A founder can never be too prepared for launching their startup.
As a serial entrepreneur and the recent co-founder of Work Market, a New York City-based enterprise platform for hiring, I have been advising and founding startups for the past ten years. And let me tell you, being an entrepreneur isn't a cake walk.
Before you decide to take the plunge, make sure you are completely prepared for the peaks and valleys that come with being a founder. Here are a few things to keep in mind while you're weighing your options:
Get mentally prepared.
During your journey, you will experience the ups and downs of launching a startup -- one day you will think you can conquer the world, the next day you will question your mission. You will push through the highs and lows because you have to keep persevering on. And no one said it was easy.
Aside from a possible co-founder, you will be alone in doing it, as no one else in your life will understand. Your friends and family will question why you left the corporate world, and your former colleagues will tell you they don’t get your new idea. This emotional roller coaster isn't for everyone, and I have seen entrepreneurs crushed by it. Before you plunge into entrepreneurship, make sure you are mentally ready for the challenges. And remember it’s a long ride.
Prioritize your health.
Don't expect a cushy lifestyle as a founder. Think 18-hour days, seven days a week. This means not getting the sleep you need and pulling all-nighter after all-nighter, a regime that can be hard on your body.
Before you embark on this adventure, you really need to suss out if you can handle it. Take into consideration factors like will physical ailments prevent you from being 100 percent committed, will your startup be your only priority and do you have enough energy.
Be able to bankroll your startup.
If you think your startup will only succeed if you raise money, you may want to rethink your venture. You have to start out with the mindset of never raising money. Assume you won't make a salary for two years, that you are going to pay salaries for other people and don't forget to throw costs like rent and utilities into the equation.
Startups often fail because they run out of money and no one will give them more. My co-founder Jeff Leventhal and I have always been prepared to fund Work Market if we needed, but we have been fortunate to have investment partners like Mo Koyman of Spark Capital, Fred Wilson of Union Square Ventures and Jorday Levy of Softbank.
Yet, you can't assume someone will buy your vision from the start. If you are not prepared to fund yourself, your team and your company, you may not be ready to launch a startup.
And while being prepared is essential, keep in mind people want to help you succeed. There are plenty of social networks, meet-ups and founders group that offer support to a fellow traveler.
This journey is too hard to be truly done alone, and those of us who have been fortunate enough to have some success at it, will always help out. But be ready.
What other ways can young entrepreneurs prepare themselves for starting up? Let us know in the comments below?