Startups are a lot of work. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a one-man army or a team of highly specialized artists. You could put in hours of work or hundreds of dollars, and still feel as if you’ll never break out of the startup pit and into the big leagues.
But the key is to not lose hope! How many apps and services might have failed if the entrepreneurs and founders settled for an easier life?
Here are a few words of inspiration for your startup from some successful entrepreneurs.
Pete Cashmore – Founder of Mashable
You need to have courage to try new things. Mashable, a popular website covering social news and culture, was founded by 19 year old Pete Cashmore. Mashable, their enormous social following, and their numerous awards from TIME, Webbys, Fast Company, and Business Insider- none of these would not exist if Cashmore listened to naysayers and critics.
“You need space to try things and create. It takes a long time to recalibrate if you let people pull at you all the time. A lot of stress comes from reacting to stuff. You have to keep a certain guard [up], if you’re a creative person. “
Tony Hsieh – CEO of Zappos
For Tony Hsieh, businesses don’ tmake money because of their products, but because of the people: the way they’re treated and the way they treat others. That’s why Zappos is known more for their exceptional customer service than their shoes. According to Hsieh, a service rep even sent flowers to a customer one time after learning of her husband’s death.
“While there are lots of ways to motivate employees–fear, recognition, incentives (“If you do ‘x,’ I’ll give you ‘y’), what we stumbled into and figured out over the years is there’s a huge difference between motivation and inspiration,”
Scott Heiferman – Co-Founder of Meetup
It’s not about the short-term payoff, but the timeless need. Scott Heiferman was inspired to create Meetup after the September 11 attacks. He wanted a way for communities to gather around a specific cause or common interest. Today, Meetup’s app and website lets users connect before a concert, plan a soccer match, or start a book club.
“Something worth doing might take a while, so really flesh out the potential of the business and be honest about whether it’s worth doing. If it’s not a $100 million company in five years, maybe it’ll take 10 or 15 years. If you’re doing something that has a universal, timeless need, then you need to think of the company in a timeless way.”
Barbara Corcoran – Founder of Corcoran Group, Shark Tank Investor
Barbara Corcoran, an American real estate tycoon and a “Shark” on the television show Shark Tank, started off at the bottom of the food chain. She worked several side jobs, including renting apartments in New York. Despite her success and status, she encourages entrepreneurs to remember that the journey is more important than the destination.
“The joy is in the getting there. The beginning years of starting your business, the camaraderie when you’re in the pit together, are the best years of your life. So rather than being so focused on when you get big and powerful, if you can just get the juice out of that… don’t miss it.”
Anyone can make a startup, but it takes strength and vision to keep going. Even the greatest, smartest entrepreneurs weathered setbacks and doubters. The most important thing you can do is to maintain your dream, your vision, and to embrace the occasional bumpy road on the way.