Every year, I have the privilege of engaging with thousands of people around the world, as they embark on a unique journey to develop their very first startup. In this day and age, it’s no secret that launching a startup is one of the most arduous undertakings one can pursue. As a former startup founder, I know all too well how difficult the path of innovation, product market fit, team cohesion, and scaling can be. However, as a former startup founder, I also know that it can be an incredibly worthwhile and life-altering adventure, if you let it be.
Rather than publish another “Crap! This is really freakin’ hard!” article emphasizing how not-fun and not-easy entrepreneurship is, I decided to take a different approach. Below are eight quotes and tidbits of wisdom to help entrepreneurs approach their journey with a bit more optimism and perspective. And trust me, you’re going to need it.
Startups Are Worthwhile
You have to remember that startups are a worthwhile pursuit. It’s going to be an incredibly hard undertaking, but it’s totally worth it! The opportunity to solve long-standing and far-reaching problems, create things that never were, make a massive impact, positively change lives, and push our society forward. The possibilities are endless and the experience is priceless.
Appreciate the Process
Be patient people – with yourself and with others. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and in order for you to build the company of your dreams, you’re going to need to become the person that is capable of leading such a company, and that takes time. Some things happen when you want them to, and some things happen when they’re supposed to. Learn to trust the process.
Always Do Your Best
Yes, things aren’t always going to go smoothly. Yes, you may be questioning where you are right now, but do remember that it is critical you give your all to what this moment right now is requiring. You never know which experience may be that big break, so treat them all as though something great can come of it. Expect that good things will happen, and align your actions to be ready to receive them.
Invest in Relationships
A startup is a business, and a business is operated by people, and in order for your business to succeed, you have to be good at enlisting, investing in, and supporting others in their own personal journeys. There is no one who’s gotten to where they are on their own, so turn down that Beyonce “Me, Myself, and I” track, and go out and invest in building great relationships.
Keep it “100”
Why do it, if it doesn’t serve who you truly are? Sure we all make concessions at times to fit in and be accepted, but it’s up to you to decide where you draw the line. Who am I, really? What do I sincerely want? Get clear on those answers and choose to pursue ventures and work in places that align to that. Afterall, what’s the point of being here, if you’re not at least going to allow yourself to fully enjoy it by being the person you really are.
Now that you’ve gained a bit of clarity on who you are (and also who you’re not), it’s time to act. There’s no point in knowing, if you’re not going to act on that knowledge, so buck up, speak words, and carry out actions that align to your authentic self.
This comes into play most when you start questioning your choices. Am I 100% sure this strategy will work? Am I positive this is the best person to hire? Am I sure this is the right investor to partner with? None of us can predict the future, but you can do your best to make a decision based off what information you have in this moment. Accept that there is only so much you can know at a given time, and trust in your decisions at that time.
Take Personal Responsibility
At one point or another, things are going to hit the fan – it’s called life and it happens to all of us (sorry I didn’t write the rules; I’m just a messenger). A competitor may beat you to the punch, launching a feature your team has been working on for several months, a personal emergency may arise that requires you to step away from work for longer than you’d ever want to, or a key team member may leave, deciding this is no longer the path they want to pursue. Whatever the situation, recognize the power you do have to decide how you react to that situation.
As an entrepreneur, it can often times feel as though building a business is a never-ending cycle of obstacles to overcome. Sure it can be seen this way, or it can be seen as continual opportunities for personal growth and expansion. How you see it is your decision to make. Ultimately, life happens to all of us; it’s how we react to life that differs.
Know of any more great quotes or advice that should be shared? Add them in the comments section below.