1. Passion is misunderstood.
It is fulfilling to fail and struggle with the things you love to do. You’re not alone in your struggles because everyone fails. But the true mark of your passion shows when you pick yourself up from failure and get back up again.
2. Be empathetic.
Growing a team taught me the most important thing I wouldn’t have learned from my corporate job: how to be empathetic.
It’s specially important in a startup environment because each individual who joins you sacrifices the comfort or incentive they could enjoy in a bigger company. But they are with you because they believe in your cause and share your passion.
3. Being a CEO of a startup means getting your hands dirty.
You’re dabbling in HR, business development, and finance. You even need to think about what color your client’s social post visual should be. Don’t be hesitant to wear different hats because no job is too small.
4. Don’t run away from hard work.
The list of things to do will never end. Hard work is not your nemesis. Though it may give you a lot of pain, it also brings out the best in you and makes the journey worth it.
5. Stop finding work-life balance.
When you follow your passion, you will not need to choose between work and life because everything becomes a part of life. So stop, if you are still trying to find that balance.
6. Success = earning your team’s respect.
I thought success would be defined by the money I bring in, but I realized it’s only a measure. The intangible reward for what I sow, however, is earning the respect of my team and clients. That respect goes a long way to motivate you and encourage you to do the right things.
7. Spend time with like-minded people.
A lot of people walked away from my life; a few stayed—those who really believe in what I’m doing. The journey is lonely but this is part and parcel of thinking differently and doing things differently, so spend time with like-minded people who are in the same boat.
I recently joined the Founder’s Squad in Singapore, a community where you get to meet company founders every month to discuss your challenges and share your experiences.
8. Find the right talent.
Hire smartly and don’t be reluctant to fire. Coupled with a small budget and tight timelines, finding the right talent is tough.
While you may go wrong a number of times, the only way to make it right would be to let those people go. It is better to spend time finding the right fit and building a team who shares your goals.
9. Challenge the status quo.
Make your hard work count by challenging the status quo. My company started as a professional services company in the digital sphere and within two months we expanded to become a platform company. It was important for us to innovate and rally behind unconventional ideas to be seen as a disruptor.
10. Don’t be insecure.
When I started Passion Peers, I had a lot of insecurities. One of them was the fear of losing out. As a result, I almost always said yes to things that weren’t worth it, but I was wrong.
11. Achieve milestones one by one.
Break your dreams and ambitions down into milestones. There is never going to be an end goal, and what will push you forward is achieving your milestones one at a time.
12. Be patient.
Give things time. Nothing will happen overnight (other than maybe gaining weight, social media crisis, and a project blunder). Everything else takes time, whether it is growing a team, getting more customers, earning your first million, or making an impact. Patience is key.
13. Stop living with regrets.
A senior professional asked me what is one thing I am happiest about in life. Without a second thought, my answer was not having a single regret and that I do the things that I want every day. I am constantly trying out new stuff that I am curious about and learning new things.
14. Let yourself out every day.
Find an activity every day to let yourself out. Set aside an hour in your day and make that all about you. I finally started my Muay Thai classes this year and there is nothing like fighting in a ring and being surrounded by walls with Muhammad Ali’s inspiring quotes.
15. Being competitive is not unhealthy.
Many say that being competitive is unhealthy. But as long as it doesn’t jeopardize your morals or character, competition can be a good thing. It keeps me going and pushes me to become better than myself.
16. Fight to conquer yourself.
Don’t be disheartened if you lose to someone. Be disappointed, rather, if you lose to yourself. Strive to become better every day. It’s like what my Muay Thai coach said: “Don’t fight as if you want to conquer a battle, fight to conquer yourself and the battle will take care of itself.”
17. Invest in yourself.
Read, travel, attend conferences, and do tons of things that will make you feel uncomfortable.
18. Be with experts.
Surround yourself with people who bring different sets of expertise to the table.
This is a skill that I have always undervalued. Listen to what your clients and team want and what the next big thing the industry is looking for.
20. Read a lot.
Read and read some more, then apply what you’ve read. One of my clients is a young multimillionaire entrepreneur. He finishes three books every week. We discuss his learning and use them to execute our projects.
21. Define yourself and your venture.
It is important to define yourself and your entrepreneurial project well. Keep it in writing.
22. It’s OK to start alone.
It is fine to not have a co-founder or a partner in your business. A lot of people advised me not to start alone, but if you have a clear vision and are aware of your capabilities, you’ll do fine as a single founder.
23. Take a break.
Don’t be hard on yourself. Let your mind wander occasionally. Get rid of the fear of missing out (or as my peers would say, FOMO) or being late for the game. Taking time off during weekends has allowed me to be more productive and creative during weekdays.
24. Think long term.
Once you have established your company operations, spend the following year investing in long-term disruption. Building a sustainable model is crucial.
25. Reach out for help.
When multiple changes happen simultaneously, which is absolutely normal in the startup world, don’t let that feeling of despair cause you to self-destruct. Don’t be afraid to reach out for help and call your family and friends. My parents were there for me and they were always the best people to put things into perspective.
Source: Kanika Agarwal techinasia