5 Lessons You Have to Learn if You Want to Start Something

I like to consider failures “noble experiments.”
—Chip Conley (MBA ’84), Founder of Joie de Vivre Hotels

So you’re revved up and ready to start a business. Ok

You're riding high from the fun of dreaming up what it will be and taking the first steps. 

Then, ker-plunk. You hit your first bump. Then another. And other. Pretty soon, it feels like the world is against you and you’re questioning your idea, smarts and skills altogether. (What was I thinking? Who am I to kid?)

Next up, a face plant.

If you’ve got the moves to launch something and the wherewithal to stay with it, you’ll also need the gut to stomach a fall.  (tw)

Welcome to the Business Founders Club.

Once you’re in, there are lessons to be learned. Just part of the membership, love – think of it as necessary hazing. But unlike that nasty sport, the members of our club have your back. We'veall been there. We know the pain.

Still, here are 5 lessons that would be useful to learn pre-face plant. And if it’s already happened, then here are a few reminders to heal the wounds:

1. It’s not personal
Your business is not YOU. Just as Picasso is not his paintings or Meryl Streep her movies, you are neither your work nor business. You are you. You’re businessis a separate entity that you created but it is not you.

2. Effort does not always equal results
Creating something is hard work. Fabricating something out of thin air takes courage and strength. But no matter the sweat equity you invest, no matter the brilliance you shine, success is not guaranteed.

3. Everything is not under control
We are in love with control. Don’t try to deny it. We all have control issues. And business is a great place to (re)learn that everything cannot be controlled. Some things are better left explained as synchronistic or coincidental where no amount of effort could predict the outcome. Trust that. And know, too, that sometimes things fall apart despite the effort (reread #2). 

4. Speak up, especially when it’s uncomfortable
You know that niggly voice at the back of your head going, “I wonder if I should say this…?”. The answer is probably yes. Before you sign the contract, before you take the client, before you make the final decision…ask the question. Get answers. Know where you stand. So many failures could have been avoided by asking that question.

5. Heart is important, but money matters
It’s important and great to go after a passion and to pursue your sense of purpose. I’m all for it. The best things created were created from a sense of burning need that only that person could express. But for pete’s sake, you also have to eat, pay your cell phone bill and stay connected to the interwebs. Money matters. Don’t forget that.