Over the past year on The Launch Youniversity Podcast we've had some incredible conversations with intrapreneurs, entrepreneurs and solopreneurs. We've talked to business professionals in every stage of life and career... from leaders in Fortune 500 companies to people who just launched their first side business. Today, we've rounded up the top 20 pieces of advice from our conversations with our guests.
1. It's okay to be risk-adverse (as long as you push yourself to take risks). It's easy to look at other successful entrepreneurs and think that they're just wired to take risks and you aren't. But you don't have to be a hardwired risk-taker to be an entrepreneur. When the right risks seem smart - pushed yourself through it.
2. Feedback is essential for any project. You need to go into the marketplace or talk to your peers and ask them for objective feedback. You’ll be thankful you did.
3. Document your vision. Share it with the people closest to you.
4. Launching isn’t just about the first 30—60 days. A successful launch is taking an idea, bringing it into reality and sustaining it.
5. Go above and beyond for your first or early customers. The ones who support you from the beginning are worth taking care of.
6. Explore social media and find the other accounts that inspire you. When you find a photo on Instagram or quote on Facebook that you like, ask yourself: why? Once you know what inspires you on social media, you can start emulating it with your brand.
7. Don’t use social media as a megaphone. Use it as a way to engage with your audience. Talk with them, not at them.
8. Simplify, standardize and integrate. The hardest thing for any company is to stop experimenting so you can start scaling.
9. When launching a new project at your job, you still need to think like an entrepreneur. Entrepreneurs think about how to save time and money—ask yourself: How can I innovate and prototype for my company with the least amount of time and money?
10. Empower people to do what they do best. You don't need to be everything to everyone. Know what you're good at and then bring in the right people to help you fill in the gaps.
11. Feedback is a gift, don't shy away from it. Often, our instinct is to either defend our work, or internalize the feedback and take it as a personal failure. Critical feedback isn't a reflection of you, it's an opportunity to make your product better.
12. Keep your goals in mind. This piece of advice is as old as it is effective. Determine your destination, and build your plan to get there. It may take 5 trips through The Pathway to Launch Sequence steps, but with people in your corner and your goals in mind, you'll get there.
13. Get out of the way! There's a very good chance that you are the only thing standing in the way of your launch. That's the bad news. The good news is, you can solve your own problem by getting out of your own way. No, it probably won't be perfect in the beginning. But if you're 70% - 80% there, you will learn a lot in that margin.
14. Take time to celebrate your wins. The Launch phase is tricky. On one hand, your so happy to have launched. And on the other, you feel like your workload in maintaining your launch just increased. It's not healthy for your season of launch to move into a season of never ending busyness. After you have a big launch, take a vacation or take a few days off. Allow yourself to celebrate and take a mental breather. You'll come back with a fresh perspective.
15. Having passion doesn't mean you have a business. You need a plan. It's important to understand the difference between a hobby, a project and a business. Hobbies bring you happiness, but may not always be something you can quit your day job for. A project is something that makes you happy and may make you money, but it has an end date. A business or organization is when you can afford to pay yourself with your product revenue.
16. Embrace empathy. As a launcher, one of the most important things to be sure of is: What problem is my product or service solving? The way you find this is by immersing yourself in your client's world and seeing things from their point of view. Empathy brings forth clarity.
17. Know what sets you apart. It's important to be clear on the problem you're solving. But it's also important to know what makes you unique. When prototyping your product, service or idea, challenge yourself to list out what makes you radically different than anything that's been done before.
18. Don't despise small beginnings. We've said it on the podcast before: If you wait until your product is ready for launch... you're probably launching too late. It's okay to take an idea or product and share it before it's perfect. See how people react, take their feedback into consideration and continue to fine-tune things. This is why the Pathway to Launch is cyclical, not linear.
19. Take a step of faith—not a leap. As Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “Faith is taking the first step even when you don't see the whole staircase.” When you don’t make a move, you can miss the opportunity and the moment. Don’t let yourself get sucked into paralysis of analysis.
20. You can't go wrong when you put people first. Don't make people want things, make things people want.
We hope this simple but powerful advice helps you become the launcher and difference maker you want to be. Tune into The Launch Youniversity Podcast each week to hear how to launch, learn, grow and lead.