One of the major problems new entrepreneurs face is with getting started with their business, some of them are confused and don’t know where to start, others are afraid and don’t want to take the wrong step. There is no best way to learn something than learning it from someone who has been there, so I have contacted some great entrepreneurs who have built succesful business both online and offline and I asked them all one great question that bothers new entrepreneurs, the question is:
If you are to start again as an entrepreneur, what will you do differently? What will you not do?
These entrepreneurs were so generous to provide me with an answer and their answers were filled with wisdom and entrepreneurial knowledge and I have posted it for you below.
1. Daniel Scocco from DailyBlogTips
If I were to start again I would change several things. First of all I would invest in better domain names. The domain name is the corner-stone of your online brand, and one of the few aspects you can’t change down the road, so getting it right is important.Second, I would also focus on a product-centric business model instead of one based on advertising. This means that I would either start with affiliate marketing or selling my own product right away.
Third, I would also start building my email list from day one, as this is one of the most profitable and sustainable assets you can have online.
You can follow Daniel on twitter – @Danielscocco
2. Tamar Weinberg from Techipedia
When I first started, I worked really hard and pretty much was extremely successful from the get-go. But after a while, opportunity after opportunity came. I started getting complacent and didn’t put forth as much intense effort as I had previously done in the beginning. Much of that had to do with saying “yes” to everything and letting success take me in a million different paths. If I could do it all again, I would have continued working just as hard and learned to say “no” more often.
You can follow Tamar on twitter – @Tamar
3. Neil Patel from QuickSprout
If I had to start again, I wouldn’t start a company. I would just buy an existing company and work on growing it as the hardest part about being an entrepreneur for me is starting up the company.
Follow Neil on twitter – @Neilpatel
4. James Chartrand from MenWithPens
Thing is, I can’t look back and say, ‘Oh, I should’ve done this differently, or that differently,’ because everything I did brought me to where I am today – and I like where I am today. Had I done something differently, I wouldn’t be where I am. I’d be somewhere else – maybe better, sure, but not where I am now.
And if the internet crashed, if my business went away tomorrow, if there was no Men with Pens and I had to start over…I’d probably write up one hell of a resume and start calling some major corporations to discuss them hiring their newest best asset.
Follow James on twitter – @MenwithPens
5. Everett Bogue from FarBeyondTheStars
I didn’t realize earlier that imagination is a skill. You need to get Gladwell’s 10,000 hours in imagining the possibilities before you’ll really find success.
So spend an hour a day imagining everything you’d ever dream of happening. And fail and fail and fail until you make something a reality.
Follow Everett on twitter @evbogue
6. David Risley from DavidRisley.com
I got into this business so long ago, that knowing what I know now, I would do a LOT of things differently. The two big ones would be that I’d have really thought about my market before entering it. As a blogger, I started in the tech market (and I’m still active in that niche). There are a few reasons why I may not have done that if I were starting over again. It has to do with the emotional motivation of the people in that market (I talk about that in my Blueprint report). Secondly, I’d start building a list right away. Even if you’re not a blogger, if you have any kind of online presence at all, you’re shooting yourself in the foot not to begin building an email list.
Follow David on twitter –@davidrisley
7. Lewis Howes from LewisHowes.com
My one piece of advice would be to build quality relationships with as many successful entrepreneurs, CEO’s and business decision makers as possible.
Your network is your most valuable asset. Businesses, services, widgets, and products come and go, but if you have a quality network of those who know how to turn anything into a success, then you will always be able to leverage that network.
Follow Lewis on twitter – @lewishowes
8. Glen Allsopp from ViperChill
If I was to start again I would only allow myself to focus on one or two projects. When I first started in this business I would constantly change what I was working on based on what I heard was making money and this path led me nowhere. Pick a niche, focus on building a profitable site, and don’t move on until you’ve had some form of success.
Follow Glen on twitter – @ViperChill
9. Pawan Agrawal from Maxblogpress.com
One of the important thing I learnt is to divide the time carefully. There’s always so much things to be done all the time.
I can spend all my year in just fixing my website, providing support, improving the navigation etc…etc.. and even then I’ll have hundreds of more such tasks to do and such things keep on popping up all the time.
If I have to go back and start the company again then I’ll strictly divide the day in two part. First part: revenue producing activity (produce development, traffic, conversion optimization etc..) and second half: operation/management related activity (website maintenance, support, other such little tasks which consume most of our time)
That will give me a perfect balance to grow as well as manage.
