50 Things I’ve Learnt Launching a Startup – 2 Years On


So we’ve been at this game for over 2 years now. We registered the company in July 2012 and began trading February 2013.

It’s been a fun, long journey to here and I’m hopeful that this year will see us go from strength to strength.

I’ve not done a good job at keeping my thoughts up to date on here, so I wanted to share 50 things I’ve learnt as a quick fire update on missed time.

Here are 50 things I’ve learnt launching a startup:

  1. Nothing has been more difficult
  2. Nothing has been more rewarding
  3. Passion outstrips experience a million times over
  4. Trust in your team
  5. Say yes, then figure out how to do it
  6. Find people that back you and hold on to them. Tight.
  7. Don’t focus on your competition but make them focus on you
  8. Niches are valuable and easier to get started with
  9. Growth is fun and painful
  10. When things get tough, choose the route that will do the least damage to your team, not the route that’s easiest for you
  11. Cash is king
  12. Everyone is human, even really important people
  13. Making people laugh is a great way of being remembered
  14. People buy people, not products
  15. Inbound beats outbound, every time
  16. Everyone (and I mean everyone) is struggling with digital
  17. Some people are just arseholes through and through and there is nothing you can do about it
  18. There are some amazing people out there who want to help you
  19. Value pricing is much better than cost based pricing
  20. Remember to celebrate the wins
  21. Take the losses as hard lessons and move on
  22. You never know what tomorrow will bring
  23. You never know what the next hour will bring
  24. And so on
  25. Not everything has a point (see 24)
  26. Solving a problem is the primary goal of good salespeople
  27. Helping customers understand they’ve got a problem is the primary goal of good marketing people
  28. Don’t sell. Listen
  29. ROI is important
  30. But it shouldn’t be the only factor if you want to stay ahead
  31. If something isn’t revenue generating or revenue retaining then it’s not as important
  32. Trade shows are pretty cool
  33. Not everyone is your customer
  34. You’re not going to be everyones supplier
  35. Some people were born to make your life difficult
  36. The government largely doesn’t give a shit about small business, whatever they may say
  37. Tax is a killer (see 36)
  38. Always try and make things better, work hard at working smart
  39. Assumptions really are the mother of all fuck ups
  40. Always smile on the phone people can ‘hear’ it
  41. Not being an expert often means you see things with a fresh perspective, don’t think your insights are any less valuable
  42. Opportunity really is everywhere, but it’s not going to come and find you
  43. If you go looking for it, you’d better be tougher than Frodo
  44. Ask for help
  45. Take holidays
  46. Remember to eat breakfast
  47. And other meals
  48. Too much caffeine is dangerous
  49. There are so many things that could happen that you’ll never be able to know them all. Get on with it and you’ll figure things as and when you need to
  50. Believe
  51. When you have no more belief left, find someone else who believes in you and get a recharge
  52. Listen to advice. Ignore as appropriate
  53. Give advice. Shutup as appropriate
  54. Laugh. Always laugh. You’re still alive after all.
  55. Nothing goes to plan. Even lists.
  56. Get comfortable being uncomfortable. It’s the feeling of progress.

Thanks for reading.


One Comment

  1. Christian

    I absolutely love #26 and #27. A really beautiful summary of that dichotomy. I might nick those ones.

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