Advise: Hard Times And Focus
8 years ago when I was in India sitting and building a website that I thought was gonna generate some cash for me, enough to fund my own startup, I thought about it all, day dreamed.
It seems so easy and action steps were fine, well planned.
That website and many others like that failed.
In entrepreneurship things are extremely hard when you’re doing it all on your own with no experience but with hopes, dreams and aspirations.
Most prominent reasons for my past failures includes – not testing things out, not moving out of my parent’s house, procrastination and lack of pro-activeness or confidence.
After a few years, I started learning as I was moving forward.
I started making my own way.
I’m writing this to let you know that if your startup failed or on the verge of failing, I feel you and I know exactly how it feels.
It’s like jumping off the plane and building your own parachute - I heard that on YouTube. (Giving credit, where it’s due)
Some of the lessons I’ve learned in my small journey are:
You Can’t Keep Everyone Happy, So Stop Trying To Keep Everyone Happy
Violently Defend Your Time And STRESS
Be Skeptical About Who You Hang Out With
Ask For Help
Add Value Before Asking For Something
Here Is How NOT To Raise Capital
Attempting to keep everyone happy will cause emotional frustration. Sometimes it’s important NOT to give a shit. There will be times where you’ll have to make some really emotionally difficult decisions. You can’t hold yourself back with the stress that comes with the attempts to keep everyone happy.
I’m not preaching you to be selfish, but I want you to understand that eventually there will be some people, who will like you, love you and admire you, and then there will be those who will envy you, hate you or perhaps despise your efforts.
So stop trying to keep everyone happy. Genuine friends and partners are the ones who like you for who you really are, or at least care about you.
It’s hard enough to be a startup founder.
Your time and efforts are your most valuable resources. Do every single thing to cut off stress as must as possible. Identify the activities that rob your time and eliminate them.
Don’t give in easily. Defend your time, sleep and routine.
You are who you hang out with. If you hang out with negative people, you’re inviting negativity.
CONTROL the influence on your mind.
Turn off general news on TV. Don’t get me wrong, negative things in the world motivate people to do something about it. But if the influence on your brain comes from wrong people, you’ll face the consequences.
A person is a Muslim in Middle East because the Islamic teachings and influence he got from his surroundings and peers, a person is a Christian because the Christian influence and teachings he got from his surroundings and peers. Same goes for terrorists groups, political groups, other religions and so on.
I remember Paul Graham wrote an essay on cities.
He talks about cities and their vibes.
Why are some countries better at sports than others? What’s the secret?
It’s the influence on the players. Same goes for Silicon Valley, big universities have the vibes that influences people to act in a certain way.
This is the reason why masses behave like sheeps in most cases. Specially if large part of influence they get is via general news that makes world look like a tiny little place with only the stuff that’s on TV in it.
So control the influence you have on yourself.
If you need help or if you’re stuck, try asking someone about it. Ask for opinions and so on. You’ll be surprised how many people would jump on to help you out. Just don’t abuse it.
When I was starting out, most people called me lucky because I just “fell in” the circles of the people who were considered influential. It wasn’t luck, I simply asked them to help me out. I made a lot of friends that way. Now I add my input and value when they need my support or help and I can ask them for help anytime because we because such good friends just by communicating instead of getting aback by the irrational fear of rejection.
There are more helpers in the world. No matter where you are, who you are, you’ll always find help if you seek it.
If you’re asking someone for a favor, do them a favor first. Help them out. They WILL reciprocate. People in most cases are genuinely good.
Most common mistakes people make while raising capital are:
- Going to ask for capital when you don’t have a MVP
- No prototype
- No initial user base
- No technical proficiency or no technical co-founder
- Raising money very early on
- Falling in love with your idea
- Outsourcing your engineering or code
This one is HUGE. You just cannot succeed if you move slowly. Move fast, try and test things out.
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