What I wish I knew before I became an entrepreneur

Kate Jones
@kateljnes

Entrepreneurs usually hit the ground running. There are no dress rehearsals – just a lot of killer instinct and steely determination.

Three entrepreneurs tell us what they wished they knew before they got started.

Never listen to the naysayers

Family, friends and even strangers will feel compelled to shoot down your ideas. Don’t let them shake your ambitions, says Sam Bashiry, managing director of Broadband Solutions.

“One of the most important things I have learnt as an entrepreneur is that there will always be people who say, ‘It’s not possible’”, he says.

“The fact of the matter is that not everything has been done before and even if you’re entering an existing market, there is always a way to do it better than your competitors.”

If I'd known how helpful the capital and our investors would be, I would've done it sooner.

You need to raise capital

Alec Lynch bootstrapped his online design marketplace DesignCrowd for the first two years. After taking it as far as he could with savings, credit cards and loans from friends and family, he decided to raise capital. Since 2009, he has raised 12 million dollars in venture capital.

“This capital has been a game changer and has supercharged DesignCrowd's growth,” he says.

“If I'd known how helpful the capital and our investors would be, I would've done it sooner.”

How supportive the entrepreneurial community is

Ash Newland, inventor of the Scrubba washbag and Shark Tank winner, says he never expected the entrepreneur community to be as helpful as they proved to be. By attending startup meetings and joining entrepreneur networks, he says he picked up practical and invaluable advice.

“I was able to learn from other entrepreneurs' mistakes before I made them and focus on areas that worked for them,” he says.

“I think most entrepreneurs believe in paying it forward and even if you are aren't able to assist them back, the unwritten rule is that you will then help someone else in the future.”

The importance of a great team

Initially, entrepreneurs think they can do it all on their own. But there comes a time to relinquish control and when that time comes, you need a top-notch team.

“At a certain stage, there is simply no way for you to keep control of every aspect of your business,” Bashiry says.

“It is important to find people who are equally passionate about your business when hiring because ultimately, you are going to place them in charge of part of it.”

Kate Jones

Kate Jones writes for the business and money sections of The Age and Sydney Morning Herald. She also writes for The New Daily, TAC, RMIT and is a news writing tutor at Monash University.

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