It’s been one month since I left my full-time job and joined entrepreneurial club. If you think about it 30 days may mean so much and so little depending on where you are at with your life. For a woman in her last trimester of pregnancy one month is the difference between relaxing yoga weekends and exhausting sleepless nights. For a middle manager at a big company this may be how long it takes to go from proposal submission to proposal review. For a brand new entrepreneur this is a difference between feeling “I can run my own business and make boatload of money” and “I stopped counting rejections because counting is no fun anymore”. Becoming an entrepreneur is like looking for your first job – everyone thinks you are awesome, yet no one wants to hire you.
Pause for a moment and remember how you felt when you graduated? Remember what the Dean of your school told you when you got your diploma? That the sky is the limit, that you are the future, you will go a long way and become rich and successful. You felt like you can get any job you want, companies will fight for you and you will get your own apartment and make great living. What did it end up being? You applied to top companies, got automated rejection emails, got interviews with less competitive companies, still got rejected (but with more personal emails), went broke, cried, drank (a lot), kept hearing from your parents that they have just wasted money on your education and read happy Facebook updates from your friends saying that they landed jobs at Amazon, Google and Netflix. One day you got a call from someone who offered you an unpaid internship, you took it because you couldn’t sit at home anymore. The internship gave you real experience which led to a full-time job which turned into your career. Now you are successful, companies actually fight to hire you, you have your own apartment and spend money just because you can, until of course you learn to save.
The beginning of this story is exactly how starting the business feels like. Except the happy ending is not guaranteed. It’s been 30 days since I’ve become a full-time entrepreneur and I already went from high to low and back at least a hundred times. The good news is that it hasn’t been long since I got my first job, so I remember very well what I did to succeed. Surprisingly, these simple steps are already helping me navigate and stay focused while I’m working on making Parceed successful. I am sharing this advice with beginner entrepreneurs who will hopefully benefit from my experience.
- Starting your business is meant to be more work and stress than working full-time. Looking for your first job was harder than preparing homework at school. There is no “but” here.
- When you pitch your business to others don’t expect validation, if your idea was easily validated, someone else would have already implemented it. Remember how you had to convince your prospective employer that you are capable even though you’ve never done it?
- Fundraising is a mysterious ritual. No one wants to write a check until they know that someone else has already invested. It’s like your classical “you can’t get a job without experience but you need a job to gain experience”.
- Starting business means you should be excellent at selling. Whether you like it or not. I still smile when I remember how naïve I was when I thought that getting my first job in tech would save me from talking to people.
- No one will care about your business as much as you do. Ever. Like no one really cared when you went broke while looking for your first job. Except for your parents - they just accepted the fact that they would pay your bills for the rest of their lives.
- When you reflect on your first day as an entrepreneur you would never trade this decision for any other. Because as shitty as you may feel at times there is no more gratifying experience than building an awesome product that really helps your customers. I can’t come up with a job-seeking analogy here. Looking for your first job always sucks.
I hope this blog helps first-time entrepreneurs as they venture out of their full-time jobs and go to build amazing companies. To all seasoned entrepreneurs out there – share your thoughts!
How did your first 30 days in business go?