A Guide for Starting an Impact Business: Your Startup, Your Baby

Running a startup takes a lot more than just a good business plan. When you jump into this career, you want to make sure you’re in it for the long haul.

I often tell entrepreneurs who are just starting out to treat their startups as their babies. Naturally, you’ll want to nurture your baby to grow and develop well. 

The startup idea needs to be something you’re crazy passionate about so you can take things to the next level. The people you choose to team up with, who you’re going to see every day at work, have to be the right ones.

You’re also going to have to name your baby. Be on the lookout for great names that don’t only sound good, but represent who your baby is.

In this guide, I will help you to unleash your innovative ideas. You will get a good glimpse of what to expect from the early days of life as an entrepreneur.

When it comes to passion, you shouldn’t be thinking “Money”.  

‘Money makes the world go round’. It is probably the sole motivation of many entrepreneurs.

A lot of people go into business for one reason – to make money. However, according to British business magnate, Richard Branson, it isn’t actually a good idea. If this is your main reason, your business is likely to fail.

On the other hand, if you are dedicated and passionate about a particular field, that energy can be highly influential. Not only does it inspire the people who work for you, but your audience also catches on to it as well.   

“When you believe in something the force of your convictions will spark other people’s interest and motivate them to help you achieve your goals.” -Richard Branson

So… are you still interested in establishing your own startup?

If you are, you’ll have to figure out what makes you tick. You’re going to travel through time. Revisit your past, reflect on the present, and zoom in to the future.  

Here are some brainstorming ideas:

Reconnect with your Inner Child

Kids are always running around with tons of energy and I feel a little envious when I see how excited and hyper they can get. But I remind myself that I was once a kid, too. 

Try to embrace that inner child within you. And release it. The objective here is to rediscover your passion and feel super psyched again. Reminisce to your childhood days.

What were your childhood aspirations?


When you were 10 years old, what did you tell everyone you were going to be? 


What were your favorite activities and hobbies?


What did you spend most of your time doing? 


Remind yourself about who you were as a child. And that you are actually the same person now. You are still curious, playful, and spontaneous.
Grab a pen and paper. Write down all these memories from your childhood. It will give you plenty of ideas. 

For example, when I was young, my aspirations changed every month. In January, I wanted to be a doctor. In February, I wanted to be an engineer. In March, I wanted to be an interior designer. 

When I look back at these memories, I sort of understand why I didn’t only have one aspiration. Because I liked so many things. And to this day, I still like all these things.

I regularly read about health and technical stuff. My friends like to tease me and call me the Google Doctor. Or in my spare time, you’ll see me pinning nice interiors on Pinterest. I have an entire collection of bedrooms, living rooms, and kitchens that I simply love to drool over. 

And although I didn’t end up becoming a doctor or designer, I’m still very much interested in these subjects. Who knows I’ll start a business in that industry one day. 

The first step is to brainstorm all these areas of interest. Brainstorm all the things you’ve liked since you were young up until now. And then slowly dig deeper.  


Focus on your skills

Everyone is equipped with skills. You may have picked them up over the years from school or your job or even from hobbies. These skills can be divided into two categories – professional skills and personal skills. 

These are some examples of professional skills:

  • Leadership and Management
  • Project Management
  • Presentation
  • Team Building
  • Critical Thinking
  • Research
  • Languages
  • Softwares

And some examples of personal skills:

  • Car Maintenance
  • Gardening
  • First Aid and CPR
  • Sports
  • Games
  • Arts
  • Cooking
  • Plumbing

Look into the skills that you have honed. Something that you have good knowledge about. You wouldn’t want to step into unknown territories. 

Choosing an industry where your skills lie will be beneficial. If you are skillful in certain areas, it will be easier and more enjoyable to carry out tasks. Keep in mind that you will be using these skills to be productive.

Think about what you’re good at and see if you can apply it to a certain expertise. This will give you a rough picture of what you’ll be doing on a daily basis. It also shows you which skills are lacking and the type of team you will need to put together. 

Along the way, you can also pick up new skills that you think will be helpful. There are loads of books and video tutorials available. Set aside some time for learning and growth.  


What brings out your emotions?

In order to be passionate about something, you need to care about it. There must be particular issues that bring out your emotions.

Whether that emotion is happiness, sadness, or anger, you need to figure out why you feel a certain way about certain topics. For instance, when you watch TV or read the news, consider the times when you felt all of these emotions.

