Being an entrepreneur is hard. Not only do you have to be a trailblazer, carving your way through an uncertain path, but you also have to bring people along to the journey. Despite its challenges, it can be an amazing experience!
I frequently get asked for advice or tips on entrepreneurship so I thought I’d share my top three tips. Hopefully these will be useful!
Lesson 1: If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door
I’m naturally an introvert, so networking doesn’t come easily to me. Yet, when I started business school, I had to network all the time, much more than I had done in the past. I was so frustrated with the fact that I could not remember names - this had always been a struggle for me. I looked everywhere to find a solution and when I didn’t find one I decided to build Hiver! Hiver provides intelligent technology to help make events and networking sessions more useful by enabling users to remember the names of everyone they meet. On top of that, we provide data to event organizers so they can make their events better and more impactful.
Looking back, I could have just accepted the fact that there wasn’t any good technology out there to help me. Yet, even though I had no experience, no money and couldn’t code, I decided to try to solve this problem. The only thing stopping us is...us. So if opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door!
Lesson 2: Feel the Fear and do it anyway
Some years ago, a mentor and friend of mine recommended to me the book ‘Feel the Fear, and do it anyway.’ I have really internalized this feeling of facing the fear and embraced the knowledge that if you aren’t in that scary place, you aren’t stretching yourself, you aren’t learning and you are certainly not doing anything amazing. We are instinctively taught to walk away from fear, but in entrepreneurship you have to not only face it, but embrace it.
Another entrepreneur calls this ‘face le danger’ (or face the danger). If you’re a skier you’ll know this means in order to be good, you need to face down the mountain, towards the steep, scary place. You’ll only become good if you do that. If you lean back into the mountain you’ll lose balance and you might fall.
Like in skiing, in entrepreneurship you must face the danger if you want to be successful. It is terrifying to run forward at a million miles an hour without all the answers. But there is no other way other than to completely embrace it.
Lesson 3: It takes a village
I get this question a lot,‘ Should I share my idea with people or do I run the risk of someone copying it?’ I myself asked this question in the early stages of my business and my answer is a resounding yes - share your idea!
First, ideas are super important, but without execution they are nothing. And execution is hard. Very very hard. It takes time and a lot of work. More importantly, by not sharing the idea you miss out on getting feedback, insights, and experiences from the community. Building a business can’t be done in isolation. Talking about your idea and networking effectively enables you to make connections which can lead you to co-founders, investors, employees, and customers.
I have been very lucky to be a part of several really supportive communities. London Business School was one of them - not only was that where the idea originally came about but it is also where I found many mentors, employees and investors who are still with me today. Today I’m part of Entrepreneurial Spark and also several women’s networks, including ones I have built to help other female founders like me. But I have found support in many places - some obvious, others unexepected. It really does take a village to build a business. It is your job as the entrepreneur to continuously add to your village.
I hope these lessons are as useful to you as they were to me. So get out there, build more doors, feel the fear, and share with your village. There are no guarantees that you’ll be successful, but it is guaranteed to be a lot of fun.
Andrea was also recently featured in Arianna Huffington's "Thrive Global" publication as one of 99 fantastic female entrepreneurs. You can read more here: