1. Find your purpose (and do work that aligns with it).
Before I joined Facebook, Mint.com and started my own company, I was a cubicle monkey at Intel. Frankly, I couldn’t stand working there. It was mind-numbing. I was bored every day, and I wasn’t doing anything purposeful. But there’s one thing Intel did help me do — start to find my purpose. I wanted to leave Intel as quickly as I possibly could, so I went out and tried everything.
2. Believe in the product you’re building.
There are countless teams working on products they love. Product and software designers at Apple are making amazing devices, including the iPhone or Macbook you’re reading this on. Sales professionals are bringing more incredible, inexpensive products to Amazon so you can order everything you need without going to the store. Elon Musk and the team at SpaceX are designing rockets to send humans to Mars
The truth is, being founder and CEO brings a lot of boring administrative work, like meetings, hiring and coordinating between teams. If you’re someone who enjoys getting your hands dirty on products you love, it might be more fulfilling working for a company where you deal with less administrative tasks.
3. Work with people smarter than you.
The “solopreneur” dream is much less fun than what the media portrays. In reality, you’re locked away in a studio apartment, eating ramen noodles and trying to execute an idea all by yourself.
The truth is, we all need a support network. Here’s the team behind the Sumo Group.
4. You need to get paid.
It’s sensitive to talk about money, but you need to get paid! Here’s something most people don’t know: the first three years I built AppSumo, I paid myself only $40,000 per year. It sucked. But I’m not the only one. Here are some other famous entrepreneurs and what they went through in their first few years in business:
- When Musk started his first startup, Zip2, he borrowed $28,000 from his father and slept in the office for the first three months.
- When Jeff Bezos launched Amazon selling books, he packed hundreds of books by hand.
- Arianna Huffington, the founder of Huffington Post, had her first book rejected 36 times and first launched HuffPo to mixed reviews.