One of the benefits from “hanging” out in the blogosphere is that I get to make many friends from around the world. Well, one such friend I have recently made is an already self-made entrepreneur by the name of Dragos Roua from Romania.
Now, Dragos has a tremendous zest for life. His fire has never failed to get me up and going!! I stand to attention every time I receive an email from him. I am therefore most honored to do a special feature today written by him about starting a business. Who else to learn from but from someone who has successfully set up a business, sold it and then bought his own freedom? He has lessons that we can all benefit from in terms of energy, focus and authenticity.
This article is part of a series about the 7 ages of a business, an entrepreneur perspective, initially published at Dragos’ site. The remaining 6 articles are published as guest posts on other 6 fine personal development and business blogs. You will find links to them at the end of this article. Everything Is Possible
The enthusiasm stage of your business, the first and most spectacular, is the stage in which you think everything is possible. You don’t give too much attention to cash-flow, clients or strategy, all you do is enjoying the fact you’re starting it up. You are happy because you’re your own boss.
The bright side of this is that you will be full of energy. The down side of this is that you will be full of energy.
Ok, let me explain: being full of energy will make you extremely available. You’re ready for anything. You’re up to any challenge. You’re eager to implement your ideas. During my first weeks of entrepreneurship I barely remember how it was to sleep. All I remember was a continuous flow of euphoria.
But being full of energy also meant I had a hard time releasing it into a coherent strategy. I thought that that flow of jubilation will be enough for making things happening. Which was not the case, I assure you. You need much more than enthusiasm to create a business, although enthusiasm is a key ingredient for this pie. What To Avoid
During this stage your business is quite fragile. A bad decision, a wrong move or even a risky expense could ruin your future development. Here’s what you should avoid:
Starting Too Many Things At Once It’s so easy to get caught in the carousel of “I can do this too”. Don’t. Stick with your initial ideas, and if you need alternatives way to get to it, restrict them to the minimum possible. Example: if you want to create a network of websites but you need money to buy hosting, content and pay your staff, you can start a side business for web programming. But don’t expand too much in this, just use it to pay your bills in the beginning and be ready to quit anytime your network will be self sustained. Overspending You have no idea what your business will cost you in the beginning. You can make projections, scenarios and assumptions, but none of them will work. So, keep a low budget on everything. Don’t buy expensive equipments just because somebody sell them. Don’t overpay you staff just because you’re afraid to lose them. The first period of your business will need little if no cash at all, from my experience.
Getting Burned In the first age of your business, the excess of adrenaline will make it difficult for your body to assess its real level of fatigue. Being fueled with enthusiasm will make you believe you can run forever. I have a news for you: you can’t run forever. You have to closely watch your body and acknowledge its signals. Sleep, eat well and don’t double your work hours just because you think it will make your business grow faster.
What To Do
There are several things you can insist on during this age, things which will help you in the next phases, if carefully done.
Day Dream Might sounds strange but it’s very important to keep a clear image of your goals during this stage. Allow yourself to day dream, to picture in your mind your ideas, to visualize your outcome. The more you’ll do it, the more you’ll free your energy from outside distractions. Day dreaming about your business goals in this phase proved to be one of the key factors of my success later on.
Research Try to channel your extra energy into research. Read about your niche, find similar business on the internet and try to learn from them. Meet new people and start conversations about your topics of interests. The initial enthusiasm of your business can be tricky in the sense of giving an unreal feeling of knowledge. No, you don’t have business knowledge yet, but you can acquire it.
Assess Keep a journal. That’s the easiest way to assess your success. Being caught in the initial flow of your business processes can become draining. I remember I wrote about 5-6 large paper word books in the first months of my business. Reading them years later was an enlightening experience. Keeping a journal to assess your progress is the simplest and most effective message you can send to your future self.
From Enthusiasm To Naivety
Speaking of your future self, there will be many phases for your business. The next one, the naivety business age, is also one of the most interesting. But before getting there you must consume your initial phase. How much it will take? Difficult to say. For me, the enthusiasm age was about 2-3 months, but I saw other fellow entrepreneurs who did it in a couple of weeks.
I don’t think this phase - as any of the other phases described in this series - is good or bad in itself. Nor is any phase better than other. From my personal experience, you have to go through all of them to get the most of your efforts. And each one is rewarding in its own way. I keep a very warm memory of my initial, enthusiastic business phase, although I made a lot of mistakes (including the ones I told you to avoid in this post).
You can find the next 6 ages of your business on these fine personal development and business blogs: