Entrepreneur Life. What nobody tells you
When I started my first international company I was in my late teens, and it’s safe to say that mostly I had no idea what to expect. As an entrepreneur, no two days are the same and routine seems to go out the window.
For those thinking about dipping their toes in the water and creating a start-up, here are a few things that no one may have told you yet.
1. You’ll tell your ‘story’ thousands of times
Your story is what makes you unique, so it pays to have clarity of thought and even a basic elevator type pitch that you can roll out whenever you are asked about yours. Whether the question is being asked by a journalist, an investor, or a potential client – be confident and own it. Make it personal. Fairweather, now 26, had a conservation starter ready to go in his first days of business.
I got my first business break specializing in ladies shoe wear. I partied with Valentino during St Tropez summers. That’s a conversation starter.
2. Public speaking becomes your best marketing tool
There are plenty of talented people out there trying to make a name for themselves and grow a successful start-up. What sets you apart is your passion and personality.
Be proactive in getting out there and talking to anyone who will listen. As the proverb goes, if you have something to say – say it (but that doesn’t mean you stop the 24/7 hustling!)
3. Remember normal friends?
Remember those people who just wanted to go to the movies and hang out? You might find your friendship circle will change.
Fortunately for me, most of my friends were in the same boat, running small businesses. For an idea to flourish, it helps to surround yourself with like-minded people.
4. You’ll find comfort in the chaos
You’ll need to become OK with mayhem pretty quickly. Adaptability is the key. Mentoring programs, members events, in-house and external business promotions, collaborations, active networking, reception duties… no two days are ever the same and it would be unnerving if they were. Wing it.
5. You’ll need to consider your mental health
It’s exhausting and that’s OK. The mental stimulation of doing what you love takes it out of you (I wouldn’t have it any other way) but you have to set aside time for yourself so you can keep hitting your goals. Don’t be afraid to ask for help if you’re suffering – we’ve all been there.
6. You can’t do it all on your own
Of course I can (you say) and no doubt you’ll try. You’ve done feasibilities, risk management, bought a building or organised a lease, got council approvals, worked on your interior design plan and been your own business development and marketing team.
When you start out, it’s necessary to take on many responsibilities, but being the jack-of-all-trades and master of none is not going to be the most efficient way to grow your business and get results. It’s OK to ask for help; in fact you’ll have no choice.
7. Gym goes out the window
As a former personal trainer, it’s safe to say I used to be a gym junkie. But within the first year of business, I was lucky if I got on a treadmill once a month. Walking to my car from the office became the pinnacle of my fitness routine. I realised too late that going to gym helped me clear my mind, as I used the time to think about the way I was approaching my goals.
Make sure you make time for you. Schedule it in your diary if you have to.
8. You’ll learn to enjoy a drink (though some may already have this one covered)
In my experience, some of the best ideas are hatched over beers and with one of our co-working spaces directly under a Japanese restaurant, how can you say no to a creative thinking session? Whether it’s diet coke or beer – it’s the same concept… it’s about networking more socially and getting to know those who can support you.
9. Your phone causes you anxiety
Just when you think everything is under control, the buzzing of a phone can make you hold your breath. What could you have possibly forgotten? You will find that your phone goes with you wherever you go and you become reliant on it. It holds your contacts, calendar schedule and ideas.
But remember a phone is just a phone – don’t let it give you anxiety and back up your information for extra piece of mind.
10. You’ll begin to understand how important purpose is
We all want to launch in and start immediately but if the foundation of your business isn’t there you’re just making an already chaotic choice of a career harder than it needs to be.
Don’t reach too broadly and lose sight of your purpose. What is the core of your business? At its heart, what are you trying to achieve?
My purpose in setting out was to empower people with the right support so they can do cool s#*t, find their own success and share that with the world. This purpose still rings true to me every day.
By Jock Fairweather.