May 31 · 6 minutes read
CEOexperience ownership web&mobile award-winningapps eMagazine mentoring founderskills businessdevelopment startup
As the Founder and CEO of Wolfpack Digital, I’ve had the opportunity to work with more than 40 international startups so far, with most of them coming from the tech world. We have advised them with their product strategy, built and helped them grow their award-winning web and mobile products. As of last year, we started building our own digital products, and these products are turning into independent and profitable businesses. Therefore, it’s fair to say I am a huge fan of what one can learn from the experience of founding a company or a product, especially if done right. There is no singular right or wrong way to do it, though. After working with and mentoring many different kinds of start-ups and founders, after a while it becomes quite easy to observe certain patterns. There are loads of articles and books out there explaining the pitfalls of starting a business and these are all very useful.
I say it’s time to look at all the pros of founding a startup, as long as you know what you’re getting into. All these pros are independent of whether the startup is successful or not.
Starting your own business usually means there is only this much you can do with the given resources. By being in a startup or starting your own business, you learn to prioritize better, which is an excellent skill to have and use in your personal and professional life.
In the very beginning it is probably just you and perhaps the other 1-2 co-founders, having to do everything, from sales and production to team management and all the way to doing paperwork and to repairing the coffee machine. This is the perfect opportunity to find out what works best for you. You are going to be put into situations where you simply have to improve on a certain skill so as to make things work, which means you will have the chance to study and practice more. Trust that all this diverse knowledge will be very useful later, especially if integrated creatively.
You get to meet many people as you are looking for investors, mentors, team members or co-founders. The power of one’s network is an essential asset in your personal and professional life, therefore even though it may not bring immediate results, it will pay off in the long-term. You will also be pushed towards improving your social and presentation skills, helping greatly in the area of self-confidence.
Although talent, knowledge and flair matter, nothing beats self-discipline when it comes down to getting the job done. Being in a startup helps you become more responsible by making you accountable for your own actions and promises, as you get to feel every single burn and achievement directly and vividly. And yes, this can be absolutely wonderful!
This is a very good time to be a founder, as we live in a highly-connected and diverse world where innovation can still make a great impact. There are more and more funding and mentoring opportunities available. Although you may not end up where you imagined yourself at the beginning of your startup journey, be sure all the places you will be visiting are interesting, and the final one may be even better than expected.
You will most likely have a few falls which will teach you in practice that being adaptable is not only a crucial survival skill but also can spice things up in your life and career by opening you to creativity and pivoting, which generally help with having a smoother ride. Being too rigid in a startup is not going to work, so if you are looking into ways of becoming more flexible, consider that a startup may help.
Nothing beats a startup in terms of how fast you can learn new skills and accumulate valuable practical and theoretical knowledge. Getting your hands dirty on so many different levels will help you on your shortcut to successful professional evolution and will help you later in your career, whether this is in your own company, another small company, or a huge corporation.
A startup opens you to many different opportunities, including diverse events, cultures, ideas, and people. It shows you the world in a different way and teaches you the importance of diversity, as we are all striving to obtain better solutions. These solutions often stem out of difficult, yet essential conversations between people with very different backgrounds and views.
As the amount of work you can do is virtually endless (after all, there is no one there this time saying “this is enough”), after a certain amount of time you learn how to combine your activities in a sustainable way, so that both yourself and the business with all its sides can function.
You get to experience a wide range of emotions, from fear to excitement, from confidence to deep disappointment. You learn (sometimes the hard way) to be less dependent on the approval of others and to master your emotions better so as to function and perform well.
Having your own business puts you constantly in new situations, sometimes way out of your comfort zone, and often testing your boundaries. Through this intense exploration, you find out a lot about who you are and what you are capable of, what you like and don’t like.
Even if everything crashes and burns after your attempt at starting your own business, you will always have some great memories to look back to and some engaging stories to tell, and for sure many laughs to remember from late nights where your only fuel working on your startup was pure excitement. One thing’s for sure: it’s not going to be boring!
Not to say there aren’t many challenges and potential sacrifices to consider. At the end of the day, you must look at things from all angles. Regardless of what happens, what matters is the way you choose to see it and what you make out of it. The worst that can happen given a constructive attitude is that you gain some experience and learn more about yourself!
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