15 Things Every Newbie Needs to Know About Starting a Business

by | BiggerPockets.com

Starting a business is exciting — and scary.

I’ve started more businesses than I’d care to admit.

In my experience, it’s a bit like driving through a heavy fog where you are only able to see a few feet in front of the windshield — you don’t know what’s up ahead until it’s upon you.

However, the longer you are an entrepreneur, the better you can navigate through that fog.

As I’ve been driving through the fog for over a decade now, I thought I would take today’s post and boil down 15 of the biggest lessons I’ve learned over the past decade of building and growing businesses.

Consider these tips “stuff I wish I had known when I was young and stupid.” 

Let’s get to them.

Webinar Jpeg(*****Important: Before I get to the 15, I’d like to take a second and invite YOU to this week’s webinar here on BiggerPockets! This week we’ll be talking about “How to Analyze Rental Properties for Maximum Cash Flow.” It’s going to be pretty awesome, inspiring, and nerdy! Hope you can make it. Click here to hold your spot! Okay, on to the 15!)

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1. Don’t listen to statistics.

People love to throw around the statistic that 95 percent of business fail. Don’t listen to that — it’s an excuse to make you feel comfortable about giving up. If that number is even correct, it’s because most people don’t commit, they don’t follow through to the end or they are stupid in how they manage their money.

2. Do something you like.

Don’t start something you won’t want to do in five years. Because if you are successful, you’ll still be doing this in five years.

buy-first-property

3. You are not going to know everything.

In fact, you probably won’t know anything when you first start. Start anyway. When I first got into real estate investing, I had no idea how to buy a property, rent a house, or evict a tenant. I figured it all out “on the job.” You will too.

4. Finish what you start.

Nearly every entrepreneur I know suffers from the same curse: We like to start things more than we like to finish them. In other words, if you are a good entrepreneur, you’ll have a lot of great ideas. Most of them would probably work out well and make you a lot of money. However, that doesn’t mean you should pursue them. Pick one and go with it until it dies or it makes you rich enough to buy a private island.

Related: How Top Entrepreneurs Overcome the Dreaded Fear of Failure

5. Never partner with someone because it’s convenient.

Partner with someone because it makes you stronger. The wrong partner will drive you crazy, make you hate your work and end up causing more problems than they solve.

6. You are going to suck at managing people.

It’s ok, we all do at first. However, this is one task you must get better at. Hire an assistant right now, even if it’s only a virtual one for $3 an hour. It will give you some great training on managing, with little downside.

7. Social media probably isn’t that important.

We just pretend it is so we can look at cat pictures on Facebook. I’d recommend installing a Facebook newsfeed blocker, such as this one.

8. Stop designing business cards, logos, business plans and stationery.

They don’t matter right now. Go build your business and stop doing busy work that makes you feel like you are accomplishing something.

9. There is a fine line between dedicated and obsessed.

Screw the line. Trample right over it. You need to cross that line continually, so never let anyone tell you that you are too obsessed with your idea. I’m completely and overwhelmingly obsessed with real estate investing — and it’s ok. What are you obsessed with?

10. Don’t quit your job too soon.

Yes, you’ll have more time to build your business, but let’s be honest: There are 168 hours in a week; only 40 are consumed by your job and another 50 by sleep. You have plenty of time if you would just hustle and turn off Netflix. But don’t be afraid to quit your job if you can afford it.

11. Focus on your higher paying tasks.

Divide up your tasks and determine what your “$10 per hour” tasks are and what your “$1,000 per hour” tasks are. Focus on doing more “$1,000 per hour” tasks and fewer “$10 per hour” ones. For more on this, read “Want to Make $1,000 or More Per Hour?” And yes, you do a lot of $1,000 an hour tasks, even if you don’t realize it. Just do more of them.

Related: 5 Daily Habits to Help You Steadily Reach Your Entrepreneurial Goals

12. Your spouse and kids matter more than your business.

Never forget that.

work-life-balance

13. Read — a lot.

If you don’t have time, listen to audiobooks. And not just business books. Read motivational books, self-help books, success books, fiction books, biographies — whatever.

