by Robert John Stevens, June 20, 2016
Only work with totally honest and highly ethical co-founders to avoid costly legal fees, broken promises, failed dreams and a great deal of stress. Discuss how you all will behave given a variety of unforeseen situations. Write it all down and have each co-founder sign every page.
Experience the pain or need yourself—If you have your chances of success will be much higher especially if you are committed to solving the problem so nobody else will feel the pain as you did, and to provide a simple, elegant solution.
Work with an entrepreneur who has succeeded. Learn all you can from him or her. Startups require a very different mentality than working for corporations.
Choose something that enhances your skills to set you apart from the masses should you need to bail and get a job.
Plan to spend most of your time doing tasks outside of your core skill set. The first thing I discovered after resigning from my cushy programming job at WordPerfect and building WriteExpress was that I had relied upon teammates.
Without their help I had to learn to program software installations, write documentation and sales copy, build websites, create and test release candidates, replicate CDs, design retail boxes and CD faces, manage my online store, create shareware versions, design, test and manage online advertisement, work with partners, sell, listen to customers, support customers, ship product and more.
Over time I lost interest in running an online store. I prefer a low-maintenance, scalable, re-occurring income model.
Make sure you have sufficient money to focus. This doesn’t mean you need a competitive or high salary—just enough so you and your family do not stress.
If no salary is offered, give yourself a set amount of time to succeed and don’t go over without future income. You may decide to burn through so much of your own funds for a given time and then some more to find a job should you need to bail. When I co-founded WriteExpress.com I had WordPerfect stock options, some other stocks and savings. Decide up front how much money you may lose.
Get yourself out of debt and reduce your monthly expenditures. Now may be the perfect time to sell a home or assets into strength. Rent if it saves you money and frees up cash.
Get something into your customer’s hands ASAP. They will help you perfect it.
Plan to get a job before you run out of money—you will have a great start on your new business and can finish it part time. Bankruptcies, foreclosures, short sales, and divorces happen when entrepreneurs gamble.
Commit to eating healthy, going to bed early, rising early, exercising daily, maintaining your spirituality, and working somewhere where you can focus. Failure in any one of these will cost you.
Most importantly don’t ever ignore your children. Whenever they request your attention stop whatever you are doing and give them your full attention. It is sometimes difficult to do so you must decide ahead of time to do it. Failure to do so may likely result in wayward children.
No startup success will compensate for failure at home. No sane person on their deathbed who has wayward children wishes they made more money in life.