When recently thinking about the idea of StartUps, I have been wondering how much these founders have to give up to make their business successful.  There is so much time invested into making a StartUp successful, that I wonder if it takes away from their family or personal time.  Or what about the financial costs of a StartUp? How much of their own money do these people risk to make their business successful? What about location? Ethics?

I would assume that many businesses fail because one just gives up. However, all successful businesses run into dead ends, and once that happens you need to keep at it and try a different path.  But how much should you give up/try trying to make your StartUp successful?

I see people who work 60 hours a week with families at home, people who relocate 1500 miles across country to make their dreams come true.  Is there ever a limit someone should set before creating a StartUp?

I think if I create a StartUp, I want to do it before I have a family.  Currently, it is feasible for me to work 60 hours a week.  It would be easy for me to pick up and move across the country without effecting others.  The money I am making and investing would only hurt me if lost.

I have seen first hand the sacrifices people have made to create a business, but I have also seen people who run successful businesses and prioritize their kids and family as most important. These people would not jeopardize their future for the success of a business.

If quick to judge, I would say that the people who are willing to give up everything are money hungry and self-centered, while the people who put their loved ones first have their priorities in line.  But it is not fair for me to say that, because I don’t know.  I think there has to be the perfect medium when creating a business, but I am not sure what it is. Hopefully, one day I will know first hand the sacrifices one must take to have a successful StartUp – and only then I will be able to judge how much one should give up.

Startup Idea

December 21, 2009

I went out this weekend only to once again be surrounded by guys.  All my girlfriends took the smart path and picked up and left after college.  Now, I’m stuck in Madison spending my weekends with the boys, drinking beer, watching the games, playing poker, and setting my fantasy football lineup. The only thing that makes me the girl of the group is I do not engage their bodily function competitions.

I long for my girlfriends back. I want to go dancing, drink martinis, watch a sappy movie, and judge men as they walk by – not women! However, I have come to the realization that my girlfriends are not coming back.  Madison is a great place to live, but not the right place to make new friends that are my own age.  I’m not longer in college, thus I’m not meeting people in college.  The people I work with have families at home. Where are the ladies my age?

This problem is not just a problem I have.  My friends that have moved away are trying to make new friends but tend to be in the same situation as I am in. When you pick up and move to a strange place by yourself, it can be scary and you can often feel alone.

Here is my solution – an online best friend locator site.  If one in eight married couples have met online, why can’t we meet friends online.  There has to be a some sort of formula that can introduce us to our new best friends. I think this site would work! We are not ashamed to use the internet to find the love of our life, why not use the internet to find friends?

Okay, so someone might tell me to go to the gym and start mingling, join an indoor soccer league, go to a wine tasting – sure I could do that, but at the gym I’m not going to turn to the lady that is showering next to me and try to become friends. Have you seen the Burger King commercial? My indoor soccer team would end up hating me because I would probably cry if I got hit by the ball, and lastly, I am going to assume the majority of the people at the wine tasting are couples sampling for their weddings.

Alright I admit it, I need to be more optimistic, but I think if I had the opportunity to meet a friend online I would feel way more comfortable. Plus, if I met the person and decided they could never be my best friend I could just send them a good-bye email. 🙂

This morning I got to the gym at 6:30.  I had so much on my mind, that I didn’t realize it was 8:30 before I left.  I kept trying to reason why we weren’t required to take professionalism classes in college.  When preparing for the “real world” it should be important that we not only learn the facts but are taught how to go from a life of inappropriate drinking games to a life of professionalism.

When I started out my first job, everyone was so friendly – like they wanted to be my friend.  Quickly I learned that these people were not my friends they were my co-workers.  I needed to adjust my behavior from “let me tell you about my personal life”, to a simple “Good Morning!” and then continuing on with my day.

I feel like this is really hard for a college student.  I wanted everyone to like me, and thought this would happen if I became their friend and did everything they asked.  This was terrible for my career.

I wish I had a mentor by my side constantly telling me I should say “NO” to doing the work that everyone else did not want to do.  A mentor that told me what I was doing is ruining my office image – and not allowing me to gain respect from my co-workers.  What I was doing, was creating a image for myself that would put me in the spot to be the corporate intern forever.

I keep trying to find that moment in college that I would learn what professionalism is all about, but I cannot think of one – maybe I skipped on the day we had that conversation.

If I ever have my own startup, I am going to make sure that I am not just an employer, but a mentor as well.  I wish I received the knowledge I am receiving now 5 years ago – maybe then I wouldn’t feel so lost in the office sometimes.

Lifestyle Businesses

December 18, 2009

I keep learning about lifestyle businesses and they seem so simple and wonderful. A lifestyle business is a business thats main purpose is to maintain a certain amount of profit so the founder can enjoy a particular lifestyle.

How wonderful does that sound? It seems like such an easy way toward financial independence – at least for me. Lifestyle businesses tend to be simple. They do not require lots of capital and typically are smaller, more creative businesses.

This seems so great, but I want to be an entrepreneur. An entrepreneur is not someone that has a lifestyle business.  Well, an entrepreneur may have a lifestyle business on the side, but that is definitely not their only source of income.  I want to be the type of entrepreneur that sets out to change a piece of society. I want to be someone that creates a multiple million dollar company and changes the way people live their lives.

However, I do not want to jeopardize my ethics just for some money. I want to do something that I absolutely love and have a true passion for and hope the money follows.  I understand that not everyone in the world is going to have the same passions as I have, but I hope I can reach people with my company and someday it becomes their passion as well.

