Career

5 Critical Startup Lessons

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Ever wanted to move across the world and start your life all over? I’ve done this several times. I went from living and working in one tropical paradise to another: from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, to Sao Paulo, Brazil… By the time I got back to Malaysia, I’d had enough of the slew of corporate careers I’d experienced. I wanted to be an entrepreneur.

5 Critical Startup Lessons

It seems clear to me that the more diverse your experience and the less straightforward your path, the greater the exposure and insight that you will pick up along the way. Just going through the experience of that bungee jump you foolishly agreed to in New Zealand, or that moon party in Thailand you can barely remember, can somehow lead to something productive that gives back to the world. Rather than connect dots A-to-B, the more dots you gain, and the more that leave the boundaries of the page, the less linear and predictable –and therefore more special and intricate– the final drawing will be. And, who knows, those extra dots may even help you earn a nice living in the process.

As soon as I landed in Brazil, I was in love — and not just with the beautiful Brazilian men. I took to the Brazilian beach culture as if I was born to just lie on the sand and look fabulous in bikinis. Brazilian-style bikinis are not only the most beautiful bikinis that I’ve ever laid my eyes on, but they’re made to attract attention. I remember going home for Christmas with a bag full of Brazilian bikinis for friends, and they all loved them. But being a bikini Santa was not enough. I had a masterplan to become a bikini tycoon!

5 Critical Startup Lessons

So far, it made sense and was a pretty straightforward way of matching the dots. However, there was one obstacle that I would have to overcome. Malaysia is a multi-ethnic and multi-cultural country, with the majority of the population being practising Muslims. So starting a bikini business, and a Brazilian bikini business no less, would likely ruffle some feathers. That’s why I called my company Fit Rebel.

Here are the five most important lessons I’ve learned about how to start a successful company:

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Ex-corporate suit turned fitness entrepreneur. As a person who leads an active lifestyle, Nadia enjoys yoga, weightlifting and running. Decked in active wear almost all the time, she understands the pains and joy when it comes to shopping for movable and breathable clothing and vows to offer exquisite and affordable apparel through her company, fitrebel.com

52 Comments

  1. Anna Kaplan

    I needed a loan to startup a small business in my town that had a specific need, but I had not yet gotten a high enough credit score to qualify with my bank. However, thanks to this website, I did a little research and found a local entrepreneur who regularly sponsors small businesses he thinks have a shot. Now, thanks to my angel investor, I am up and running.

  2. Celine Carter

    It takes a special person to try to make a start up business work. They are creative and they have ideas, but like the article talks about, the one thing they lack is financing. Sometimes, speaking from experience, it can be a challenge to figure out where to turn to to get the money you need to take your ideas and make them work. It’s nice to have an article like this where a lot of ideas are compiled on one page. Even if some of the ideas are common sense ones, just being reminded of them from time to time is a good thing.

  3. Teresa Tanner

    Very nice, well-rounded list. Too many people think that you need hundreds of thousands of dollars to get a business off the ground. That may be true in some industries, but some types of small businesses can make do with the basic credit card. Once the income starts coming in, it’s not too hard to expand.

  4. Gwen Keaton

    The thrill of running a startup is offset by the challenge of finding funding. The well-developed array of nontraditional lenders and types of funding for a startup along with practical advice make this a must read for entrepreneurs.

  5. Janet Roper

    This is an excellent resource for those who are just starting to think about funding a startup. Of course, we’d all love to have angel investors but your information is useful in the event that we don’t.

  6. Monica Collins

    Great tips! All I can say is the absolute most important thing you can do before you start any business is to have a business plan with at least a 1, 5 and 10 year goal.

  7. Gerry Carlton

    The art of getting people talking about your brand can be the make or break for any start up. Many remain low lieing for many year because not enough time is invested in getting this right abd yes correctly said it’s not confined to the Internet…. alone… great piece

  8. Brenda Nelson

    I have always advocated for the importance of a unique ‘Idea’. Innovation happens only one time and cannot be repeated. This is the reason why people remember the one who scores first position and not the one who is second or other. Strive for greatness and just use these tips. I found the insightful and complete. Thanks for sharing wisdom 🙂

  9. Lucretia Asher

    I think creating a successful startup is something on many entrepreneurs’ minds these days, either to take advantage of emerging opportunities or to expand an existing business in a new direction.

