September 2, 2014

10 Lessons Learned From One Year Of Being An Entrepreneur

By: Daisy Jing

Originally published on Women 2.0

There’s a quote I love most, which is “when you see a successful person, you just see the success, not all the work and pain it takes them to get there”.

It’s been an entire year since I pitched my idea at Women 2.0 Startup Weekend. Now I have a live private beta site with heavily engaged users. However the road was anything but easy, and here are the top 10 things I’ve learned from this past year.

Lesson #1 – 1. Embrace rejection.

It means you are moving. I sometimes feel like the ugly guy trying to chase the hot girls. For every 10 emails, you may get a response. You may not. That’s ok. You can have teammates leave. You can’t take anything personally, because no one knows what will work or won’t work out. You just gotta keep moving. Inertia kills.

Lesson #2 – I force myself to be positive.

I’ve turned into this new age yogi. When things are going bad, a little tinge of hope can determine success or failure. I keep so many inspirational and productive books on audible, which I listen to on my iPhone when I’m driving. Some of my favorites are The Secret, Do More Faster, 4 Hour Workweek, The Alchemist, Steve Jobs Bio. These books instantly cheer me up and push me to keep pedaling forward, even on those days I don’t want to. I avoid negative people like the SARS virus. It’s draining to be around bad thoughts.

Lesson #3 – You are never ready.

You’ll never be ready to take that plunge. I hear a lot of excuses, “well I’ll be ready when I have my MBA.” “I’ll be ready after I work at a large tech company and learn best practices.” “I’ll be ready when I have 15 more years of experience.”

I used to be a gymnast in high school. Gymnastics taught me to swallow the fear and do it anyway. I think back to my first back handspring. I was never entirely ready to do a back handspring. I mean, what if I land on my neck? Or my head? or what if my elbows collapse and yadedadada. Maybe I need to train more, maybe I’m not ready. Of course I don’t advocate jumping into a back handspring blindly, but sometimes you just gotta trust that you’ll be able to jump backwards and stick it! Same goes for anything else in life.

Lesson #4 – There is no recipe for success.

If there was a recipe for success, then everyone would be billionaires. There are no two entrepreneurial stories that are the same. Success and failure can be the difference between timing, meeting the right person at the right time, having that key person on board, etc. etc. Don’t be too hard on yourself if your startup doesn’t line up with what everyone else is doing.

Lesson #5 – Focus on yourself.

Focus on yourself, not on others. Don’t bother yourself with what others are doing, how much other companies raised, etc., it’s solely a distraction. It’s all about your users. Focus on them.

Lesson #6 – STOP OVERANALYZING.

Girls overanalyze way too much. It starts in middle school, where we spend months figuring out of Justin Bieber lookalike likes us. Overanalyzing is the worst thing you can do. It’s better to make a mistake than to waste your energy on thinking of 1000 worst case scenarios that probably won’t happen. Remember: Inertia kills.

Lesson #7 – Do not understimate yourself.

I’m an asian female who grew up with two tiger parents. We grow up overly critical of ourselves. Every time I think of a critical thought to myself, I envision taking that thought and throwing it in the trash bin (think, click, drag and empty). I can’t waste precious time putting myself down.

Lesson #8 – Embrace uncertainty.

I used to be that super type A girl who always had a 5, 10. 20 year plan. Now, I don’t know where I’ll be next month, much less next year. Remember that the universe has great plans for you and trust things will work out.

Lesson #9 – Live for something other than yourself.

Perfect Beauty has already changed many women’s lives. I get emails daily about how these girls’ lives changed from the site. My users look up to me to create Perfect Beauty, and I want to prove to them if you set your mind to something, you can do it. For me, being called an inspiration causes me to do things for a greater purpose than just myself.

Lesson #10 – Realize nothing is an overnight success.

Too often we read articles in the news thinking, “WOW. they just built an app and sold it for hundreds of millions.” Again, you always have to dig beneath the surface. Tens of Thousands of hours of dedicated practice will make you seem like an overnight success.

Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. As women, we fear our reputation. We fear being called ‘failure’. However, those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind. As the quote goes, “Great minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, small minds discuss people”

What is your top startup lesson learned? Let us know in the comments.

About the guest blogger: Daisy Jing is the Founder of Perfect Beauty, an online beauty community focused on empowering women to feel beautiful. She was the winner of “Most Disruptive Product” Award at the Women 2.0 PITCH 2012 Startup Competition. Her site is in closed beta only to Ambassadors. To sign up for Perfect Beauty, click here. Daisy graduated from Duke University with majors in Economics and Social Psychology. Follow her on Twitter at @daiserz89.

 

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Comments

  1. Laura Williams says:

    This was a great and thoughtful blog, thanks Daisy. I, too agree that personal perseverance is very important to being an entrepreneur. But being part of a start-up, I’ve also learned that things like researching your market, having appropriate funding, and signing contracts with your business partners is almost as important as drive. Nevertheless, entrepreneurs must persist in the face of challenge. I really like visiting websites for daily inspiration and advice like this one (inpowerwomen.com), http://www.theglasshammer.com/, http://www.forherbyher.com/, and http://imunsinkable.com/.

    • Laura – What great blogs! We will tweet them out so more people can see them. Thanks for the recommendation and for being a loyal follower:) Your observation about the startup vs. entrepreneur worlds is interesting and comports with my own experience in both environments. Startups have to act like full out businesses sooner than solo-entrepreneurs do, so they can cut fewer corners, but the business principles all work the same. We can all learn from each other. And yes, daily inspiration is key! Thanks again for leaving your comment!