Sometimes the fear of stepping out on your own is overwhelming and facing that fear can make, or break, any new entrepreneur.

My business partner and I took the plunge in December 2011, and I can say with dead certainty, that we didn’t have a clue of what we were doing, or what we were getting in to.

Often friends and family can push or pull us in certain directions, according to their agenda’s, and whims, and its learning to steel yourself against this that was a key point for me. I am blessed with the most supportive family, who have always allowed me to do whatever I wish in the journey of life – and so I learnt – they watched me make mistakes, knowing that I needed to make them, and without those lessons I can confidently say I would not be where I am today.

Here are a few of my key tips for the start up entrepreneur , from one, to another:

Share with people who care – and lose the ones who don’t

Casting your pearls before the swine comes to mind here, the people in your life who mock or laugh at your idea’s are not the kind of people you need to be around, the ones who tell you what a mistake you are making – and I believe for the sole reason, that they themselves are too scared to dream.

Rather talk to the ones who listen and offer advice, the ones who don’t mind if you phone them at 10pm on a Sunday night because you have just had a brainwave and need to bounce it off a solid platform. These people will form the structure of support that every entrepreneur needs to succeed.

Ask for help

Get your hands on as many business books as you can – you don’t have to buy them, libraries are great for this – and I borrowed a few from friends and their parents – and devoured them vociferously. I have found autobiographies to be a huge help, Raymond Ackerman’s, Sprat to Catch a Mackerel was one of the first books my mother bought and posted to me – and it made a huge impact realising how someone so famous in South Africa had faced challenges just like the ones I was facing. The internet is also a mine of information…when in doubt…Google it!

Learn from the mistakes of your predecessors – that’s what they are there for

Don’t shun advice from people who have been in business for a while – it’s a bit like being a teenager and not wanting anyone’s advice because you can do it all on your own – but in this case – you DO need it – so be gracious and listen, there may be a nugget there that you can use.

Get a mentor

A mentor is someone who is in your field, or has a good amount of business experience, and doesn’t mind when you come to them with weird and wonderful ideas, and challenges. You may not take their advice all the time, but it does help to get perspective on a situation, especially if you are fired up on an issue, sometimes being helped to realise that acting in that state would be detrimental to your business, can be a sobering thought.

Don’t bite off more than you can chew

We try to tackle too many projects and take on too much work, and when you are suddenly juggling 20 balls – you realise that you are starting to drop them, and that can impact on your business – majorly.

Rather be selective on key projects, and focus your energy on those. Which leads me to my last point ..

Look after your body and your health

You only get one, and I speak from experience, getting 4 hours sleep a night and never taking a weekend off, will burn you out faster than you can realise, and then you are no good to your company at all. Take some downtime, spend it with friends and loved ones, relaxing your mind and body, so that you are refreshed and ready for the next challenge that comes your way.


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