As they say ‘Hindsight is always 20/20’, you become only a better person by taking some time and having a look at what you have done in your recent past. The past actions of a man make him wiser for the future. After choosing the path of entrepreneurship at a very young age, even before knowing what it was called, I wanted to take some time, have a look at my past and detail out what I have learned from my past, and the things I wish I knew earlier about Young entrepreneurship. The past is the only best teacher everyone has got.
As Entrepreneurship isn’t a cut-piece deal, you only learn pretty much on the way. Thinking that one has everything figured out before starting up is one of the most common myth among the many young entrepreneurs I have met. But the truth is that many of the now success trajectories of entrepreneurs learned lessons later in their life that they wished they had known as they were entering into the entrepreneurship field.
As myself being a Young Entrepreneur and to all those of you fellow young entrepreneurs, below are some advice I would like to share from my past experiences, and I hope it helps you.
Nail down that ‘Target Niche’
Everything is about the niche. Your target audience is who is going to make or break your company. Having figured out your target niche earlier would be a boon for your business. When I started out, I didn’t quite was concerned about figuring out a target niche. I was checking out for myself if the ‘Build it and they will come‘ doesn’t really work or does it.
Even if you can’t figure it out in the beginning, build a flexible system where you can scale easily in the future and not effecting your current customers or clients.
One great example of utilizing this strategy to its best is Instagram. Yes, the one that got acquired for $1 billion. Instagram started out as a social network app, initially branded as ‘Burbn’. Photos and sharing was only a feature inbuilt into this app. Only that was when its founders noticed that their users were more engaged on photo sharing, when they went mainstream. Re-branded as Instagram and became a photo sharing network.
Focus on the Good
When I started out, I was concentrating more on becoming a jack of all trades. Never, never do try to be the jack of all trades. I went all into this field, and trying to learn everything and do everything. I felt like I was being pulled in a million different directions and lose focus in the long run.
Simple advice here, focus on what you are good at, and become the best at it. Instead of getting bogged down by mastering an art you were never supposed to do, focus on what you are good at.
“When I first started out, I wasn’t good at anything. I accidentally focused all my efforts into learning 1 thing… Internet marketing. After a year or so I got so good at it that I was able to start a company that offered marketing services.
By doing one thing really well, you’ll be able to make a career out of it. And if you get really good at that one thing, you can actually make a ton of money doing it.”
Little is the new Big
One of the other big mistakes that I made while I took a dive into entrepreneurship was ignoring the average joe’s and working on the A-list. As being a technology writer, and author, I was always inspired by A-list writers like Om Malik, Gina Trapani, Kara Swisher and I always wanted to get into their heads.
One thing that I would like to convey is that never concentrate on impressing the industry celebrities (Every industry has one), instead hunt down the average joe. Build something for the masses, not for impressing industry leaders. Majority of these celebrities won’t care about you, unless you are the next Elon Musk.
They are already busy and probably won’t have the time to at least remember you. So, focus your energy on building your relationship with the average Joe’s.
A tip of advice from Neil again here:
“The average Joe makes up the masses, and when they speak the celebrities listen”
When a lot of these average Joe start talking, celebrities would themselves take note of you.
Although somehow I have made a close acquaintance with Robert Scoble of Scobleizer, and the good thing being that he approached me for getting known better, instead of me bogging him. All I would tell is do your thing, do solve problems, care more about the average Joe and you are good to go.
Ask for Help
This thing – ‘Help!’, I’ve never quite understood very well. I happen to be more of an introvert and I like to think on the problems and find my way through the situation. I never quite liked the notion of troubling someone with my problems and I usually tend to never ask out for help.
Sometimes help from your close connections – Your parents, your family, your friends also matter a lot. In the very beginning I used to neglect advice from my close connections, saying “Yeah, what do you know about entrepreneurship, you’re still here”. After I changed my this cocky attitude, it helped me save my business.
Ask out for help and never fear to reach out to the people who matter the most to you. You never know, they might just have the right solution you are looking for. This reminds me a famous quote:
“If you never ask, the answer will always be NO.”
Be shameless and feel free to trouble your connections to just ring in the solution to your problem. And never forget what someone has done for you, no matter what level you are at.
Never be Satisfied
This kind of seems as a metaphor, but no figures of speech here, I’m serious. In the world of entrepreneurship, get ready to forget satisfaction. According to me ,satisfaction is a full stop for entrepreneurs. The moment you are satisfied, you stop right there.
There is no trying in entrepreneurship. You just can’t fail at something, pat your back that at least you tried and move on. There is only success and failure, there’s no trying. Even if there is failure, learn from them, correct it, and get back on track, the sooner the better.
Greed is good in the field of entrepreneurship. Not the greed for more money, but the greed for improving yourselves more. The greed for becoming a better person than what you were yesterday.
Don’t be too hard on yourselves
The bad thing about myself is that I am a very hard person to please. I have my high expectations, and sometimes even I don’t manage to fit in it.
What is more common among young entrepreneurs is that they tend to get bogged down by self-doubt or self-criticism. All you need during these times is a break. Instead of being a negative wallow don’t let your thoughts take up your mind and grind down your output.
Nicole, a serial entrepreneur says:
“You’re not going to be working at 100% all of the time, you’ve got to be aware of that. If you don’t have that sense of flow, take some downtime, give yourself a bit of space.”
Don’t let procrastination rule your mind, instead engage yourselves in fun activities and remember that this is not the end.
This is what I once read in a book by Paramahansa Yogananda:
“Remain calm, serene, always in command of yourself. You will then find out how easy it is to get along.”
Finally, Avoid the risk of not trying
There is nothing more daunting than feeling the guilt of not having trying in the first place. Don’t let your later part of life thinking ‘I wish I had..’.
Tim Westergren, the founder of Pandora gives the following piece of wonderful advice to young people planning to starting up:
“To realize from an early age that it’s far more haunting to live with the regret of having not followed your instincts–even when those instincts required a diversion from the beaten path–than to have followed your gut and failed.
Be sure to ‘notice’ ideas when you have them. Stop. Take the time to consider them seriously. And if your gut tells you they’re compelling, be fearless in their pursuit. For most people, the idea of chasing a personal passion or being entrepreneurial is simply something they don’t think of themselves doing. We’re so programmed to walk well-trodden paths. But, we live life only once. So, rather than avoiding the risk of trying, avoid the risk of not trying. Nothing is more haunting than thinking, ‘I wish I had…’.”
That was me, what about you? What are the things that you wish you knew earlier prior to entering the field of entrepreneurship? Shout out your thoughts and comments below.