10 Things I learned From Starting Up

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

I started a business about 4 years back, thinking I will make a lot of money selling the product I wanted to sell and the experience I wanted to give to my customers. Every entrepreneur starts with the same expectation, me being no exception. But only a few of them make it really big. The roller-coaster journey of starting a business can be rewarding in many ways, and yet it can be extremely tough and challenging. But this grind gives you lessons that you would not have learned in any business school otherwise.

Here are my top 10 learnings that I learned the hard way:

  1. Failures are a stepping stone to success:

This has got to be the topmost learning. We are taught and pushed so much not to fail that we take the fear of failure too seriously and never even dare to start. The first roadblock to avoid before starting up is to be ready to fail cause you will never be successful on the first attempt. Every failure will only make you stronger and teach you ways to improve your business.

  1. Team Up, Learn to delegate: Any successful business needs a good team. Look for a partner, a co-founder, or an employee, who believes in the goals you have set up. Even if you are more motivated while working alone, having another hand will help you see every decision from another perspective.
  2. Networking is Essential: In the 21st century, it is imperative to network, as your network can make or break your company. Hence you need to meet people, discuss your ideas and get support in the network. Always keep in mind the below questions and network with each section of people:

a. Who are your prospective customers?

b. Who are the people, vendors, and support network you want to work with?

c. Where can you find these customers, vendors, and support networks?

Image by shanegaughan from Pixabay

4. Prepare well but do not overdo: No one in this world can create a perfect product the first time. Hence do not fret over attaining perfection. Get a prototype of your product ready and start selling. Once you have sold a product, you can improve on it iteratively, take feedback from your first set of customers and create a better version on the subsequent attempt. Remember, Time-to-market is a key metric. Especially in a startup, it is imperative to know whether the product you are building will sell at all or not.

5. There is no free lunch: This is an important lesson I learned the hard way. As the world is materialistic, hence people expect kickbacks in return for any help. Even if you ask your friend to take some photographs for you or a designer friend to create some creatives for you, think about how you can pay them back. If you cannot pay them, gift them other things they would appreciate. But never ask for any help for free, as that will create negativity. People will also ignore the task. You cannot control the quality of the product when it is done as a favor.

6. Learn to sell yourself: Sales is an important skill to master. If you cannot complete it, hire someone else to do it, but do not ignore it. I was not very good at hard-selling the product or services I was selling. This resulted in failing to meet the sales targets we were aiming for and ultimately crunched the business for funds.

You need to learn to sell yourself. As a solopreneur, you are the face of your company. You must get over the mind block, be unabashed, be persuasive yet polite while selling your product. Communicate how you or the product you sell adds value to them. Once you can make them realize how you add value, the customers will be happy to pay you.

Image by Mediamodifier from Pixabay

7. Branding is Critical: Proper branding is essential for you and your business, both. Any brand should have a high recall value and should be able to create goodwill amongst your customers. Learn about many ways you can create a brand for your product, make it visible, and ensure that your customers recognize your brand. Once you create a recall value, try to engage your customers and instill a sense of trust for your customers.

8. Technology and Social media:

No company can ignore the power of social media today. You need to invest in creating your social profiles and maintaining them regularly and professionally. Along with your Website/storefront, your social media profiles are your first impression for any prospective customers. Hence the first impression must become a lasting impression. Social media can also be used for the sales funnel to ensure your visitors are provided value for their time. There should be a clear call to action that enables the conversion of visitors to paid customers.

9. Acknowledge and Engage: It is imperative to constantly engage with your customers, vendors, and even co-workers. You also need to acknowledge their contributions to making the company. You should provide loyalty benefits to retain returning customers. This will go a long way in building positive brand value and encouraging loyal customers to pay for big-ticket products/services.

10. Do not Ignore Feedback: Last but certainly, not least important learning is to get feedback from your existing customers. You must analyze the feedbacks and work on the findings from it. It is imperative to acknowledge any feedback(positive or negative) since it will help you make better-informed decisions for improvement and things to keep doing.

In conclusion, I must admit it was and still is a worthy investment of effort and money to have created a startup and a product that has been loved by all. I heard rare negative feedback on the same. Though I did not make a lot of money(Yet), I am hopeful that I will take all the learnings for life and use them to create an even better product. Hopefully, money will follow then. Hence, do not wait to start on the journey thinking whether it is the right moment or not, whether it’s worth the investment or not, you will only know if you start.




Azure Data Engineer| Multi Cloud Data Professional| Snowflake | Data Architect | Career Mentor | Writer(Tech) |

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Saikat Dutta

Saikat Dutta

Azure Data Engineer| Multi Cloud Data Professional| Snowflake | Data Architect | Career Mentor | Writer(Tech) |

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