Sarah Taher

Sarah Taher

 
February 20 2015

17 Things I Learned From Being A Start-up

Sarah Taher

I am the founder and Editor In Chief for www.muglatte.com (an online magazine). With all the ups and downs I’ve been through the last 7 months, I surely have learned 16 lessons from being a start-up. I would like to share those lessons with other start-ups out there, so here is what I’ve learned.

  1. Know your ethics and keep them! Yup. It is so easy and tempting at some point to trade your ethics for success. Whether it is the way you manage your co-workers or how you deal with competitors, never lose sight of your ethics.
  2. Always think of the community. Always keep the community in mind. Try somehow to change your community for the better with your start-up, whatever your field is. Don’t provide products or services just for the sake of money. If deep inside you know they will harm your community, don’t do it! Also, be helpful to your fellow start-ups from day one. Try to give others the help perhaps no one was there to give you.
  3. Don’t depend very much on your friends’ opinions! Friends will probably be shy to point out the negative things they might notice. They might tell you everything is just “great.” Also, they might not be in the field and might not understand the basis they should build their opinion on. In general, friends tend to compliment you and encourage you, rather than point out the negative things.
  4. Read…Read and READ! Read as much as you can. Read books, surf the internet for topics related to your start-up. Dedicate some time to read things that are not related to your field. Reading will help you come up with new ideas and be innovative. Also, if you are starting your own website, please take the time to read the “About” page of your competitors. Research, it is well worth the effort.
  5. Nothing comes easy. If you start your business expecting to be successful, you will get tired too early. The trip to success is long and requires plenty of hard work. This is how every successful person you see around you did it. There are no shortcuts.
  6. Sometimes we win… sometimes we learn. There are no losses, only lessons. This also means you need to think every time you are not successful. Ask yourself, “Why did this happen?” Don’t mourn the loss but use the experience to learn new lessons.
  7. Never mind people who underestimate you. You will be underestimated for sure. Be it your parents, your friends, competitors or investors, expect to be underestimated, but ignore that.
  8. Don’t underestimate others. Well, ethically speaking – if you don’t like being underestimated don’t do the same to others. In business terms, don’t underestimate other ideas or competitors’ as you never know.
  9. Skip negative people. Whether you will meet them on your own team or maybe from the surrounding community, you will always meet those people who tell you “this is impossible” or “it’s a bad idea.” Ignore whatever negativity they try to diffuse into your mind! Avoid discussing business with them or just skip them entirely if they are part of your team.
  10. The sky is the limit. You can do anything if you want! Know that very well and believe in yourself.
  11. Know your competitors very well. Learn all you can about them, their expertise, how they started their business and how and why they are successful.
  12. Act professional. Don’t manage your business the same way you deal with family and friend issues! Instead, you should be professional. Stick to any dead lines you have. If you give your word on something keep it. Don’t be late for business meetings. Admit and apologize for mistakes. Don’t add potential customers or business partners to your Facebook profile!
  13. Don’t talk about others. Don’t get involved in a discussion about people or competitors in harmful ways. You never know where your “comments” might end up.
  14. Protect your reputation. Don’t’ be rude in public or on the internet. Don’t commit mistakes and deny them. Always be nice to people and be known for commitment. Of course this advice is not only for your business or career, it is important for your life in general. The best way to do this is to remain “mute” online as much as possible.
  15. Enjoy the hard times. Being a start-up is not easy. You will have to deal with a lot of stress in your life. Enjoy the time with humor and companionship. What is life if you don’t take risks?
  16. Never give up! Stay energetic and passionate or as some people says it “always a start-up”.
  17. Luck favors the prepared. Always be ready for any chance that might pop up.