Perhaps digesting the latest gadgets or football match recaps brings a smile to your face. Or hearing about refugees hits a sensitive spot in you.

Look back at all those times when these emotions converted into actions. Or almost did. 

Did you tell your friends and family about it?

Did you start a Facebook group for it?


It would be a good idea to make a collection of these feelings and scale-up. Be innovative and have a wild imagination. 

Maybe you’ve figured out a quicker way to get the latest updates on sports. Or it could be that you want to support a cause. 

Whatever it is, it has to be something that ignites your fire. That fire will give you direction and purpose. 


Envision the future

You’re not the only one. There are a lot of people out there that don’t know where to begin. Where to draw inspiration from. 

Let’s take advice from Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla Motors and SpaceX. He is an incredibly brilliant individual. Some call him a genius. 

According to Musk, you don’t have to change the world. It’s good to dream big, but keep it simple. Think about something that will be useful to society. That itself is already good enough.  

Your idea could be a simple game or improvement in photo-sharing. Whatever it is, it must be good for the people. It could either have a high impact on a small number of people or low impact, but on a large group of the population. 

Fast forward 5, 10, 20 years and imagine what life will be like. What problems would need solving? Focus on how you could solve these problems. 

For example, when Musk was 22 years old, he thought about problems in these 5 areas. And he felt the urge to solve them. 

  • Multi-planetary life
  • Sustainable energy
  • Genetics
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Internet

While studying in Stanford, he did not expect to run a company like Tesla or SpaceX. He simply wanted to be useful to civilization. 

Today, his main objective is to continuously improve technology to make sure that it gets better year after year. And he acknowledges the fact that it might take a really long time to materialize. But what matters to him is that he is able to make developments and pass it on to the next generation to continue.  

Be useful. Try to repeat these two words in your head when going through ideas and problems that need to be solved. 

You can also check out the interview carried out by Y Combinator: Elon Musk – How to Build the Future:


You’re closing in on your passion. What’s next?

You’ve gone through a ton of ideas and now you’re feeling super optimistic about it. The next step is to take some precautions. Do your homework first. Study the market before jumping into it. Try to minimize risks and potential issues. 

Here are several factors to consider before embarking on your entrepreneurial career:


The Internet offers a wide range of tools and services. You could also hire professionals for the launching phase. You will need to think of the channels you are interested in using to gain recognition. Find good opportunities to introduce your product to the market. 

A good place to start is by browsing events that are relevant to your industry. You can mark your calendar. At these events, you’ll be able to meet the right people.  


Identify a group of people who will benefit from using your product. Knowing your audience will also help you to communicate at a higher level with them. 


‘Keep your friends close and your enemies closer’. You can learn a lot from your competition. If you are new in the field, you can pick up a few tricks from those that have been there and done it. 

Try to figure out their successes and failures. If you notice the things they’ve done well, you can also run things in a similar way. 

Identify Risks

Risks appear in various forms. It could be financial, legal, or even pandemics. Draw up several scenarios that may likely occur. If it is a risky business, you might want to stop here and think twice.   

Teaming up with the right people 

Critical to every organization, the team will play a big part in paving the way to success. A ton of responsibilities and tasks will be put on the plates of team members. So you’re going to have to decide who you want to surround yourself with very carefully. 

Keep in mind that building your own startup is going to be challenging and difficult. And you’re going to need all the help you can get. With a tight budget and very few people in your team, every member will definitely serve more than 1 role. 

You might not be sure about who to look out for, so we’ve broken it down to these 7 roles:

The Dreamer

In normal terminology, this position is usually referred to as the CEO (Chief Executive Officer). This is the person who had the big idea in the first place. He or she drives the passion within the team. 

As the leader of the team, one of the main objectives is to ensure that everyone stays motivated and doesn’t wander off the path. There will be constant reminders and meetings led by the CEO about why everyone is there in the first place. 

When times are bad or when outsiders believe that the company is a total failure, the CEO proudly continues to carry the baton. He or she always believes in their idea and never gives up. Often charismatic and a people’s person, others are willing to follow in his or her direction.   

Let’s take a look at some of the roles and responsibilities:

  • Setting corporate culture
  • Leading change and motivating employees
  • Management of the company’s physical and financial resources
  • Supervision of the company’s operations

Compared to the other roles, the CEO oversees many departments within the organization and does not only focus on one area. The job description, as well as, requirements will vary depending on the business and size of the company.  

