My article, originally posted on the Creative Coast Blog
Start-ups can be scary. There is no perfect method for creating one, but there are lots of resources and advice givers out there. Here’s the rut I fell into for the first year of development for my startup, TACL Box: I was scared to tell anyone about my idea, so I made very little progress. By attempting to protect myself, I ended up shooting my own foot.
Here is what I learned:
1. It doesn’t pay to be too cautious. Throwing around your new idea on how to make low-cost hemp plaid shirts while sitting at a cafe in Portland may not be the best place to be talkative, but don’t be overly cautious as there are bound to be plenty of people you trust enough to talk to initially, and when you have a more firm idea of what you want to do, then you can share parts with others without worrying about losing your progress to some usurping scoundrel.
2. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. People know more than you think, and while they may not have experience in the mechanical engineering behind the self-buttering toast you are making, they may have a friend who owns a dairy farm. You never know what people have to offer.
3. Don’t wait to talk to a lawyer. Many accidents can be avoided by using a little precaution. Lawyers(if you speak with the correct ones) will have a great understanding of building the groundwork for a business, and will have excellent advice on where to get started and what to look out for.
4. Set deadlines, then find someone to hold you accountable for them. Passion and drive are two very valuable assets in driving the start of a company, but when no one is counting on you to make it happen it is very easy to fall victim to procrastination (just as I did).
5. Try and try and try times a thousand. Don’t give up when someone says they don’t get your idea, or that they may not want it; they are literally 1/7,125,000,000, so don’t get too discouraged. It takes a lot of talking and a lot of meetings to make things happen. I mean I’m sure you’ve heard that it took Thomas Edison 1,000 failed attempts at the light bulb to make the right one
6. (Bonus!) Don’t ever forget why you started. It can be easy to lose sight of what got you where you are if some people don’t like your idea. If you feel the need to change, pivot (Thank you, Creative Coast!) rather than throwing out your idea entirely.
Keep your passions and have fun with what you do, it really makes the process that much easier.
Check out the Creative Coast here, they do some pretty incredible stuff!