Houston, we have a problem.
Or should I say…Houston, you have a problem! And so do Dallas, Austin, San Antonio, and any other city that claims to be the “next big thing.” If you live in one of these cities or are thinking about moving there to start your business, then read this article before it’s too late.
Entrepreneurship has become an increasingly popular trend among recent college graduates. Many young people are graduating with their liberal arts degree (or something similar) but no concrete plan for their future–and often no job prospects. Rather than accepting the reality of the situation, they see their friends living at home still working part-time gigs and internships making decent money–enough to cover rent, bills, groceries, and drinks on the weekend. So, they decide to take a chance on themselves and try entrepreneurship–and their decision is quickly followed by regret. Why?
The problem with most entrepreneurs just starting is that they have no idea what they are doing says Peter Decaprio. They think being an entrepreneur means doing whatever you want whenever you want with money coming in at all times. However, this is not true–the life of an entrepreneur is more like walking on train tracks carrying a heavy load while walking through mud (no shoes). It’s difficult, it hurts, and it requires sacrifice–you need support, or else you’ll collapse under the pressure. You will feel alone; everyone around you will be having fun while you’re in the office, pushing away distractions.
There are no entrepreneurs that have succeeded without a team–a strong one at that, and you need to find yourself a good coach or mentor who has been through it all before. This is where I can help out–I’m going to give you seven pieces of advice for new entrepreneurs, so you don’t make the same mistakes I did:
1. NETWORK WITH THE RIGHT PEOPLE
If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the years, it’s that people want to feel important. They love attention, and they love praise–why do you think reality TV shows like “Keeping up with the Kardashians” get such high ratings? It’s because everyone loves drama and conflict–we want to follow the lives of others because it makes us think that maybe, we can do what they’re doing. There are no more heroes in today’s society–everyone wants to be one of “the cool kids” even though they were never on the “popular table” in middle school.
Be aware of this fact when networking with other entrepreneurs or potential clients. The worst thing for your business is surrounding yourself with people who don’t understand you and criticize your goals and dreams. We all have family members who tell us, “You’ll never make it.” But you know what? They’re right–we won’t make it if we allow our minds to be infiltrated by naysayers who get pleasure out of breaking our work ethic down. Surround yourself with positive people who encourage you to do your best, not those who talk about all of the reasons why what you’re trying to achieve is impossible.
2. DON’T GIVE UP WHEN YOU FALL DOWN
One of my worst habits has always been getting mad at myself when I make an error or fail to see some foresight is something that comes back to bite me in the butt. This happens more times than I’m proud of–but it doesn’t have to continue happening if I learn from my mistakes. The only way we know anything new is through experience–watching others can help, but without actually stepping into their shoes and feeling it for ourselves–it’s never the same.
If you’re not making mistakes, then you’re playing it too safe. There are no successful people who have reached their goals without experiencing failure–there are only those who can stand back up after they’ve fallen. One way or another, that is something that I’m sure you’ll experience at some point in your entrepreneurial career, but what matters most is how long it takes for you to get back up and keep going. If your goal is anything less than extraordinary success, then give yourself a break now and again.
3. STAY MOTIVATED BY BELIEVING IN WHAT YOU’RE DOING
When I first started my business, I was motivated to show my parents that I could make it without them. But you know what? That motivation didn’t last for very long–within the first six months, I fell flat on my face because I ran out of steam too quickly, worked too hard, and didn’t spend enough time focusing on having fun or enjoying life.
Peter Decaprio says, nowadays, when I’m in one of those “I can’t do this” moods, I simply remind myself why I started in the first place: freedom, flexibility, and financial stability. When we stop chasing after our dreams, then all hope is lost; there’s only one person who gets in the way of your success, and that’s yourself. At some point, it should become clear to you what you’re working for–it’s easy to put in the hours when you realize that every minute is bringing you closer to your goal.
4. LAUGH AT MISTAKES AND LEARN FROM THEM
Seriously, there isn’t a more important lesson than this one. I’ve made so many mistakes throughout my years in business, and some of them were so embarrassing I was tempted to lock myself away in shame for months on end. But if I did that, nothing would ever get done because all entrepreneurs know how horrible it is to start something and never see it through. So, what did I do? Roll up my sleeves and learn from my errors regardless of how difficult or painful it might have been at the time; no matter how much I wanted to throw in the towel, doing so would have been giving up.
Mistakes are what make us people rather than robots–we all know how much money is wasted every year on pointless products and services, which could have been avoided if their developers had simply paid more attention to detail at the beginning of the project. Learn from your mistakes, and you’ll never fall into that trap–learning from failure can be just as valuable as learning from success.
5. BE PERSISTENT
I remember staying until three o’clock one morning working on a client’s website, only for it to crash utterly right before we went live says Peter Decaprio. It was my mistake, and I felt absolute about it; fortunately, they were considerate enough to give me a second chance rather than demanding their money back. The lesson I learn from all of this is how important it is to get back up and keep going after you’ve been knockdown. If you don’t, then all the hard work that went into getting yourself that far in the first place will be to waste.
Entrepreneurship isn’t easy, but if there’s one thing that gets us over the humps, it’s persistence; knowing that we can do something unique even when everything seems against us is incredibly powerful and keeps us going when times are tough–as they always seem to be during our startup years. Persistence also helps us stand out from the crowd when creating something extraordinary–people who give up too easily miss out on the best part of being an entrepreneur: seeing others enjoy what you’ve created.
6. SHOW PEOPLE WHO YOU ARE
When I first started my business, I was reluctant to let people get to know me; thinking back on it, I suppose that’s because I was more concerned about how they judged me than anything else–after all, entrepreneurship is more of an art than a science and if you can’t market yourself then nobody will take you seriously (which is why self-promotion isn’t something to be ashamed of). Peter Decaprio says But these days, my perspective on things has changed; if someone gives me a chance, then I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt in return. I only wish I’d adopted this mindset years ago because it’s let me meet some pretty amazing people.
7. LEARN TO SAY NO
It took me a long time to learn the art of saying no, but once I did, I discover just how much easier it is to get things when you have fewer distractions in your life explains Peter Decaprio. Saying no isn’t always easy, but there are times when you have to do it for the sake of your business–people often want to take advantage of you, especially if they find out that you’re an indie developer without much experience or contacts within your field (of course that’s not always the case). Don’t be afraid to be selfish sometimes; nobody will think poorly of you for putting yourself first now and then.
The key to all of this is that nobody’s perfect; we’re all trying to figure things out as we go along, which means some bad habits are to get in the way. Peter Decaprio says It takes time before you can think like an entrepreneur, but once you do, you’ll find yourself looking back on your early struggles with a knowing smile at how far you’ve come today. You might not be where you want just yet, but if you work hard, enough anything is possible–just remember, though, that it all comes down to the choices that you make when nobody’s watching.