Is a startup what you really need? Here below 10 most important signs that you have to look for in yourself to understand that a startup is not for you!
Inspiration and motivation are things we usually look for when unsatisfied. We read articles, blogs or whatever else to find the power to just make the jump and do what we always liked or feel inspired with.
The Internet offers tons of material for people who are not sure, who are afraid, who need a word of wisdom to make the change in their life. We should look for friends’ advices, perhaps also the beloved ones’, but most of the time, they don’t get it. They won’t be able to help us make the right choice.
Inspirational quotes, blog posts and articles on well known websites help us understanding whether entrepreneurship or “the startup life” is what we need.
While it’s important to find inspiration, I believe that it might take just one sign, one wrong attitude, one bad habit to make your dream fall apart. That’s why I would like to think about it from the opposite side of the table.
In a recent article posted on a well known website, I read about the “50 signs you might be an entrepreneur“. FIFTHY! Among which we find: “You are passionate”; “You dropped out of college” or “You surround yourself with quality people”… seriously?
Now, I am sure we are all smart here (more or less) and we don’t consider the fact that passion or a smart couple of friends will help us a lot in being successful. I rather believe that we might need to check for those signs that don’t make us ready for a startup or entrepreneurship at all.
Here are my thoughts (and yes, I am either personally guilty of or experienced these in my startup):
1. You value your free time. You believe that spending a day out in the bush, looking at birds and fishing is fundamental to your mental health. Fact: When you have a startup, you will not stop thinking about it. Ever! If you want to rest, keep your job, and enjoy the weekend.
2. You take it personally. While having a startup, you will meet a lot of people who will be ready to give you advices and critic your idea/product without any knowledge. You will also argue (a lot) with your co-founder. This is the reality and you don’t have to take it personally. Fact: If you go home and get upset about it, you will not survive the stress of this journey.
3. You know it all. Regardless of what you are talking about, you can’t have this approach. You don’t know it all, and even when you do, just be humble and explain yourself or how things are done. Sometimes listening to somebody else’s point of view, even if he is not an expert in that area, he might be able to help. Fact: If you ever say “You are not a [insert job category here], you don’t understand how this is done”, then you are doing it all wrong (I guess this is true also if you don’t have a startup).
4. You need structure to operate. Everything that happens in a startup has a structure. A chaotic structure. The plans are made for investors. The reality is you know what is today. Tomorrow could be different. There is no structure in a startup (especially in early days), if you expect to have one, keep working for a normal company.
5. You can’t find the easiest way. It’s not always possible to find the easiest/shortest way to solve a problem, but there is always a way to optimize time. Do you usually see a quick way to overcome a problem (no matter what we are talking about)? If you don’t, then think twice before making the jump. Fact: Startup is also about making the easiest/shortest decision, even if it’s not the best one.
6. You are afraid to sell. This goes a little bit beyond the simple product sales. Are you ready to pitch any living thing that comes in front of you with your idea/product (even if they are not your customers)? Or will you rely on the sales/business guy? Fact: Startup is all about pitching. All!
7. You are shy. When you have a startup, you can’t be shy. You will attend events or networking meet-ups, sometimes also alone. You will need to talk with random people just to “network” or simply because it feels awkward to be alone all day. This is the hardest thing ever. I have a background in sales, networking is not a problem for me, but I used to hate approaching random people at events. What should I say to them? What if we start talking and then nothing follow? You will need to take into account all these things. Move on, don’t be shy, go to the next one and hand your business card. Fact: Most of the people you meet at events won’t be your best friends. Think business, think smart!
8. You find excuses. This is tough, because we don’t realise when we find excuses to do or not do something. However, this can be a terrible problem. Excuses can destroy your work. “I will do that tomorrow, cause now this is more important” or “I can’t do that, cause I am not comfortable with this thing”. Excuses. Fact: Do It! Now!
9. If your baby won’t learn how to walk, you wouldn’t say “Well I tried”. OK, maybe I went a little bit too far. However, “I tried” in the startup world doesn’t exist. However, “I didn’t try hard enough” could be the sentence you are looking for. I heard people telling me “If my startup doesn’t work, I can’t do much, I tried”. Yes, you are right! But how can you accept defeat like this!? Before giving up on my startup I cried. YES, I cried because perhaps I didn’t try hard enough. Fact: You are in it 300%, there is no “I tried“, only “I will make my best to succeed“
10. You are reading all this shit on the Internet. You don’t need anybody to tell you what you can do or achieve in life. Sometimes we might need a little extra push, sure, but we are the only ones who know what we want to do. Fact: you know deep inside you what is right for you. If you want to jump, just jump, don’t think at the consequences.