The Best Way to Grow Your Startup

startup

By Stephen Moore

Focus on what you’re doing and not on what the world is doing

The availability of online content in the modern age has led us to become obsessed with what everyone else is doing and achieving in their lives–and to destructive effect. Teenagers are spending up to nine hours a day consuming media, with some checking their social media up to 100 times a day (Common Sense Media). Research by behavioral scientist Clarissa Silva found that 60% of people using social media reported that it negatively impacts their self-esteem.

In the startup space, this phenomenon has become a toxic problem that is crippling far too many entrepreneurs. Social media has changed the way we evaluate our accomplishments. We’re holding ourselves to the unachievable standards of the hugely successful public figures and business leaders we follow. 

I’ve been guilty of doing so, spending too long looking at competitors and idolizing those further ahead in their professional lives than me. It took me a long time to realize that those two situations, one of somebody figuring out how to start a business from scratch and somebody who has ‘made it’ already, are not comparable.

We’ve forgotten that the people who we put on a pedestal are way further down the line than us. Most of these founders you compare yourself to have likely experienced all the struggles you’re going through: money issues, the endless grind, and failure. What you see is the end product, which resulted from years of hard work and kind fortune. 

We sit and wonder why our one-year-old business hasn’t taken off yet, and turn to the Internet to tell us how to change the situation, only to be met with an endless sea of content. The result is feeling overwhelmed by the milestones we’ve yet to hit and strategies we’ve yet to try. 

Constantly seeking validation is detrimental to self-worth. Not being able to meet the unrealistic expectations we set for ourselves can only lead to disappointment. We then throw in the towel far too early and join in the ‘90% of startups fail’ chant.

The simple fact is that spending time on others’ lives is taking away time spent working on our own. Without focus, you will achieve nothing, feel even less adequate compared to your peers, and continue down the vicious cycle. My advice is: 

  1. Stop trying to emulate famous people or what other entrepreneurs are doing. 
  2. Stop putting yourself down because you haven’t met an arbitrary standard you set for yourself. 
  3. Stop comparing your year one to others’ year twenty.

If we want to gain the most out of our entrepreneurial experience, then we need to be honest about what we are doing, how we are doing it, and who we are–behind it all. Entrepreneurs need to know that they’re not alone in sometimes feeling helpless, lost, and inadequate. 

Being honest about what we go through will better the conversation around startup life. Sharing the lessons, experiences, and mistakes we all make allows us to grow as founders.

About the Author

Stephen is Co-Founder and Maker at Roots Furniture, a bespoke fabrication and fit out company. Stephen is also a writer, with his work being featured in Business Insider and Thought Catalog, and is Co-Editor of the Post Grad Survival Guide, Medium’s Millennial Career and Life Publication. 

www.sjmblog.com

This story was originally published in Jumpstart Issue 29: Back to Basics as Don’t Compare Your Beginning to Someone Else’s Middle.

SHARE THIS STORY

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on email

RELATED POSTS

SEC Compares Crypto

SEC Compares Crypto to “The Wild West”

On September 14, Gary Gensler, the Chairman of U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), said that he doesn’t see long-term viability for cryptocurrency. He emphasized the importance of regulating crypto and protecting the interests of investors.

TikTok over Privacy Concerns

Ireland Launches Investigation into TikTok over Privacy Concerns

On September 14, 2021, Ireland’s Data Protection Commission (DPC) launched an investigation into Bytedance-owned TikTok, the popular video sharing app. This investigation comes as TikTok is already facing backlash regarding data privacy concerns. To know more about the app’s highs and lows in 2020, check out this article.

Facebook Cross Check

What Is Facebook’s Cross Check System and How Does It Work?

On September 13, 2021, Wall Street Journal (WSJ) came out with a detailed investigation surrounding Facebook’s content policies titled, “The Facebook Files”. Learn more about the incident here. What jumped out from this investigation was that the “X-check” or cross-check program used by Facebook, which allegedly gives some of the company’s high-profile users special treatment.

Is Telegram the New Dark Web

Is Telegram the New Dark Web?

Every minute, nearly US$3 million is lost to cybercrime. And by 2025, cybercrime is set to cost the world over US$10 trillion. That cybercrime demands our immediate attention is evident. Cybercrimes are becoming easier and more prominent than ever before. A 2019 Global Data Risk Report revealed that, on average, only 5% of companies have properly protected their folders.

How Facebook Has Failed to Administer Its Own Policies

How Facebook Has Failed to Administer Its Own Policies

Social media giant Facebook finds itself making headlines now and then. The recent one is related to Facebook spending the equivalent of 319 years labeling or removing false and misleading content posted in the U.S. during last year. According to internal documents accessed by the Wall Street Journal, the employees at the social media company have raised concerns about the spread of harmful and misleading information on its platforms.