Startup-up Life: 6 Secrets for Getting Through the Early Days : Under30CEO Startup-up Life: 6 Secrets for Getting Through the Early Days : Under30CEO
arrow
Join the Under30CEO Community We deliver tips, tools and inspiration for your business. Daily to your inbox.

Startup-up Life: 6 Secrets for Getting Through the Early Days

| October 1, 2013 | 10 Comments

perseverance-leadership

It can be easy to romanticize the life of a business founder and his or her early employees. The reality isn’t nearly as glamorous as it is made out to be. Very few of us jet set to meetings with venture capitalists only to return to loft-designed offices with sweeping skyline views.

Instead, the day-to-day work involved in building an early stage company is pretty grueling. All-nighters powered by coffee are often the norm, as are the missed contact with friends and family and the experience of extreme highs when something works followed by dramatic lows when a system breaks down.

Here are a few ways to get through those early days in one (sane) piece.

Secret #1: Be patient

You and your team have an idea for what will be the best product or service the market has ever seen. You spend days/weeks/months perfecting it. But when you go to market, it falls flat.

Have faith. As Ben Franklin once said, “He that can have patience can have what he will.” You can’t expect to put out your best work on the first try. Starting a business is a process—one that can take serious time and energy. Work hard and things will get better.

Secret #2: Commit

As member of an early-stage team, you are probably interested in a wide variety of business ideas. Maybe you’d like to start a bookstore, a management consulting firm, a construction company. Or all of the above. When deciding what type of company to start, go with the option that gets you the most excited, commit with a whole heart and don’t look back.

Try not to forget that commitment when the going gets tough. Realize (and try to embrace the fact) that your company will only survive if you and your team live, eat, breathe and sleep every single detail, especially in the early days. You can do it!

Secret #3: Embrace a smaller personal circle

Many of us have a large network of friends. We keep in touch with them on a regular basis with in-person dinners, text messages, calls and emails. But everything changes when you are a founder or employee in a company’s early stages and work takes over your life.

Especially in the first year or two of a company, it can be hard to find time to sleep, let alone schedule a lunch date with a friend. This can be distressing at first, but it is just part of the process. And in many cases, it can actually be a good thing. With less time to dedicate to personal matters, you will end up making selective choices on what friends to spend your time with. As a byproduct, your quality connections will float to the top of your radar.

Secret #4: Hire from your gut

The best startup employees are driven, flexible with their schedules, agreeable to a multitude of duties and, most importantly, insanely passionate about your business.

One more thing: They are also OK with getting paid below market rate—at least until your company hits the big time and is overflowing with cash.

These people are everywhere, but not always where you’d expect to find them. Instead of hiring straight out of a big corporation (your proposed salary may deter them anyway), spread the word about your company to people in your circle and see what happens. You may attract someone who is under qualified but overly zealous to learn new things. As long as they are teachable, you may have the perfect employee on your hands.

Secret #5: Practice flexibility

Feel like you are hitting your head against a brick wall day after day? If so, sit back and think about how you can change things. Remember: your company is in its early stages and processes can be altered and product lines can be transformed.

Listen to your colleagues. If they are consistently complaining about something that needs to be changed, consider it. One small tweak may be what takes your business to the next level.

Secret #6: Try to stay healthy

Schedule time to clear your head on a regular basis with trips to the gym or even juice cleanses (Pressed Juicery is my favorite; they will deliver to your home). Take 15 or 20 minutes per day to think about what you will eat and drink (stay away from caffeine and sugar). Make healthy choices and your daily productivity will rise.

What secrets would you add to this list?

Yaniv Masjedi is the vice president of marketing at Nextiva, a leading provider of cloud-based, unified communication services. In his role, Yaniv manages the firm’s marketing and branding efforts by working to create strategies that drive awareness, strengthen the Nextiva brand and share the story of the company’s unique customer-centric culture (dubbed “Amazing Service”). Keep up with Yaniv on Twitter @YanivMasjedi.

Image Credit: http://describedbylauren.files.wordpress.com

Opt In Image
Awesome People + Awesome Places
Travel around the world while making new friends

Under30Experiences curates awesome experiences around the world for young travelers.

Tags: , , ,

Category: Entrepreneurship, Startup Advice

  • Kevin Diamond

    Great tips Yaniv! Embracing where we are is critical to moving forward. A secret I would add is taking time each day to do something you have a craving for ‘in the moment’. All work can be all play if you are pursuing your passions. Taking the time out to sit outside for 3 minutes and appreciate the fresh air, or read a few pages of a book you haven’t picked up in a while, can boost your energy, your mindset and make you more productive.
    Thanks for sharing!

  • Samuel

    I resonate with the list above.However the greatest strength i believe one can have is an insight of him or herself by looking your self beyond the mirror and knowing what suits and really drives you in relation to reality.i call it self discovery.You got that ,add discipline and focus,you certainly will make it,and will be worth it !

  • http://www.softship.com/ Ava Cristi

    Practicing flexibility can really help you shape up because you will be more open to new experiences and make thorough decisions out of many options. Eventually your sense of judgment will improve overtime—maybe it’s a secret because not many people realize that :) Thank you!

  • https://www.facebook.com/michaelamushe Michael Amushelelo

    Yaniv Masjedi i can only thank you for a great article. One more thing i will add to the list have a vision of where you want to see your company in the next few years. That will keep you going when the going gets tough.

  • Andrea Francis

    I would also add that staying positive about why you went down this path helps. It can get you through a lot of difficult days and decisions. Remember your goals and the excitement of reaching the milestones in the past. Don’t forget the magic!

  • Yaniv Masjedi

    Glad you like the piece, Kevin, and thanks for sharing an extra tip. I agree that taking a few minutes to relax and do something ‘in the moment’ is a great idea. Best of luck!

  • Yaniv Masjedi

    Absolutely, Andrea, I totally agree. Keeping perspective on your goals and milestones is a great way to get through the startup phase of any company. Thanks for sharing!

  • Yaniv Masjedi

    Absolutely. Great point, Michael. Having that solid vision and forward-thinking plan will help you get through the weeds.

  • Yaniv Masjedi

    Thanks for your comment, Ava. I think flexibility is an underrated goal for many entrepreneurs and can help them in the long run.

  • Yaniv Masjedi

    Great point, Samuel. It is important to look yourself in the mirror and learn from your own internal insight. Thanks for your comment!