Required Experience: 

  • Masters degree in business administration, management or a relevant field
  • Has managed teams
  • Has dealt with media and public relations

Some notable startup CEOs: Elizabeth Holmes (Theranos), Travis Kalanick (Uber), Evan Spiegel (Snapchat).

The Accountant

While the CEO takes care of the overall leadership of the startup, ‘the Accountant’ handles all the financial aspects of the company. Otherwise dubbed as the CFO (Chief Financial Officer), he or she is in charge of the financial situation and direction. 

The CFO provides accurate and timely analyses of budgets, forecasts, trends, and P&L statements. 

The roles and responsibilities involve, but are not limited to:

  • Financial recording and reporting
  • Preparation of budgets, forecasts, and analyses
  • Developing financial and tax strategies

Required Experience:

  • Masters Degree in Finance, Law or Accounting
  • CPA certification is a plus
  • Has worked with e-commerce payment solutions

Some notable startup CFOs: Anthony Noto (Twitter), Sarah Friar (Square), Ajay Vashee (Dropbox)

The Salesperson

Also known as the CSO (Chief Sales Officer), this role has everything to do with hustling. The main objective of the CSO is to sell the product that the team has developed. In doing so, he or she will manage the sales team as well as develop all sales-related strategies. 

The CSO not only pursues all the leads and potential customers but also builds and maintains relationships with all the key people. 

Among the most important roles, the ‘salesperson’ will stop at nothing until the idea sells and reaps profits. Here are some of the roles and responsibilities:

  • Providing leadership and direction for the overall sales strategy
  • Monitoring sales channels and services
  • Analyzing the business, performance as well as competition
  • Establishing and maintaining long term relationships with key customers, potential customers, and strategic partners

If you’re looking to hire or team up with a CSO, watch out for some of these requirements:

  • Master’s Degree in Sales, Marketing, Advertising, Finance, or any other business-related field
  • Previous work experience in a high-level sales position in a fast-paced and dynamic business environment
  • Excellent communication, analytical, interpersonal and leadership skills

You may have come across this role before as the Chief Revenue Officer or VP of Sales. 

Some notable startup CSOs: Hunter Madeley (Hubspot), Luke Massery (OYO), Jason Marr (Sonarworks)

The Marketeer

Labeled as ‘The Marketeer’, the CMO (Chief Marketing Officer) is in charge of marketing, advertising, brand identity. He or she presents the company in the best way possible. This person crafts the story and mission statement. 

Often possessing tremendous leadership and communication skills, the CMO has to be innovative in creating marketing strategies. The aim here is to build the brand in order to have a positive impact on sales, awareness, perception, and other brand-related factors. 

Some roles and responsibilities of ‘The Marketeer’ cover:

  • Leading and supervising the marketing department
  • Initiating and implementing marketing strategies
  • Focusing on online and offline initiatives
  • Storytelling


  • Master’s degree in business, marketing or a related technical field
  • Successful track record in building brand awareness
  • Able to use marketing software
  • Possesses a good understanding of marketing analytics

From company to company, the name of the position varies, but the roles and responsibilities remain the same. The CMO is often referred to as the Chief Brand Officer as well as the VP of Marketing.  

Some notable startup CMOs: Kelly Bennet (Netflix), Seth Farbman (Spotify), Melissa Waters (Lyft).

The Artist

The creative person in the group, ‘The Artist’ is often referred to as the CCO (Chief Creative Officer) or Creative Director. Involved with the development of artistic aspects, the job description covers the creation of materials that can help promote the company’s products and/or brand. 

This role entails designing the app, website, and all the branding elements – all the work related to creativity and visuals.

Required Skills:

  • Strong creative talents
  • Able to manifest vision through digital and print media
  • Ensures visuals, messaging, interactive designs are on point

Required Experience: 

  • Master’s degree in business, visual arts or graphic design
  • Previous experience as a digital media specialist, copywriter, media production  

Some notable startup CCOs: Toke Nygaard (Zendesk), Bruce Campbell (Salesforce), Lee Mincy (Optimizely)

The Techie

Responsible for the development of information technology and information systems, ‘the Techie’ or also known as CTO (Chief Technology Officer) builds the product from the ground up. After building the product, systems are put in place to ensure smooth operation. All new technologies are often taken into account to provide better efficiency. 

