Thursday, October 31, 2013

25 Startup Lessons I Wish I Would've Known (Part 4 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.

#16 Publicize yourself.

Your personal brand is important and should be cultivated, too. Even as a marketer my entire career, I forgot about the blogging, or the opportunities I did have weren't topical or newsworthy. I missed out on quite a lot (from a marketing and PR perspective).

Every chance you have, write! Write about your startup, your experience and especially how your experience feeds into your startup. As a co-Founder or even a startup employee, you need to be shamelessly advertising (to your target audience). Further, if you move onto do something non-entrepreneurial, it'll help to have self promotion under your belt.

#17 Refine your pitch.

I was lucky enough to attend the Melissa Pierce's Pitch Refinery in 2012 during the nascent stages of GetLusty. Though I honestly made what I felt was the worst pitch, I was glad I'd told it to a crowd. Knowing your 'angle' is super important, and taking in into consideration for those (above identified) target audiences makes a big difference. Everyone resonates differently to your story, so have a few ideas on hand for relating to your audience (in my past venture, it'd be sustainability. Now it's dildos or dating. Similar, right?).

#18 Eat right & sleep. It’s going to help you later.

Having a healthy body and mind keeps you on your toes while also making you feel happier. Sleeping and happiness have been clearly linked together. In the same vein, a diet of junk food can actually make you angry. Some even argue unhealthy and junky foods could be linked with mental illness. So doing avoid eating right or being physically active just because you, "don't have time." Find the time for your health or find yourself sick (physically).

#18 Get along with your business partners.

One of the biggest problem startup Founders find are issues with their co-Founders. There are several considerations there. First off, make sure you choose your team carefully. There are even new services like Matchist to identify co-Founders. Secondly, work with your partners patiently and in a non-emotional/professional way. This is much easier said than done but keep your issues professional and compliment one another.

Personal note: I had a particularly difficult time being in a startup with my husband particularly because there's such a lack of information about couples and startups. Although there is one awesome book from Brad Feld called, "Startup Life: Surviving and Thriving in a Relationship with an Entrepreneur"--I wish I would've known about that one!

#19 Find the right startup colleagues.

But know everyone isn't going to work with your startup. If not, do both of you a favor and move on. If you're a founder/co-founder hiring in a startup environment, please consider taking advice from a knowledgeable HR professional (and generally--why and how you should have a HR-friendly organization when you're in the growth process). In a startup, your colleagues are the life blood of your startup. Take that seriously or part ways. You should be able to tell within the first 4 hours whether someone will fit in or not. There is simply no time to make mistakes, so start with the interview process. If you have any hesitations, don't move forward.

#20 Attend networking events regularly.

Networking has many benefits--it could even make you smarter. Getting to know your community will simultaneously enrich your social life, give you valuable time to pitch and meet others dealing with the same startup mentality.


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