This guest post is written by Ivan Ramirez, Entrepreneur, Investor, Advisor and restless Product Guy. He is the Former VP of Groupon Goods for APAC and Director of Global Product at Groupon.
I’m often asked, “What’s it like to be an entrepreneur?” Those who ask, ask the question in a way that makes it feel like being an entrepreneur is glamorous and always tied to wealth. Let me tell you, there is nothing glamorous about being an entrepreneur, and it’s not for everyone.
Here is some advice and some of the truths of being an entrepreneur:
1. Being an entrepreneur doesn’t guarantee success. You will fail! If you don’t fail, it’s because you’re not taking enough risk.
2. In the effort to be supportive, most people won’t tell you the truth about your ideas. So be careful not to let this feedback drive your decisions. If you’re not getting negative/challenging feedback, be concerned.
3. Nobody but you or your co-founder(s) will care about your idea until you have something to show for it. Less talking, more showing. Give them a reason to pay attention.
4. No employee, even if they have some equity, will ever care about your company as much as you do.
5. Be careful with the whole raising money thing. It’s not as easy and glamorous as you think. Make sure you let the business organically bring you to this crossroad, and be careful to not get ahead of your self with this.
6. Luck will play a big role in your success. Just remember that you can create your own luck by working tirelessly at what you’re passionate about.
7. MVPs (minimum viable products) can give you false positives or false negatives. Make sure your MVP is properly defined and that you’re properly interpreting the results.
8. Get the co-founder equity stuff out of the way at the beginning, and be careful in being egalitarian.
9. You will have to make hard decisions, like firing your best friend or removing a co-founder. Whatever you do, make them fast and don’t let the heart get in the way of these decisions. Just make them and move on.
10. You will have long nights, work weekends and may even have some days where you don’t sleep at all. Work while your competitors sleep to get ahead!
11. Revenue is KING and you need to generate sales to keep the lights on. As an entrepreneur, you will have to put your sales hat on, and knock on some doors or make some phone calls to drum up business.
12. It’s okay if your business idea is not a BILLION dollar idea. There are many of those out there right now, but remember they’re just valuations – it doesn’t mean those companies are generating that kind of revenue. Remember FAB.com? $250+ million in revenue with a $1B valuation. Where are they now? Build intrinsic value in your business!
13. There will ALWAYS be haters! These are folks that don’t have the courage to become entrepreneurs and are hating because you took the risk. Ignore them and just keep charging forward.
14. There are days you will want to QUIT and go back to a corporate job. Don’t think you have lost your entrepreneurial spirit when you have these days. It’s normal. Every entrepreneur has these days.
15. People will think you’re crazy!
16. Risk everything in business, except Family, Health, Friends and Spirit.
17. It’s OK to look up to another entrepreneur and have a “healthy” jealousy of what he has accomplished, just make sure this drives you harder and doesn’t take away from your plans to push ahead.
18. There will be days where you feel burned out and unproductive. Walk out of the office, go hang with friends or family, take a nice hike, or simply take a few days off. It’s OK, you will come back stronger.
19. Entrepreneurs aren’t RICH (abundantly supplied with resources), we’re constantly risking it all. Those that have sold companies, will take the proceeds and start new companies, or invest it in other companies. Entrepreneurs always have the desire to create and be part of something bigger than yourself.
20. No matter your level of success, always be humble and willing to help a fellow entrepreneur.