Published 14 July 2017 Category: Compass Tips, Entrepreneur, Business, Startups

Starting Your Own Business - Hard Truths

Get it done / Don’t make it perfect
You just need to get it DONE
When you’re a creative, unless you’re lucky enough to have a book deal or a paid publishing gig, you don’t have a lot of accountability. It’s a very privileged freedom, but it’s a freedom we pay for. It means that most of the time, the world will keep spinning if you drop off the planet and never finish another piece of work. And it also means that you are the only one who can make you finish anything. Because if you don’t push yourself, every day, to wake up and look in the mirror and ignore the feeling of near exhaustion that comes with balancing creativity and life itself, you could live an entire creative life without finishing anything.

Some people get rich building things. But that’s not the point.
There’s no end of examples of startup founders who have made absolute bank and never have to work another day in their lives. By all means, plan to make money. Work to make money. Capitalise financially on whatever success you have. But if you want to build or create something of honesty and integrity, whether that’s a startup or an album of music, you have to be able to put aside that focus on getting rich.

You are going to be misunderstood, but it doesn’t matter
We all want people to understand us, and understand our work, and understand what drives us. On some levels, the act of building something is an attempt to communicate in our own language. That could be an app, a line of code, a book or a range of products.

But nobody speaks that same language as you. And people are going to miss the point, read between the lines and add their own opinion and interpretations to whatever you make.

It’s will get frustrating, and you’re going to want to scream. You might even feel persecuted when people get the wrong end of the rope and try to hang you with it. Does it matter? No way. All that matters is that you listen to what drives you and you create what needs to be created.

Having a job is a learning experience, not an obstacle
Businesses can take a while to catch on, apps aren’t always an instant hit, and I’ve got news for the writers out there  -  even Kim Kardashian can’t sell more than 30,000 copies of a book. Most of us won’t be able to make a living off what we build right away. That’s where having a job comes in. When all you want to do is work on your own project and create something that matters, it’s frustrating to have to set it aside every day and focus on the work that will make you money. The work that will pay the bills. The office job with the business suit or the 9-hour shift in a uniform you hate wearing.

The work you love could go unrecognised
Part of being able to create anything at all ( and you can create anything at all) is being able to accept that what resonates with you could be hated by everyone else.

Your worst work could be your legacy
The work that you always felt let you down, the pieces and the concepts and companies that never quite lived up to your dreams could be what you are remembered for. You want to know why? You don’t get to control anyone’s perception of your work.

Starving artists are just entrepreneurs and creatives with no business sense
With the internet where it is, there’s no reason why you can’t turn what you build into at least a minor revenue stream. How? You treat it like a business.

Anything Can Be A Startup.

You can take whatever creative work you are pursuing and turn it into a business if you try hard enough. But you have to treat it like a business. Have a product, have a marketing plan, and understand how to grow revenue. Read the $100 startup. Read almost any book on startups. Don’t be a starving artist, be a businessperson with a flair for painting.

8.When you want to quit, nobody will talk you out of it…
…In fact, they’ll probably celebrate. Most people talk about Richard Branson, Paul McCartney and J.K. Rowling as though they were gods. Most people talk about entrepreneurs and creatives in hushed tones and admire them for being courageous and innovative.

But if you say you want to start a company or write a book, they’ll change their tune.

As a general rule, if we all lived our lives by what the majority of people wanted us to do, there’d be no end of engineers, lawyers and doctors and there’d never be another novel published...or blog. So when you start to doubt your path (and you will) there’s a good chance your friends won’t tell you to stick to your guns.

The only person who will tell you not to quit is you. Because the only person who truly believes is you.

Talent won’t mean anything when you don’t finish anything.
This is something that is difficult to accept. It doesn’t matter how good anything you create is, it only matters that it gets finished.

Just Put It Out There.
You’ll never be able to create your best work if you don’t publish any work. You’ll never turn your startup into Google if you never get it past a landing page with an email sign up form.

Nothing has to be perfect. Read that line again until you believe it. Now read it again until you can think of a better way of phrasing it.

See? It wasn’t perfect.
You have to be able to put aside your fears and your nervousness and commit to publishing your work, posting your music and launching your concept. You have to, because if you don’t, you will never accomplish the things you want to accomplish. And your dreams will die.

You’re only as good as your last shot. Make each one count. Finishing and publishing imperfect things isn’t an excuse for not trying hard. There is no excuse for not trying hard.