The role includes the management of business technologies, infrastructure services, digital development, site, and software development, just to name a few. 

Required Skills:

  • Superior computer skills
  • Deep understanding of software technologies
  • Comprehensive knowledge of data management and processing

Required Experience:

  • Master’s Degree in Computer Science, Information Technology or any related field
  • Has worked in a senior engineering position

Some notable startup CTOs: Daniel Sturman (Roblox), Robin Ducot (Survey Monkey), Venu Venugopal (Udemy)

The Facilitator

This person oversees all operations, finances, legal, recruitment. Also known as the COO (Chief Operating Officer), he or she covers all the factors that keep the company’s engines running. 

A COO would expect to see these types of roles on a day-to-day basis:

  • Supervising daily operations
  • Reporting to the CEO about significant events
  • Conveying company policy and regulations to employees
  • Encouraging expansion and tapping into international markets  

Required Experience: 

  • Masters Degree in management, business or a relevant field
  • Vast work experience and knowledge of different industries

Some notable startup COOs: David Sangster (Nutanix), Emilie Choi (Coinbase), Scott Keane (Bitly)

The 7 roles mentioned above are key and detrimental to the success and failure of the startup. The roles, responsibilities and required experience may vary from organization to organization.

What about other roles?

Apart from the 7 roles, there are also other roles in the organization that you may have to think about. These other roles may range from assistance all the way to coding. 

Let’s take a look at how to deal with the hiring of other roles. There are several factors that must be taken into consideration. For example, you might have to budget wisely and be cost-efficient when it comes to hiring.  

In today’s digitally connected world, you can easily find skill and talent. When you need a specific job to be done, simply connect to the Internet and find a suitable candidate.

When it comes to accountability and tracking, use Time Doctor. You’ll receive screenshots and the exact time that was spent on each task. You’ll be able to monitor the productivity of your entire team.

For more info, visit Time Doctor

All in all, startups typically have these crucial roles at the core of the team. The general roles and responsibilities in all startups are basically the same. As for other roles, many startups resort to outsourcing, to cut costs where possible. 

It won’t be a piece of cake to assemble your team, but selecting the right members will certainly pay off. 

Creating a Brand Name

An essential part of your journey will also be deciding on your brand name. One of the most common challenges many startups face in the beginning is how to create a BRAND NAME that stands out.

We live in such a competitive world. So you might think that all the good names have been taken. But don’t worry. If you’re still trying to figure the name out, let’s think of some ways we can come up with one!

Here are some ideas you can use:

Use Your Own Name

Customers like to know that there is a real person behind a business. It immediately offers personal credibility. 

It’s a common practice among businesses in the fashion industry. I’ve also noticed that many firms use their own names as well.

Here are some reasons why it’s a good idea to use your own name:

  • Leverages on your reputation
  • Establishes trust and credibility
  • Your own name is unique and different from others
  • Demonstrates passion and commitment

If you think your name sounds nice, go ahead and try it. You could use your family name on its own, your full name, or even a nickname. 

And if you have partners in the business, you can combine the names of the owners. Just make sure that the name isn’t too long. Keep it simple at 1 or 2 words. 

Some notable examples: Versace (fashion), Kate Spade (fashion), Deloitte (accounting firm). 

Form Acronyms

Short, simple, and easy to remember. But the question is should you abbreviate your brand name or not. 

There are so many famous brands around us that have taken this path. It’s easy to pronounce and it’s usually only 2-3 letters. You form the acronym by taking the first letter of each word.   

Some notable examples: H&M (Hennes & Mauritz), IBM (International Business Machines), CNN (Cable News Network)

Although it sounds like an uncomplicated way to come up with a name, you should stay away from forming a long abbreviation. For example, TIAA-CREF (stands for Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association – College Retirement Equities Fund). 

It is way too long. Try to say it out loud. Does it sound nice? It honestly doesn’t even sound like you’re speaking English. 

Other things to note are some pitfalls of using an acronym as your brand name:

  • Not unique
  • SEO challenges
  • Doesn’t explain what you do


Self-explanatory Names

The best thing about this type of name is that once someone reads it, they instantly know what the business is about. 

These names have been around for ages. They are effective in terms of brand positioning. Customers don’t have to think twice to identify the products and/or services. 

