One thing I've learned over the years is that I may be capable of doing a lot myself, but I'm capable of much more with others. As an entrepreneur, it's easy to believe you're entirely alone in your new venture. It's what we see on TV - the brave entrepreneur forging a new path against all odds. The truth of the matter, though, is it's extremely valuable to network with other entrepreneurs and people within your industry. If you're friendly and outgoing from the start of your business, you'll know with whom your true friendships lie, no matter the outcome.
There are going to be people who think you're making the wrong decision, especially once you quit your day job. You'll probably be spending more time at work, potentially missing an event or two, and likely for less money. The thing is, you have to own it. Own your decision. Only you know that you made the right one, and you have to ignore the naysayers.
Plan, Plan, Plan
One of the things an entrepreneur has to come to terms with is this: Most successful entrepreneurship is either born from or molded by failure, but the idea that you jump in feet first without a plan comes from television and movies, not real life. Of course, you run the danger of planning too much, getting mired in preparation, but it is still vital that you have a basic plan for your business. What will you be producing? Do you have the resources? Do you have a branding message? Know that all of these things may change, and be open to the change, but plan nonetheless.
Once you feel confident in your plan, it's time to execute. One thing most entrepreneurs have in common is that once the execution phase starts, things will not go according to plan. Failure, at least in aspects of your execution, is inevitable, and it is best to embrace the failure rather than endure the paralyzing fear of it. Know that everything won't work out, know that that's a good thing, and go do it.
Learn From Failure
The only way failure is a bad thing is if you don't learn from it. Many of the best entrepreneurs do not look at outcomes as successes and failures but experiences upon which to build. This mindset allows them to not get too high on successes, which can lead to complacency, or too low on failures, which can lead to giving up. Plan, execute, evaluate: Keep that cycle going.
Leave Friends and Family at Home
There are definitely exceptions to this rule, but in general, leave your friends and family out of your new venture. If they aren't performing, it makes it difficult to do what is best for the company. They can take things personally that you only mean professionally, in which case your decision to have them take part in your business has damaged not only the company but potentially your family.
You're Not in the Business of Making Friends
One of the difficult things for many entrepreneurs to do is remember that your decisions may not always be popular. While it's important to remain objective and even humble enough to realize when things aren't going according to plan, it's equally important to not let your personal feelings toward your staff impact your business decisions. You didn't start the "How to Make Friends" business (unless you did...in which case, carry on).
Things Will Probably Get Worse Before They Get Better
There's something called the 1,000-day rule. It states that entrepreneurs, if they quit their day jobs to make their venture happen, should expect to be worse off than they were before they quit for the first 1,000 days. That's three years - three years of hearing that you may have made the wrong decision and wondering if they're right. Stay strong. At one point, you were willing to give up everything because you believed in what you were doing. In the words of Journey, "Don't stop believin'."
Investors Are Not Owners
If you've received venture capital, know that you are still the CEO of your company. Investors have the opportunity to make their feelings known, but at the end of the day, they invested as much in your company as in you. They invested in your idea, your leadership, and your decision-making. Believe in what you're doing and prove them right.
Being a young professional in general can be daunting. Being a young professional entrepreneur comes with its own unique challenges. Keep the above in mind, and remember to learn from all experiences, good and bad, and you'll see yourself though.