Ok, so we haven't built billion dollar business yet, but our first company Newspepper.com, started in 2007, grew to 6 figures in revenue, 5 people full time and 250 freelancers worldwide and we've been building amazingly interesting startups ever since.
1. Your job doesn't exist, you have to invent it.
The Internet is breaking down/innovating & changing every industry in the world, this means that traditional jobs are disappearing and new roles are appearing every single day. It also means, in the word's of Richard Branson 'New Business Opportunities Are Like Busses, One Comes Every Few Minutes' there are endless new opportunities to pitch to people. We changed our product at Newspepper to what client's wanted and seeded ideas for new business in their heads.
2. The world is more global than ever before.
When we started Newspepper we instantly said we were a global company offering services across Europe, the USA and even Africa, although we weren't sure how to offer our services abroad, amazingly we started to get clients across the world, from Dubai, TelAviv and Kenya to the USA. When we got client booking abroad, we figured it out and hired local people in these areas to manage these jobs. There was no secret to our marketing, most of our outreach and networking we did on social media and it worked!
3. If you're bringing in cash keep going.
In 2013 I began to tell my staff to move to other jobs and started to wind down the company, we were still making revenue, but it was running flat month-to-month rather than on the upward growth curve like we had been doing in the previous years. I was burned out and having the stress of bringing in enough payroll every month to pay my staff was taking it's toll. In hindsight I should have just taken a long vacation and kept going, because if you're making any revenue at all this is a huge achievement in the world of startups. We had spent years building a brand and just closing it seemed like the easiest option, I wish we had kept it alive and kept going.
4. You're only as good as your last project.
In Hollywood they say 'You're only as good as your last film' and that's because when you meet new people they don't care about what you have done in the past, they judge you by what you are doing now or your latest project. This means you have to keep going, seeking out new projects and opportunities, you can't afford to sit back on your laurels and rest too much - opportunities won't just land on your lap, you have to make them happen.
5. People will say 'No' keep going until you get a 'Yes'
People will also hate you, hate your idea, think it's silly, think you are silly, bitch about you, not include you in their clique. If this happens just move on, there will ALWAYS be people somewhere in the world who will be inclusive of you, appreciative and accepting of you. Most negativity comes from a place of jealously and internal insecurity. I've had plenty of investors say 'No' to me, even on national TV, I just think 'Their loss, I'm gonna blow up in the future'.
6. Business is people.
Ok, so I agree good products also matter, but you can have the most amazing product in the world, if you can't sell it, it might as well not exist. There is no secret to business, it's just about connecting with other people and getting them excited about your product or service.
7. Don't put your life on hold to 'change the world.'
Gen-Y are the startup generation - we all have access to the Internet which means we all have the ability to build something and change the world. Whilst this is an incredible time to live in, it can also mean we get addicted to our jobs, building our companies and the online world. Our 20s are the best year's of our lives and It worries me that many young people are spending these years sitting behind their laptop screens trying to make millions of dollars and change the world.
Part of the reason I burned out in 2013 was the realisation that whilst I was doing amazingly well career-wise I had put the life part on the back burner and was growing increasingly lonely and wanting to find a life partner and work on the startup I always dreamed of: raising a child. So I invested some serious time in the 'life-part' and guess what? It happened I fell in love and have a baby startup in my tummy. Now, back to that career!
If you're looking for help with growing your brand, product or service online, get in touch: firstname.lastname@example.org