Money & Career

The One Piece Of Advice All Start-Up Founders Need To Hear

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When marie claire partnered with business-education company Tech Ready Women for a two-day masterclass, our mission was to help women reach their full potential. Below, co-founder and CEO of Vitae.Coach Shelley Laslett shares the secret to making your start-up idea a success.

What’s the one piece of advice you would pass on to women thinking about launching a start-up?

Fundamentally it’s that you can do it. Don’t discount yourself or your abilities to make your vision a reality. There will never be a ‘right time’ or a perfect time to start. You just have start. And you don’t have to quit your job to start running your business. Running your business on the side (your side-hustle) while keeping your day job is a very good first step. The entrepreneurial journey tends to be glorified a touch in the media, but the truth is it’s really, really tough. So it’s best to hang onto your job until you have a clear source of revenue and/or runway for 3 – 6 months. If you can, it’s best to avoid financial stress on-top of the natural stress of founding a company.

What’s been the biggest learning/takeaway along your business path journey so far?

You can’t just focus on your company and forget yourself. Locking in family time, personal time, down time and exercise time will make the world of difference to your body, brain and thereby the decisions you do and don’t make as a leader. You, equally need to be connected with your tribe and your peers. Us entrepreneurs might all be building different products and services, but really we  are all in the same boat. We all experience the ups and downs differently but we all experience it. Connection with other entrepreneurs and startup communities makes the world of difference. Establishing a real, robust support network is crucial to your survival a business and a founder.

shelley laslett vitae coach
Shelley Laslett

If you could go back in time what would you do differently?

I wish I started sooner and not waited until I thought I was ready or the ideal situation presented itself, because it rarely does. You just have to start. I would have also given up my perfectionist tendencies earlier. When it comes to building out your first version of your product, done is always better than perfect. If you want till it’s perfect to launch you have waited too longer.   

What are 3 main personality traits a founder of a startup should possess?

Grit – you have to be gritty enough to work hard and preserve when things get tough. That resilience and discipline to keep going through the uncertain times and the tough times is critical to success.  

Flexibility – things are going to change. While there is only one you, a company is made up of smart people and the collection of their individualised efforts. You need to be open to recommendations and flexible to how things can be done. There is a real danger of tunnel vision as an entrepreneur. Letting people contribute and enhance the vision is critical to growth and scale.

Patience – it takes time. Companies aren’t built overnight, entrepreneurs rarely get it right every time and launching your product at the wrong time can be hugely detrimental. You need to be patient and know that it’s going to happen. It just unlikely to be as you thought and when you thought. 

What’s the one skill you need to be a successful entrepreneur?

Mindset – the ability to apply a growth mindset is the one skill an entrepreneur can’t do without. You might be the smartest and/or the most talented person in the room but if you can’t filter your own thoughts and regulate your own mind – you won’t get very far. 

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