Randi Zuckerberg, former Facebook Director of Market Development once coined the entrepreneur’s dilemma: Work, Sleep, Family, Fitness, or Friends: Pick 3. When I first read this I was knee-deep working in my 2nd startup environment, this time as a founding member and investor, my youngest child was 6 months old and nothing seemed more accurate than this.
Being a Founder, entrepreneur or business owner can be a really thrilling experience but as good as the highs are, the lows can be fraught with anxiety, pressure and doubt. I’ve worked in the startup world for almost a decade as a Founder, investor and business leader and have experienced my fair share of ups and downs. Here are the top things I’ve learned that I wish I knew early on in the journey.
#1 Surround yourself with people who have different strengths than you – it’s really hard to let go when you’re a business owner or Founder. But it’s really key to bring people on board the journey with you that you trust and who have different strengths – it’s not possible to be an expert in everything.
#2 Coming from corporate is a great background to have – I often speak to people who are paralysed by the thought that they can’t start something because they “don’t have start-up experience”. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Corporate environments teach you structure, accountability and strategy. All very important when going out on your own.
#3 Always include fitness as one of your 3 – a healthy body is a healthy mind and at the end of the day if you don’t have your health, nothing else matters anyway. Also, there’s nothing quite like sweating out a shitty day.
#4 Express yourself – this is so important within your inner circle of friends and family. Startups are hard and it’s not healthy to bottle up your stress and anxiety. It’s really important to vent to someone. I admit, this is something that is very hard for me to do as I always want to seem in control but trust me, you’ll feel better and your relationships will be better if you do this.
#5 This too shall pass – and by this I mean the good and the bad. It’s really important to never become complacent in the startup space. When things are running smoothly and everything is firing, more than likely something will derail – a copycat business launches, someone resigns or a deal falls through. And similarly, when things are just not going your way, eventually with hard work and determination, the gears will shift.