To form this type of name for your brand, think about the main products and/or services of the company. What are the interesting highlights?

And don’t forget the rule of thumb is to always avoid long names. 

Self-explanatory names are great because of what is being communicated. However, there are also some disadvantages to take note of:

  • Lacks creativity
  • Poses limitations

Depending on the industry you’re in, such a name could sound quite boring and generic. Besides, there may be limitations on what your company is all about. 

For example, let’s take a look at Burger King. It has the word burger in its name so anyone who reads it knows what it serves. The focus is on burgers and therefore, their brand identity and product offerings might only be limited to this item. 

Whenever someone says Burger King, burgers automatically pop up in one’s head. In the future, if they would like to branch out to other areas, they may face challenges and difficulties. It won’t be easy to change the perception that has been strongly tied to their name.  

  Some notable self-explanatory names: Booking.com, Paypal, General Motors. 

Take a Word from the Dictionary

Browse through the dictionary and choose a word that is relevant to your business. It is quite similar to self-explanatory names, but it comes with a twist. 

When customers read the brand name, they will understand the meaning of the word, but it doesn’t give the answer away. Often companies choose this direction to illustrate an interesting connection or to be symbolic. 

According to Wikipedia, Tinder is a geosocial networking and online dating application that allows users to anonymously swipe to like or dislike other profiles based on their photos, a small bio, and common interests. Once two users have “matched,” they can exchange messages. 

But what does the word
‘Tinder’ actually mean? 

Well the Merriam-Webster dictionary states that ‘Tinder’ can be defined as ‘a very flammable substance adaptable for use as kindling’.

Originally, Tinder was named Matchbox, but the founders decided to go down a different lane. The reason being that this dating app starts the sparks. The app is used to metaphorically start a fire when it comes to romantic relationships. 

Some notable brand names taken from the dictionary: Polo, Slack, Telegram

Combine Words

Spice it up by using more than one word. Create some sort of pun.

The dictionary can come in handy once again. This time you can take 2 words. Join both words together and make sure to remove the space between them. 

There will be a stronger emphasis on the first word. And another thing I often notice is that some brands capitalize the second word as well such as YouTube. But it doesn’t mean that you have to.

Another thing you can also try is to take parts of words and join them together. For example, Microsoft (microcomputer + software). 

Some notable combination names: Facebook, WordPress, Airbnb

Invent Your Own Name

Want to be original and create something unheard of? Just make sure that it’s catchy.

It might prove to be very challenging to find the perfect name so why not just invent one. Perhaps the most unique of all names, these fabrications often sound very distinctive. 

It’s highly advantageous that these names stand out. Trademarking will not be an issue. However, let’s also take note of the downfalls. One of the challenges is that there is no definition assigned to the word. The marketing department might have to spend a lot of bucks and time to develop meaning around the brand name. 

In many cases, the brand becomes a hit and the dictionary inducts the invented word into its vocabulary. For example, you will see that Skype is now a word in the dictionary. According to the Cambridge English Dictionary, Skype is a brand name for an application for communicating with other people over the internet using voice or video calls.  

Examples: Skype, Xerox, Kodak

Use an Animal

Don’t want to be so straightforward with the name? Use an animal to symbolize certain qualities of the brand. 

Animal symbolism has long existed. Idioms have often been associated with animals to describe similarities. I’m sure you’ve heard of ‘strong as an ox’, ‘tall as a giraffe’, and ‘quick as a fox’. 

To this day, the Native American people believe that every individual has their very own spirit animal. 

The same can be applied to brand names. Attributing animal-like characteristics to your products is also another way to go. A common practice for car companies is the use of animals such as horses and fast cats. These animals illustrate speed.

It is a very simple approach that can be seen in the world’s top brands. Often accompanying the name would be the animal used in the design of the logo.   

Examples: Jaguar, Dove, Puma

Take a Word from Another Language

Foreign always sounds exotic. It’s not something you typically hear.

The strategy of using a foreign word is to create a foreign perception in the minds of its customers. Just imagine when a person hears the name, there won’t be any meaning attached to it.

Let’s zoom in on Hulu. An American subscription video-on-demand service, the name derives from the Mandarin language. 

