We always believed that creating our own company would mean freedom, income, and power. What no one told us was that the path to doing so would be long and unpredictable.
But launching a business is a marathon, not a sprint.
Most of us create our own companies because we want to resolve a problem, help people, and provide new products or services. Perhaps even a yearning for freedom or the feeling of being their own boss. There are as many reasons to create a company as there are entrepreneurs in the world.
When we start thinking about our project, it is natural to have high expectations and huge ambitions. We feel we know exactly what we want to create: What type of consumers we want to target, how to brand it, advertise it and so on. Then the funniest part starts.
Listen to your gut.
Creating something is almost like giving birth. Your company feels like your first child: incredibly exhausting, time consuming and often times even frustrating; and that's completely understandable. It requires time, investment, money, love, and care. Just like a mother would recognize her baby's cry, an entrepreneur should have as much care and notice for his audience. And that all comes from your gut. Only your intuition can lead you somewhere constructive. Is it natural? Talent? Intelligence? Chance? Maybe. But mainly practice. We all have instincts, perhaps not in the same field, but we can all sense a good or bad idea—a message from our audience, insight from our friends, or just an economic need.
The key is to open the canal to let the information flow. Some environments and habits can help: practicing meditation, breathing, being surrounded by creative people, watching movies, listening to a specific kind of music, museums, galleries. You just have to find the right atmosphere to liberate your mind and let your creativity emerge. We often keep those unlimited resources quiet. If you succeed in finding an environment comfortable enough, you'll be the first one surprised by your capabilities.
Pressure and time, and time pressure.
Do you remember the story of the Tortoise and the Hare? Remember how snobbish and confident the hare was? In the end, who was really the successful one? Learn Startup methodology teaches you how to release as fast as possible a product.They call it "minimum viable product." The logic is to test as soon as you create your solution and intend for it to be the first on the market. However, not all business ideas can be released in a month, so how should you handle the pressure?
If you have a strong "why", everything will feel more manageable. Creating a business and a company will be different every day; you'll face new challenges. Some days will be exhilarating, and others, horrible. If you start by figuring out exactly why you are working on this project, what you want to change, whom you want to help, and the impact you want to make, then pressure will be worth it. Just as a marathoner who is exhausted won’t stop running, an entrepreneur must continue believing in himself.
How to pivot and stay motivated.
Every entrepreneur fears making a mistake big enough to ruin them, or a competitor releasing the same product before they do, that would make him change almost everything. Mentally, how do they remain motivated enough to keep going? To wake up every morning without wasting a second? We often forget, as entrepreneurs, how precious our mental health is. It is perhaps taboo to talk about it. But yes, mental health is still part of our global health, and feeling down sometimes doesn't mean we are weak; Rather, it’s healthy.
We often neglect to observe and appreciate how our "failures" guide us to our real successes. It is just a matter of changing your perspective: What if this failure was a huge opportunity to think bigger? How can you use this energy to work harder? To differentiate yourself? To propose something completely different and maybe way better? We live in the present, so it can feel impossible to think positively in those moments because we fear the future. The only way to keep going and finally reaching your goals is to use this event as much as you can to grow and learn from it.
The best advice my friends from Silicon Valley gave me:
« The difference between a successful and unsuccessful entrepreneur is the capacity to handle the shocks. Face it, and move on quickly. »
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