Four months ago I launched a startup. Today, I want to share the 4 most important lessons that I've learned on this journey,
Four months ago I launched a startup. It started with nothing more than a few emails and phone calls to some people in the industry I chose — life coaches. I discovered their pain (the importance of which can’t be stressed enough), validated it, and worked fast to start solving it. I now have 10 customers and 4 figures in profit every month.
Here are the 4 most important lessons that I’ve learned over the last 10 months, which included many disappointments and “failures” along the way. Enjoy!
Lesson 1: Be Flexible
One of your greatest assets is that you’re not limited to just 1 or 2 tactics. You can try to reach the same goal in many different ways. For instance, if you’re trying to find new customers, you can guest post, you can advertise, you can use social media, you can set up an autoresponder, you can do SEO, and many other things.
Within one tactic you can approach it in a few different ways. If you’re emailing someone who’s interested in your product, you can try an infinite variety of different templates of what you’re saying and how you’re saying it. By being flexible and trying different approaches, you increase your odds of success. I went through 4 different business models in just the first month. If I had decided to stick with the first one, I don’t think I would’ve gotten very far off the ground.
Iterate! Don’t be afraid to change your approach. You should be constantly testing, tweaking, and optimizing. Use trial and error, and then measure what’s working the best.
Lesson 2: Be Persistent
If something isn’t working, you need to be realistic and admit it. But quite often in the beginning you may have self-doubt, and you’ll hear many “no’s” from people who aren’t interested in your product from prospective customers. Don’t take it personally! It’s quite possibly not a good fit for them. They might just not need it, not want it, or not be able to afford.
And that’s okay. Ask them why they’re not interested so that you can change your marketing message. Maybe your pitch or positioning is slightly off. Don’t take it personally, use it as information, and recognize that this is a part of the sales process. Only a very small portion of the market needs to buy from you in order to be successful.
To be persistent, you need confidence and faith. Be confident in what you’re doing and know that it will work. Have faith in the success of your business (if it’s realistic and you can see how you’ll start making sales). You need faith to persist through the naysayers, the doubters, and all of the prospects who don’t want to buy your product.
Lesson 3: Build Your Emotional Intelligence
While you’ll often be excited and euphoric while starting your business, you will undoubtedly experience deep frustration, disappointment, anxiety, uncertainty, and a range of other emotions. At times you’ll be grinding away to move forward, and the reality of starting your business won’t feel nearly as awesome as you had been fantasizing.
As you invite more emotional awareness into your journey, you’ll be able to recover faster and move forward. The most intense frustration will eventually dissolve and disappear. But at the moment when you experience it, it feels like it’ll never go away. By creating more awareness and seeing the big picture, you’ll be in a better position to handle these emotional swings, which can halt your progress and shut you down… sometimes for several days.
Lesson 4: Be Mindful of Your Big “Why”
If you don’t have a big enough reason why you’re starting a business, then you won’t be able to make it through all of the inevitable tough times. When you feel discouraged, hopeless, disappointed, lonely… when it feels impossible. This is exactly when you’ll need to have an extremely firm reason why you’re doing this. This reason needs to be big enough that it can get you through anything!
And your reason can be anything — because you’re passionate about it, because you want to make the world a better place, or because you want the financial success, freedom, and lifestyle that can all come with building a business.
No matter what, you need to know your big reason behind why you’re doing this. Otherwise at the first big roadblock you’ll want to quit. And you will, unless you have a very strong sense of why you should push through all the bad feelings.