30 Lessons from 30 Days at a Start-Up
A little over 30 days ago, I started my new job as Head of Product at an NYC-based start-up. It’s been a busy, fast-paced month between moving to New York City, selling a home in South Carolina, finding an apartment, and starting a new job; but there have been valuable experiences and lessons learned along the way.
There is so much I could write about and expand upon, but I wanted to share 30 lessons from my first 30 days. Some of these lessons were previously learned and are now being reinforced, while some are new lessons learned as I navigate the newness of the e-commerce business. These lessons are far from complete or detailed, but I think you’ll be able to fill in the gaps wherever needed…
30 Lessons from My First 30 Days
- If you’re the Founder of the company, nobody will care more about your business than you do and nobody will shoulder more weight than you do.
- The bottom line matters a lot, and pretty much everything you do affects it so pay close attention.
- Agility is both a critical skill and characteristic needed — you have to be able to be able to adjust to your surroundings.
- Developing long-term relationships and partnerships is critical to your success.
- Maintaining those relationships and partnerships is extra work, but it’s well worth the effort.
- Your customer(s) dictate whether or not you have a viable product and even a viable business.
- Establishing healthy profit margins early will lead to long-term vitality and sustainability.
- You’re ALWAYS interviewing when it comes to winning over business, partnerships, and customers.
- There is no such thing as “over-communicating.” Allowing things to be, or go, assumed is the same as allowing for gross mistakes and errors to happen.
- You have to be comfortable saying, “No,” and “Not right now.”
- If you work hard, you can actually take time off and enjoy it.
- When you pay your bills on time, your customers, vendors, and suppliers will all be much happier.
- Almost any problem can be solved with strong leadership and clear communication. As much as possible, work to have and provide both.
- If you don’t do your job well (or at all), the rest of your team ends up paying the price.
- You have to have some sort of mental outlet to disconnect and relax.
- When you think you’re out of time or out of solutions, there are probably 2–3 more solutions you’ve not thought of and more time to execute.
- Doing your best to answer your customer’s questions before they ask them will go a long way in building brand loyalty.
- Sharing your story of why you do what you do will connect your customers emotionally to your brand and product.
- Creating self-imposed deadlines is one of the surest ways to stay on track and get ahead.
- Your personality is not an excuse to be lacking in organization. Organization is a skill, which means it can be learned and developed.
- Keep your word — people actually want to believe what you say.
- Nobody will complain that you’re the first person in the office.
- Have a higher standard for yourself than others do for you and you will exceed their expectations every time.
- Just cause you did it once, doesn’t mean you should do it again.
- If your customers feel like they’ve been served, they’ll have no problem paying what you charge.
- Your team and staff are committing to a lot by showing up to work every day, so letting them know you care about them and appreciate what they do makes a meaningful impact.
- Most people really do want to feel like they’re making a difference with the products they buy and the goods they consume.
- Just cause you’re doing business and trying to make a profit doesn’t mean you can’t be kind.
- The hustle is real — you can’t expect other people to cover your slack if you’ve not busted your a** to help yourself and the team first.
- My mind and body are hardwired to be entrepreneurial, explorative, innovative, and creative.