It’s hard to describe the energy and excitement of a new startup. Being an entrepreneur is something that takes creativity, passion and some seriously out-of-the-box thinking. It can be exhilarating to nurture a new idea into something valuable and profitable.
You’ll find plenty of advice on startup mistakes to avoid, tips on how to increase your chance of success, and suggestions from those who have “made it” with a new app or product.
You may have also noticed that a lot of this advice boils down to attitude. The biggest challenges of starting up are psychological. Here are some things you may not have considered while preparing to launch your big idea, and some beliefs that may end up undermining your success.
You like the idea of running a startup, but not building one.
Watch out if your daydreams are predominantly about your finished product and you routinely picture yourself at the end stage, raking in money. It’s easy to commit to an idea of yourself as a successful entrepreneur. Remember though, a startup is primarily about the process. Ask yourself if you’re truly committing to the hard work that’s required. You can save yourself disappointment later down the line.
You cling to what isn’t working.
Ego can be a creativity and innovation killer. When you become overly attached to a pet idea, it becomes more difficult to be impartial and notice warning signs that you should abandon it and move on. Successful entrepreneurs never fail; they simply learn. They’re interested in the process behind innovation, not their particular ideas. Let go of what isn’t working and open yourself up to seeing what will work.
You have a scarcity mindset.
To put it simply, you believe that you need to compete. In order to be successful at starting your own venture, you need to be open to generating something new — not battling to win a small piece of what someone else has created. When you truly innovate and offer something of value, you see your competitors as sources of information. Make your product it’s own standard, and people will fight to emulate you instead.
You’re waiting for permission.
Past conventional employment can subtly affect the way you think of your startup. In regular jobs, people are often trained to look for guidance within a hierarchy. They may believe that they need approval or permission to try something new. They may even unconsciously hold themselves back because they are waiting for someone to tell them they should go ahead. As an entrepreneur, you should ask yourself whether your idea will work, rather than if you should pursue it.
You’re afraid of failure.
When you begin a new endeavor, curiosity is your best friend. When you are curious, any answer is interesting. There is no such thing as failure, because you haven’t set up any hard goals. Your goal is only to learn what you can offer customers, what value you can give, and how best you can do that. Whatever you learn in the process counts as success. When people rein themselves in because they are afraid of what will happen, they stop asking questions and taking risks. This is, ironically, the only way you ever truly fail.
You believe you have to sell your idea.
A lot of people balk at the thought of trying to convince others to buy their product because they have bad associations with “sales.” They think of being hassled on the phone to buy insurance they don’t want, or pestered in malls to sign up for causes they don’t believe in. But if the product you are offering is truly valuable, your role is not to convince people to buy it. (In fact, customers who you have to manipulate into buying are the least likely to stick with your product or service.)
Instead, you need to think of marketing as exposure. Start conversations with those who want and need your product because it solves a problem for them. Your mission is to find and show the right people that you have what they already need.
You’re a perfectionist.
The old advice to “fail early” applies here. A startup is never finished. It does not consist of a static structure that you merely need to complete one step at a time. It’s more like a living entity that grows and develops with time. Be ready to start one course of action and abandon it or to go ahead with plans that are not as perfectly polished as they could be. Getting hung up on making the details perfect pulls you out of your startup’s mission, which is to start. Get going quickly and be prepared for adjustments.
Along the way, most first-time entrepreneurs learn an exhausting array of lessons. The ups and downs of a baby startup can truly test your patience and passion. While it’s important to focus on your business strategy at every step, this strategy originates from your attitude and beliefs about money, creativity, your worth and the worth of what you are offering.
Being in the right headspace should be your first goal, as the right attitude can make all the difference in your future success.