It’s been an entire year since I pitched my idea at Women 2.0 Startup weekend. Now I have a live private beta site with heavily engaged users. However, the road was anything but easy, and here are the top 10 things I’ve learned from this past year.
1. Embrace Rejection
It means that you are moving. I sometimes feel like the ugly guy trying to chase the hot girls. For every 10 emails, you may get one response. You may not. That’s ok. You can have teammates leave. You can’t take anything personally, because no one knows what will work or won’t work out. You just gotta keep moving. Inertia kills.
2. I force myself to be positive
I’ve turned into this new age yogi. When things are going bad, a little tinge of hope can determine success or failure. I keep so many inspirational and productive books on audible, which I listen to on my iPhone when I’m driving. Some of my favorites are The Secret, Do More Faster, 4 Hour Workweek, The Alchemist, Steve Jobs Bio. These books instantly cheer me up and push me to keep pedaling forward, even on those days I don’t want to. I avoid negative people like the SARS virus. It’s draining to be around bad thoughts.
3. You are never ready
You’ll never be ready to take that plunge. I hear a lot of excuses, “well I’ll be ready when I have my MBA.” “I’ll be ready after I work at a large tech company and learn best practices.” “I’ll be ready when I have 15 more years of experience.”
I used to be a gymnast in high school. Gymnastics taught me to swallow the fear and do it anyway. I think back to my first back handspring. I was never entirely ready to do a back handspring. I mean, what if I land on my neck? Or my head? Or what if my elbows collapse and yadedadada. Maybe I need to train more, maybe I’m not ready. Of course I don’t advocate jumping into a back handspring blindly, but sometimes you just gotta trust that you’ll be able to jump backwards and stick it! Same goes for anything else in life.
4. There is no recipe for success; if there were, then everyone would be billionaires.
There are no two entrepreneurial stories that are the same. Success and failure can be the difference between timing, meeting the right person at the right time, having that key person on board, etc. Don’t be too hard on yourself if your startup doesn’t line up with what everyone else is doing.
5. Focus on yourself. Not on others.
Don’t bother yourself with what others are doing, how much other companies raised, etc. Itt’s solely a distraction. It’s all about your users. Focus on them.
6. STOP OVERANALYZING
Girls overanalyze way too much. It starts in middle school, where we spend months figuring out if a Justin Bieber look-a-like likes us. Overanalyzing is the worst thing you can do. It’s better to make a mistake than to waste your energy on thinking of 1000 worst case scenarios that probably won’t happen. Remember: Inertia kills.
7. Do not underestimate yourself
I’m an asian female who grew up with two tiger parents. We grow up overly critical of ourselves. Every time I think of a critical thought to myself, I envision taking that thought and throwing it in the trash bin (think, click, drag and empty). I can’t waste precious time putting myself down.
8. Embrace uncertainty
I used to be that super type A girl who always had a 5, 10, and 20 year plan. Now, I don’t know where I’ll be next month, much less next year. Remember that the universe has great plans for you and trust that things will work out.
9. Live for something other than yourself
Perfect Beauty has already changed many women’s lives. I get emails daily about how these girls’ lives changed from the site. My users look up to me to create Perfect Beauty, and I want to prove to them that if you set your mind to something, you can do it. For me, being called an inspiration causes me to do things for a greater purpose than just myself.
10. Realize nothing is an overnight success
Too often we read articles in the news thinking, “WOW. they just built an app and sold it for hundreds of millions.” Again, you always have to dig beneath the surface. Tens of thousands of hours of dedicated practice will make you seem like an overnight success.
Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. As women, we fear our reputation. We fear being called a “failure.” However, those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind. As the quote goes, “Great minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, small minds discuss people”.
Daisy Jing is the Founder and CEO of Your Perfect Beauty, a social network for beauty products. Women are able to connect with similar women and find what products work for them.
Image Credit: daisyjing.com