10. Maren Kate from Escapingthe9to5.com
I would act more, fuss less about the small details and waste less money on things that don’t directly add to the bottom line. It’s important for young start ups to focus almost religiously on the bottom line and getting to their goal – let everything else slide until you get up and running.
Follow Maren on twitter – @MarenKate
11. Rob Rammuny from RobsWebTips
If I were to start over again, I wouldn’t.
Sure, I’d probably be a millionaire by now if I started over, but I would have not learned the lessons I have learned without making the mistakes I’ve made.
Mistakes aren’t a bad thing, they are a good thing because it gives you an opportunity to learn.
Follow Rob on twitter – @RobRammuny
12. Karol Gajda from RidiculousExtraordinary
I would focus more on finding a cross section of what I loved and what made money instead of chasing only money. While that was fun as well, it was difficult to sustain and I got burnt out. Nowadays I work in that cross section and it’s not even like work.
Follow Karol on twitter – @ KarolGajda
13. Blog Tyrant from BlogTyrant.com
Diversify early. I had one big blog that put food on my table until one day Google turned it off and I was broke. If I could go back to that time all those years ago I would have started my alternate income steams a lot earlier. You need short term money work, two medium term projects and two long term projects. Always.
Follow Blog Tyrant on twitter – @BlogTyrant
14. Corbett Bar from ThinkTraffic
If I were to start again as an entrepreneur, I think I’d try to take myself more seriously this time. I’ve been on this entrepreneurial journey for nearly 7 years in total now. When I first started, I just “dabbled” in things instead of fully committing. I didn’t take the time to read and learn and connect with other people on the same journey nearly enough. Those early experiences were important, but if I had told myself “you’re going to be a successful entrepreneur, no matter what it takes,” I think the journey would have been much faster.
Follow Corbett on twitter – @thinktraffic
15. Harsh Agrawal from Shoutmeloud
To be an Entrepreneur, think like an Entrepreneur. Most of entrepreneur who starts a business fails because they create a product/service but they fear to launch it.. My suggestion would be create product, launch and iterate it..
First thing every Entrepreneur should do before starting a business: Have a business plan/model. Without proper business model, no business can be successful. If you have leadership quality that’s great, else get someone in your company who can unite your team and make them one… Success of any business is not always counted by no. of 0’s in your income report but it’s defined by testimonial by your own employee in your company board.
Having an exit plan is an essential part of any business and many entrepreneur miss this. Having a proper exit plan will make sure if your first launch is unsuccessful you can always start from where you left..
Rest passion, determination and believe in yourself is mantra to success.
Follow Harsh on twitter – @Shoutmeloud
16. Jared O’Toole from Under30CEO
I would better focus my time. One thing that I still battle with is activities that are not building my business. Early on I wasted a lot of time doing things that when I look back on really didn’t grow my business, help people or really produce anything. This comes from being organized and knowing what tasks are more important to your business. I am still trying to get better at this and will continue to narrow down what I do in my business to what is most important.
Follow Jared on twitter – @JaredOToole
17. Pat Flynn from SmartPassiveIncome
If I had the chance to start over, I wouldn’t try to do everything on my own. Maybe it’s because I am somewhat of a perfectionist, or maybe it’s because I didn’t trust other people to do work for me, but I was so adamant about doing things all on my own. I was like the guy who gets lost and doesn’t stop or pull over to ask for directions, and I would waste so much time trying to figure out the littlest things. Looking back, I really wish I utilized outsourcing for my business because I could have gotten things done so much faster, with better quality, and made a lot more money.
Follow Pat on twitter – @PatFlynn
18. John Chow from JohnChow.com
I would have started my email list on the my blog started instead of waiting 2 years.
Follow John on twitter – @JohnChow
19. Alex Papa from Business Opportunities Expo
I took my first entrepreneurial steps in my late teens and I have been on this path for 20 years. Looking back I see that I made mistakes, even though I acted to the best of my knowledge and ability. There are a number of things I would now do differently:
Education: As a dedicated entrepreneur I would not have spent more than one or two years in university. College qualifications maybe useful if you want to become an employee, but almost nothing I was taught in college had any practical use in my business. After all those years, when I proposed businesses to other businessmen, or applied for investment loans, nobody asked to see copies of my Bachelor and Master degrees. All they wanted to see were the statements of my bank accounts and the list of my assets. Angel investors and bankers did not view university qualifications as assets; to them it was ‘handicap.’ Truly enough, university makes you think within the “box”, whereas in business you must constantly think out of the “box”. If I had left college at eighteen, I wouldn’t have had imagination “educated” out of me.
