Happy Friday, everyone! Today’s is a more personal post to give you some insight into what it’s like to build a startup business. I would say being tired all the time ranks right up there, but I suppose that leads into the qualities necessary if there is going to be any chance of success. That includes having a vision, having grit, have a knack for finding opportunities, knowing your market, and prioritizing your work. Oh, and then there’s experience.
They say starting a business can be one of the loneliest endeavors. After all, lots of people start businesses and most fail. In my case, I took something I love (tall ship sailing), a part of my past (US Navy and research experience), and an idea (an ocean-themed travel company) and created Seadog Travels. This effort began in the middle of the pandemic, with very little money, with no support, and with knowledge that this would take time.
That takes us to the grit part of this effort. As one friend once told me, “You have a high tolerance for pain.” Knowing how to manage and deal with adversity and problems is an invaluable skill. It is also necessary when starting a business. You have to watch where every penny is spent. You have to make decisions on what will hopefully give a return on investment. You have to deal with scammers and unruly people. You have to realize that many businesses and people only want your money — and they don’t care about your business. Yea, been there, saw that, and was not impressed.
In addition, emotion has to be removed from the equation. You can’t be affected by the actions and comments from others. Now, mind you, it’s always important to seek out useful advice and input. However, the actions of others may seem detrimental and harmful to your efforts, but they are acting in their own perceived self-interest. You need to do the same thing. You can be helpful to others, you can be supportive of others, but you must take actions that further the interests of your enterprise. If you’re doing it correctly, you will be implicitly helping others, too.
Every day seems to begin with, “What do I do now?” Finding opportunities that will develop your business is essential. Finding useful industry partners. Meeting people who support your vision. Taking actions that lead to revenue growth. Collaborating with other businesses for mutual success. The skill of finding great opportunities requires knowing your market, watching your market, and understanding your market. It also requires having your internal radar on. Being able to identify great opportunities requires a constant awareness of what’s going on around you.
Every day is also a situation of having 20 important things to do at the same time. They’re all important, but there is only so much time and energy available. Pick, choose, and rank what you need to do. Is it short-term revenue growth? Is it increasing your visibility to people who will support your business? Is it networking? Is it taking a break? After all, working yourself to death won’t do you or your business any good. Pace yourself. Prioritize. It all takes time.
I’m now into Year 3 of Seadog Travels and we’re still in the foundational, brick-building phase of the business (hats off to Pink Floyd for the inspiration). However, things are beginning to happen. We’re beginning to get some traction and growth, we’re beginning collaborations with other travel industry partners, and we are finally (finally!) putting the pandemic behind us.
Yet, there is so much more work that needs to be done. The vision for Seadog Travels is big. Big enough where we will need to hire staff, find investment funding, bring onboard partners with travel industry experience, penetrate our key markets, and we will need to morph and evolve as we grow. Some days I grow extremely impatient because being poor isn’t fun, dealing with stress daily is annoying, and worrying about everything can be draining. However, each brick added to the wall we are building is immensely satisfying. Building a unique and inspirational business is invigorating and exciting. Doing something different and meaningful is what it is all about.
I thank every person who reads this, who supports what we are building, and who wants to become a part of our success. As I’ve said often, it takes a crew to run a ship, and we will need your support to grow. Feel free to contact me directly HERE and we can arrange a time to chat. Have a good weekend!