How to go it alone

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You decided to start your own business and become an entrepreneur. You start setting yourself up and very quickly realise how much there is to learn for you to become successful. You know that the chances to succeed are stacked up against you, and after a few months of not going anywhere, your motivation is lagging.

The worst thing is that you are constantly distracted by all the advice you get from everywhere. From friends, family, other business owners, the internet and the constant bombardment via Social Media. All of them might mean well, but it is still a huge drag and as bigger the pile of advice gets, the harder it is to find a line through all of this.

I generally advise people not to go it alone. I know out of my own experience and through my daily work with many entrepreneurs and start-ups that it is much easier if you have the right partner working with you in the same direction. But sometimes there isn’t anyone with a similar interest or who you trust enough to team up with. Often new start-ups also don’t want to share the millions they’re going to make in a couple of years.

However, if you decide to go it alone, you will need to become seriously analytical about your business. You also need to be ready for action, immediate action, no delay. It’s going to be like jumping into cold water, getting straight out again, write down the temperature and describing the general feeling and the result of the jump. This is not for everyone, but if you can do that, your chances to succeed are very high.

You will need to be very clear about your priorities, but for that, you will need to know them first. You will need to analyse other successful businesses in your field and figure out what works for them and what doesn’t. Picking out the nuggets, you can act on straight away to get your business moving. The point is not to copy anyone, but to pick the bits that work for them and see how you can do those work for you. That will not always be easy, because you most likely won’t have the same resources and assets they have. But that can be your real advantage because this allows you to come up with new improved and better ways to make it happen.

The most crucial part will be your ability to act without knowing the outcome. This requires a lot of experimenting and analysing and a strong character and belief in yourself. If you’re that type of person, you’re going to have real fun making it.

If you struggle with this, you will need to find some help. In this case, I would advise you to get a coach or mentor who can answer many of the questions you might have. Of course, this requires resources (usually money), but if you have those, this is probably the easiest option. Just make sure to find the right one! But even with a coach or mentor, you still need to do the work and be analytical in your approach. You don’t need to test every single hypothesis which speeds things up a lot. Also, if you have a good coach or mentor, he or she should be able to point you at things that might not be so obvious to you but very important.

In my experience, the most significant advantage of working with someone else is the accountability factor. If you’ve told someone that you’re going to do it, the chances that you’re doing it are much higher. Of course, it depends on the partner.

So how can you create a successful business on your own?

Be very analytical about everything you do. Test everything and check if it works. Take action, straight away, no delay. Become very clear about your priorities. Learn the critical things first by checking what others do in your market and make it better Find someone to be accountable to. Get professional help if you can afford it. It will speed things up.

But most of all, enjoy the journey. Realise how much you learn every day, how you grow and in the end how much happier you become. Being an entrepreneur is the drive to improve oneself and living and enjoying the fruits of it all. It’s on you to decide if you want to do this on your own or if you want to share this amazing experience with someone else.

Whatever you decide, enjoy the ride!

John Di Stefano

An entrepreneur at heart and founder of the Entrepreneur Academy in Brussels, Belgium. He is teaching and supporting entrepreneurs in the skills every entrepreneur needs to create a better life for themselves and the people around them.

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