What do you do if you dream of founding a startup someday, but your friends and family argue against it? Unfortunately, it can feel like people from a family and a community with a strong entrepreneurial streak have an advantage. While this may be the case, you can do plenty to better understand the risks of startups yourself and how to move ahead when you don’t have much in the way of mentors or support out of the gate.
Understanding Their Point of View
First, unless your friends and family are the people who consistently discourage you and put you down, try to go easy on them. From their point of view, they are trying to protect you from making what they believe to be a big mistake. Rather than trying to persuade them, which can be an exercise in futility, simply show them by succeeding. It’s probably best to stop discussing your startup ideas with them and to try to find a supportive community elsewhere, which you may do using some of the suggestions below. Don’t write them off, though. You may find that some of the family and friends who doubted you in the early days end up being your biggest cheerleaders. These conversations are also great ways to improve your leaderships skills since you will have an opportunity to work on things like your elevator pitch, inclusion and tolerance, and personnel management.
Nail Down Your Finances
It’s a good idea to get your finances in order for a few reasons. You need to have some financial cushion yourself. You don’t want to go into business with messy personal finances. Make a budget, look at where you might be hemorrhaging or slow leaking money that you don’t have to, and figure out how much you need to live on each month. Try to pay off or pay down debts. If you have student loans, you may be able to refinance them. Lower interest rates or payments on a new refinanced student loan could take some of the financial pressure off in other areas. Finally, before you launch, be sure that your personal and business accounts are kept entirely separate.
When people talk about entrepreneurship and risk, they are most often referring to financial risk. While getting your personal finances in order is a start, there’s more work to be done to help mitigate this risk. One approach many people take is to keep their current job while they get their company running. If this isn’t practical for you, you might want to connect with other entrepreneurs and see what funding sources they have used. These can range from loans to investments from venture capitalists to crowdfunding and much more.
A startup accelerator is a great place to connect with others, but these usually aren’t open to all. Fortunately, there are other options. Look for local coworking spaces, meetups or other networking opportunities for like-minded people. You can network online as well. Getting a mentor can be helpful because this is someone who can offer insight and advice from experience, but like startup accelerators, this might not be within reach right away. Still, connecting with other entrepreneurs can provide you with valuable information and support.
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