According to the Hulu blog: “In Mandarin, Hulu has two interesting meanings, each highly relevant to our mission. The primary meaning interested us because it is used in an ancient Chinese proverb that describes the Hulu as the holder of precious things. It literally translates to “gourd,” and in ancient times, the Hulu was hollowed out and used to hold precious things. The secondary meaning is interactive recording. We saw both definitions as appropriate bookends and highly relevant to the mission of Hulu.”

After going through a long list of names, the team finally settled on Hulu. It was short, fun, easy to pronounce, and didn’t have a meaning in the English language. 

Examples: Häagen-Dazs, Hulu, Alibaba

It’s always a good idea to have a few names to choose from. Here are some key factors that should be taken into consideration before you finally settle on that one name:

  • Easy to say and pronounce
  • Easy to remember
  • Domain availability
  • Trademark availability
  • Stands out from the competition
  • No negative connotations (including when translated into the language of a foreign market) 
  • No limitations (allows you to add new services and/or products in the future)

Once you’ve chosen your name, make sure that it can be trademarked or copyrighted. And always remember to keep it simple!

Life as an Entrepreneur:
10 things to avoid

With the startup idea, roles, and name covered, let’s take a look at things you should avoid. Life as an entrepreneur is going to be a rollercoaster filled with ups and downs. Productivity and time will be of the essence. 

There’s a saying that goes:

“Lost time is never found again” 

– Benjamin Franklin.


Live and breathe by his quote as it is true that time will be limited. You’ll have to be firm and say no to certain things to be more productive.     

Just to give you a head start, to save you time and headache, we’ve outlined some things you should avoid doing.


Don’t repeat these 10 mistakes

1. Trying to do everything by yourself

Do not try this because you can’t. Teams always beat individuals. If you take a look at Lebron James for example, he’s already considered one of the all-time greats. But year after year, he carried his team to the finals and couldn’t win a championship. 

He finally became a champion when he decided to team up with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh in the Miami Heat.    

With this example in mind, remind yourself that you’re not a one-man show. You have a team, so please use that team. Delegate, delegate, delegate.

Trust your teammates. Sharing responsibilities with them will lighten your load. It will give you more free time so you can work on keeping your stress levels low. 

Do not go down that path alone as it will only lead to exhaustion.    


2. Striving for perfection

I’ve noticed that a lot of people are obsessed with being perfect. To be honest, it’s an unrealistic goal that will just distract you from what’s in front of you. Instead, you should strive for progress, not perfection.

A very wise man once said:

“Have no fear of perfection… you’ll never reach it”

– Salvador Dali. 


You don’t have to be perfect or do things perfectly. Just make sure that you’re always making progress and taking things step by step. Even small steps mean you’re moving forward.

Be hard-working, stay motivated, and always try to produce good work. It doesn’t have to be perfect.   


3. Comparing yourself to others

The comparison game is such a waste of time and will shift your focus to others, not yourself. Sometimes, I find that we’re so fixated on the ability of others, we often compare their best features against our average ones. 

When we compare ourselves to others, we forget about raising our own game. Let’s have a reality check. You are in control of your life, so let’s focus on that. Channel all your energy towards being the best version of yourself. 

Stop looking at what your friends are doing, what they have achieved, and so on. What matters the most is you and your progress. 

If you really can’t stop comparing, then I highly suggest that you compare yourself to who you were yesterday. That’s the only comparison you should allow yourself to make. 


4. Soliciting feedback for validation

Sara Blakely, the founder of Spanx, is a self-made billionaire. And this is what she has to say. 

Don’t solicit feedback on your product, idea or your business just for validation purposes. You want to tell the people who can help move your idea forward, but if you’re just looking to your friend, co-worker, husband or wife for validation, be careful. It can stop a lot of multimillion-dollar ideas in their tracks in the beginning”. -Sara Blakely


It’s true that if you ask your circle, whom you are close to, they probably won’t give you their honest feedback. They’ll always say that your idea is excellent and that you should go for it. Another thing is that they might not be experts in the industry. Thus, they lack the knowledge to give you constructive feedback. 

When it comes to feedback, look for it in the right places. And solicit feedback to improve. Not for validation. 


5. Having outdated media

Stay on top of the media you’re sharing with your audience. This could be your website, social media accounts, blog posts, and so on. 

Having outdated media is a huge mistake. It only resonates negatively. It shows that you are not concerned about engaging or providing the latest news for your audience. It also indicates that your business has not been in operation since the last post.

