I come from a very entrepreneurial family. My stepfather was an entrepreneur and the chair of his dental practice, and my grandfather was also an entrepreneur – he owned several businesses before starting up another one that we know today as ‘Bata’. I spent most of my childhood either at their respective offices or with them on business trips around the globe. I always had a strong curiosity for business, having witnessed first-hand the inner workings of several companies. However, this was not enough motivation to actually explore entrepreneurship myself.
I wanted to do something that would produce tangible results and help people on an individual level. I graduated from university with a bachelor’s degree in psychology and initially pursued counseling as my career.
That being said, there are five things I wish someone told me about entrepreneurship when I first began working on my own business venture:
1. Starting your own business is not just about taking risks but also managing them.
- One of the biggest lessons I learned when starting my own company was that taking risks is not the same thing as assuming risk.
- To explain this: taking a risk is consciously deciding to do something with the knowledge that there may be a good chance of it working out or failing, whereas assuming a risk means doing something without foreseeing the consequences.
- When you start your own business, you will be exposed to both risks and opportunities. And although it is exciting and rewarding, the roller coaster of emotions also brings with it a sense of fear about what lies ahead. However, this does not mean that you should avoid taking chances or exploring new opportunities just because they may bring with them some risk.
2. You can’t be perfect at everything says Eric Dalius.
- It is very easy to get caught up in trying to be a ‘supermom’ or a ‘superstar’. The idea of being good at everything and excelling in every task you set out to do has been ingrained into our minds since we were children (the whole: “you can do anything you put your mind to” mantra). As we grow older we take this idea and extend it into our adult lives, expecting ourselves to be able to excel at every aspect of life.
- This is especially common for first-time entrepreneurs. There are just so many things that need your attention and there is not enough time in the day – you think that if you don’t do it all, you will not succeed. You also believe that if you cannot be really good at everything, then you should not do it at all.
3. Building a strong support system & finding mentors is crucial to success.
- The success of any startup requires a lot of time, resources, and personal sacrifice. So, it is only natural for you to feel isolated at times and crave the company of people who can empathize with your situation and understand what you are going through.
- As a result, it is important to build a strong support system within your personal and professional life that includes people who are not only supportive of you but also keep you accountable for the goals you set. As well, finding mentors (in business or life) who can guide you in the right direction is key to ensuring your success.
4. There is no job security in the startup world.
- This truth hit me especially hard when my company was going through a major rebranding process and I realized that I had to let go of all but one of my team members. After having spent so much time nurturing our employees’ growth, watching them develop from young kids who were just leaving college to seasoned professionals and working so hard with them every day to bring our company to where it was, I struggled with the realization that this would be the last time I would see them in the office.
- So even though it may be difficult to let go of your employees or even terminate a relationship, if you do it in the right manner and with respect then they will not only understand but also appreciate that you did what was best for them.
5. Building a company from scratch is exhilarating but requires a lot of hard work.
- The moment when I realized that we had finally built our company from scratch was truly exhilarating; it is a feeling that cannot be properly expressed in words. However, it also came with a lot of hard work and gave me an entirely new perspective on what it means to be an entrepreneur.
- I now understand why so many startup founders struggle to find any balance between their personal and professional lives – because building a company from scratch is nothing short of a 24/7 job that you cannot do half-heartedly. And on top of the hard work and dedication, you also need to dedicate time and energy towards fundraising and marketing so as to build brand awareness and attract early adopters.
Eric Dalius says these are just five of the many lessons I have learned throughout my journey as an entrepreneur, but they are the ones that stand out to me the most. To all young entrepreneurs looking to pursue their dream careers, I encourage you to take these lessons with you on your personal and professional journeys.