The most genuine disappointment from entrepreneurship I’ve seen myself were former full-time employees who used to work in large corporations.
- There was the initial hype, desire, hustle, and dreams. This took a couple of weeks.
- The hard work and actionable enthusiasm followed. Another month down the road.
- Yet, results were nowhere to be found. This was just the beginning.
Not only did reality strike hard, but it brought some friends over.
No more paid company lunches. No team buildings. No Friday evening office drinks. Lack of paid swag, bonuses, discount cards, travel refund, you name it.
Also, no printer room or blazing fast Internet routers. No comfy office and $1,500 chairs, bean bags, sofas. All equipment should be discovered, negotiated, purchased personally. All maintenance is done by yourself, for yourself. The list goes on the larger the organization is.
Many give up at that point. Just a couple months in, a realization of what the future holds may suffice to reapply back for the security of a full-time, corporate job.
Beginner entrepreneurs have to be creative in order to survive.
- As an entrepreneur, frugal living can make or break the business. Every saved cent could be reinvested back. A smart investment can absolutely skyrocket your growth.
- It’s an emotional roller coaster. Your quality of sleep or eating are affected as a result. When revenue is short, your time costs nothing. You get back to the drawing board, cut costs and expand the lifetime of your business.
- You look for short-term deals in order to get through the week. At the same time, you aim for building a reputable brand that would bring business in the long run.
- Instead of maximizing revenue early on, customer development and providing spectacular service are mandatory. You’ll lose money on your initial clients. It will appear to be counter-intuitive, but in fact this is the best learning curve – a candid feedback, an actual proof for your products, and a chance for referrals.
Building a new business with existing capital is drastically easier. You can hire top talent, attract them with a fancy office and lucrative salaries. Or spend 6 figures on advertising across different channels in order to attract clients.
The first entrepreneurial venture is like a demo version of a video game. It appears like you have endless opportunities. But there’s only so much you can get done by yourself.
You have to persevere. You start to think harder. You find opportunities that weren’t as obvious before.
- Instead of renting a fancy office, work from home or the coffee shop nearby.
- In lieu of hiring a secretary, hire an offshore virtual assistant.
- Having limited cash for expert staff, build a case and inspire a possible co-founder or another dreamer.
- If you can’t afford rockstars, hire juniors and work closely with them. The motivated ones can learn.
- Use free software when appropriate. Sometimes you may have to dig for hours and find an alternative of a premium SaaS that works “just fine”.
- Avoid buying equipment unless necessary (cameras, printers, other devices that you would use twice a year).
- Find creative ways to sell and market. Instead of paid ads, get back to door-to-door. Do cold outreach, attend business meetings, volunteer at free conferences. Look for coupons and discounts. Maximize efficiency and reduce costs as much as possible.
- Get all the help you can. Don’t be annoying but leave your ego behind. Ask your friends, family, neighbors, fellow students, teachers for support, assistance, leads, guidance, mentorship. Be extremely respectful to their time and brutally honest about your intentions.
- Focus on your strengths. The added personal touch will make you a better service provider than a larger competitor. Figure out what else could you offer your first clients.
- Work hard and smart. Neither is enough over the first days. Create a solid weekly plan and keep working hard until you can generate traction.
At the end of the day, an entrepreneur provides a solution to clients that pay money.
Lack of capital would only make that process harder and longer. You would use less efficient yet cheaper methods to find clients. Your solution would be less enterprise-y yet crafted with love and attention. You may charge less and study longer, hire less experienced staff and work longer hours until you can break even.
And a careful strategy could yield all the right advantages for you. Less bureaucracy means lower costs, less back-and-forth and a direct contact (instead of impersonal or automated customer support). Focus on your strengths and success will follow.