5 Things To Know Before Starting Your Own Business

Jamie White speaking at Fresh Resolutions
Recently, someone asked me to share what I think every entrepreneur should know before starting out in business. Questions like these could have me talking for hours as there’s so much I’d love to share, but I compiled what I think are the top five valuable nuggets into this list below, in the hopes of giving those out there a head start. And excuse the GIFs! With so many years in my previous business Youth Nation, I couldn’t help myself…


1. Get to know yourself

A GIF from Zoolander - "who am I?" - a key thing to know before starting your business - who you are.

In Steve Jobs’ legendary Stanford commencement speech, he said;

“The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it.”

To love what you do, I truly believe it has to be aligned with who you are. This is why I’d implore aspiring entrepreneurs to get out into the world! Travel, experiment, discover – truly get to know yourself. What could you be good at? What do you really want for yourself? Once this is clear, I think everything falls into place much easier. But without clarity in this area, there’s a risk of finding yourself running around in circles, as is the case for so many. I really love this point as it gives weight to travelling, having fun, experimenting, and just enjoying yourself. It’s a really important part of being a successful entrepreneur.

2. Embrace the mistakes

A GIF of Mark Zuckerberg's apology about Facebook regulations. Embracing mistakes is one of the key things to know before starting a business.

Following on from my second point, I’d encourage you to appreciate the roadblocks and any mistakes along the way, too. In my experience every issue, mistake or disruption all have their value. We just need to learn how to find this value, and not let frustration or anger blind us. This can be challenging. However, I can genuinely say that in the long run, every issue I’ve had has given me far more value in the lessons I’ve learned from them, than any negativity they posed at the time!

3. Expect the unexpected

Schitt's Creek meme - always be ready! Expecting the unexpected is one of the huge things to know before starting your own business.

You’ll soon come to learn that things never go as you planned, want or expect them to in starting your own business. Setbacks and roadblocks will present themselves at an almost consistent rate throughout the journey. But learning to expect these and figuring out how to navigate them – is a key skill. Being able to adapt and always stay on your toes is an integral part of business and indeed, life. How you respond when an unforeseen circumstance presents itself is everything. So please, remember to expect the unexpected.

4. *Done* is better than *perfect*

Meme of actor saying "just get it done" in relation to "done is better than perfect" which is one of the things to bear in mind before starting your own business.

For all the perfectionists out there, this is a hard pill to swallow. But the reality is that when you start out, you don’t have the budget, experience or time to get everything perfect. We have to accept that in a lot of cases, things are better done than perfect, trust me. If we don’t, we can find our progress on pause while we pursue an impossible goal of perfection. I have seen so many good businesses grind to a halt over this – and lose out on fortunes. Don’t be one of them! Getting something moving is so much more important than obsessing over the tiny little details.

5. Take time to take stock

Starting your own business is like being in a bubble. You can get so focused on the work at hand that you forget to take a step back once in a while to reflect and assess what’s going on overall. With that in mind, I recommend scheduling a weekly time to sit down and assess what’s working, what’s not – and adjusting accordingly. You’ll be amazed by how much more efficiently you could be running your business and the progress this simple exercise will bring.

I hope my experience and hindsight gives you some tools to work with ahead of the game. And for wherever you are in your journey, I am here to help you in all aspects along the way. So if you feel I could bring some insight, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. I read every email that comes in personally so it may take me some time to get back to you but as soon as I can, I will.