Entrepreneur tips

Chiara McPhee.

Chiara is the COO and co-founder of Bizzy, a state-of-the-art marketing platform that integrates with eCommerce website builders. She studied business at Stanford and Duke, and has a background in marketing and design. Here’s what Chiara has to say as far as business advice to entrepreneurs who want to start a business for the first time: “Often I see first-time entrepreneurs struggle to organize and process feedback. When starting a company, you’ll get feedback from everyone: your early users, potential customers, investors, friends, and even your second cousin twice removed.” “I’ve found it incredibly helpful to have a framework in place to systematically collect, prioritize, and implement product features based on customer feedback–both from customers you have, and the customers you want!”

Bram Kanstein.

Bram Kanstein is an Amsterdam-based entrepreneur and co-founder of We Are Off The Record, a digital growth agency for startups. Bram also made Startup Stash, a curated directory of 400 resources and tools to help you build your Startup that has helped more than 300k+ entrepreneurs from around the world. Here’s the best business advice Bram has to impart with entrepreneurs who want to start a business for the first time: “I’ve discovered early on that building long-term value is more important than making short-term money. Sure, you can earn quick cash with some hustle but that won’t help you win in the long run.” “I see a lot of people starting a business without thinking about the long-term value it can bring them. One of the things me and my business partner decided on when starting our digital growth agency We Are Off The Record, was that we wanted to build value with people and make sure that we’re able to call everyone we now work with, in 5 years and still have a good relationship. I haven’t won at the game of business yet, but I know that building a long-term network is the most valuable thing you can do.”

Silas Moser.

Silas and his wife Grace are the voices behind the wildly popular lifestyle, travel and personal finance blog, Chasing Foxes where they teach thousands of monthly readers how to live their best lives with a blog. They’ve written about topics like getting started with the best hosting plans, picking a domain name that’s right for your niche, and even how to choose amongst free hosting plans or monthly hosting plans if you’re on a tight budget. Here’s the business advice Silas has to share with first-time entrepreneurs who want to start a business of their own: “Once when I was working at a young startup, I made a suggestion at a business meeting. It fell completely flat, but three minutes later, one of the company’s investors walked through the door and made the exact same recommendation word for word. All of the management lit up, eager to express their approval and that they were on board.” “Shutting people down because of their position within the company doesn’t express value to them. My suggestion to young entrepreneurs is to treat people well and stay humble, you never know where you could learn something.”

Alyce Johnson.

Alyce is the founder of New Stability, a site that teaches new freelancers how to grow a profitable service-based business. She’s also the host of the Freelance FAQ Podcast. I asked her to share with me the biggest mistake new freelancers make (and related business advice) when they start their own freelancing business: “The most common mistake new freelancers make is not having a business strategy. Many freelancers start their businesses without thinking of the long-term growth their business needs to achieve. This often results on a broad service offering that could potentially be targeting the wrong market.” “Successful freelancers are specialists in one particular service and not generalists with a broad offering. Specializing in one service area allows freelancers to build their expertise but can also understand their ideal clients. Being a specialist freelancer gives clients confidence that you are a professional in your field.”

Matt Feldman.

Matt is the CEO and co-founder of Case Escape. After receiving his MBA from Chapman University at age 23, Matt started his first business in California (which we started together back in 2013) and has since grown it into a worldwide business with over 100 clients and counting. Case Escape was founded with the goal of helping 1,000 entrepreneurs start their own phone case business. Here’s his best business advice for first-time entrepreneurs who want to start a business of their own: “Many times, I see first-time entrepreneurs start their businesses without really understanding the total scope of work that’s going to be required. This could relate to the overall investment that’s necessary, the detail in your plan of action, or most importantly, personal capabilities and time.” “While entrepreneurship is a continuous learning process, there still needs to be a solid foundation in order to grow the company. The amount of money you initially invest may not even be a fraction of the total amount needed, when accounting for mistakes and unforeseen events along the way. It’s difficult to balance a lean environment with needing the online business tools to truly succeed. You don’t want to find yourself in a bind where you can’t hire the talent necessary to complete task the right way, and you definitely will not have the time to learn everything yourself.” “My advice is to plan for a solid buffer with your cash flow, create checks and balances to keep that plan in line, and surround yourself with individuals that will free up your time and resources.”

Jason Quey.

