Since founding Lantinga Vita, I’ve been asked countless times: how do you start a business? Someone has an idea that they want to turn into profit, but don’t know how to take the first step. Here’s my answer: get comfortable with risk.
The start-up life is risky business. You invest time, money, and often an underestimated emotional toll. Is it worth it? It depends on you and the risk you’re willing to take. For me, it has been one of the most challenging, inspiring and gratifying journeys I have embarked on. So let’s break it down.
Time is of the essence, and is the one thing you will never get back. You wake up and quickly realize there is no one to hold your hand and keep you on track. Then you turn to the infamous “to-do list”. What gets done first? That’s up to you now.
Working from home sounds like a great idea, but getting too comfortable might not make you very productive or time efficient. The reality is, you want to launch your business as fast as possible, but you also want it to be perfect. So how have I learned to use my time wisely?
Wake up early.
- The earlier you wake up, the more productive you will be, guaranteed.
Decide on daily top 3.
- Check out this awesome App to help you stay on track! wunderlist.com
- Begin with the toughest and most important tasks first.
- I’m glad to have learned how to build a website, graphic design, basic accounting, etc.… but I also know there’s better people to do those jobs in the long-term.
While you are busy building your start-up, you’re investing lots of time, and you’re not making money. In the meantime, it’s tough to have a part-time job to help you pay rent. On top of that, you need to pay for things like registering your business, purchasing a printer, and perhaps some prototyping. Everything costs money and it adds up quickly.
The bottom line, you need to be resourceful. Are you ready to give up sushi and a trip to Cuba? Are you ready to stay a little longer in your tiny apartment with a leaky faucet (it’s leaking as I write this)? You need to make some tough decisions regarding your personal finances to make it happen. Planning your finances goes a long way. Here are the first steps:
- Make a business budget and give it a timeline (yes, it will change 100 times but you need to start somewhere!).
- Make a personal budget. Try using mint.com
- Create a separate bank account for your business (so happy I did this early on!)
When you start a business, it’s personal. You are putting yourself and your idea out into the word for everyone to see. This can be challenging psychologically. My first time pitching my idea was terrifying! Then I thought, worst case, they don’t like my idea. At least I tried. My first one went well, other times it didn’t. At the end of the day, always be proud of yourself. Success is learning that losing a few battles can help you win a war.
It’s easy to feel isolated in the process. You often have to sacrifice a beautiful afternoon in the park or a fun night out with your friends to keep the business moving forward. Schedule out your personal time. In a crazy schedule full of color-coded to-do lists, I use my pink highlighter to schedule time for myself and time with my friends. If there isn’t enough pink, I go back to the drawing board. You will be stressed, you will feel like crying, you will feel like giving up. Learn to balance this with the activities and people you love.
WHY DO IT?
I work out of passion, not out of necessity. I have built new relationships and fostered old ones. I get to work with people who inspire me and give me the drive to keep pushing on everyday. The challenges are endless, the learning is continuous, and the dreams keep growing. Be patient, work hard, and make it happen.
Now get out there!