16 Ways To Succeed As A Startup Despite Difficulties

ways to succeed as a lean startup

The beach. People in skimpy swimwear. Beer. The sun. Websites generating millions of dollars while you sleep. Rooftop parties and ringing the bell to open the market on Wall Street. New entrepreneurs or aspiring entrepreneurs often think a business startup is glamorous. 

But the hard truth is that it just isn’t. Starting a business is like driving through a fog. 

All you can see are a few feet in front, and you can’t guess what's around the curve. You won’t appreciate the possibilities until you're around the bend and whatever is there is in your face. The longer you're an entrepreneur the more you realize it’s less Baywatch and more Texas Chainsaw Massacre. 

Ignore (Some of) The Statistics 

Persons who have never attempted a startup love to toss around statistics. One that gets the most airtime is the estimate indicating 50% of new businesses fail within five years. Don't listen. It's just an excuse to make you feel warm and fuzzy about giving up. If that figure was correct, it's because most persons don't commit and follow through to the end. Or, they're too stupid to manage their money. 

Unlike humans who are more susceptible to dying in the following year as they get older, businesses which survive beyond the first two years are less prone to die in each subsequent year. Twenty-five percent of new businesses won't make it past year one, only 10% of businesses which make it past year five will die the following year and just 6% in the 10th year. 

Do What You Like 

Don't set out on something you don't think you'll want to do in five years. If you prosper and your business grows, you will still be doing this — in five years. 

You Won't Know It All 

You may not understand anything when you begin. Begin anyway. When TK decided to move into real estate investing, he had no idea how to buy a property or evict a tenant. He learned it all on-the-job and you will as well. 

Complete What You Begin 

Every entrepreneur suffers from the same curse: They like to begin more projects than they like to complete. If you are a smart businessperson, you'll have plenty of exceptional ideas. Most of them won't work out and make you a ton of money. That doesn't mean you should chase them. Pick one idea and see it through until it dies or makes you wealthy. 

Never Pick a Partner On Convenience 

Don't choose a business partner because it's convenient. Pick someone because you're made stronger. The wrong partner will soon drive you crazy, make you dread your work and wind up creating more problems than they solve. Pick the right partner and your odds of success increase. Thirty-percent more cash is raised and your customer base will grow three times as fast. 

New startups do much better when it has two, balanced, fully invested partners. The capability of relying on each other to temper risks collaborate creatively, and split-up responsibilities are critical during growth's early stages. Another positive side effect of the right partner is the ability to motivate each other when the going gets tough. Wolfing down the entire pie is tempting, but 100% of a small pie is not as good as 50% of a larger pie. The total, sometimes, is greater than the pieces. 

Learn To Manage People 

You're going to be lousy at managing people. That's OK. Everyone is in the beginning. Management is one chore that demands you progress. Hire an assistant to see you through — even if it's just a virtual assistant. You will get some management training with little if any, downside. 

Be willing to delegate to an individual or the team. While it may be a challenging turn over tasks, holding onto the responsibilities and micro-managing will get you burned out and take away any room for growth. Start out small, give out repetitive tasks which siphon your hours and observe how the employees manage. As you invest the resources needed to train, you should find your employees are anxious to learn and will conserve your time if you suitably motivate them. 

Communicate clearly and be straightforward with staff. Provide regular feedback — positive and corrective — to help them improve and be honest with how the business is doing. 

Is Social Media Really Important? 

No. While social media marketing can be very effective, for many business owners. We just pretend it's important so we can look at dog pictures on Facebook. A Facebook newsfeed blocker would be a wise choice. 

Stop Designing 

You can stop designing your business cards, blogs, and stationery. They won't matter immediately. Build your business and stop with the ‘busy work.' Swimming consistently in designs will make you feel better, but you won't attain anything that matters. 

Dedicated or Obsessed? 

