It’s been five years since Jill and I launched Teach Starter. It all started with a mailing list and $2000 worth of Facebook ads.
We decided early on that VC funding wasn’t the path for us (that’s not to say that it won’t be, one day). We knew that we were in this for the long haul and were more than happy to grow our fledgling business with the revenue we earned. Fortunately, we’ve been cash flow positive ever since.
Based on my experience over the last half decade, here are five takeaways for those of you in the early stages of starting a business:
- Validate your idea early: Don’t burn your money. Crave early feedback to discover if you’re creating something people actually want. There are so many inexpensive and free tools out there to help you build a business. Need an online store? Try Shopify. Need a blog? Try Wordpress. Marketing? Try Facebook and Instagram.
- It’s not all or nothing: Depending on the business model, you can work your day job, and build your business around it. This leads into the next point; use the cash you earn at work to buy yourself time to either work on your business or hire someone.
- Use the assets at your disposal: If cash is tight, spend time instead. If time is tight, spend cash to free up some of your time. In the early days of Teach Starter we had time on our side, so we worked. When we made our first sales, we hired staff before we paid ourselves. We placed long term growth over instant gratification.
- Think work/life integration: If this is what you really want, you have to live and breathe it. That means prioritising what’s important. It doesn’t mean missing out on important life events, it just means sacrificing the unproductive habits. It’s incredible what you can achieve in an hour. Forget that TV show and make a start!
- Discipline compounds: Doing something small each day is far better than doing something big once in a while. Those small actions compound. Set firm goals and strong values. Then hold yourself accountable.
Just a short post this week. I hope some of this information comes in handy. I’m hoping to elaborate on each point over the coming weeks, so if you’d love to hear more, please follow my journey on Medium, Instagram or Facebook and say hi!