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Entrepreneurship is not for the faint of heart. There’s a lot of sacrificing, learning, commitment, consistency and realizing when you need to change things up that goes into running a startup. There are a lot of people who are not ready for that and don’t realize it until after they’ve launched and faced the realities of being an entrepreneur. When launching a business, I, like many others, wanted things to take off immediately. We want to receive our ROI sooner than later, and that’s the main focus for some of us. That’s not the reality for most startups, however. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, approximately 20% of new businesses fail during the first two years of being open, 45% during the first five years and 65% during the first 10 years. Only 25% of new businesses make it to 15 years or more.
When I launched my startup in 2020, I knew I didn’t have it all figured out, but I thought I had it figured out more than I really did. Boy, was I in for a rude awakening. But I learned to appreciate the challenges I was faced with, trying to reach my target audience with this new product I created that not many people knew about and trying to stay within my startup budget. I’ve always been hands-on with everything I’m personally involved with. With that being said, I tried to do it all. But trying to do it all led to me being less productive than I anticipated.
It can be a lot. And some people give up, because they don’t have the knowledge, confidence, resources, and in some cases, the passion for what they’re doing. If you truly would like to pursue entrepreneurship, please understand that it’s not easy. Consider these five tips, which will hopefully encourage you to hang in there:
1. Realize that nothing happens overnight
Understand that when you see a successful person, it took most of them years to get to their current status. Yes, it’s great to be inspired by them, but do not compare yourself or try to keep up with them. Stick to your journey and be consistent and open to learning in areas where you’re lacking. Show yourself grace as well.
2. Believe in the product or service you’re offering
Do something that you’re passionate about and/or have knowledge and experience in. If you’re doing something just because someone else is doing it and you feel that you can do it too, but it’s not a passion of yours, that will come across in your marketing and can lead to failure. That would be a huge waste of your time and finances. After you’ve found your niche, do your due diligence by starting with thorough research of your competition. What can you offer that’s different or better than what they’re offering?
3. Marketing is the meat of your business
I’m great at business matters, but I struggled with marketing. Early on, I assumed I needed huge ways to market my startup, and because I was operating on a shoestring budget, I couldn’t afford what I thought I needed to market my business. This left me frustrated at times. Email marketing to attract customers to your startup for little or no cost, posting on social media, and starting a blog are some of the strategies that startups can use for marketing, to start. Depending on your budget, paid search advertising is also an option. Also, Upwork is an organization that connects businesses with independent professionals and agencies around the globe. Companies and freelancers work together through Upwork to reach that company’s goals. They have freelancers for anything business-wise you need. I’ve worked with them for the past several years. This is a great resource for startups.
4. Rebranding works
After not reaching the small, realistic goals I set for my startup, I had to consider making changes. Rebranding has been my current saving grace. I thought, “My product is great, and I know people are facing the same problem that my product solves. Why aren’t more people purchasing it?” Well, I was limiting myself. When first launching, I only targeted women who needed a hairbrush pouch to store their hairbrushes in to protect the interior of their purses from stray hairs and hair products. In reality, not only was that a very small part of my target audience, but my product also provides organization for travel luggage, gym bags, and purses. Once I broadened my target audience and honed in on more of the benefits my product offers, I started to see an increase in sales. It’s nothing off the charts, but it’s much better than when I started.
5. Seeking mentorship helps
A mentor can help you navigate many of the challenges you will face as an entrepreneur. They have years of experience and knowledge, and having their guidance and support can provide you with confidence to continue your journey. Another thing to consider, once you’ve made it, is that you can become a mentor yourself and pass on your knowledge to someone who’s currently in the position you were once in.
In closing, first and foremost, think about what your end game is for your customers. How can your product or service help them? Address that before thinking about how much money you would like to earn. Trust me, when you lead with what you can offer instead of what you will receive, you will be on the right path. The sales will come.