9 Startup Lessons Learned the Hard Way

by Stella Fayman on January 30, 2013

 

This post was submitted by Michael Charalambous, the co-owner and Director at Right Casino Media. 

I wanted to offer some tips and advice to start-ups and new businesses looking to make it; it’s not easy.

 1) You Have Less Time, Not More - At first I thought running my own business would allow me to be more flexible; this is a common misconception when ‘becoming your own boss’. Although it may be partially true; you can get up when you want, stop working when you want and pretty much live your life – because of what’s at stake you’ll be working more than ever trying to get things off the ground. Don’t be fooled by how much time you think you have!

 2) Make Time for Family and Friends - I quickly realised that if I didn’t force myself to make time for others then it would never come. Like waiting for the right moment to break up with somebody, there is no right time, just do it. Those around you will be an invaluable support network, trust me, you’re going to need them when things get tough.

3)  One Else Will Share Your Drive for The Business - No employees will understand everything you go through and the effort, hours and energy it takes, they don’t see thee bigger picture. You need to understand this in order to be realistic, don’t expect from them what you expect from yourself.

4) Set Clear Goals & Priorities – When starting the company, think to yourself – ‘What would I like to have seen the company make by this time next year?’ Set down your goals for the next 12 months and then re-order them in terms of priority to ensure the best possible chance of achieving them. We did this with site launches; we build a lot of websites and had a lot to do – in the end I decided to list out the priorities and set some goals. Needless to say everyone on the team knew what was most important, and what needed to be done by when.

You could find yourself wasting a few months doing something which doesn’t really need to be done or isn’t the most cost-effective – this is vital when time and money are limited in those early stages.

5) Build Relationships With Those in The Same Niche – A lot of people tend to keep their company to themselves, but what they don’t realise is that creating relationships with other people who’ve been in the same position can have huge benefits; advice, support and opportunities are in abundance. Any opportunity to network or build professional relationships could be beneficial and should be taken. One might even say if you’re not the type of person to grab onto, take advantage of, and pursue every opportunity you’re probably not made to run your own business at all!

 6) Use Google Calendar – Google Calendar is great, it will not only work as your own calendar, it can be shared with anyone. You have the option to view, add, edit or delete anything in your employees’ calendars at any point of the day. It can be accessed easily wherever you are, online or on a smart phone. Without it now I’d be lost – we use it to manage our whole team.

7) Holidays Are No Longer Holidays – It’s not as bad as it sounds. However you will never experience a holiday as you previously have; carefree and oblivious to what’s happening at work. Gone are the days of forgetting your work for a week or two, you may do less work than you usually do (of course, it’s a holiday), but essentially you’ll always need to be on call to support your team.

8) Balance Investments With Salary – Once your business becomes profitable, it’s tempting to take a high salary, but one of the hardest things is balancing salary and investment. Takings aren’t guaranteed and can fluctuate dramatically early on. Depending on the niche, you could be £25,000 up one day, and have dropped down to £10,000 the next.

If you overpay yourself one month, you might find that profits are down the next month and your company balance is slipping towards the negative column. Don’t let that happen,stabilise first and keep finances tight.

9) Moderate Your Expectations – Every entrepreneur or start-up owner dreams of a Ferrari (or equivalent aspirational status-symbol) within a year, although you are quickly brought down to earth with costs that you would never have considered before. Be realistic; ambition and optimism will be crucial to your success but disappointment will only hinder you. I know this through personal experience; treat yourself, but don’t get cocky just yet!

Michael spends the majority of time at Right Casino Media, where he operates multiple high-traffic gambling orientated websites which are highly niche specific, allowing them to convert traffic to sales at incredibility high rates. Two of the top websites include LiveRoulette.co.uk and LiveCasino.co.uk. In just two years Michael and his business partner have gone from a bedroom operation after work with just one website, to working full time in their own office with a

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  • TW

    Great information! I never would have thought that family would be affected when starting a business. Now my priorities have changed from business, food, family to business, family, food.

  • http://twitter.com/BetaMotivation Kola Olaosebikan

    couldn’t agree more with #2. i find that i have to physically tear myself away from meetings and my computer to make time for friends and family. great post, Michael