Anyone can be an entrepreneur--if you have the ambition and drive, that is. So many people make excuses for not following their dreams. We've heard them all:
But I don't have money!
Nice try. After doing a million other odd jobs, John Paul DeJoria was sweeping up hair in a salon when he teamed up with a stylist. He borrowed and invested a mere $700 to found what is now Paul Mitchell. He is now one of the richest men in the world and has impeccable hair.
But I'm too young!/I'm too old!
But I don't have a college degree!
Well, join your friends Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook and Steve Jobs of Apple. Both of them dropped out of school, and both of them changed our world forever.
But my first venture failed!
Ah, that just means you've been properly hazed by the entrepreneurial world. Walt Disney's businesses failed before he founded the Disney Corporation (which made $45 billion last year, if you are counting).
Many times, would-be entrepreneurs put these roadblocks in their own way because they don't know how to begin. Three years ago, Rommel Paraiso and his friends got the itch to start a company, but they didn't know what kind. So they met every so often to bounce ideas back and forth. That's how they came up with Eevzdrop, an audio-based social networking app. After months of working together, they launched the app, which was met with great success. None of them had any experience creating an app or starting a company--but they went with it. Here's what they learned about starting a startup from scratch.
1. Begin by listing what bothers you.
There are problems out there that you may not think have a solution, but that's only because they haven't been solved yet. As soon as you identify a problem, find a possible solution. There, you have your product!
2. Partner up.
You may think you can do everything by yourself, but it's really tough to take on a huge task on your own. You should partner up with someone you trust who has similar interests. It will make the process less daunting and more enjoyable to have a partner.
3. Get used to paperwork.
First things first. Come up with a company name, purchase the domain for your website, create a business plan or pitch deck, and hire an attorney. Your attorney will help you with a lot of things, such as writing out contracts, dealing with any trademarks, and forming your LLC. Also, having an attorney makes things feel a little more official. This is the part when you know you've committed. No going back now!
4. Set goals.
Come up with individual and team goals to achieve with your company. They can also be referred to as "milestones." Achieving these keep you motivated and on track.
5. Start managing.
Now that you're full on with your venture, management becomes crucial. Whether managing your time with your startup or your personal life, it's important that you maintain a balance. Your time is very important to you. Make sure you're well organized.
6. Network like crazy.
Paraiso's team calls it "ABN"--which stands for "always be networking." You never know whom you're going to meet. It can be someone who points you in the right direction or who ends up working with you on a project. Building your network is one of the most important aspects of having a startup.
7. Accept feedback.
You're not always right. Listen to your team and other entrepreneurs you've met. Don't take it personally. Be open to their suggestions. You don't have to take all advice and make changes, but being open and accepting to feedback will help you make better decisions and necessary changes to improve your product or business.
8. Never stop momentum.
It's hard to get started. That's something you always have to remember. You don't want to push a boulder that's been still for a while. Once you get that boulder moving, it's not hard to keep it going. Same goes with any business. Keep that momentum.
Paraiso's biggest piece of advice is to stay positive. There are so many things that will make you think you should give up. People you know may tell you that your product is not going to succeed. You may start to second-guess yourself on decisions you have made or are about to make. Guess what? It's part of being an entrepreneur. Remember that all these things have happened to everyone who has done anything awesome.