There are a few universal experiences entrepreneurs have to accept. The earlier you understand these challenges, the better you can meet them.
Doing a startup means accepting the unknown. It is throughout the entire journey, as you don't know if people will care about your product or service, then you don't know if you can sustain quality to support the growing number of people using your thing, then you don't know when it is time to throw in the towel or keep at it for another day. And only you can answer those questions.
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There are certain common threads among all of us, though, and some tough truths that come into play.
Support will come and go:When we launched Cuddlr in 2014, we immediately got a wave of support from hundreds of thousands of users. Within a month's time, we got a media backlash questioning if our app was even necessary. By the end of that quarter, we were featured in the New York Times and on the cover of the Wall Street Journal - both positive articles on how our meetup app signaled a new wave of social connection.
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How can you depend on public opinion? You can't, particularly if it is favorable. Our early clarity of vision and our ability to think through potential crisis helped us guide the business to acquisition. Any moment we spent believing the hype could have sailed us right into a rocky crash.
There will never be enough time: As I shared recently, there are smart people who are killing their career because they are waiting for perfection. As a businessperson, you will always need more time to make your current project even better. Instead of focusing on perfection, it more productive to focus on making something as great as possible within realistic parameters.
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As time management master Laura Vanderkam told me recently, "Done is better than perfect." All entrepreneurs should have that slogan hanging somewhere in their (home) office.
There will be doors shut in your face: I have a drawer filled with book proposals and even more index cards filled with ideas (I even did a TED Talk about it). I've written 16 books, but only 1 out of 5 of my proposals actually came to fruition, and the odds are way worse with my app and project ideas. Keep in mind that the ones that these were the only the ones that went through my own personal editing process, so these were concepts I really wanted to create. And they didn't happen.
Most of your ideas will not be at the right time. Some better ideas won't work because you are aligned with the wrong people. You will fail. The best thing to do is to accept failure, like fickle support and limited time, as the price of doing business. And, to paraphrase Mark Zuckerberg, sometimes you only have to be right once.
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