I’ve been a founder since June of 2018…not very long. I’ve learned so much from it and I’m going to share what I’ve learned with you so hopefully, if you have a passion for startup, business, or entrepreneurship you’ll have a few tips to help you out when getting started.
These tips are the very first things I learned and provide what I believe to be the best foundation for any founder or entrepreneur starting out.
#1 Research Everything
These tips aren’t in any particular order; however, this one is in the running for the most important tip of this article.
When it comes to a business niche, accounting software, tax cuts and breaks for your business, filing to become an LLC, building a website, or anything else you could possibly want to know you must research it. No matter what you’ve done already you can learn a lot from other people who have done the same thing or similar things.
Don’t argue, just trust me. Researching is an absolute must for anyone who wants to learn and grow in the business world. If you don’t you’ll fall behind; if you do you’ll flourish and help your brand grow. Not many things are this simple; however, this tip is as easy as they come.
#2 Ask A Mentor
If you don’t have a mentor then find one. If you can’t find one then you’re not looking hard enough. Reach out online and in person. Reach out to CEOs, Founders, people in senior positions, and even peers. Getting advise it very valuable. You NEED a mentor. They steer you right when you’d otherwise make a poor decision that could ruin your business or business idea.
My mentors are Travis Chase, the CTO of Font Awesome, and Edward Emanual, the CTO of Sidecars LLC.
Who are yours?
To find a mentor I’d suggest looking into local businesses. I am 22 years of age and I have a shortlist of about 10 possible mentors I’d go to depending on what kind of question I have. I have mentors I can go to for the following:
- Software Engineering
- Personal Finance
Most of the people I consider mentors have knowledge in more than one of these categories. Travis has all of them. Most CEOs of tech startups will have knowledge in all of these. You may ask why to which my response would see #1. When I say research everything I mean EVERYTHING!
#3 It’s All About The Grind
It should go without saying that if you’re going to build your own business and become a founder you’re going to work your ass off. There’s no way around this unless you have the gift of capital at your disposal to hire employees out of the gate. Most people won’t have this ability when starting their business much like I didn’t.
When I was forming my company about six months ago to now I was working 10–12 hours a day but I loved it. To this day I still work between 10–12 hours days; I enjoy it tremendously. It’s actually created a much healthier lifestyle than I’ve ever lived previously. I wake up early, work with a very close friend who is the CTO of a very popular tech startup, and I even began working out more often. It’s truly been a great experience thus far.
Your grind should be very similar to mine. You should put in 10 or more hours a day; sometimes even on weekends. I personally work 7 days a week which is my preference. I feel like if I take a day or two off for the weekend I begin to get stale and forget exactly what I had in mind for my projects, which I dislike the feeling of.
It doesn’t matter what kind of startup you create you’ll always have to put in a lot of work for your idea to actually succeed. I’ve had to work tirelessly on the following projects:
- Clothing Brand/Line
- Social Media Influencing
- Mixology Website
- Building a Gem in Ruby
For most people, this comes naturally. I acclimated to the situation I had created for myself and put in the hours. It didn’t feel like more work it just felt like I was doing something more productive and fun than I’ve ever done before for work. I let myself get lost in the task of growing and building my startup.
I’m still in the middle of the grind and I will be for a long time to come. My startup is only six months old being formed in June of 2018. I haven’t even hired my first employee yet
Another very important lesson learned is to budget everything you can. I budget everything in my personal life as well as for my business. This is a good habit to form for yourself as it saves the most amount of money that you can use for other things such as retirement, business, or even vacation if you so desire.
You should file and form your LLC for $50. After that, you shouldn’t buy much for your business depending on what your company does. My company is all tech-based with media solutions so it’s all on computers. I have multiple computers that can do the job I need to be done.
Do your research into topics you can almost always save a lot of money. If you just looked up how to form an LLC you’d find LegalZoom’s website which will charge you $600 or more to form one when you could just file yourself for $50 for the same exact thing. It’s always worth it to do your research.
The money you saved from filing yourself instead of going through LegalZoom is enough to buy something you need for your business. If you’re making a clothing brand it will allow you to put that extra money toward your clothing instead of wasting it.
Start your budget now and thank me later. Find out how much you have to spend months in your personal life and for your business to operate. Don’t spend too much and you’ll begin to see more growth than ever before with your business. There are many resources for budgeting both in your personal life and for your business. I suggest looking into them and get started with your budget today.
#5 Protect Yourself And Your Business
When I first began my business I took a job building a website for a friend of mine and his business and I made the mistake of trusting him instead of insisting on a contract. Long story short, I built him a website and he just didn’t pay me. He owed me around $3,500; he removed me from any associated accounts I was working with him on (like Slack) and wouldn’t reply to any messages or emails. I would have sued his company; however, I didn’t insist on a contract so I didn’t have a high chance of winning. I was more than likely spend more time in court losing even more money than I would have gotten from the job anyway so I elected not to pursue it.
Needless to say, I needed to do a better job of protecting myself so I’m to blame, honestly. That marked the end of our business together as well as our friendship. A few months later I saw that his business was failing and I couldn’t help but think to myself
“That’s too bad…”
All the while I was laughing my ass off.
You shouldn’t ever rely on karma to get back at the people who have wronged you. My suggestion is to protect yourself legally. Make contracts or request them with whoever you’re working with to legally protect yourself. Doing this will allow you to either threaten or take legal action against any person or company who has wronged you. Another suggestion with this theme of legal protection is to talk to a lawyer and set them up as a mentor for your business. Have them read through any contracts you have so they can verify it’s on the up and up.
Always research your options as well as the multiple ways to protect yourself legally. It will help you more than you’d expect and it’s always worth looking into. I also bring my contracts to my mentor for him to review them before I sign them just to get a second opinion on the topic.
Work On These Tips
Please, keep in mind that I only have about six months of experience as a founder, I’m not the most knowledgeable person when it comes to startup. I believe I’m learning quickly and efficiently. These are only five tips I’ve learned about startup and beginning a business. I’ll have more articles like this pertaining to business in the near future as I learn more about my startup as well as multiple other startups I’m working for currently.
Much Love ❤