oettingen, a professor of psychology at New York University, states that optimistic people are more likely to invest, act and put effort into achieving whatever it is that they want to get done. She even goes as far to say that “High optimism will predict high effort and success.”
Therefore, don’t settle for creating an echo chamber within your company of people who think about things the same way you do. Reach out to optimistic prospects and see if you can incorporate their energy into your workflow.
5) Be proud of your work. Your pride is your “Why” and your business is your “What.” One cannot coexist without the other if your mission is to succeed.
Your Why will guide you to fulfillment. It begins with your passion and the reason you’ve decided to incorporate your passion into your life’s work.
Find clarity, meaning, and fulfillment as you dissect your calling and begin to understand why you do what you do. Think about it this way: Through all the challenges that managing your own startup will bring, you will need to have an area in your mind that’s designed to feed you with inspiration to keep moving forward.
That inspiration is the fuel to your flame. It’s the gas to your startup engine. For many people, their Why has to do with their families, particularly for children of immigrant parents. For most people, their Why is making a positive impact on the environment and the world at large.
Be inspired and take ownership of your dreams. The world is yours for the taking. Keep these five inspirational lessons close to you as you embark on your journey and create something the world and all of its inhabitants will use to continue striving.