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Startup Secrets

Two years into my business I'm facing a slow quarter. I expected work to be slower but some unexpected expenses put me way behind. Frankly, I've never been great at saving my own money. Thankfully, I'm a better steward of other peoples money. Nobody wants to admit they made a mistake, especially those early in business... Yet here I am.

I'm sitting here on the beach. It's a scorching 80 degrees in February. I'm here to take a mental break after sorting through my books figuring out how to meet overhead (aka trying to pay bills). While sitting here aimlessly, I've jotted down a few words that I wish I could tell my "younger" self. I tell you this not to brag but to ask forgiveness for my mistakes, in grammar and life I suppose. Ok, here it goes:

  1. You have to keep operating costs low, but still maintain quality of your service.

  2. Take the extra revenue earned in the busy season to cover overhead in the slow season.

  3. You have to be able to close the sale. Don’t let too much time pass between talking to a prospect and sending a quote. Stop being afraid of sales!

  4. Network, but make use of it. Find at least one person at each event that you can collaborate with or that you can mutually open doors for.

  5. Don’t fake it till you make it. If you act successful and rich then people will treat you that way. But when you’re broke from faking it you’ll get no sympathy.

  6. 8 times out of 10 a business owner will have a failure story, but they won’t share it over drinks. Very few people like to talk about failure. Seek a mentor in retirement that will have those candid discussions.

  7. You’re going to fail. It’s not if, but when. This failure is going to be at least twice as uncomfortable as when you took a risk on starting a business. I haven’t found a guidebook on failure yet.

  8. Childlike persistence is key to perseverance. Don’t take no for an answer, just find a different way to ask the question.

  9. Have multiple income streams. You have to have enough work to sustain yourself and to pay for the non-revenue generating work. If you don’t have real estate or investments, then pick up side gigs.

  10. The ultimate goal in business is to find a solution to a problem; automate the solution, then train others to do the work. When you only have to work a few hours a week then you’ve made it.

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