23.07.2021: Blog |

Startup founder thoughts from the coal face.

Startups are hard. We hear this narrative all the time, and admittedly, they are incredibly tough and will challenge anyone that has a go. But starting up also opens up possibilities you never imagined possible. There seems to be so much advice out there, so many “experts” and “Insta entrepreneurs” standing next to Lambos throwing out hard talk, but the reality is very, very different.

With two weeks to go before the launch of the first significant software release from Handshakr, I have thought long and hard about what I would say to others wanting to startup; here’s what I have learnt during my startup journey so far:

1. You have to start it. Whether it’s the new business or the job for the day, get into it now. The first step is always the hardest, but once you get going, momentum will build.

2. Get your close family/friends on board early. Most of the time your immediate family will be on your side. Please make sure they are ready for what’s to come. I have certainly found my family to be hugely supportive, especially when things get tough, but they need a heads up on what to expect.

3. Get used to sucking at stuff. I have found this a massive challenge, you need to have so many hats on in the early days, but I’ve slowly reframed the perceived “sucking” to “things I should get better at”, learn at your own pace and keep ticking off new skills/knowledge along the way.

4. Your story is super important. Folks want to know you, the situation that has lead you to where you are and why you are doing what you’re doing. So lean into this as much as possible.

5. You WILL make mistakes. Whether it’s taking a bad deal, working with the wrong people, spending too much money, spending too little money and forgetting to do things, you’ll do all of them. Dust off, fix the problems, iterate and move on.

6. The people around you will make or break you and your startup. The concept of an A-Team is not new to me, but the importance of the team is more apparent than ever when you’re starting. Get to know folks you want to work with first, don’t fall for shiny Corporate CV’s. Can you have a human conversation over a beer or coffee with that person above all else? Would you survive a delayed flight at the airport sat next to this person for 10 hrs plus? AND then, only then, look at what great experience they have that could help you bring the vision to life.

7. Lastly, you have to enjoy the ride. In a previous life/business venture, I was consumed by the end result and didn’t appreciate the present, crazy journey I was on. Please make the most of it all, the good, the bad and the ugly; it’s all happening for a reason.

I hope this helps someone thinking of starting up or even someone on the journey already.

Take care, folks and don’t forget the Handshakr launch in a few weeks. Likely we’ll remind you a few times leading up to launch day, I’m sure. 🙂

#startup #entrepreneurs