However, until I create my multi million dollar company I am going to continue loving the lifestyle business idea. Something needs to change

The Art of Pitching:  When pitching your venture to possible investors, one must always remember the 10/20/30 rule…

1.  10 Slides in Your Presentation

2. 20 Minutes

3.  30 Point Font

If you keep it short, there is a better chance your prospects will retain some of the information you are giving. Most meetings are around an hour, thus you want to keep your presentation short so there is plenty of time for discussion. The discussion is what truly makes or breaks your deal. Finally, 30 point font is absolutely necessary because the people you are pitching to are probably older with weaker vision.  Kawasaki also states, “A good rule of thumb for font size is to divide the oldest investor’s age by two, and use that font.”

These are simple things to remember about your pitch and things I have struggled to remember.  My biggest issue is that no one cares what I have to say, they just want to know the facts and figures and then I can keep my mouth shut.  I would look more professional and reliable in a businessman’s eye if I spent most of my presentation listening to what the investors have to say. I think the hardest thing to understand – yet the most important – is that even though you want to go into detail and explain, explain, explain, you truly just need to shut up and listen to what everyone else is saying.

Here is the problem, I was born to be frustrated when people do not understand what I am talking about. I was born with the problem that I cannot stand listening to stupid people talk. I do not have the ability to sit in a room with people and not share my opinion. With these being said, I feel as if I could never get a startup funded.

It is easy for me to only have 10 slides and 30 point font, but 20 minutes to convince investors to back my company? That will be tough.

My next step is to find a politeness to professionalism course.

Taking The Pressure Off

December 17, 2009

Every morning for the past few weeks, the first thing I have done is Googled Hy Cite Corporation and Royal Prestige. And each morning I have found myself more and more in a slump because of my inability to move my social media sites up the ranks of Google. I continuously blame myself for actions that I cannot control, and instantly I am motivated to try harder – yet more disappointed when my actions fail again.

I put so much pressure on myself each and every day, and am pretty sure I have since I was little.  I always had to make the team, be the best worker, get the better grades, graduate from the better college, etc.  I have never once sat back and said to myself, “it’s fine. You’re doing great. The things you do in life should only be to make yourself happy, no one else. You only need to prove things to yourself.”

The reason I say this is because someday if I am able to have my own startup, I think this is going to effect my company.  I wonder if I will ever be happy or ever settle for something – the state of my business.  My main issue is that I continuously feel I can do better, and my reasoning is “because I deserve it.” But I am trying to be better for who? Myself? My Family? My employer? Who?

I have this complete problem of obstinacy.  While it is a positive thing when it comes the my goal of running a marathon next September, it is a terrible thing for my career.  I have to be okay with failure.  I need to know that I can pick myself up again and restart my path.  No one is truly successful in life without having a failed a few times. No one is successful until someone doesn’t like them. These things are all positives – now I just have to believe them, and believe in myself.

I do not feel like the goals I have in life are unrealistic however, I feel like once I accomplish a goal it is not enough and I need something more.  I feel like I have a disease. It is not greed, because the money is not a factor for me. I could be happy at $26,000 a year or $260,000 a year. Either way, my lifestyle will not change much from what is it now. My feeling of dissatisfaction comes from noticing how something can be improved – that really isn’t bad, is it? I am the type of person that when given a suggestion, I want to be able to respond with “yeah, we notice that and are already working to fix it.” – Although even if I didn’t notice, I would probably say it anyways.

I am not sure if I will ever be satisfied in life, and I do not think I can change my obstinacy at this point.  What I need to learn in order to truly be successful in life is how to deal with the fact that somethings aren’t going to be better – they are okay the way they are. This could take years!

Like always, before publishing I re-read my posts. This one feels good – like I just finished a therapy session.

Why NOT to Start a Business!

December 17, 2009

I think there is a time in everyone’s life where they think about running their own business.  How wonderful would your world be when you are the sole decision maker and you don’t have to answer to anyone?  How great would it feel to be making more money that at your previous job? And now you get to spend more time with your family!

While this all sounds like the perfect life scenario, if you start a business for solely these reasons – YOUR BUSINESS WILL FAIL.

The number one reason businesses fail is because they are started for the wrong reasons.  You shouldn’t start a business to “get rich quick.”  If that is your only reason, once you have the money in your pocket your business will begin to lack and eventually it’ll crumble.  Remember there is a 50/50 chance a new business won’t make it to their 5 year mark.

The idea of spending more time with your family is great, but starting a business is a lot of work.  You need to have the time to invest in your company, and continue that investment so your company can grow and be profitable.  Starting a business for the sole reason to spend more time with your family is not a good idea, but basically you’re starting off saying that your family will always trump your business. A new business needs someone that is willing to work hard at it, invest 50-80 hours a week to get it to grow.  Once your company is blooming you can hire others and only then can you spend more time with your family – well maybe.

My advice – NEVER START YOUR OWN BUSINESS JUST TO BE YOUR OWN BOSS! If this is the case, something is wrong with you.  Either you think you’re way to smart to be underneath anyone, or you  have a problem with authority.  In both cases, you’ll come out with a failing company. While you may actually be really smart, thinking you’re to smart to work for someone is ridiculous.  If this is the case, you’re going to have trouble when trying to find employees to help your business grow.  Secondly, if it is the problem with authority you have – your business will probably fail.  With everything you do in life you are always going to have to answer to someone.  Whether it is your editor, your board, your investors, your employees, or your family – there is always going to be someone.

Starting a business is something anyone can do.  Making it successful is for the select few people that truly have the entrepreneurial traits.  Starting a successful business is not easy, but if you are doing it for all the right reasons, it can be done.