Top 10 Tips for First-time Entrepreneurs

Are you ready to strike out into the world and become an entrepreneur? You’d better be!

If you’re reading this, you’re either thinking about it, or you’ve already begun to take action toward conquering the world and creating an income out of the ideas in your head and skills you currently possess (or plan to possess in the near future).

Young entrepreneur

Here’s 10 great tips to set you on your way:

1. Don’t doubt yourself

The time for doubt is long past. You’ve made your choice (including the choice that you have to make a choice if you’re still contemplating entrepreneurship). This is a choice that few ever have the courage to make – so don’t let uncertainty ruin a great opportunity for you.

2. Jump right into social media to build credibility

Whether you’ve chosen Twitter, Facebook, Quora (highly recommended for building “expert” credibility) – or some other platform that can benefit from your knowledge – don’t waste time. Set up an account and start helping people with whatever issues or dilemmas are plaguing them. Give some of it away for free so you can bank down the road.

3. Email everyone

Seriously. Tell everyone you’ve ever emailed about your newest venture. Including your niece or nephew living over in that Peruvian monastery. Let everyone know what your business is, and a basic wrap-up of what you offer. Make it known that you’re approachable and ready to help them in any possible way you can. Then start cold emailing anyone and everyone who can help build your business and/or benefit from it in some way. Here’s a great primer for sending cold emails if you’re uncomfortable with this practise.

4. Become a networking phenom

I know, I know. I really do. You’ve got a business to build. How the heck do you find the time to put on a suit or fancy dress-up jeans (or whatever garb people in your industry wear while networking) and head out to parties and such to waste time talking to people that may never actually help your bottom line? Well that’s like saying “he/she’s so awesome, but I could never ask them out.” You never know til you try, and regret is a real son-of-a-gun to live with. Network with everyone. One of the most common questions among strangers or mild acquaintances is always “what do you do?” Listen to Gary V and get to work branding yourself!

Startup team discussing

5. Accept all advice

That doesn’t mean you need to follow it. Just don’t be dismissive of people’s input because you think you’ve got it all figured out. Many in big business, not to mention SMB circles, continue to flout solid advice to their own detriment. Be it customer service-oriented or advice about additions to product lineups that could prove to be real winners.

6. Don’t work with losers

Sounds harsh, right? The word “loser” is subjective. For me, losers are people who always have to knock others down and/or are always asking but never willing to give. Regardless of how you define the word; don’t work with a loser just to get somewhere. Find another way. You’ve got enough anxiety to deal with as a newbie industrialist, don’t add to it by suffering with the insufferable just because you think you have to.

7. Get on schedule

Better put: Get on a schedule. Any schedule that doesn’t involve getting up whenever it suits you and bumbling around the world at your leisure. This is business, not some version of a lazy lackadaisical high school or college weekend, where you can drink yourself silly and get up to watch the game before doing it all over again. And if you’re a gamer – give that darned console away! When you’re successful, you can buy the latest and greatest. For now, extreme discipline is the only way to get your business off the ground.

8. Go old school: always have a pad and pencil handy

And have an eraser on that pencil, or nearby at all times. Why not a pen? Because you’re going to want to make corrections, and scribbling lines through words and numbers written in pen lead to illegible chicken scratch that you’ll never be able to read when it counts. Write down everything you learn through the day. Write down every idea, no matter how stupid it might seem. Look at these ridiculous product ideas that made millionaires out of seemingly brain-dead folks. Pet rocks, iFart apps and the most ridiculous of all in my mind – those bloody Snuggies!

9. Remember to smile and have fun

The power of a smile on one’s consciousness can never be overstated. Always be smiling; even when the chips are down. In fact, smile more when the chips are down – and feel it deep in your gut! Smiles are infectious and will help you grow relationships, as well as keep your morale high.

10. Most important: Always stay in tune with the level of certainty you can comfortably handle

And always look to expand that level a bit at a time. This means knowing just how much uncertainty you can effectively handle without waking up in a psyche ward somewhere and not knowing how, exactly you got there. Nobody says it better than Tony Robbins “The quality of your life is in direct proportion to the amount of uncertainty that you can comfortably live with.” This doesn’t mean you have to quit your day job before your first buck rolls in, it just means you need to be able to step out of your comfort zone often enough to conquer the unknown.