Guest Post by Amy Cuevas Schroeder from diybusinessassociation.com
From pie-in-the-sky to tactical and technical, I’m a sucker for all kinds of inspirational entrepreneurial advice for solopreneurs. Here’s what’s resonated with me lately.
1. Figure out how to make money and get help.
I learned a lot from interviewing Laurel Touby (@laureltouby), the founder of Mediabistro, for this blog post: “Laurel Touby’s Advice for Growing a Small Business.” The one-woman powerhouse sold her company for $23 million in 2007 and now works as an adviser for a number of tech startups. Here are two pieces of Laurel’s advice that are critical for DIY businesses growth:
Raise money. Laurel says women and creative small businesses tend to be charitable and volunteer-spirited—admirable personality traits for sure—but they need to balance their big hearts with financial strategy. They tend not to monetize their ideas to their full capacity nor seek out investment capital, she says. “Unfortunately, they end up being small as a result.”
The solution? Raise money to grow. Whether you go the crowdfunding route (Kickstarter, IndieGoGo, etc.), a small-business loan from an organization like ACCION or funding from angels or venture capitalists, startup funding will allow you to grow beyond a one-person operation.
Hire employees. If you design physical products—such as furniture or jewelry—Laurel recommends securing capital in order to get a workshop and workers. “You shouldn’t make every piece by hand,” Touby says. “Oversee a studio that can make your design—in that way, you can go faster than producing one piece at a time.”
2. Accept that 80% is good enough.
“Perfection isn’t the key to success. Learn to accept 80 percent as good enough, and don’t sweat the small stuff,” writes Ilya Pozin in this post. The serial entrepreneur and Inc.com columnist says the last 20 percent can take forever, so don’t get hung up on perfection.
Pozin also recommends keeping tasks focused. “Founders should focus on personally working on tasks that have the biggest impact on growth. Delegate everything else,” he writes. “Stay focused so your company growth isn’t stunted.”
3. Adapt and evolve.
If anyone knows how to adapt and thrive in a climate of constant change, it’s Corey Takahashi (@takalabtime). He started his career as a newspaperman in the late 1990s, which led to editing and contributing to various magazines and sites, including Entertainment Weekly, Vibe and the New York Times.
Identifying early on that multimedia was the future of journalism, he honed his skills as an audio storyteller and has covered some of the world’s most interesting people for Public Radio International, NPR and London’s Monocle. He now works as an assistant professor at the crossroads of media, technology and new storytelling at Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, encouraging students to prepare for how people will communicate five years from now.
“The ability to adapt to change probably will be the single biggest factor determining the careers of young people entering creative or knowledge-based fields,” Corey says. “That’s because these industries are going to change, then change again, then again—especially as they begin to intersect more with new technology.”
4. Learn from your mistakes and move on.
Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; begin it well and serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.”
5. Learn by doing.
Sure, you can learn a ton about business by reading business books or getting an MBA. But you can learn even more by actually running a business. As a women’s studies and journalism major in college, I learned everything I needed to know about operating a magazine by founding one at age 19 and selling the business a decade later.
I’ve begun the entrepreneurial process all over again with DIY Business Association—this company is a whole different animal, and I learn something new every day. I haven’t cracked the code yet, but I know I’ll eventually get there if I don’t quit.
“The only thing that prepares you to run a company is running a company,” writes venture capitalist Ben Horowitz in “What’s The Most Difficult CEO Skill? Managing Your Own Psychology.” In the blog post, Ben shows how CEOs don’t necessarily need to know everything there is to know about running a business, but they do need to master the art of not freaking out.
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Original post here.