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The Entrepreneur's Survival Guide

The Entrepreneur's Survival Guide

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Life can be pretty scary for those of us just starting out on our own. How do you know what to do or where to turn? The most important thing to have in the startup world is an entrepreneurial spirit, but even that is not enough to carry you through.

It’s a trep-eat-trep world out there, and to make it you need some key necessities in your toolbox.

 

1.  Caffeine

 

 

 

 

Whether you chug Monsters all day long or your preference is a pot of coffee and a straw, being an entrepreneur means kissing the 9-5 goodbye and accepting that your startup is now your fuller-than-full-time job. Make no mistake about it; you will not be sleeping for a very long time, possibly even ever, so make sure you have something strong on hand to keep you alert during those 3 a.m. brainstorming sessions.

 

2.  Freelancer

 

 

 

This is an amazing outsourcing resource to find insanely talented coders, developers, designers, and beyond. Either make someone a permanent member of your team or use different people for different assignments; you only have to pay if you’re happy with the work.

 

3.  Craigslist

 

It’s not just a place to find last-minute concert tickets or a free pool table anymore. Post on the job board for $25 and your inbox will be flooded with applications within hours, so whether you’re posting about an unpaid internship or a full-time salaried position you will find the perfect fit for your startup.

 

4.  Asana

 

Now that you have a team of outsourced freelancers and college interns assembled, how are you going to organize them all? If your people are scattered throughout the country, or across the globe, you need to get this online task manager. Started by the same guy who co-founded Facebook (not the Zuck; the less-famous, but equally important Dustin Moskowitz), Asana touts itself as “the next big step in productivity” and it certainly delivers. Assign work to team members, put followers in each item, give them subtasks, create deadlines and sync it all up to your email account. It’s an OCD dream.

 

5.  PayPal

 

 

So your crack team is chugging along and your projects are getting completed in no time and now it’s time to pay. PayPal is great because you can deposit money into others’ accounts, or you can save your credit card information to make checkout faster. Time is money and every second counts for startups, so save yourself the hassle of digging out your card because you can’t remember the security code and let PayPal do the purchasing for you. If you’re unfamiliar with this program, it protects your information so you don’t have to give it to unfamiliar sites.

 

6.  StrengthsFinder 2.0

 

 

Buy this book, take the quiz and thank us later. Tom Rath’s #1 Wall Street Journal bestseller created an acute assessment that provides you with a personalized Strengths Insight Report. The 20 minutes you take out of your schedule will be well worth it, because once you figure out your strengths (and trust us, the results are eerily accurate) you can better figure out how to lead the way for your enterprise.

 

7. The Lean Startup

 

 

Eric Ries penned this how-to for starting your own business, outlining the importance of validated learning, scientific experimentation, progress measurements, and valuable customer feedback. This book explains the importance of the individual, the team and the company to make your business the complete package.

 

8.  MeetAdvisors

 

Entrepreneurs connect with advisors for free advice!

 

Okay, so maybe we're a little biased, but boy do we wish this website had been around when we were starting out! The only place to connect entrepreneurs with advisors for free advice, our site fills a very real gap in the startup world. Expand your network and grow your business at the same time—the only thing we ask is that you leave a review remarking on your experience.

 

9. A trusted network

 

 

Let’s face it—you can’t tell just anyone your brilliant ideas these days. We’re going to keep this one simple: make sure your network is filled with people who can help move your career forward as well as people who really do just want to help. If you’re getting a Gordon Gecko vibe from that patent attorney, trust your gut and look elsewhere for a business partner.

 

10. A ping pong table

 

 

Or a pool table. Or a pool. Life is stressful, but we only get one chance to live it. Be sure you’re not drowning yourself in stress and tension and always schedule some time to unwind. It’s okay to take a break once in a while—it will help your mental health and your productivity.

 

11. Thick skin

 

 

You’re going to hear the word “no” more than you did during your terrible twos. Get used to it, keep your head up and keep going. Either your pitch could use some work, or you’ll prove them all wrong. If you really believe you’re following your dream don’t let a few pitfalls get you down, but keep your ego in check at the same time; too many have failed because they refused to pivot when they should have.

 

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