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It would certainly not be a stretch to say that a huge number of people out there are all but obsessed with the idea of one day starting up their own businesses and becoming their own boss. And it’s not hard to see why this would be the case.
The vision of being your own boss promises a lifestyle in which you no longer have to answer to condescending supervisors on a daily basis, and are free to buck the normal conventions of your chosen field, in terms of physical dress, routine operations, and more.
Perhaps equally as importantly — being a business owner sounds a lot like “being rich”, and one of the most alluring attractions of going solo is, indeed, the prospect that you might be able to make your fortune via a successful business venture, in a way that you may never have been able to achieve as an employee of someone else.
Of course, it is a fact that most startups fail in a hurry, and that the entrepreneurs who make it in the long-term invariably have to put up with plenty of hiccups, shortcomings, and irritations on their path to ultimate success.
It’s important to approach the task of starting up your own company with a positive mindset. You should, by all means, be motivated by the potential for success and wealth down the line. But you should also free yourself from illusions, such as that the process is likely to be anything like straightforward or easy.
Instead, arm yourself with knowledge as you enter the world of the business owner, and you’re far more likely to act in a way that will prove fruitful over the medium to long-term.
On that note, here are a few of the basic requirements that tend to apply when you’re striving to create a successful startup.
A punctual and “by the books” approach to handling legalities
Any business that you create is inevitably going to be subject to various types of paperwork and legal tape, depending on where you’re situated in the world. Some of these legalities and procedures can seem tedious and uninspiring, but it’s simply essential that you tick the right boxes and file the right forms (in triplicate, if needs be).
Research how to start an LLC in your state, or check up on the procedure for registering as self-employed in your country. Understand what you’re getting yourself into, and where you might experience vulnerabilities, or liabilities, depending on the nature of your business and your professional practices.
It may well be that certain forms and procedures don’t seem “relevant” or “necessary” in the early stages of your business. “After all”, you might think, “pretty much no one knows about my business yet, anyway, and and I’m barely making any money from it for now”. Don’t lull yourself into a false sense of security with this kind of logic. Understand that there are people whose job it is to catch anyone flouting the regulations that apply to topics such as business and tax. If you leave yourself vulnerable, by not having done your due diligence, you should fully expect your life to be complicated to a ludicrous degree by the resulting upsets.
To be successful in creating and running a startup, perhaps the first skill and inclination that you need is a punctual and “by the books” approach to handling legalities. Be boring and rote in this area of your life. You can always express your creativity more freely and vividly through your business itself.
The willingness and ability to impose precise structure on your days
Undoubtedly, one of the biggest “pull factors” that leads people to want to create their own businesses and be their own bosses, is the sense that such mundane and irritating things as 9-5 working schedules can be safely done away with.
The common conception of the successful entrepreneur is a pretty romantic one. It usually includes the archetypal maverick pioneer who spends some days lounging around at his leisure, on his private yacht, and then is spontaneously seized by fits of passion or necessity to work flat out for periods of time.
There’s some real debate to be had about whether that sort of “tortured artist” motif can even be applied in a meaningful sense to most artists. For entrepreneurs and business owners, however, it’s a dangerous idea more than anything else.
It is certainly true that when you run your own business, you will likely be free from many of the specific constraints put on your time and behaviour by external forces, that haunt the average worker.
But you’re only “free” from those things insofar as that you need to impose your own strict rules on yourself, instead, in order to be successful.
Many new entrepreneurs simply become too chaotic and dissolute and their plans unravel as a result. Instead, you need to be willing and able to impose precise structure on your days.
A bias towards taking action
Various writers on the topics of business success and productivity have noted that the people who are most likely to succeed in business are generally those who, also, have a bias for taking action rather than getting bogged down in excessive planning, ruminating, and “analysis paralysis.”
To be clear, it’s essential that you plan and strategise appropriately before engaging in sweeping actions in your professional life. But it’s a deadly mistake to believe that growth or success is going to come your way in business because you ruminate over every detail obsessively, and take action only when you’re forced by outside circumstances.
The true “success formula”, insofar as there is such a thing in business, is much more along the lines of being proactive as being the key to learning and growth.
When you take action in a professional setting, you either find yourself that works, or something that doesn’t. You get direct, hands-on experience of your field. From there, you can iterate and adapt your strategy, and take action again. The correct way to view setbacks and failures in this situation is as data points, and it’s only by continuing to take action on a regular basis that you can benefit from the accumulation of those data points.