Last updated on February 17th, 2023 at 03:14 pm
I was fascinated by the movie The Social Network–not because it is supposedly about Facebook or Mark Zuckerberg, but because it’s the story of dreaming big and launching a start-up.
Experience dreamers understand this process all too well.
The immense need to create.
The need to create something from an idea.
The need to live without sleep.
It’s the kind of calling that keeps you awake night after night, while you toss and turn over all the reasons why it’s a bad idea, it’s a scary idea, why you shouldn’t quit your day job, leave your husband or order pizza at 2 am from that 24-hour restaurant up the street because you have to write your ideas down NOW.
Because sometimes life just doesn’t give you any other choice but to start up something of your own.
Some hear the calling to launch something while still in high school; others after college, marriage, or a divorce, or after the kids are grown and left home, or when the job market keeps changing and grows steadily unstable, or after one suffers a debilitating setback that’s left them feeling hopeless about the future–but at some point, many of us reach the conclusion that we have no other choice but to decide to listen to our calling and realize, “What the hell . . . I need to just f***ing go for it!”
Swan dive and launch your dream. But where do you start?
5 Recommendations for Launching Your Version of The Social Network
1. Pick a dream idea that can thrive within your limited constraints
Meaning, if you have no venture capital to get your idea off the ground, you must be able to work another job while you work your idea/dream/passion on the side. Your start-up idea can’t be something that interferes with your day job by requiring you to pay attention to it when you can’t.
2. Start with a partner, or someone who supports your dream idea
You’ll need support. You’ll need someone to argue with. You’ll need someone who will give you truthful feedback while wanting you to succeed. You’ll need someone who knows your strengths and weaknesses and balances your dream. You need someone you can throw soft things at when you’re frustrated.
Or you will forever be thinking from the inside out – not the outside in.
3. Be in it for the long haul
Plan for a marathon, not a sprint. Facebook is the exception to the rule. It seems like: idea + launch = instant success. Yeah, that’s not normal, and if you think it is then you like watching Dora The Explorer and eating chicken fingers.
Don’t think of your dream in terms of billion dollars. Begin doing your dream idea because you love it — and you are compelled to do it. Once you’ve worked through the pain of the start, and have made your many mistakes (trust me you will make them), then begin thinking about making enough cash to expand your idea a little more.
A book is written with small bursts of inspiration over time. A marathon runner trains for months before the race. Start small. Take baby steps. Control your expansion.
4. Learn marketing
I don’t care what your dream idea is, at some point, you are going to need to understand and embrace marketing. Sales of anything comes from lead generation — and lead generation comes from marketing. How are you going to market your dream idea? What sort of outreach are you going to do to get the word out?
If I had a penny for every freelancer (or dreamer) who leaves out their future customers while building their dream–then launches and can’t understand why no one’s buying–I’d be filthy rich. I don’t care how good is your idea. If you don’t do it with the end buyer in mind and their involvement–your idea won’t sell.
I cannot emphasize this enough. It is very dangerous for you to approach your start-up dream from what you like and only your opinion of what you love. Your idea needs to be tested, your idea needs the input of others, and if you are smart, you will listen and accept feedback.
Feedback can save you from yourself. Especially feedback you might not like.
5. Be willing to sacrifice
There are sacrifices to building a start-up dream. You could very well end up sacrificing your friends, your workout club, your finances, your family, and your health, looking decent in a bathing suit, and sleeping past 7:00 am.
Are you willing to go down this road for your start-up dream idea?
Mark Cuban, the self-made millionaire, and owner of the Dallas Mavericks advise, “I slept on the couch or floor – Because I was living on happy hour food, and the 2 beer cover charge, I was gaining weight like a pig. But I was having fun – Every night I would read, no matter how late – I remember sitting in that little office till 10 pm – I would get so involved with learning that I would forget to eat.”
Young Money Magazine once asked him, “Did you have to sacrifice your personal life in order to become a business success?”
“Sure, ask about five of my former girlfriends that question. I went seven years without a vacation. I didn’t even read a fiction book at that time. I was focused.”
6. Be open to change
Paul Graham of Ideas For Start-ups says, “The fact is, most start-ups end up nothing like the initial idea. It would be closer to the truth to say the main value of your initial idea is that, in the process of discovering it’s broken, you’ll come up with your real idea.”
Paul also advises the best way to get a “million-dollar idea” is just to do what you enjoy doing anyway.
Jason Clarke has been a Director of Minds at Work, a commercial collective of autonomous thinkers and problem solvers dedicated to supporting anyone interested in Making Things Better. Here are his thoughts on embracing change:
Catherine Hughes is the editor and founder of 8WomenDream. She’s also a magazine columnist, content creator, blogger, published author, and former award-winning mom blogger. Catherine collaborates with companies to craft engaging web content and social media narratives. Her work, highlighting stories of the resilience and success of Northern California residents, appears in several print magazines. Outside of work, she treasures motherhood, her close friendships, rugby, and animals.
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