The market was hot in the fall of 2006. I was not.
At the time, the only people I knew in Toronto were my fellow university graduates, and most of them were working on Bay Street. While they were expensing high-end meals and attending extravagant company parties, I was working from a dark corner in my condo.
It was a lonely existence. I used to take coffee breaks in the financial district, hoping to run into a former classmate. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn't get significant momentum as an entrepreneur.
The only things I had going for me were a tolerance for risk, a solid work ethic, and a ton of perseverance.
Are you an early stage entrepreneur trying to gain traction? Don't despair. It gets easier. Here are five key points to keep in mind as you forge ahead:
- A team is greater than the sum of its parts. Bring trustworthy, hard-working people on board, and it will make all the difference. Superstars are nice to have, but if they operate in a vacuum, they won't get you anywhere.
- If you work flat out and remain on the right side of the ethical divide, you'll build credibility and get noticed. Cutting corners and rushing jobs are short-term solutions. In the long run you're dead in the water.
- As you learn what doesn't work, you save time down the road. Every mistake is a valuable experience.
- You're building a network. As you meet people in your industry, or talk to other entrepreneurs, you're spinning a web of contacts that will snare business opportunities.
- People will recognize when you have something to offer that they can't do themselves. As you become more turnkey, you're in the driver's seat. You can choose which leads to chase, and which ones to pass up.