The promise of entrepreneurship is enormous. Create something you love, with people you love being around, and make millions in a few years? It's no wonder 63 percent of Millennials want to start their own business. Of course, it rarely plays out that way, as Silicon Valley unicorns are celebrated disproportionately. The reality for most entrepreneurs is a lot of hard work, peaks, troughs, and dizzying levels of tenacity. To make it as an entrepreneur, these are the critical things you'll need to give up.
1. Let Go of Perfectionist Tendencies
Agonizing over something until it's perfect and ready to launch not only slows down progress, it also means you can be blind or resistant to necessary changes once you've launched. It's easy to become welded to your "perfect" version. Launch in beta. And live there too.
2. Let Go of Your Bubble
Seeking outside feedback is critical, and good entrepreneurs make a habit of it. Ask for outside input early and often. And make sure it's from a wide array of people. Building a product or service because you and your friends like it is not a good enough reason. Your Lyft driver, your hairdresser, or your babysitter are all market research waiting to happen.
3. Let Go of Your Ego
You are not your work. If it fails, it doesn't mean you are a failure. Some things you thought would not work well will work tremendously well. Others you thought would skyrocket will inexplicably flop. These are valuable lessons. Not an indictment of your character.
4. Let Go of Playing It Safe
People aren't standing around waiting for your product to launch. They already have too much on their plate and are bombarded by a myriad of messages every minute. To stand out, you can't play it safe. Swing big and think about what it would take to wake people up from their sleepwalking.
5. Let Go of Pleasing Everybody
Polarity is a good thing. If you isolate and offend some people, you will have an equally emboldened group of loyal supporters who love what you're doing. The worst possible outcome is vanilla. Don't be vanilla.
6. Let Go of Rigid Expectations
Successful entrepreneurs must be open to alternatives they may never have envisaged. This is all part of pivoting, and involves swallowing your pride around things you might have been determined to stick with that don't end up serving you well. Let go of what it "should" look like, or you'll risk not seeing opportunities right there in front of you.
7. Let Go of Reactionary Thinking
Peaks and troughs are part of startup life. You have to learn to roll with the punches and not overreact to every hurdle or hiccup that comes your way. Be clear on your bigger vision, and commit to that unwaveringly. Let that be your guide when times get tough.
8. Let Go of Benchmarking
If you try to benchmark yourself to other founders and their successes, or your friends with regular jobs, you will very quickly come undone. There is no set path for startups: Some rise quickly, some rise slowly, and most of them fail. Keep focused on why you do what you do.
9. Let Go of Seriousness
Adding a little lightness, play, and adventure to your everyday work will make the time spent toiling away more pleasant. But, most important, it will also give you a competitive edge by making you fresh, energized, and open to more pointed insights and unusual ideas.
10. Let Go of Going It Alone
Ask for help when you need it, not once the moment has passed. Keep good friends and trusted founders from outside the office close to you, so you have an outlet to truly tell it like it is. Turn to them openly, honestly, and frequently and invite them to do the same to you. No one has all the answers, and those who come together solve their problems faster.
11. Let Go of Working Insane Hours
Yes, there's a lot to get done, but you are no good to anybody if you burn yourself into the ground. Make taking care of yourself a priority. Fuel up on good food, solid sleep, and great people. Entrepreneurs have to be prepared for the long game.