Following are the key lessons that I’ve learned on my entrepreneurial journey over the past 14 years. These are taken from my recently published book, “How to Waste Time & Money. An Entrepreneur’s Journey” where I share with you the highs and lows of running your own business!
LESSON #1: Work out what’s important to YOU in life, and don’t bow down to societal norms. Don’t let others crush your dreams.
LESSON #2: For those who have children, “Mother guilt” can cripple you. Don’t let it strip away who you are as a person. Looking after yourself both physically and emotionally is the best thing you can do for your family.
LESSON #3: Always have a written agreement in place before you go into business with someone-be it family, friends or an ex-work colleague. Get to know your partner(s) incredibly well before you take the jump together. Are they the type of person that would tamper with your parachute or help you to untangle it on the way down?
LESSON #4: Validate your concept, including your business model, as quickly as possible to avoid wasting time and money.
LESSON #5: Always shop around especially for big ticket items. While a friend (or friend of a friend) might have the technical capability to create what you need, you may not be paying a competitive price. When you’re dealing with friends (or family) in business there is often a level of trust, that may be unfounded.
LESSON #6: Keep an eye on the competition but don’t let them strip your power. Use their successes as a learning experience and to motivate you to dig deeper and work smarter.
LESSON #7: Don’t be afraid to reach out to the bigger players in your market. Back yourself that you’ve got something of value to offer them.
LESSON #8: Always keep your mind and door open. You never know where opportunities are going to come from.
LESSON #9: Don’t get caught up with people “copying” you. Half the time they’re not actually copying you, just actioning a thought or an idea that they’ve seen themselves. Focus on doing a better job at securing and looking after your clients, followers or group members.
LESSON #10: Think laterally about how you can use your knowledge, profile and skill set to create new business opportunities.
LESSON #11: Be passionate about the business you are in. Make sure it aligns with your values. If you’re sole focus is on making money, it will be very difficult to get through the super tough times of running your own business.
LESSON #12: An business idea is worth nothing. Taking action and finding customers who are prepared to pay for your idea is a business.
LESSON #13: Research the appetite for your product with the target market before investing lots of money.
LESSON #14: Don’t put all of your eggs into the one basket.
LESSSON #15: A good product is just your ticket to the game, the absolute bare minimum. Very few products are that extraordinary that people will seek it out on mass and buy it.
LESSSON #16: Work out your distribution model before you go into production.
LESSON #17: The faster you can get up, dust off your ego, the faster you will get to achieving your goal.
LESSON #18: By trying different things you will learn what really matters to you. You might find sometimes you’re chasing the wrong goal or you may need to pivot, a little or a lot.
LESSON #19: You need to create your own opportunities and when you do, take full advantage of them.
LESSON #20: When you’re creating a new product, calculate the total cost, including the cost of fulfillment.
LESSON #21: Try every avenue possible to get your product to sell. Be creative in your approach.
LESSON #22: Recognise when you’ve come to the end of your road, be it through a lack of passion or lack of customer interest.
LESSON #23: Be a driver in life, not a passenger!
Melissa Pye is the Founder of The LightBulb Lounge, a platform for women 35+ with big business ideas to connect, grow and thrive.
Melissa is the Founder of The LightBulb Lounge and is an active member of Australia's startup community. She runs events and coaches teens and adults on how to get their ideas out of their head and pitch them.