Jason helps entrepreneurs connect with influencers and experts to rapidly grow their business together at TheStoryTellerMarketer. He also co-hosts the Content Promotion Summit and teaches other entrepreneurs how to get more out of the content they create every day. Here’s what Jason has to share with aspiring entrepreneurs who need some business advice before they start a business: “The most painful mistake I see first-time entrepreneurs make is that they don’t count the cost or figure out how they’ll actually make money ahead of time. Since entrepreneurs don’t create a business as a ‘charitable deed to mankind,’ they need to think about where their revenue and profit will be once the business scales.” “For example, when I launched the Content Promotion Summit with my partner Cody Lister, we started off by focusing on three things. What the costs would be, how much money we’d potentially make and what the key levers for generating more sales (traffic, email opt-ins, and affiliate partners) would be. This gave us key insights into whether or not the business would be worth investing into before we launched. It may surprise you, but by using Noah Kagan’s quant-based marketing system and asking a few friends for benchmark numbers, it wasn’t difficult to get an estimate. In fact, our numbers were only 7% off from our main target.”

Srinivas Rao.

Author of Unmistakable: Why Only is Better Than Best and host of the acclaimed podcast, The Unmistakable Creative, Srini has interviewed over 600 entrepreneurs, creatives and thought leaders from all walks of life. From Tim Ferriss to Seth Godin, Kevin Kelly, Ryan Holiday and more, Srini has learned from the best, what it takes to become successful in business. Here’s his business advice for aspiring entrepreneur who want to start a business of their own: “Probably the most costly mistake many entrepreneurs make is in choosing the people that they work with or hire. It’s a mistake I’ve made. And it’s a mistake I’ve seen over and over again.” “The way we’ve gotten around that is to always work with somebody on a project before we start handing over significant equity stakes or large sums of money. If the trial project goes well, then talk about expanding the scope of the relationship. Sam Altman from Y-Combinator once said something to the equivalent of ‘a bad hire in the first few employees can be detrimental to a startup.’ I’ve really taken that to heart in my business.”

Larry Kim.

Larry is the founder of both Mobile Monkey, a next-generation chat bot for marketers, and Wordsream, a leading provider of AdWords, Facebook and keyword research tools used by over a million marketers worldwide. Larry is also a top columnist at Inc magazine, a Techstars mentor and keynote speaker for events around the world. Here’s his best business advice for aspiring entrepreneurs: “The biggest mistake I see entrepreneurs make is over-estimating the novelty of their big idea.” “Most often when I get pitched ideas from first-time entrepreneurs, I ask how is this different from [x]? Seriously, because it takes so much time and effort to go all-in on a business idea, you might as well wait for a truly great one.”

Ilise Benun.

Ilise teaches creative professionals how to get better clients with bigger budgets. She mentors, coaches, and sells marketing tools for entrepreneurs on her site, the Marketing Mentor. Here’s how she advises first-time entrepreneurs when it comes to setting expectations around what it takes to start a business: “Most people start out with completely unrealistic expectations of what level of effort is required and how long it takes to get a business off the ground. They are easily discouraged and give up way too soon. I blame it on wishful thinking.” “The reality is that there is no way to know how long it will take or whether it will work at all. So my advice is to approach it with humility, grit and a willingness to do whatever it takes to succeed, even if that means you have to work really hard for a long time.”

Jeff Haden.

Jeff is a ghostwriter, speaker, LinkedIn Influencer and contributing editor to Inc. He worked his way up to managing a 250-employee book plant and has become a sought-after ghostwriter for the world’s top business leaders. He’s written more than 50 books, including six Amazon Business and Investing No. 1’s. He’s collected four years of business advice in his most recent book, The Motivation Myth. Here’s his best piece of business advice to aspiring entrepreneurs who want to start a business of their own: “Never forget that your business needs to take in more money than it spends. I know that sounds too simple, but so many people lose sight of that. That’s also why so many first-time entrepreneurs over-invest (or spend so much of their time looking for investors) early on.” “Instead, work to come up with a creative solution that costs little to no money. That forced discipline will help you spend less than you make, even when you’re not making a lot. Sometimes capital is necessary, but at some point there must be return on that capital. There’s nothing wrong with taking equity investment, investing for the future, even losing money for a few years. But your plan has to get you back to that simple equation of making more than you spend.”

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