Finding Mentors: The most practical business education; l learned from other entrepreneurs. Things like going for lunch, doing activities with them over the weekend, or even going on a vacation with them helped me tremendously in my early days. Being with these people made me realise that their way of thinking was entirely different from others. Thinking like an entrepreneur and not like an employee is the key to success; what you think of the most is what you become. It took me years to learn to think like them. If I was starting again, I certainly would have developed relationships with entrepreneurs much earlier.
Getting a Job: I would not have gotten a job for the sake of paying my bills. As an aspiring entrepreneur I would have joined the sales force of a company. If you have to work until your business takes off, then choose to be part of a marketing team, but make sure they have a good training program. The marketing strategies that you learn in the offline world often apply in online businesses. Once you learned what you have to learn from a job; leave. Try going full-time into your own business as quickly as you can.
My Online and Offline Investments: I would have bought assets only for cashflow and not for capital appreciation. Buying for capital growth means that you hope that the value of that asset will go up in the future so that you take in profits when you “flip” it. Capital appreciation is not always the case; the recent recession proved that assets can depreciate. Buying for cashflow means that the asset puts money in your pocket every month, regardless of what state the economy is in. I would advise young entrepreneurs to acquire as many cash-flowing assets as they can.
Giving to people: I would have given more to people. It is never too early to start giving to people. Not money alone, but giving some of your time. Simple things, like sending a text message to a friend or relative to show them that you care will only take a few minutes of your time. You get a lot of satisfaction by giving back to others.
Follow Alex on twitter – @AlexPapaCom
20. Yaro Starak from Entrepreneurs Journey
If I was to start over the first thing I would do is hire a tech
person to help me set up websites.
I spent about 4 years learning how to do basic website design and
while the experience was beneficial, needless to say it slowed me down
I would also focus on one project for at least six months before
starting something else, rather than do multiple projects at once.
I’ve realized now it’s much better for your brand if you’re known as
an expert in one particular area.
Follow Yaro on twitter – @YaroStarak
21. Matt Wilson from Under30CEO
If i was starting again as an entrepreneur I would have found a mentor who was tough on me. My whole life everyone has told me I was fantastic and that I’m going to do big things and I’ll be successful at whatever I do and while I believe all of this, this positive reinforcement isn’t always the best. I need someone to tell me how it is and ask me “whats your revenue model and how are you going to make money tomorrow?!” The one person who’s been really great at this is David Goldsmith http://www.metamatrixconsulting.com. It’s fantastic that older, more experienced business people are willing to give back and have a vested interest in the younger generation of leaders.
Matt also wrote a great article giving more insights into this, you can read the article here.
Follow Matt on twitter – @MattWilsonTV
22. Chris Brogan from ChrisBogan.com
Follow Chris on twitter – @ChrisBogan
23. Mark McGuinness from Lateral Action
I would starting thinking of myself as an entrepreneur and learning business skills much sooner!
I spent a long time in the classic trap many self-employed people fall into – focusing so much on doing work for clients that I didn’t spend enough time in growing my business assets.
So if I had my time again, I’d start developing more effective business models (so that I could earn more money with less effort in the long term). And once I had an effective business model in place, I’d maximise its effectiveness by devoting more energy and creativity to marketing.
I’m doing these things now, but I could have saved myself a lot of effort and stress if I’d started earlier.
Follow Mark on twitter – @MarkMcGuinness
24. Zac Johnson from ZachJohnson.com
If I had to do things over again, an easy answer would be to have started blogging and documenting my journey through affiliate marketing earlier. Having nearly 15 years of experience with online marketing, but only three years worth of blogging about it, I definitely could have built up a massive amount of information and following than I currently have now. It’s all about taking action and building a brand. The earlier you take action, the better and bigger the rewards!
Follow Zac on twitter @moneyreign
The above entrepreneurs have years of experience and have set up lots of businesses both offline and online, their advice are invaluable and what matters most is what you do next. What not swing into action and kick-start your entrepreneurial career.