These are things you want to avoid. You want to be doing the opposite. You want the audience to know that you’re still alive and killing it.  

You might be too busy to update everything, but the audience doesn’t need to know that. Being busy is not an excuse. Have someone from your team update the media regularly. All you need to do is monitor and guide them from time to time. 


6. Online distractions

Chances are you’ll be online a lot for your work. There’s going to be a lot of temptation from your computer screen and even your phone. The internet is a massive online playground and you’re going to need a lot of discipline to say no. 

There is a time for everything. You’ll need to set time aside for work and play. 

If you truly don’t have the discipline, allow access only for sites relevant to your work. If you’re using an app that doesn’t require the internet, turn your Wi-Fi off.

Sometimes it’s not your fault. It’s the notifications from your email, social media, and other apps that distract you. Turn these off if you don’t need them. Try to eliminate any possibility of you getting distracted. 


7. Targeting the wrong audience

Ideally, you want the whole world to know about you. It would be a dream come true to have everyone in the world buying and using what you have to offer. 

But, let’s seriously think about it. Targeting the global population wouldn’t be realistic.

There’s a popular belief that goes:

“When you speak to everyone, you speak to no one”.
– Meredith Hill


Be more specific. Think about your ideal customer, superfan, target person.

Focus on their personality and traits:

What do they love and hate?

How old are they?

What are their aspirations?

Where do they hang out online?


When you identify that person, you’ll figure out how to communicate with them. It’ll be so much easier to create relevant content when you know who you want to attract.


8. Unproductive meetings

Don’t be surprised, but unproductive meetings happen everywhere every day. Not only are they a complete waste of time and money, but it just gets you contemplating why we even hold meetings at all in the first place.

Nevertheless, you still need to hold meetings. They’re an effective way to get people together to discuss issues, solve problems, and share new ideas. So if you’re going to schedule them, then you need to make sure that they’re productive and not the other way around.

Having attended a ton of meetings, I have taken note of several factors that lead to unproductivity. Lack of organization, lack of preparation, and distractions are things you should avoid.  

Here are some useful tips:

  • Keep your meetings small
  • Hold meetings when necessary
  • Create and share an agenda with attendees in advance
  • Be a few minutes early
  • Have online meetings whenever you can 


9. Disorganized work environment

I tend to see that mess works for certain individuals, especially those in the creative industry. However, if you’re going to be running a startup, this won’t work for you. Do what you can to get rid of the chaos. 

A lack of organization just spells out disaster. There will be a loss of time, a negative image for the company, and higher stress levels, which lead to tension within the team. 

Let me share a simple example with you. Time spent searching is time wasted. If you don’t do something so simple as to label your files and folders, just imagine how much time you’ll need to find a particular subject. You can picture yourself ruffling through sheets and sheets of paper looking for a needle in a haystack.  

Spend a little time to keep your workplace organized. Don’t waste time on the unnecessary. Everyone around you will be happier, including yourself. 


10. Ignoring mental exhaustion

Also commonly referred to as burnout, it is a state of emotional, physical, and mental tiredness due to continuous pressure at work. You start to feel overwhelmed, tired and drained all the time. 

Signs and symptoms of burnout:

  • Loss of motivation
  • Sense of failure and self-doubt
  • Negative perspective
  • Difficulty to express emotions

Here are some ways you can deal with it:

  • Find balance in your life
  • Take time off
  • Make friends at work
  • Get plenty of sleep
  • Exercise regularly
  • Practice a healthy diet
  • Drink alcohol in moderation

Do not ignore mental exhaustion. Not only would it hinder your progress and productivity at work, but it would also affect your passion and drive. Another really important thing to note is that it could also lead to serious health issues.   

You’re going to be working for a huge portion of your life. Time is so precious and it flies by really fast. Don’t allow yourself to miss out on great opportunities and experiences because you got sidetracked. 

Along your journey, you’ll also figure out how to manage your time better. But for now, you should try your best to avoid wasting your time on these things.

Like all new experiences, the beginning will be tough. As time goes on, things will start to shift into auto-pilot mode. The dawn of entrepreneurship will test your passion and your team on so many levels. You will face many challenges, many ups and downs. But always remind yourself of your passion. It is the reason you decided to take this path.

Now that you’ve seen what the early stages might be like, are you excited about becoming an entrepreneur?

Let’s get to the drawing board!



Congratulations on reaching the end!

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