The 4 Business Tips Every Successful Entrepreneur Should Know

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This is a sponsored post in partnership with The New York Times Get With The Times and Her Campus Media. All words and opinions are my own.

A big part of being an entrepreneur is to empower yourself with as much knowledge as possible to set yourself up for success. There are tons of fun (and free!) ways to do this like networking events, podcasts, Youtube videos, or events and panels. Last night The New York Times live streamed a conversation between their reporter Sapna Maheshwari and Alexis Ohanian as part of their Get With The Times series for college students.

Alexis is the co-founder of Reddit (the third largest website in the world), he created Initialized Capital, an early stage venture capital firm, and he’s the author of the bestselling book Without Their Permission, among other things. He had some great advice for young entrepreneurs who are just starting out and I wanted to share my four biggest takeaways from his talk last night with you all in case you weren’t able to tune in.

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Few things are actually original

I think many people are hesitant to start a business, sell a product, or create a course because they think that what they want to develop is already out there. And it’s true, there are hardly any “brand new ideas” anymore, but Alexis spoke about how the reallocation of resources and unique approach that you provide is what makes the idea different. This really stood out to me because, well, it’s true! Just because there are already so many fashion bloggers out there, doesn’t mean that you can’t start a blog. It might be a little hard to break through all of the noise and competition but if you know who you’re talking to, find your niche, and you have a unique perspective and something to say that gives your audience value, you can totally use that to find your people who will come to you for styling advice and inspiration over someone else.

Coaching shouldn’t just be for sports

Alexis also spoke about how coaching in sports is always expected, but in other industries the thought of coaching is not normal and is often shocking. Everyone wants to believe that they are self-made and can make it on their own, but the truth is that all of us could use a bit of guidance or consulting as we make decisions with our businesses. This is something I’ve struggled with over the years as someone who is hesitant to ask for help because I want to believe that I can do it on my own, but the truth is when I tune in to conversations like this one from last night, I usually find something that adds value to my life and that will enhance my business. Alexis urged more CEOs and founders to take advantage of mentorship or executive coaching so that they can set themselves and their business up for success. It’s so easy now with all of the online and remote options out there for social media consultants, business coaches, and more.

Hustle culture is not all it’s made out to be

I’ve spoken with you guys about this a lot, but feel that it’s important to reiterate here. As you know it is super easy to get burned out when you work for yourself because it’s hard to shut off knowing there’s always something else you can be doing. Working from a laptop is of course incredibly freeing but it also means work could always be popping up even when you’re just trying to unwind with your favorite Netflix show at the end of a long day. Being an entrepreneur requires creativity and mental power that will be drained if you deprive yourself of sleep and relaxation so make sure you take care of yourself physically. Alexis used his wife, Serena Williams, as an example and said that for all of the physical effort she puts into her career, she absolutely still needs her rest in order to perform her best and the same applies to entrepreneurship.

”No one cares”
Students had the opportunity to ask questions during this conversation last night and one student asked “How do you get over the fear of getting started?” to which Alexis replied, “No one cares.” I loved this answer because so many people tell me that starting is the hardest part and it’s true. There are a lot of unknowns on the other side once you start a blog or launch a product or whatever it is you’re doing. He said that there are so many things that he never shared with the world because he was worried about what people would think, but imagine if he felt that way about Reddit. He also mentioned that like with anything new that you do for the first time, repetition will make you better at it. You’ll learn so much more by starting and failing than you ever would if you didn’t start at all.

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Which tip did you find most helpful? Do you have any additional tips to share? Tell me in the comments!