With the start of a new year, many StartUp Founders, entrepreneurs, small business owners, Bloggers, YouTube and other content creators will be developing their plans and goals for the new year. Many will proclaim to themselves and anyone who will listen that this will be the year that they will take their business to the next level or launch that amazing new app, product, service or course that will change their lives and the lives of others too.
To offer further motivation and words of wisdom for these brave risk takers to consider as they sojourn this amazing new year, we’ve curated 15 quotes from famous people in history and offered our explanatory spin for context.
Launching an endeavor and stepping out on faith involves risks and one must be brave to sacrifice the comforts and security of a daily 9-5 and guaranteed paycheck and benefits. It is very hard to work part-time on a startup while holding a full-time job. If you do not have a safety net in the form of a trust fund, rich parents or a spouse who earns enough to sustain your quality of life, you’re looking at a long road of Ramen noodles and coupon clipping. But to continue part time will lead to stagnation or slow progress, and you will never acquire the level of experience needed to truly be successful unless you can dedicate most of your waking hours to making your dream a reality.
Bootstrap StartUps struggle to find capital, assistance and free to low-cost resources, while trying to make rent or feed the family. But indeed, embedded in this struggle is the opportunity of learning to be efficient with our time. We will become a wiser penny-pincher which will benefit us in business while operating a lean start up. We will be creative when looking for sources of funding. We will find ways to barter for services or maximize the free resources and to make the budget stretch. We will make time to place ourselves in networking or other situations to make connections and find opportunity. Without the difficulty of “the struggle”, we may not be as resourceful as we are and we will become. There is opportunity in difficulty.
We can take webinars, get degrees, and enroll in courses to teach us how to be successful, but nothing can substitute for practice and getting the job done. Sir Branson got it right. This quote is reminiscent of another famous quote by Benjamin Franklin, “Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.” The everyday practice and daily grind is instructive and the best education any StartUp Founder can get.
There are studies that say workers perform their best when they are appreciated and their work is valued. An American Psychological Association (APA) survey found that feeling valued is a key indicator of job performance. Employees who feel valued are more likely to be engaged in their work and feel satisfied and motivated. For the entrepreneur, it is that mentor, that family member, that fellow hustler in the game who gives us that vote of confidence and expresses to us that we can do it and they can indeed see us succeeding. For every ten naysayer whose eyes glaze over when they hear us explain what we do, there is one who will enthusiastically listen, offer suggestions and support, and show up when needed. They are action and not just talk. These are the people StartUp Founders will owe their ultimate success to; the believers in our midst. They are not always family and friends, and often times they are not. But you don’t need friends and family to get where you want to be.
And no one ever has to tell a Founder who is grinding that there will be plenty of rain before he/she sees the rainbow at the end. However, we do need reminders along the way because there will be moments of absence of clarity when we will forget. Maybe it is the haze of the pile of bills or server crashes, but Parton’s words are a good reminder to keep the faith.
Dr. Wayne Dyer explains it well. Being an entrepreneur is an exciting thing! This is true especially now that being a Founder is a hip thing to be. Professional Bloggers are taken seriously and given access to perks and interviews once only reserved to journalists. It’s cool to have an active Kickstarter or Indiegogo campaign to raise money for your project. The non-traditional way of crowdfunding is acceptable way to fund a launch. Venture and angel capital fundraising is very hard and gets harder every year. In the middle of all the long nights, there are bursts of pure joy that come from breakthroughs or the flexibility of being able to be more available for your children or to travel without having to accumulate leave. With your laptop and a wireless air card, you can work from anywhere and be a digital nomad. We should enjoy the ride, indeed. Cherish the moments.
There are people in our industry who we will look up to. We will read their books, take their seminars, attend the panels and workshops they lead at seminars and conferences, and try to emulate their success. There will be VC and Angel Funders we court and try to develop relationships with, in hopes of getting their attention. We put people on pedestals and get tripped on mind games trying to impress them. They are humans. They may be influential, have power and money, but they are human too and not worthy of lowering our esteem or value to, in order to gain their acceptance and approval. If one doesn’t see our potential and the potential of what we are trying to build, others will. The founders of Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat and many other highly successful startups were told “no” many times before they got a “yes.”
And there will come the time that we will build a team and we will have to keep them motivated and make sure they are part of the process. All of a sudden, we are the leader and we have the responsibility of making sure everyone’s contribution is valued. Part of being a good leader is honing and developing diplomacy skills, listening skills and management skills. We will have to learn to not micromanage. To assign and let go while watching from afar. We will need to know how to develop a work culture that is nurturing. We’re up to the challenge because we remember when we were a worker and desired these very same things.
And we will learn that the person with the 4.0 from MIT or who is the best coder may not be the same person who comes up with creative solutions or new ideas to solve the StartUp’s problems. This quote from Albert Einstein epitomizes the importance of workplace diversity and of being open to getting suggestions from everyone down the line. Imagination will take you everywhere when you can dream up solutions to problems no one else before you have dreamt up!
And this gets us to this marvelous quote from the very fashionable Coco Chanel. The app store and marketplace are filled with thousands and thousands of companies, brands, StartUps and apps doing variations of something that has been done before. They build on top of existing successful platforms but very few break out because they do not stand out. In order for us to succeed we have to present and possess that X-Factor that cannot be found elsewhere to keep customers coming back and becoming committed. The goal each day is to create that irreplaceable trait.
No matter how much positive press and accolades we eventually get in the press, the media and among our peers, we have to stay humble to continue to grow and learn. Once the humility is gone, there will be less effort to listen to others, take advice, enroll in continuing education courses and learn from mistakes. We will blame others and not take responsibility for failures. We will not accommodate our friends and family or will not give them the same level of attention and responsiveness as we did before. Many a mighty giants have fallen from grace on account of Arrogance. Don’t get caught up in your own hype that you become ungrateful or a jerk.
Therefore, Ralph Waldo Emerson‘s quote about celebrating the victories and all the wonderful little things along the way is on point. Each success is hoisted up by a lot of people and supporters, backers and institutions. Give thanks and always let your followers, customers, partners, workers and contributors know you appreciate their role in the small wins. Keep going forward but never forget to look back, and be gracious and grateful of every advancement.
Irrespective of what goes on around us, our inner instincts, inner sense of accomplishment, inner pride, inner value for our work, effort, and the process are the true drivers of success. With a certain level of contentment and confidence, external noise will have less of an effect on our progress. We will not be shaken too much by the haters and critics. In fact, we will learn there is value to criticism and naysayers. They motivate us to keep going so we can show them they were wrong all along. The inner peace and calm to persevere is within us all. Once we tap into it and master it, we will be unstoppable!
Having taken the first step by launching a Startup, the staircase will indeed start to form. There is a wonderful feeling when you can truly conceptualize where you are aiming to reach. Sometimes, the hardest part is being able to piece it altogether but once you do, it’s quite exalting and liberating a feeling.
And in the end, if there is no success or the project doesn’t get off the ground or fail to launch or grow at a rate projected or hoped, it’s okay. There was value in the effort. Failure is always possible, but one failure is not the end. Life goes on and if you live to see another day, you can certainly live to rebuild or start fresh!
Good luck, Entrepreneurs and have a very abundantly successful 2016.
—- Jeneba Jalloh Ghatt is an editor at TechYaya. She calls herself a Social Media butterfly, is a recovering attorney and owner of a digital publishing company that publishes several lifestyle, political and tech blogs properties and websites. She tweets at Jenebaspeaks.