Dedication is a fancy term for "I like this -- a lot." Obsession is "I know all there is to know and it's all I think about." There's a thin line separating obsession and dedication. Screw the line. Stomp on it. You'll cross the line often, so never listen to those who say you are fanatical. It's alright to be absolutely obsessed. 

Don't Quit Your Day Job — Too Soon 

Yes, if you quit, you'll have more time to spend on your business. Be honest though. With 168 hours in a week, only 40 are eaten up by your day job and another 50 by sleep. Turn off Netflix, hustle hard like Neil Patel, and don't be afraid to quit your day job — if you can afford to. 

Focus On the Tasks Which Pay Off 

Split up your tasks and find your $10 / hour tasks and what the $1,000 / hour tasks are. Focus on the $1,000 / hour tasks. Even if you don't realize it, you do many $1,000 / hour tasks; you just don't see it because you've never examined the workload or analyzed the data. 

Spouse and Kids 

Never forget that your spouse and children matter more than the business. Family is the most important thing always. Never ever forget that. 


Read often and read a lot. If you don't have time to read, use audiobooks. Expand your vision by reading more than business books. Check out motivational books, self-help books, fiction, non-fiction, success oriented, biographies — it doesn't matter. Just read. A lot. 

Rise Earlier 

Get up earlier. Steve Jobs told Time in 1999 how he began his days: "I'll get up six-ish and work before the kids get up. We'll eat, finish some homework and I'll work for another hour. 

The Miracle Morning” by Hal Elrod is a life-changing book that discusses the benefits of early rising and other productivity hacks in greater detail. 

Raising Money? 

Don't worry so much about raising money for your startup. Focusing on investor pitches and immediate returns is often a death sentence of distraction for new businesses. Turn your focus to building a business so great that people will toss money in your direction. 

Nail Your Content 

Aaron Haynes points out, “If your website is your online store, then your homepage is the front entrance. You've paid a lot of attention to making the website pretty and attractive to draw people in.” 

You need to pay attention to the things behind the curtain. Your content must be top-notch and written by a native-English speaking writer who understands the nuances of clear communication and compelling content. 

Anything less is the same as going into a new car dealership, being impressed by the balloons, shiny cars, and polished salesmen but finding out the auto shop is still using 1970's technology for their computers and payment systems. 

Your content must be fresh, helpful and give customers — and potential customers — a reason to keep coming back. 

Unless you're paying some random online freelancer $5 or less, you've got quality content at hand. Make use of that material and turn it into ultra-targeted content to draw more engagement. 

1. Double Down On Success 

Many content marketers are guilty of laser focusing on what's coming next. The next piece of content. The latest pitch. They fail to focus on what got them to where they are today. Quality content and consistency. 

2. Recycle & Update 

Find out what types of content resonate with your target market. What created the most conversation? Track your content and explore new avenues and formats for posts that drive engagement. Repurposing and recycling work well when done correctly.  

3. Reach Out & Amplify 

The most efficient method to increase content visibility is to have credible influencers engage first. When your audience shows up, your content is already associated with a strong level of credibility. 

It's a dark, scary night. You're driving down a country road. You're scared. That's normal. Being an entrepreneur can be scary. Somewhere in this list, you should find one tip to help navigate through the fog, give you confidence and allow you to start daydreaming about that trip to Aruba. 

Over To You Entrepreneurs

As some hipsters like to say as they gratuitously beg for attention and engagement, “Over to you.” Leave a comment on Twitter @MikeSchiemer #BootstrapBusiness with your best unsexy tip for new lean startups or your not-so-glamorous experiences with starting a business. 

Jerry Nelson has been working with writing challenged clients for 20-years. He provides ghostwriting, business blogging, travel content and native journalism and his work has been seen in some of the planet's more prestigious media outlets. Learn more about Jerry and his work on his website and join the quarter million or so who follow him on Twitter. Never far from his coffee and Marlboro's, Jerry is always interested in discussing future work opportunities.

succeed lean startup

I hope you enjoyed this article about ways to succeed as a lean startup that are far from glamorous and always challenging.

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