14. Get up earlier.

Yes, you can, and you should. I don’t care if you are not a morning person. That’s an excuse lazy people use. For more advice on this, read The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod. It’s life changing.

15. Don’t worry about raising money.

Focus on building a business so incredible people throw money at you.

Like driving down a lonely highway on a dark, foggy night, entrepreneurship can be a little scary. But hopefully at least one of the above tips will help you navigate through the fog a little easier with more confidence. If you are just getting started with your business, just remember this: keep driving through the fog. Your future self will thank you.

Do you have any additional tips you’d like to add? Or something you’d like to expand upon?

Leave your comments below and let’s continue the conversation.

Finally, if you think this post could help one of your family members or friends, share it on your favorite social media channel. You never know whose life you might change.

This post originally appeared on Entrepreneur.com

About Author

Brandon Turner

Brandon Turner (G+ | Twitter) spends a lot of time on BiggerPockets.com. Like... seriously... a lot. Oh, and he is also an active real estate investor, entrepreneur, traveler, third-person speaker, husband, and author of "The Book on Investing in Real Estate with No (and Low) Money Down", and "The Book on Rental Property Investing" which you should probably read if you want to do more deals.

16 Comments

  1. Daniel Ryu

    Nice!
    Good advice. Especially #1. I’ve met all kinds of entrepreneurs and there’s definitely a difference. Same as real estate investors. Everytime I hear a ‘horror’ story from a non-investor friend ‘warning’ me, it’s always, “A friend of ours inherited a house and decided it would be fun to rehab it on the weekend…” It doesn’t surprise me that a person who didn’t take something seriously and dedicate time to learn and network ended up with a bad experience.

    I’d also add – think about how to monetize your experience in different ways. For example, with my first SFR investment, I used that experience to help grow our meetup out here in Korea. We started at 3 – now it’s over 340 and being an organizer of that network definitely has value.

  2. Jarred Sleeth

    Great post, Brandon. They are all great points, especially number 12. If you have a spouse that supports you through the building of a business, you need to support them no matter what. Chances are they are one of the biggest motivators for you, and without them, you have an even bigger loss than a failed business venture.

  3. Amanda Reynolds

    Brandon,
    Great post, wishing I could have found it sooner and saved me the pain of learning some of the topics the hard way. If I can add one thing to your post that I recently learned, * Don’t let your excitement blind-side you. Recently I was blind-sided by my excitement and I screwed up bad by hiring a crooked financing business that was going to write a business plan for me and help me find funding… well I failed to read ALL the fine print on the contract I signed and now stand to be over my head in legal issues if I try to fight the contract. I just wanted to get going in my business so much, and start physically pursuing my goals and dreams. Lesson learned, first don’t get blind-sided by excitement and desire, and ALWAYS do your homework, crunch the numbers, do background checks to make sure a business is creditable, and truly way what is going to work best for you, your family, and your new business.

  4. Started a few businesses, problem was they only included me, sole proprietor sort of things.
    Been obsessed with the business and lost focus.
    Don’t understand what a virtual assistant is.
    Trying to get my mind wrapped around creating a done deal without knowing where the money is coming from/ I know the concept is as old as BUSINESS and yet still I struggle with it.
    It has been proved to me that old dogs for the right treat will learn new tricks.
    Thanks for provoking me to think

    • Andres blandon

      Gary a Virtual Assistant is someone that can help you accomplish tasks online or over the phone without you having to come out of pocket for hiring an actual assistant.

      If you go on websites like https://www.fiverr.com/ (Not marketing, just first one to come to mind), you might be able to hire an assistant to do certain tasks that are time consuming. You simply give them specific tasks to accomplish and expectations that you have and they will tell you how much they are willing to accept. Many of these Virtual Assistants are overseas in Asia or Middle East so their fees are fairly reasonable.

      -Hope this helps!

