Monday, October 7, 2013

25 Startup Lessons I Wish I Would've Known (Part 2 of 5)

Since starting as what was known as "GetLusty for Couples" last August (now just including GetLusty Couples and GetLusty Singles), let's just say I have been busy. Like, spend your weekends working busy. Like not going to Christmas busy (I'll never be forgiven--goodness that was a mistake). I made mistakes that any entrepreneur would have made considering and always taking into account the over 40+ conversations I had with entrepreneurs here around 1 year ago just before starting GetLusty.

With all that distilled into several pieces, I'm going to divulge what I have learned. The stupid (and not so stupid) mistakes that I just feel like I shouldnt've made (and neither should you). I’ve been writing my startup lessons for weeks (months?) now and I thought I’d share them with you.

Are you an entrepreneur? Want to quit your day job (or maybe not) and start a business? Take it from someone who’s spent some serious time doing it. This isn't my first business and likely won't be my last. How about learning lessons from our mistakes and collectively getting better? Let's continue.

#6 Coffee, coffee, coffee. 

Whether you are or aren't a coffee drinker, you might want to consider it. More specifically, there are numerous health benefits to a caffeine kick. Coffee doesn’t only increase productivity, but it could also have some other unexpected health benefits. For example, according to a few media outlets siting scientific studies internationally, coffee appears to increase life expectancy for individuals with certain chronic conditions such as heart disease and diabetes, according to a large 2012 study. Drinking coffee could also decrease the likelihood of dementia and Alzheimer's.

#7 Believe in yourself. 

You’ll have small battles with yourself or your project schedule (Will that marketing campaign work? What were we thinking with that activity?). Finding the courage to believe in your gut feeling and stop the self-doubt will move you to the next direction. Don’t fool yourself into thinking every other entrepreneur doesn’t doubt themselves, either.

#8 Take advice with a grain of salt. 

As someone who values’ others opinions, I’ve occasionally put myself in a position of self-doubt. Do others have the answers and I don’t? Maybe that investor was right and we should’ve done X. We should completely re-think our model. No. Re-think why you’re doing what you’re doing—and be defensible, of course. But don’t take all advice with the same weight. Just consider it. This sounds silly, but in the initial stages of a startup, the wrong advice can be deadly.

#9 Learn how to run an assembly line. Oops, I mean project management.

Keeping all the areas of your startup going at the same time is basically like an assembly line. Think about when Lucille Ball and her friend Ethel were working on a chocolate assembly line. They started falling behind and everything became a mess. Managing and monitoring your startup activities are the same way.

Considering the direction of your startup, the skill of project management is absolutely invaluable and similar to an assembly line. Sure, there’s PMI--where you could go and get an official certificate. But what's important is making lists of tasks, resources (even if that’s you) and budgetary constraints. There’s a whole variety of ways to reflect the tasks you need to do today and maybe you're not a 'list' person. Find what kind of project scheduling software or visual representations work for you and stick with them.

#10 Measure, measure, measure. 

If the Lean Startup (by Eric Ries) taught us anything, it’s that product matters. Your customers matter. And those are basically it. Measuring what’s happening as reflected by your project schedule will not only keep you on track. It will ensure your project and startup are on the right track. In the specific measurement that works for you and your startup.

Did I miss something? Of course I did. Starting up a business is full of complications. Did you learn something we should consider here? Include it below or e-mail me erica(at)


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