Start from the bottom, build a plan, and work hard

Starting your own startup has become somewhat of a trend in today’s world. Nowadays, an overwhelming number of employees are unhappy with their nine to five standard job, the ‘cog in the machine’ career, if you will.

While some decide to put up with working in an industry that makes you unhappy, some people are branching out and turning their passions into a startup. To some, the thought of leaving a stable job for an entrepreneurship role sounds terrifying. But there are plenty of ways to ease yourself into a very rewarding position where you are your own boss.

Nevertheless, starting your own startup should never be something you take too lightly. Here’s 9 things you’ll want to watch out for, according to my experience founding Asia Wedding Network.

1. Find your passions

Your first step is a no-brainer. You’ll need to figure out what your passion is. You might have a few different hobbies, but it’s important to research which hobby will be more successful as a startup. You’ll also want to consider how much you love that hobby or thing. If your heart isn’t fully into the project, you’ll want to find something else.

I started Asia Wedding Network because I loved looking at pretty and creative wedding inspiration, making couples happy, and everything that had to do with weddings – the dresses, the flowers, all the beauty and creativity in the industry. Because I loved it so much, it didn’t seem like extra work to me, which meant long hours were bearable, if not fun!

2. Become an expert in your industry

Once you decide what industry you want to enter, it’s time to become a complete expert in that field. Study everything about that industry and what is included. You’ll want to study the field itself, how to market your startup and even how others in the same field do social media marketing.

Before I started Asia Wedding Network, I’d go out to meet wedding planners, photographers, makeup artists, brides and grooms who were planning their wedding, and learn more about all sides of the field. Even if you’ve already played roles in your industry before, it never hurts to go out and meet the other players to learn perspectives from their angles.

Also read: Women tech founders need to become thought leaders, and here are key reasons why we need to get rid of subconscious biases

3. Make sure you have support

Starting a startup without any support from family or friends can be really difficult. It’s important to enter your new role knowing that you have the support of those closest to you. Before you make any big decisions, sit down with your family and closest friends, and talk about your dreams and goals.

You don’t want to make any big decisions without the support you need. Having that support system is a big factor on what has gotten us so far today. Without supportive family to keep your sanity and friends who understand what you’re trying to achieve, it’s hard to get far, in my opinion.

4. Ease into it

You don’t have to immediately quit your day job to start your startup! If jumping in head first is too terrifying, ease into your new startup. You can always work from home on nights and weekends as you build your empire. Once you get that stability or when you reach your monetary goals with your own startup, that’s when you can consider leaving your day job.

Don’t quit your job and then start your startup. Start thinking about your startup on the weekends or after work when you’re working at your current job. If you don’t want to give up your weekends or after-work hours to do that extra homework, then maybe starting a startup isn’t the right thing for you.

5. Get out of your comfort zone

Leaving a stable job to open your own startup is terrifying. To even make that first step, you’ll need to get out of your comfort zone. But the unknown is not an excuse to not move forward. Let your fear empower you! As you grow, these uncomfortable feelings will melt away as you become more successful. When I first started, it was so uncertain how long we would be going for. However, as you get used to the whole ‘startup’ thing, your emotions begin to stabilize and you start falling in love with the feeling of getting out of your comfort zone.

6. Branch out and learn about other roles

Don’t feel as if you have to solely apply your work experience to your startup. This is your opportunity to branch out and learn more about other industries and roles in a company. Take a community class or read blogs online to get comfortable with new information. They say that working in a startup means wearing many hats and taking on a many different roles. If you weren’t a marketer before, take a marketing class online. If you didn’t know how to use analytical tools before, learn! Startups have limited number of people, so it’s imperative that these limited number of people know how to do many things.

Also read: Here are 4 reasons you should forgo university and start a business

7. Don’t be afraid to ask for help

Don’t feel as if you have to take on this role on your own. Don’t be afraid to ask for help! You could reach out to a former mentor, a family member or anyone that you know that is knowledgeable in the industry you picked. It’s important to take in the knowledge of experts in the field around you. If you know someone who is very knowledgable in a particular role or field, take them out to coffee and understand everything about their role and what makes them good at their job.

8. Celebrate small goals

Not every success comes in huge, sweeping moments. Just like in life, you’ll need to celebrate the small victories while growing your startup. It will make you feel more successful as you work towards your goals. For example, if you finally landed your first client or customer, take the team out to celebrate!

9. Don’t put it off, and really believe in yourself

You might have had this dream for years, but you’ve always put it off for a number of reasons. You can’t let your fears dictate your life! Embrace your future and passions. Sacrifice some weekend or after-work time to make your dreams happen.

Think about what life would be like 10 years from now if you never at least tried to make your dream come true. If you don’t believe in yourself, your startup will be destined to fail. It’s important to act like the independent, successful woman/man that you are. Start from the bottom, build a plan, and work hard. Some days can be tougher than others but if you hold on to that belief, you’ll be able to pull through.

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