  10. Dana Rosatti

    Hi Nadia! Great post. I think number one is maybe the best tip of all. If the product or service isn’t right, how can anything else be? Thanks for sharing!

  11. Evelyn Sandler

    Really very nice tips. I use social media for promotion of my own blogs and definitely its working wonders. Just want to double check: if we can paste the links of our websites on the posts through Instagram? I don’t think so or probably i don’t know about it.Please help!

    • Debbie Jones

      I’d suggest checking out the Terms of Use on Instagram’s web site and contacting their team for any clarifications.

      I took a look at the Terms and saw this reference which is different than what you asked but still good to know:
      “You must not use domain names or web URLs in your username without prior written consent from Instagram.”

  12. Sonja Fallow

    Fantastic article and very informative. Taking lots of notes and putting them in use soon. Thanks so much!

  13. Lena Dzeko

    I’m hooked! Thank you so much for these tips. I just created an account for my business last week, actually, so this is very timely. I appreciate all the insights and will definitely be following this post as I start to grow my Instagram account. Thanks!

  14. Sasha Rosswell

    Is Instagram being used mostly by younger people? Not sure of the demographics? So what types of businesses would do better on Instagram?
    If our site targets an older crowd, (35+) should we bother with Instagram?

  15. Molly Twain

    Great tips here Nadia. I will definitely put the tips listed in this post to use when our new smartphone brand is launched later this year. Thanks for sharing such creative and concise content.

  16. Let’s get creative. I think companies are/can struggle with using great pictures/videos. Go out an do, your stuff might and probably will suck at first, but with doing you get practice. Practice makes perfect.

  17. Shelley Donalds

    These are all great ideas! Something you left out was the importance of text message marketing. With text marketing, you have the ability to send appointment reminders, redeemable coupons for services/products, create a kiosk to have your customer opt in at the front desk, and so much more. Marketing with SMS is an integral part of any marketing strategy these days.

  18. Winona Miller

    Great ideas and tips to help a small company build their client base!

  19. Charleen Washington

    Thanks for the tips, Nadia! Great read. My Tip – use “AnyAudeince for Facebook”, if you advertise with Facebook Ads. I use it and it helps me to get more leads. It’s a chrome extension that enables you to use any facebook user list. It’s easy to use, reliable and not expensive.

  20. Carolyn Robertson

    Now this is an interestingly unique business tips. Thanks so much! I’ll try them and share this article with my friends.

  21. Leslie Williams

    Giving away the product for free also does help to get you started, even if you offer services. When I launched my online marketing business, I approached a few small businesses about giving them some marketing advice for free, and if they were happy with the advice they would mention me to someone else. If they didn’t like the advice, they didn’t have to do anything. It worked like a charm!

  22. Andrea Mitchell

    Nice job with this article. Very simple, easy to take action on tips. I love it!

  23. Roberta Bennett

    There is nothing more important for a business than picking the right team.

    If you get the right mix of partners assisting you building your company, you have a far greater chance of building a real “powerhouse”

  24. Marina Henderson

    I really love this article!!! Staying positive is key to anything in life, but I think you’re going to have to take some serious action, too. Find cost cutting where you can – – even something as simple as shipping out products can become a greatly profitable and beneficial portion of your business.

  25. Shannon Bradley

    I’m learning to go where people who might be interested in what I do might be, rather than doggedly sticking to an environment where I have to persuade interest or receive little to none. It’s a time-waster and can be exhausting.

    • Lana Urie

      That is a great comment. Don’t waste your time on efforts that are taxing and where you have to pull people’s teeth to listen to you. Something I tell my clients is “Marketing is a contest for people’s attention.” You have to know whose attention you are seeking and focus on those people.

  26. Olivia Peterson

    I can relate to that as a freelancer and someone trying to get her self-employed groove on. Particularly so for me as some of what I’m putting out there is, well, different.

