These days it seems as if everyone and their momma wants to start a business.
I personally think that’s a great thing.
And quite frankly, nothing lights me up as much as hearing that another millennial has made the brave decision to launch a startup.
Starting a business is by far one of the most amazing, glorifying and eye-opening things that anyone can do.
However, the life of an entrepreneur isn’t all glitz and glam.
Rather, it’s often filled with confusion, late nights and buckets of coffee (or in my case tea).
I started my journey in business at the grand old age of 22, eager-eyed and buzzing with ideas. I pretty much leapt into it without much preparation or pre-thought. It’s been a remarkable journey but there are some things I wish I’d known before I decided to lean into the world of enterprise.
I’ve made my fair share of mistakes and some rather crazy decisions but in doing so I learnt a few things. Here are 4 of the things I wish I’d known before starting a business.
#1. The best stories aren’t linear.
I’ll repeat that for good measure; the best stories aren’t linear. Most of the best stories in life don’t just describe the happiness that someone feels, instead they take us through the ups, downs, highs and lows that characters face. The best stories usually make us cry before making us laugh or smile and business stories are no different. Whilst it’s great to assume that your business journey will be filled with rainbows and pots of gold, the truth is that you’re likely to experience at least a few hurdles along the way. Dealing with those hurdles and the many tears that accompany them usually sucks but they also lead you to new found knowledge, wisdom and success.
In the same way that the best stories contain a mix of emotions, highs and lows, laughter and tears, the best business stories do the same.
In fact, it’s in the lowest moments that you’ll realise what you really want, not just from your business but from life, and you’ll make some of the most beautiful decisions in the process.
#2. Comparison is the thief of joy.
When I first started my business career, I found myself bouncing between feeling happy and proud one minute, to feeling like a complete failure the next. Being the sort of person who’s obsessed with self-analysis, I decided to take a step back and analyse why my emotions were so rocky. I realised that whenever I focused on my goals I was incredibly happy. However, the minute I’d hear about someone achieving more, I’d feel like a failure. In essence, I’d become so accustomed to comparing my achievements to that of others that I’d lost sight of my own goals and struggled with accepting and embracing my own successes. I soon learnt that the minute you compare yourself to others, you lose your light and your happiness dwindles. In business and in life, we’re all different.
Some people achieve things in seconds, others take days or even years. Some people can become instant business rock stars whilst others are local heroes. Rather than comparing ourselves, we need to simply embrace and celebrate where we are on this journey. Why compare apples to oranges? Why not simply embrace our differences and learn to accept that we’re all where we’re meant to be?
#3. Visualisation rocks.
As a natural daydreamer and creative, I love picturing things. Picturing and visualising is one of the most powerful things that millennials can do. Why? Because visualisation enables you to literally carve out your dreams, picture yourself achieving certain goals and literally make dreams happen. Sadly, most people don’t actively visualise and as a result very few people reach their goals.
By visualising what you want and then making plans to achieve these things, you maximise your ability to make both your business and life goals real. Looking back, I wish I’d understood the power of visualisation, but since it’s never too late, I’m more than making up for it now.
#4. The 33%.
I was listening to a Ted Talk by Tai Lopez who said that we should spend 33% of our time with those less fortunate and therefore give back, 33% with our friends and peers who have similar goals to us and 33% of our time with those who are extremely successful. His speech was incredibly powerful and made me realise the fact that where we spend our time pretty much dictates how successful we’ll become. Isn’t that crazy? The simple everyday choices we make can literally dictate the trajectory of our lives.
As a millennial entrepreneur I therefore think it’s vital to use time wisely and surround yourself with those in need, those with similar goals and those who’ve already achieved great things so that you can widen your perspective, learn new things and give back.
Victoria Olubi is an award-winning entrepreneur with a passion for breathing life into big ideas. She is the founder of TheTutoress.com, a leading education company which provides intensive courses, resources and tuition classes for children seeking to pass competitive school entrance exams. Victoria has received numerous awards and recognitions for her work. She is among The Maserati 100 List of Britain’s fastest rising business stars that are helping the next generation, a winner of the #Eight Women Awards and is also a best-selling author. When she’s not working, Victoria enjoys reading, song-writing and exploring London’s hidden gems.