If you are considering starting up your own business from scratch, here is a list of the eight tasks you had better love prior to becoming an entrepreneur:
Building up a team is critical to success. Of course you want to work with rock stars who are easy to spend lengthy days with, who believe in your vision, and who are willing to take on risks, as well as work hard for very little pay. Search for team members as early as possible and as you go. Not only will you boost your chances of discovering partners earlier on, you will also practice your sales chops and obtain the most honest feedback on your pitch.
Thankfully, accelerators offer an excellent platform for kicking off your efforts at fundraising, and there are more accelerators now than ever before (Y Combinator, Techstars, and 500 Startups are just a few of the leaders). Also, AngelList is an outstanding platform that you may leverage to track or drive your efforts at fundraising.
Working long hours
The truth is, you have to be ready to grind five times harder than you ever did when you worked for somebody else. Be prepared to work over 80 hours per week. While networking with other entrepreneurs, you will be pleasantly surprised to see that it's standard practice in Silicon Valley.
Making tough decisions
It occurs with product (which features to build and which not), fundraising (when and if and from whom), business model types, partnerships, pricing, which lawyer to hire, who to employ, and much more. You have to learn to feel at ease making key decisions.
The main routes to starting up a startup include raising outside funding or bootstrapping. If you're bootstrapping, you're often living off of your savings and potentially not getting a salary. After raising outside funds, you will get a salary, but it may not be flashy.
Investors expect you to be prudent when it comes to their money. Either way, you are unlikely to be "rolling in the dough" within the initial years of your startup.
It isn't uncommon in Silicon Valley for entrepreneurs who have millions of dollars in the bank to live a lifestyle that is very modest. Therefore, even if you are considering becoming an entrepreneur for the money (and hopefully you aren't), be ready to pay your dues.
If there is one term that defines startups in addition to "growth," it is "uncertainty." You are always at the whims of the marketplace, your runway, your users, and your investors, as well as your hustle. It is challenging to plan ahead if you do not know if the thing that presently consumes your time is going to be alive in eight months.
Be ready to develop a thick skin and put on your blinders. Your objectives include staying focused on the top of the mountain as you get over the hump directly in front of you and being ready for the one that is concealed behind it.
Learning is one of the most rewarding aspects of being an entrepreneur. Most startups, statistically, do not succeed. But all entrepreneurs will win a massive new basket of skills and experience.
Wearing several hats--HR, marketing, pricing, accounting, pitching, biz dev, product management, and so much more--will force you to learn a bunch in a brief time.
You'll have to sell your leadership and vision to your team members, sell your product/service to your users/clients, and sell all of it to your accelerators and investors. You likely will participate in demo/pitch days in front of a large audience. You will be asked to conduct interviews (if you're lucky).
Even if you do not naturally have it, being a founder provides you an exceptional chance to build confidence. And not necessarily through success, but because you will learn to discover and bring that confidence out from inside you quickly to remain in the game.