  27. Grace Stirling

    Hi Nadia, this article is great! I wished I have read it before starting my startups. I really enjoy reading your writing. I think you’re always bringing up really important points. Over the years I’ve constantly referred back to this article as my business has grown. Thank you for what I consider the most insightful article I’ve read on scaling a business from the bottom up. 🙂

  28. Naincy Winget

    When running a startup, be ready and willing to reach out and engage with the right people, instead of just relying on those who are there. With the right network of people, the possibilities are endless

  29. Monika Smith

    Awesome ideas ! In such way you explain your Brazilian bikini business with lessons is very inspirational. Thank you for sharing great ideas . theses lessons are very helpful.

  30. Pasty Clin

    Amazing series of tips ! this is very helpful tips for who starting their business. Brazilian Bikini are always in fashion. Very inspirational article.

  31. Issabell Symon

    Encouraging Tips! To be successful, a business also requires strong fundamentals and a desirable product or service . Promotion of your business is very necessary. Thank You for sharing this article

  32. Louise Stone

    Wow, what a great set of ideas. I’ll have to bookmark this post and come back to it the next time i’ll be starting my own business. This by far one of the most important post that you’ve shared to us. This is such a smart and down-to-earth article. Thank you for a great post. 🙂

  33. Jenny Permel

    Great Tips! With my first startup, I had two scenarios to choose from: not making money or calling potential clients and refusing to take no for an answer. Without a major push. This is very helpful to setup business.

  34. Ketty Ben

    Very useful Tips for startup business. In starting customer feedback is very necessary and connect with people really help to stabilized any business .
    Thank you for sharing these ideas.

  35. Kaitlyn Barrett

    I think everyone working on a start-up needs to hear “entrepreneurship is lonely.” It’s something you don’t understand until you experience it, and that’s a big reason it’s so important to maintain a positive attitude and not get discouraged.

    • Catherine White

      Right! It is probably the most underestimated aspect of the start up process, but no one said it was going to be easy. That’s why it’s important to have a strong support system, to lean on and draw from.

  36. Christina Norelli

    These days, it is quite hard to get a business off the ground if you are not backed up with a good network. After all, no one really succeeds alone. You will always need the help of other people if you want to make it big.

    • Franny Pimms

      Agreed! The days of “lone wolf biz” is over. The most successful people and companies build smart, quality networks of colleagues, customers and followers.

  37. Melissa Princeton

    Great tips, and reat article. We need more of this. Everytime I read an article in here makes my entrepreneurial skills to an upper extent.

  38. Diana Hewitt

    Solid post which I’ll put to use, but I think more people need to realize that you are the business mentor they are looking for on Twitter 🙂

  39. Amelia Beckons

    Thanks for the kind encouragement here. Very useful advice. I continue to learn from only the best (The Urbanette Magazşne) to improve. Without any flattery, you are on top of the list.

  40. Such a motivating article! I’d like to say that you are so successful! You have a booming business, you found what your heart wants and you conquer the odds!

  41. Jae Medina

    Thanks for this! Great information, will try to apply your ideas in our company. 🙂

  42. Can’t help but commend you and your business. Fantastic article, wonderful advice!

    I always find Brazilian bikinis very fashionable and I make sure to have new pair(s) every summer!

  43. OMG! Brazilian bikinis are the best! You’re such an inspiration. I’m an aspiring entrepreneur and your tips are very helpful! Thanks for writing this article!

  44. Oh! I love Brazilian bikinis! Great article! You’ve just proven that experience is the best teacher and taking risks to pursue what your heart wants will always be worth it 😉

  45. Thanks for sharing your life lessons   I genuinely admire your courage. I know starting your “bikini business” wasn’t easy, not only because you have competitors and you need to stand out, but because you started it in a country where bikinis are not fad (well, as compared with other countries)…

  46. Great tips! Personally, in every venture I try to start — new career, new place, new business, I constantly remind and give myself time and space to fail and commit mistakes. I make sure not to regret the steps I take even if it gives me opposite results, I take them as new lessons to learn, grow and be better.

  47. Splendid! To me, the most critical is how an entrepreneur can create a value and be unique. Yeah, you should be innovative — DO NOT copy other companies’ practices, you can benchmark, but never copy!

  48. I’m with you! I moved from Paris to New York with high hopes that I’m going to discover myself more and be able to know what I truly love and aim for! If I would rank your tips, “connecting with people” will be on top of my list. I find it very important! It is from people I would learn…

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