  5. Isaac Rothermel

    Thanks for the great post, Brandon. I love number 13, especially the bit about audiobooks. I used to think audiobooks were for people who didn’t like to read, which doesn’t describe me, so I never listened to them. In the last few months, though, I’ve discovered that popping a cd into my car and listening to it while running errands is a great way to read more, more fully utilizing those 168 hours!

  6. Shane Rupe

    I could not agree with you more! You are spot on with every point in my opinion. I just started my real estate investing business outside of my 9-5 W2 job this past June and have had great success so far. Posts like this are great for keeping the motivation going. Thank you!

  7. Brandon Stevens

    Great post, especially the last two. Morning routines can change your life and building a track record is the quickest way to raising money. RE isnt grow rich quick, do a few flips, get s few rentals seasoned, it’ll only be a matter of time before asking for $ becomes easier and easier.

  8. Brian Gibbons

    Read this every morning and before you go to bed.
    You are what you think, what you desire, what you believe.

    ““““““““““““““““““““““““““
    I am a Real Estate Investor.
    Of all of the occupations I have tried, researched, pondered, and read about over the years, there is none which compares to mine. My work is fun. I take ugly houses and make them beautiful. I help people out of difficult situations.
    I am a Real Estate Investor. I am my own boss. I often work in my pajamas from the comfort of my home. I have no employees to baby sit, no perishable inventory to move, no franchise fees to pay, and no store to maintain. Still, I am in the top 5% of all income earners.
    I am a Real Estate Investor. I now enjoy freedoms I’ve never had before. I am the master of my day. I choose who to work with. I choose my hours, and I decide if I will work 20 hours or 40 hours this week. I can also choose to take the day off, without obtaining anyone’s permission. I can take a month-long vacation. I can sleep in, or take a power nap after lunch if I want. I can review my notes and return my calls while lounging in my jacuzzi. I no longer have to commute during rush hour.
    I have the freedom to spend lots of time with my wife and children. I do not have the stress and pressure of needing to close my next deal by the end of the week, by the end of this month, or even by the end of this year.
    I live in one of the nicest neighborhoods, in one of the most beautiful states, in the best country that has ever existed on this Earth.
    I am a Real Estate Investor. There are many who ‘want’ to be like me; many who are ‘studying’ to be like me; and many more who would be like me, but are just waiting for ‘this opportunity to appear’ or ‘that circumstance to change’… At the end of the day, very few actually are like me.
    I have been very fortunate and blessed. I am finally living my dream. I love doing what I do, and I would not trade places with anyone, nor trade my life experiences for anyone else’s.
    I am driven by the belief that life is short, and we need to ‘make a difference’ in the short time that we’re here, because after all is said and done, it’s really not about ‘us.’
    I am a Real Estate Investor

  9. George Nikolakakos

    Good points overall but #14 is bogus. There is scientific evidence that there are indeed morning people and night owls and it is driven by biology. What works for your biological clock doesn’t necessarily work for others. The myth that hard working people are up early and lazy people sleep late is incredibly frustrating for a large percentage of the population because it has become conventional wisdom but it has no basis in science or reality. What is happening is our society is built around morning people’s biological clock so they certainly can appear more productive. Studies show different positive and negative characteristics of night and morning people and there are seemingly a few more negative indicators for night people such as increased rate of depression and substance abuse but I would wager that at least some of that is based on people being forced to live on a schedule that is against their nature,

    One of the reasons I’ve been drawn into real estate is I can more or less set my schedule. I was a night owl in the ultimate morning person culture, the Military. It’s brutal to have to fight your own biological impulse to live on someone else’s clock and despite well over a decade of conforming my biological clock refused to fully adapt. I don’t sleep more or less than the average person, it’s the same 6-8 hours. But at 5PM to midnight I’m in the zone, have extra energy, I’m more focused, productive, more likely to get my work-out in etc. And when I have to get up at 5-6AM I feel worse throughout the day.I’m Since getting out I’ve been happier, less stressed, and feel healthier. Night people need to stop being brow-beaten into living a lie. Unite and stand up to the system! 🙂

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