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Idea Evangelist, Entrepreneur, Author, Perpetual Student, Maker, Tinkerer

My name is Hal Gottfried, Founder of Level Up Labs, author of "The Next Big Thing, Will Customers Even Notice You"

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  • What were the biggest challenges you faced in starting your company?

    How did you deal with them, and what did you learn?

    Hal Gottfried's avatar image.

    This is a pretty difficult question to answer, not because I faced no challenges or because they were insurmountable but simply because there were and continue to be so many. If you're running a business of any type; selling a service, a product, an idea, etc. you will simply hit walls that you didn't even know existed.

    What makes you stand out from the crowd, in your own business or even as an employee in another, is how you handle this challenges. There will always be unexpected things that come up and what makes you strong is how you process them.

    However to answer your question, here are some of the items in particular that I see as pain points or learning experiences.

    1. There’s a world of difference between starting a business from scratch and growing an existing operation. When starting a business the managment team must switch gears as they take on marketing, branding, financial management, and other several other duties. The challenge is realizing that your responsibilities now apply around the clock vs. 40 hours a week (back when you had a “normal” job), and the buck stops with you.

    2. In previous positions, you most likely answered to someone else. Now you’re the boss, with responsibility for handling everything related to the business. This means making a total commitment, sometimes at the expense of your personal life (family and friends).

    3. As someone who needs a 48 hour day, I can say one of the biggest challenges is poor time managment. Some of this is directly related to an inability to delegate tasks they really don’t have time to do themselves. In the startup phase, most entrepreneurs want to handle everything on their own. Transitioning out of the “if you want something done right, do it yourself” mind-set can be difficult.

    4. Also with #3, trusting your team. Trusting who you partner with. This is imperative.

    5. All of your time, energy, resources, and even your health seem to go into keeping the business alive and kicking. Chances are, there’s no one around to thank you for all this effort. It’s up to you to remain motivated for the challenges — and rewards — ahead.

    6. It's not all fireworks and glory, running a business is a tough thing. It takes all you have and then some. That being said by it's very nature it involves risk. Not everyone can tolerate risk and uncertainty — but you wouldn’t have built the business you have today without believing your ability to confront and overcome risk. This is a practice you get better at but never truly master; however it is something you should never stop working on.

    7. This one is simple and direct and one of the most hardest things to do ... Balancing work and family.

    8. One of the most important challenge, one that plagues so many early stage companies, is how to execute this new idea. “It really just comes down to execution. Ideas are a dime a dozen. Those who execute really well tend to do better than others. I’m a big believer that execution is everything.” - Neil Patel

    James Meyer's avatar image.

    Thank you for the detailed response and insights. Are there some specific examples that you can share about the pain points you listed?

    David Jones's avatar image.

    In response to your comment about realizing that you now have around-the-clock responsibilities, are there any specific ways you've found to help you manage your time? It seems very stressful to have 24/7 responsibility, so I would be interested to know what types of techniques have helped you manage that stress.