2013 Recap: The 10 Best Pieces of Advice for Aspiring Entrepreneurs
Launching a startup is no cakewalk. From determining how to set up your company to snagging your first hire and figuring out how to scale, there is plenty of room for error. What makes some entrepreneurs' experience smooth sailing is taking the time to listen to people who have done it before.
Over this past year, our series Startup of the Month asked successful entrepreneurs what advice they have for others looking to take the leap into the startup world. From ignoring what goes wrong to dismissing some advice and surrounding yourself with amazing people, here is the best advice for aspiring entrepreneurs.
The company: Looking to change the notion that school cafeteria food had to be subpar, Jonas Falk launched his health-lunch startup OrganicLife in Chicago.
Best advice for aspiring entrepreneurs: Don't worry about the things that could go wrong. In a new business there are so many things that could go wrong that it is easy to focus on them. Instead, focus on what you are doing right, and the problems you have will get resolved.
Company: Looking to make big data accessible, Marc DaCosta and Hicham Oudghiri launched Enigma, a startup that took home the grand-prize at New York City's TechCrunch Disrupt.
Best advice for aspiring entrepreneurs: Don't do it alone. It is a huge challenge and a huge undertaking. Rely on your network, your friends and significant others.
The company: Hoping to bring more transparency to online-degree programs, Kim Taylor and Cecilia Retelle launched Ranku, a discovery engine that allows users to comparison shop online degrees available through nonprofit institutions.
Best advice for aspiring entrepreneurs: No one has the entire data set but you. You need to make your own decisions and have the ability to ignore people. Ninety percent of the advice we get is terrible, 10 percent is great and of that, five percent is game changing.
The company: Not wanting customers to settle for the fast-fad trend -- buying inexpensive clothes and getting rid of them quickly -- co-founders Maxine Bedat and Soraya Darabi launched Zady, an ecommerce store providing consumers high-quality, unique items from designers.
Best advice for aspiring entrepreneurs: Very early on, we decided what our fundamental belief was: The emergence of the conscious consumer. We knew we wanted to be 100 percent committed to building a company for that consumer. Knowing exactly what we believe in has helped us be flexible in everything other aspect of our company. Our advice would be to find the thing in which you fundamentally believe in and don't waiver from that, but allow yourself to be flexible on all other aspects.
Read More: For Zady, It's Quality Over Quantity
The company: Looking to take on big player Brita in the water filter industry, Mike Del Ponte and Ido Leffler launched Soma, a stylish water-filter and carafe product line.
Best advice for aspiring entrepreneurs: Surround yourself with great people. I have been so blessed to have great mentors, and I have incredible teammates. Being an entrepreneur can be a lonely job. Surrounding yourself with the best people enhances your chance to succeed, and it makes the process a lot more enjoyable
The company: After having a case of Bieber fever, founders Brittany Hodak and Kim Kaupe decided to launch ZinePak, a startup that creates custom entertainment magazines for musicians, celebrities, brands and entertainers.
Best advice for aspiring entrepreneurs: Just go for it. Although it can be scary to go out on your own -- especially if you're leaving a steady paycheck behind -- it's nowhere near as frightening as the idea of working for someone else for the rest of your life. If you believe in your idea and are willing to work hard, sooner or later things will fall into place.
The company: After believing the flower-delivery industry's customer experience was a bit thorny, John Tabis and JP Montufar decided to launch The Bouqs, offering a direct-to-consumer method and eco-friendly approach.
Best advice for aspiring entrepreneurs: Go do whatever your idea or your passion is. For The Bouqs, I just went and did it. We didn't have any funding, a technical co-founder or all the resources I thought I might have needed. Ultimately by going out and just doing it, we sort of took care of all those things. If it is something you really want to do, you go and figure out a way.
The company: David Troya, along with Ruben Martinez, wanted to take camping to the next level with their startup Glamping Hub, a service that helps travelers find glamorous accommodations for their camping excursions.
Best advice for aspiring entrepreneurs: The hardest thing an entrepreneur has to deal with is the emotional rollercoaster that is involved when starting your own business. There are so many reasons to be happy and worried every day, and if are affected by these emotions you can't really be productive or focused. You have to remain positive and excited about what you are doing.
The company: The co-founders of Locu set out to solve a problem: Help small businesses create a digital footprint through self-service tools. Not only did it catch the attention of thousands of SMBs but also GoDaddy, which acquired it this past August.
Best advice for aspiring entrepreneurs: I meet a lot of early teams that got together to work on an idea and then the idea falls apart. If you have a great team, it is important not to get too anchored on ideas, as they evolve. Instead, focus on the broader market you are looking to disrupt.
The company: Looking to empower women around the world, co-founders Gwendolyn Floyd, Ella Peinovich and Catherine Mahugu launched Soko, a platform for artisans to sell their handmade jewelry and apparel.
Best advice for aspiring entrepreneurs: Be really bold and really humble. You got to take risks. Don't underestimate your own value, and don't underestimate the value of pure assertiveness and passion. Also, there is tons to learn. No one person can do it all and that is what is great about building a business is building a team. It is like a family. It is not about you, it is about the idea and building something sustainable. You need to let go of the ego, and let the idea grow.