Strike out on your own - without putting everything on the line
Longing to ditch the day job and throw all your energy into a start-up? You're not the only "wantrepreneur" bound to make mistakes along the way.
Start-up coach Johan du Plessis helps would-be entrepreneurs avoid costly errors when launching businesses. His company, Corporate to Freedom, helps employees with entrepreneurial dreams devise a way to leave their job without putting everything on the line.
Du Plessis says there are plenty of ways even the most passionate entrepreneur can go wrong, and points to the success of Dean McEvoy, who sold online group buying site Spreets to Yahoo for $40 million only 11 months after going live. While many are inspired by this story, du Plessis says few know about McEvoy's previous start-up, Booking Angel, which he put years of work into to less avail.
Du Plessis' tips for success:
1. If you want to start your own business, don't quit your day job.
2. Don't start with a corporate mindset. Entrepreneurs need to have a variable mindset that allows them to keep trying new things and developing new abilities.
3. The most successful entrepreneurs are the ones who take small and affordable risks: "Risk little, fail cheap and succeed sooner."
4. If your business isn't solving a problem, it's not going to make any money.
5. Don't focus exclusively on making money. Make your product shine first.
6. Don't try to be perfect. "It's just about getting out there quickly and reiterating as you go."
7. Don't make the same mistakes as other entrepreneurs. Find other entrepreneurs who have been there and done it all before. Start following business leaders you respect on Facebook or LinkedIn.
8. Don't worry too much about the competition. Be aware of it, but don't let it steer your company's course.
9. When looking for business partners, don't get married after the first date. Try to find a partner who makes wealth decisions.
10. Don't give up. "Just keep taking small steps every day. Taking action is one of the key drivers and if you're really action-oriented it will happen over time," du Plessis says.